The Norwegian Lundehund is a small dog breed of the Spitz type that originates from Norway. As early as 16th century these dogs had been used to hunt puffins along the Norwegian coast. However, the interest for the breed died out with the introduction of new hunting methods. At some point there were only six Lundehunds left in existence, but thanks to careful breeding the population gradually grew to 1400 dogs (in 2010).
Two distinctive features separate Lundehund from other dogs: six toes on its paws instead of the normal four, and enhanced join flexibility, both of which are what makes it so good at cliff-climbing. In fact, the joints are so flexible that the Lundehund has the creepy ability to angle its head backward until it touches the spine. Temper-wise, they are brave, energetic and stubborn. Health-wise, Lundehunds have few problems, but some suffer from digestive disorders.
This adorable hairball hails from Scotland (namely the Island of Skye). There was a time when this breed used to be extremely popular with the British nobility: Queen Victoria in particular was quite the fancier. From there the Skye terrier’s popularity spread across the pond, and in late 19th – early 20th century it looked like the breed was well on the way to becoming a universal favorite. However, that never quite happened and the interest gradually died out. Currently the Skye terrier is considered an endangered breed that may well become extinct within 40 years.
Plucky, loyal and curious, Skye terriers are great for adult owners. Their silky coat needs regular combing, but otherwise they are relatively low-maintenance. Like many short-legged dogs they may suffer from degenerative disc disease. Jumping, climbing and even long walks are to be avoided for the first 8-10 months of a Skye terrier’s life, as active exercise may damage their bone growth and lead to problems later on.
These lovely scruffy-looking dogs are very rare even in France – the land where they have been living since the 9th century A.D. Because of their mutt-like appearance Berger Picards never managed to win over the hearts of the nobility, and came close to extinction as a result of the two World Wars. At present there are only about 3,500 of these dogs in France (and 400 altogether in North America.)
The Berger Picard is a lively and intelligent dog with a stubborn streak that makes formal obedience training necessary. They are herding dogs by nature, and good guard dogs because of their developed protective instincts. If not exercised regularly, these puppies may turn to destructive behavior out of pure boredom, but generally they are quiet and sweet-tempered. The Berger Picard is a healthy breed, although hip dysplasia might be a problem.