The Norwegian Lundehund is an endangered breed, and the Norwegian breed club, Norsk Lundehund Klubb, works for responsible breeding to preserve the breed and increase the number of Lundehunds in Norway. The club has several activities and resources to help dog owners and breeders so that they can participate in this work. All these are worth checking for everyone who wants to work for breed health!
Surveys: Breeder survey about dogs that have been used for breeding, as well as litters born. Owner survey about the health and fertility of their dogs. Surveys are conducted every two years, and the results can be found at the club’s website. In 2022, answers were received from 910 out of 937 dogs, and this gives a response rate of 97%! The club has truly engaged the owners for this important work for the health of the dogs. It isn’t a miracle, but instead a result of hard work. Even the owners who were not able to answer the survey electronically were asked about their dogs – that was done by phone.
Database: The club has its own database for the breed - you can check it here. The database can be used in the search for a breeding partner for one’s dog. You can, among other things, search by county, by age, or by the number of previous puppies. You get also a calculated degree of inbreeding for the combinations you find for your dog. Owners can enter health information, show results and photos of their dogs.
Tips: They have written tips for first-time breeders – as they need as many dogs as possible in breeding.
Breeder’s Brochure: They have written a Breeder's brochure introducing the club – for the breeders to deliver to the new owner.
Research: Several ongoing research projects concerning pseudopelade (a skin/coat issue), seizures, and intestinal lymphangiectasia (IL). IL is a gastrointestinal disease with symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, as well as heart failure with accumulating fluid in the abdomen and heart and lethargy. Lundehunds are predisposed to IL, and about 30% of the dogs die from the disease.
Crossbreeding project to increase genetic diversity
The Lundehund has few health problems. Hip or elbow dysplasia have not been registered in the breed, and eye diseases are not a problem. However, the breed is rare - there are approximately 1,000 individuals in the world today - and genetic variance is low, which makes it impossible to breed away from any health problem. Therefore, the club started a crossbreeding project in 2014.
In the crossbreeding project, Norwegian Lundehunds are mated to three other breeds: Norwegian Buhund, Norrbottenspitz and Icelandic Sheepdog. The aim is to improve fertility and reduce the incidence of stomach/intestinal disorders, while still preserving the distinctive traits of the breed. The project is done in collaboration with The Norwegian Kennel Club, The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, The Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre, NordGen, and The Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
All dogs and combinations must be approved by the Norwegian Kennel Club before mating. Entry of project dogs into the purebred breed register can only take place when assessment of health, exterior and temperament shows that the goal of the crossbreeding project has been achieved and the result has been approved by the breed club as well as the Norwegian Kennel Club.
So far, crossings have been made with three Buhunds, two Icelandic Sheepdogs, and a Norrbotten Spitz. Nine second-generation and two third-generation Buhund-Lundehund litters have been born. With the Icelandic Sheepdog, one second-generation litter and one third-generation litter have been born.
Key information about the crossbreeding project's purpose and the project plan can be found at the website of the Norsk Lundehund Klubb here. On the website you will also find a list of the crossbred litters. The information is in Norwegian, but with a translation program, you will be able to understand most of it.
Short English information about the project can be found here: https://dogwellnet.com/content/health-and-breeding/breeding/breeding-for-health/cross-breeding/the-norwegian-lundehund-outcross-project-r419/.
References and resources
Article (in Norwegian) about the crossbreeding project (Hundesport no. 2 in 2021): http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/04f268e6#/04f268e6/16
DogWellNet resources for the Lundehund – including links to scientific studies in the breed: https://dogwellnet.com/breeds/pedigree/norwegian-lundehund-r140/