What has 24 toes, ears that can fold closed, forward or backward at will, and was saved from near extinction after World War II?
The Norwegian Lundehund, of course!
The breed’s unique characteristics, including six toes on each foot, came in handy when retrieving puffins – that’s right, puffins – from the crevices of its homeland’s steep vertical cliffs. Also known as the “puffin dog,” the breed ensured meals and valuable down to those who lived in the Lofoten Islands, where it is believed the dog existed since before the last Ice Age. Pickled puffin meat was essential to sustaining life for the islanders during the harsh Arctic winters, and most households maintained several of the breed for just that reason.
Today puffins are a protected species, and the Norwegian Lundehund is known as a loyal companion and for its spunky energy level and love of physical activity. If you’re considering the breed as a pet, know that it is extremely clever and affectionate. On the flip side, the dog is very sensitive and a bit wary and reserved with strangers. All in all, this tan dog is a healthy breed, with a rough outer and soft inner coat and weighing in at about 20 pounds.