Hemingway Cats, Move Over, the Six-Toed Dog is Back

by Mary Haight on May 27, 2009

Picture of a :en:Norwegian Lundehund, N UCH Ål...
Image via Wikipedia

Just when we think we know all the dog breeds, something comes along to show us that we don’t know what we don’t know.  The six-toed Lundehund is back in town, and the endangered breed is making a comeback, albeit very slowly, giving birth to only two to four puppies per litter.  There are only 250 of these dogs in the US, and breeders take great care to avoid inbreeding so the bloodlines can flourish.

The Lundehund was originally bred to hunt puffins on the rock-riddled coasts of Norway, and had been doing their job for hundreds of years until distemper in WWII knocked the breed down to a nearly unsustainable number of six.  Six dogs left, 60 years ago, and now they total 1500, making the Lundehund the rarest dog in the world.

“They can turn their heads a full 180 degrees, rotate their legs over their heads, and even lie completely flat, with all four legs sticking straight out to the sides.” according to the report from zootoo.  The dog’s flexibility helped him squeeze around rocks and into caves to meet objectives; they can even “close” their ears to block out the wind and rain when working needed.

And that sixth toe–is there any use for it?  Well, yes, it acts as a stabilizer and “suction cup” when chasing across the slippery wet rocks of the Norwegian coastline. Take a look at the video for a smile!

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  1. […] Norwegian Lundehund (here’s a 2009 post I wrote on this breed that almost went extinct, the six-toed dog is back), Finnish Lapphund, and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog.  Mark your calendars for February 13-14 at […]

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