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Norwegian Lundehunds: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Norwegian Lundehund temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Norwegian Lundehund dog breed

Many prospective owners find the Norwegian Lundehund's appearance immediately attractive. Size is between small and medium-sized, a perfect size for many households. The short coat is easy to groom and the color pattern is lovely. Moving with a light, springy gait, the Lundehund is as swift, graceful, and agile as a fox, and is a surefooted climber and jumper.

Happy and playful, the Norwegian Lundehund will pounce on his food and toys, grasping them with his toes and tossing them into the air like a cat catching a mouse. He also hides his food and toys, going to great lengths to find just the right place to stash his treasures.

So all that sounds like a perfect dog, right? A really fun dog?

But now let's talk about all the reasons this breed is so uncommon, difficult to find, and not so easy to live with...

The Lundehund is not just observant – he is hyper-observant, 100 percent aware of his surroundings, in the same way a wild or feral dog is. He will sound the alarm at anything out of the ordinary, not from a position of aggression, but from a position of defensiveness. The Lundehund is wary of strangers and requires early and extensive socialization to build a confident temperament.

Training is a challenge. Norwegian Lundehunds learn quickly, but not necessarily what you want them to learn! Instead their intelligence is more like cleverness, where the dog decides what he wants, then set about getting it.

Lundehunds are persistent problem-solvers and master manipulators. They are not deterred by obstacles such as cupboard doors blocking their access to tasty food. Confinement to a crate or back yard is just one more obstacle to overcome. And if they outsmart you once, they remember.

Housebreaking is notoriously difficult – some Lundehunds are never completely housebroken and require a doggy door to the outdoors. The door should lead into a small confined potty area with a high  fence. These athletic, agile dogs can both jump and climb!

The most serious concern with Norwegian Lundehunds is their health. The lifespan of this breed is unpredictable because of severe inherited intestinal disorders that are embedded in the breed's gene pool.

These intestinal disorders are forms of colitis, also called inflammatory bowel syndrome or protein-losing enteropathy. Norwegian Lundehunds require a high-protein, low-fat, homemade  diet, plus regular bloodwork and fecal tests throughout their life.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is conveniently-sized and natural-looking
  • Has a short, easy-care coat
  • Is graceful and agile, moving with a light, springy gait
  • Is lively and playful
  • Makes a great alarm dog
  • Is nonaggressive

A Norwegian Lundehund may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Notorious housebreaking difficulties
  • Providing extensive socialization to minimize fearfulness or suspiciousness
  • Inherent distrust of anything new or different, which can result in excessive alarm barking
  • Stubbornness (mind of his own)
  • Waiting lists (hard to find) and a high price tag
  • Extremely serious health problems

A Norwegian Lundehund may not be right for you.


Dog Breed Traits – Which Traits Are Right For You?

In this brand new series, I'll help you decide which dog breed traits would best suit you and your family, your home and yard, and your lifestyle, so you can choose the best dog breed for your family.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament  is less predictable than the inheritance of physical  traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

FREE eBooks by Michele Welton

dog icon"Respect Training for Puppies"  and "Teach Your Dog 100 English Words"  are free step by step guides to teaching your pup to be calm and well-behaved.

dog icon"11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy"  is a free guide to keeping your dog mentally, physically, and emotionally happy and healthy so you can enjoy a longer lifetime of companionship.

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More traits and characteristics of the Norwegian Lundehund

If I was considering a Norwegian Lundehund, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Housebreaking. The Norwegian Lundehund is very difficult to housebreak. Consistent crate training is mandatory. Often a doggy door is necessary. And some owners never do get their Norwegian Lundehunds housebroken.
  2. Serious health problems. The chronic intestinal disease embedded in the breed's gene pool can begin at any age and recur again and again. It is frustratingly resistant to treatment, and depending on severity, can end in euthanasia. Every Lundehund should have bloodwork and a fecal test done every 6-12 months, and no one should acquire this breed unless you're willing and able to spend money for chronic veterinary care.
  3. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, with cautious defensive instincts, Norwegian Lundehunds need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise they can end up shy or suspicious.
  4. Potential barking. Norwegian Lundehunds are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
  5. The independent temperament. Norwegian Lundehunds are bright dogs, but they are independent thinkers who can be obstinate and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Read my free online training programs.
  6. Finding one and paying the price. In the United States, the Norwegian Lundehund is hard to find and expensive.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.

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