Breed standard

Breed Standard


Click here to download the FCI breed standard (PDF)



The AKC breed standard has some small differences than the FCI standard.

General Appearance

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small rectangular and agile Spitz breed with unique characteristics not found in any other breed. Originating on remote islands of arctic Norway, the dog was used to wrestle and retrieve live puffin birds from the crevices of steep vertical cliffs. To enable the dog to climb, descend, and brake on these cliffs, unique structural characteristics have evolved and must be present as they define this breed: a minimum of six toes on each foot and elongated rear foot pads; an elastic neck that allows the head to bend backward to touch the spine, letting the dog turn around in narrow puffin bird caves; and shoulders flexible enough to allow the front legs to extend flat to the side in order to hug the cliffs. This shoulder structure produces a peculiar rotary movement. Finally, the ears close and fold forward or backward to protect from debris. The temperament is alert but not expected to be outgoing toward strangers.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Size: The desired height for adult males is between 13-15 inches and 12-14 inches for adult females. Size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes.

Proportion: length of body is slightly longer than height at the withers. Depth of chest is approximately one half the height.

Substance: The Lundehund should be athletic and agile, never coarse or heavy. Bitches are distinctly feminine but without weakness.


The head is wedge-shaped, of medium width and clean. The skull is slightly rounded with prominent brows. There is a pronounced but not deep stop, and the bridge of the nose has a slight arch. The muzzle is of medium length and width, tapering gradually to the end of the muzzle. Length of the muzzle is approximately two-thirds the length of the skull. Nose and lips are black.

Teeth: Scissors bite is preferred, but level and reverse scissors bite are permitted. Missing premolars on both sides of the upper and lower jaws are common and allowed.

Eyes: almond-shaped, yellow-brown to brown with a brown ring around the pupil. Light eyes are preferred. Eye rims are dark and complete.

Ears: medium-size, triangular, broad at the base, carried erect and very mobile. The ear leather can be folded and turned up, backward or at right angles so that the ear openings are clamped shut.


The neck is clean, of medium length and strong without being thick.

NOTE: The judge should never ask the handler to demonstrate the characteristic flexibility in the ring, as the dog can not relax sufficiently at a dog show.


Level back, short loin and slightly sloping croup, slight tuck up. Ribs are carried well back, well-sprung but not barrel-shaped.


High-set, medium length with a dense coat. When the dog is moving, the tail may be carried trailing or in a graceful arch over the back with the tip touching the back. A tightly curled tail or one that falls too far to either side is undesirable. When at rest, the tail hangs with a slight curve.


Moderate angulation with very elastic shoulders so that the front legs can extend out to the side. The legs are straight with slightly outward-turned feet. The feet are oval with at least six fully developed toes, five of which should reach the ground. Eight pads on each foot. The additional toes consist of one three jointed toe, like a thumb, and one two-jointed toe along with corresponding tendons and muscles that give the foot a strong appearance.


Moderate angulation in balance with the forequarters. Strong muscular upper and lower thighs.

Feet: Oval, slightly outward turned with a minimum of six toes, of which four support the dog's weight. There are seven pads with the center pad elongated. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are close but parallel.


Double coat with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat. The coat is short on the head and front of the legs, longer and thicker around the neck and back of thighs. It is dense on the tail with little feathering. The male typically has a thicker ruff around the neck. The Lundehund is presented naturally with no trimming.


Fallow to reddish brown to tan with black hair tips and white markings or white with red or dark markings. More black hair tips with maturity. Dogs with a completely white head or with 50 percent of the head white should have complete dark eye rims and lashes.


Light and elastic. As the Lundehund is designed to climb steep cliffs and work into narrow crevices, the front assembly must be flexible and wide. This produces an elastic gait with a unique rotary front movement. He moves close but parallel in the rear.


A Lundehund is alert, very energetic, loyal and protective. He can be wary of strangers but never aggressive toward people.