Best In Show

Norwegian Lundehunds, or Puffin Dogs, are a passion of Dr. Sue’s. They are a rare, small dog with a unique genome (gene complement) originally used for climbing up & down cliffs and into crevices to drag out Puffin Birds and their nests. She obtained her first one in 1993 as a pet, but quickly got bit by the breeding and showing bug. She is a past President of the Norwegian Lundehund Club of America and still active in the NLAA Club. Her original dogs are too old to breed anymore, but she has young males and bitches coming up in the ranks. Her dogs over the years have been NLCA and ARBA Champions, one whom won Best in Show. (Lundehunds have AKC approval in the Miscellaneous class, which means limited exposure in shows, but soon may reach full AKC status.) Dr. Sue has treated a number of healthy and sick Lundies over the years, although since they are a rare breed and low in numbers, statistically they are only a small part of her practice. She frequently does long distance consultations with Lundehund owners and their vets when a Lundehund is ill, since they have such a peculiar syndrome and treatment. Two to three of her dogs are usually with her at the clinic when she is on duty. She organizes and runs the annual Northwest LundeFest picnic. About 12-15 Lundehunds (plus other doggie friends) and their owners arrive for a pet show and games, and picnic each summer.

I got my first one, Gate City Sunniva, from Darcy Gort in Sequim, WA. But I first heard of Lundehunds around 1974 when I saw a photo of a white Puffinhound and her pup in a Dog Atlas. They were so adorable that I kept that picture for years, wondering what a Puffinhound was and looking for them in other dog books. I finally found out that they were Lundehunds around 1989 when the Milne’s Lundehunds of Everett/Marysville were written up in our local paper. When my old Sheltie passed away in 1992, I was looking for a dog to replace her and came across the advertisement that Darcy had put out for her very first litter. My family fell in love with Sunny, and with Lundehunds in general, immediately.

I breed and show Lundehunds under the kennel name of Midnattsol Kennels. I have had three champions: ARBA & NLCA CH. Gate City Sunniva, Prairie Gold Dorthea, and Dawns Midnattsol Arnbjorn (who also won Best in Show). My three champions have all passed on to that Rainbow in the sky, but I currently have two breeding males, three females and two old ladies."

- Dr. Sue

The Lundehund is a fun-loving dog who gets along with adults, kids, and other dogs, as long as the Lundie grew up with them when it was a pup. If you introduce an adult to other dogs and/or kids, then the reaction will vary according to its personality. They certainly relish running and being outside in a yard, although at heart, they are a people loving, inside house dog.

Their temperament is happy and calm, yet alert. They are alarm barkers, but only bark when there is something to bark about. They are not like terriers, who will bark all day at leaves in the yard. They are active and playful, but when all the excitement is over, they are happy to curl up beside you and rest, unlike some hyper dogs who want to keep going long after you are worn out. They love to sleep under, on, or in their owner's bed.


They are prone to an intestinal syndrome, which is a mixture of lymphangiectasia, inflammatory bowel disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth that causes a malabsorption/protein losing enteropathy. Most Lundehunds will get sick with it during their lifetime. But these days we know a lot about the illness. We can test for it with low priced tests. If we catch it in the early stages, the attacks can be successfully treated with not too expensive medicines. If properly looked after and stress is minimized, a Lundehund can live to be 10-13 years old. On the plus side, this is about the only illness that they get. Every purebred dog/cat comes with some bad genes attached to the good genes that make the dog look they way they do. Boxers and Golden Retrievers get cancer at a young age. Labs get cataracts and hip dysplasia. Scotties and Corgis get hemophilia. Cockers get severe eye and skin infections, as do Poodles.

Puffin Dogs are unique in having five functional toes on their front feet (with their dew claw, that makes six toes on all feet). This allows them to climb better than most dogs. They are unique in being extremely flexible in their neck and shoulder joints, so that they can fit into very low spaces. To avoid getting water in their ears, they can shut them quite tightly.


Their sable and white coloring make them look very fox-like and un-like any other dog breed in appearance. Their small size of about 15-20 lbs. makes them very adaptable to apartment living, but they do love to run and go on long walks. Their two-layer coat is weather resistant, but they are not outdoor-only dogs, they need to stay inside the house at night, or if temps get below 50 F.

They are very hard to house train; they are not for the novice dog owner in that respect. Having a crate/kennel is a must, as is a dog door to the outside. I think that hundreds of years of living in barns in Norway has made their nature not too amenable to the process of house training.