Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Ever Seen a Lundehund?
Photos from Norwegian Lundehund Association of America website.
Not long ago I blogged about "Hemingway" cats, descendants of Ernest Hemingway's own kitties with an extra toe.
Yesterday I came across an interesting fact. Dogs also have a similar characteristic...at least when it comes to a very rare breed called Norwegian Lundehunds. The canines were developed in Norway and adapted to find Puffin birds amongst that country's craggy cliffs. The Puffins provided a source of meat and downy fluff for residents. However, when other forms of hunting Puffins came into favor, Lundehunds all but went extinct. But thanks to efforts by lovers of the breed, Lundehunds still exist (though in very few numbers) today.
A member of the Spitz family (they kind of look like a fox to me), Lundehunds have a number of unique physical characteristics. All four paws have six toes. Their ears are very mobile and can be turned erect, backwards, or at right angles so that ear openings clamp shut. The neck is exceptionally supple allowing the dog to turn it 180 degrees (imagine the dog's head lifted up and backward until forehead can literally touch back!). How cool and unique is that!
The breed is not yet recognized by the AKC, but it sounds as though that day could be coming. If you'd like to read more on this very rare canine, check out the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America website.
Just goes to show, there's simply no end to the ways we humans have adapted critters to suit our needs, with dogs being just about the "numero uno" example.