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The Norwegian Lundehund is a small, rectangular Spitz type dog. The Lundehund has
a great range of motion in its joints, allowing it to fit into and extricate itself from narrow
passages. Dogs of this breed are able to bend their head backwards along their own
spine and turn their forelegs to the side at a 90-degree horizontal angle to their body,
much like human arms. Their pricked, upright ears can be folded shut to form a near-
tight seal by folding forward or backward.
The Norwegian Lundehund is a polydactyl: instead of the normal four toes per foot, the
Lundehund normally has six toes, all fully formed, jointed and muscled. Some
specimens may on occasion have more or fewer than six toes per foot. The outercoat
is dense and rough with a soft undercoat. The Lundehund is adapted to climb narrow
cliff paths in Røst where it originally would have hunted puffins.
The breed has a long history. As far back as 1600 it was used for hunting puffins along
the Norwegian coast. Its flexibility and extra toes were ideal for hunting the birds in their
inaccessible nesting locations on cliffs and in caves. Interest for the breed declined
when new methods for hunting puffins were invented and a dog tax was created.
Around 1900, they were only found in the isolated village of Mostad (spelled Måstad in
Norwegian), Lofoten. The breed was nearly extinct around World War II when canine
distemper struck Værøy and the surrounding islands. In 1963, the population was
further decimated by distemper again. This time, only 6 dogs survived (1 on Værøy & 5
in southern Norway Hamar (these 5 were from the same mother)), creating a population
bottleneck. Due to careful breeding with strict guidelines, there are now an estimated
1,500–2,000 dogs in the world, with around 1,100 of the population in Norway and
~350 in the United States.
Lundehund gastroenteropathy is a set of digestive disorders that can lead to an
overgrowth of digestive bacteria, and a loss of ability to absorb nutrients from food.In
extreme cases the dog can starve due to its inability to derive nutrients and protein
from food, regardless of food intake. All Lundehunds have the genetics to have this
illness, though not every Lundehund is severely afflicted and some are symptom free.
There is no cure, though the disease can be managed
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An indispensable medical reference for
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