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Lundehunds are surprisingly agile and small — males don't stand more than than 1 foot, 3 inches tall or weigh more than 16 pounds. They were bred to hunt Puffins along the Norwegian shore, and as a result, they have some interesting characteristics. These dogs have up to 6 toes on each foot to help them grip on to slippery surfaces. They are extremely flexible — they can bend their heads all the way back to touch their spine and curl up into impressively small shapes. They can also fold their ears forward to close them off to water. Their bodies are built to scramble over slippery rocks and crawl through narrow, water-logged passageways to tunnel into their prey's nests. Puffins gradually became endangered, with no word as to whether the effective Lundhehund's ability to bring back as many as 50 puffins from a successful day of hunting contributed to their dwindling numbers. Today, these dogs are noted for their vivacious, abiding personalities.
Lundehunds are intelligent, alert dogs who love to climb around and explore with a cat-like agility and playfulness. They need to live in homes where they can spend plenty of time amusing their owners and bonding with a family. Their unique hunting ability means they have some interesting habits and health problems, so they are best suited to homes with attentive, easy-going and active owners.
Like other Norwegian breeds, these dogs are owner-oriented. They strive to entertain and please their owners with most of their actions, often making up games or tricks to involve their owners in their lives. Owners are often the center of the Norwegian Lundehunds' worlds, which makes them somewhat closed off to meeting strangers and can make new situations stressful for them. Expose them to social situations with other people and dogs from a young age so that they display their friendly, inviting personalities around everyone. Otherwise, Lundehunds can become shy and aloof and avoid new situations.
Lundehunds are mischievous and curious by nature. They were bred to store the fruits of their labor and proudly display them to their owner, which is a habit they still exhibit. Lundehunds love to get into everything and tend to hoard the food and trinkets they find, so it is important to supervise them around mealtimes and train them to be polite indoors. These dogs are particularly difficult to housebreak. It is impossible to completely housebreak some Lundehunds. They respond best to positive, sensitive training. Because they are intelligent, some Lundehunds can even be trained to bark or alert their owner when they need to go out.
The Lundehund's double coat is made up of a harsh outer coat and a soft, dense under coat that is shorter along the head and the front of the legs. The coat around the neck and the back of the thighs forms a thicker ruff of hair. The tail is feathered and curls up over the back. Males have more prominent ruffs and tails. The coat ranges in color from a reddish brown to tan with black guard hairs and some white markings. Some dogs are white with reddish markings.
The Lundehund will blow its coat twice a year, when it will require daily brushing to remove dead hair and stay tidy. Throughout the rest of the year, a occasional brushing with a slicker brush will help reduce shedding and keep the coat healthy.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but some double-coated dogs can be done so with less frequency (the Alaskan Malamute, in particular, has no odor and can go with annual baths). The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Remember to wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing. High-velocity dryers work great to remove excessive loose hair with shedding.
Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, it is simple to give your dog a haircut and save expensive trips to the groomer.
Dogs with double coats generally require regular trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.
Lundehunds have a lot of toes, so it's important to keep up with nail trimmings in order to prevent painful ingrown toenails. If the nails get too long, they can curl up into the feet, which is exceedingly painful.
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corgis, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and Collies have sensitive ears that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If your dog is prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.