THE NORWEGIAN LUNDEHUND CLUB OF AMERICA, INC.

FOUNDED IN 1988

 











Behavior

Lundehunds are intelligent, cheerful, inquisitive, stubborn dogs.  They can make wonderful companions in the right homes, but prospective owners should think carefully about whether the Lundehunds unique personality will fit in well with their lifestyle.

This little Norwegian is a primitive breed, meaning that it shares a lot of habits and behavior with wild dogs, like foxes and wolves.  They will cache food, or hide it in places throughout their living area, and they are very aware of everything that is going on around them (and react noisily to any changes in their environment).  They are very inquisitive and are always exploring their surroundings, and very little is out of their reach because of their abilities to climb the steepest inclines and tunnel into tiny little spaces.  They retain a very strong pack instinct and generally live happily in groups, especially with other lunde-dogs, if their owner allows them to figure out the pecking order.  They also retain a strong prey drive, though, so they need to be carefully supervised around small animals and birds.

Lundehunds are very aware of everything that is going on around them and they will bark at almost everything or at nothing - some Lundehunds bark a great deal.   They can be protective of their home and their people, but rely more on barking than aggression.  Some can be apprehensive of strange people and dogs, although early socialization can prevent this.  When they are raised with children they are usually fine with them, although they can be intolerant of rough treatment.  They love to dig, enjoy playing with toys, and particularly like carrying things around in their mouths. I had one lunde-dog who would regularly take his toys for a walk, refusing to drop the chosen toy even in the hottest of weather to take a drink.  They are active, busy dogs who do best in a home where there are things going on to keep their active minds stimulated.  If they are bored, they will find ways to amuse themselves, often at the expense of the owner's home and belongings.  Lundehunds should be given regular opportunities for exercise and are particularly happy when they can play off leash and out of doors, with plenty of opportunities to explore and find interesting and unusual gifts to bring back to their owners.

Early and extensive socialization is very, very important for Lundehund puppies.  They should be exposed to loud noises, people of all ages, different environments and situations, cars, other dogs and animals, and as many other stimuli as possible.  Under-socialized Lundehunds tend to be shy, sound sensitive, and easily stressed by any unusual situations and it can be difficult to undo the problems caused by the lack of early socialization.

Training Lundehunds can be a challenge.  Lundehunds are incredibly intelligent and can easily understand what you want them to do, but, in the immortal words of Herman Mellville, they prefer not to.  A great deal of patience, a large supply of delicious treats, and a sense of humor are all required when training a Lundehund.  Lundehunds are more like cats than dogs in their attitude towards their owners and they generally lack the famous canine eagerness to please, so training should emphasize positive reinforcement, as a lunde-dog is much more likely to obey a command when there is something in it for them.  They don't respond well to punishment and negative reinforcement, and instead of altering their behavior you will just wind up with an irritated lunde-dog with a grudge - and they have long memories.  Keep training sessions short and fun, be prepared to repeat the same lessons many times, and be realistic.  While a patiently trained Lundehund will generally come when it is called, you may have to call several times and the path back to you may involve a few detours to investigate something really interesting along the way.

Housebreaking is an area where Lundehunds have proven to be particularly difficult to train reliably.  This is a primitive breed, and they mark their territory, which is likely to include the inside of your house.   A lunde-dog owner should anticipate that housebreaking will take longer than it does in other breeds and complete reliability is a rarity.  The problems can be minimized if your lunde-dog is crate trained and crated when left in the house unsupervised.  Most lunde-dogs take very well to a crate, if properly and positively introduced to it. Some find a ‘doggy-door’ to be very helpful, allowing the dog the opportunity to quickly go outside to eliminate. Neutering can cut down significantly on marking behavior.  Anyone considering adding a Lundehund to their life needs to be aware of this issue and consider whether they can live happily with a dog that may never be completely housebroken.

One thing that every Lundehund owner should keep in mind is that any changes in behavior could be indicative of problems caused by Lundehund Syndrome.  This can be obvious, such as when a dog suddenly stops eating or becomes lethargic, or it can be more subtle, such as when a dog stops jumping up onto a bed or into a car because of muscle wasting weakness in the rear legs.  It is worth a trip to the vet for some blood work any time a Lundehund’s owner notices changes in their dog's behavior.

Long time lunde-dog owners treasure the breed’s intelligence, humor, and big personality.  These dogs are free thinkers, and owners should keep this in mind when they train their lunde-dog.  With patience and praise, a lunde-dog can and will learn.

Informational Sources:

Your Purebred Puppy  advice you can trust

Read the author's opinions on different breeds including the Norwegian Lundehund.

Dog Play 

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 © 2004 NLCA, Inc. Rev. 10/05