Norwegian Lundehund Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Norwegian Lundehund Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
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.
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 goes 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. Don't let these dogs have the run of a large yard unsupervised.
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. They 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.
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.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Norwegian Lundehunds have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Norwegian Lundehund to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Norwegian Lundehund
If I was considering a Norwegian Lundehund, I would be most concerned about...
- 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.
- Serious health problems. Chronic intestinal diseases can begin at any age in the Norwegian Lundehund and recur again and again. These conditions are frustratingly resistant to treatment, and depending on severity, can end in humane euthanasia. Every Norwegian Lundehund should have bloodwork and a fecal test done every 6-12 months, and no one should acquire a member of this breed unless you're willing and able to spend money for chronic veterinary care.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 more about Norwegian Lundehund Training.
- Finding one and paying the price. In the United States, the Norwegian Lundehund is hard to find and expensive.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.