A Thousand Oaks family adopted a six-toed canine, not knowing it was one of the world’s rarest dog breeds, though they’d been looking for a sheltie.
The married couple, Colin Storm and Anna Penner, both 37, had hoped to find a sheltie since 2019. The two had grown up with the breed and wanted to adopt one as their first dog together.
After a search, the couple found a sheltie listing, without a picture, at an Apple Valley rescue. They drove for between two and three hours to meet the supposed sheltie, named Happy Fellow, in November 2020.
“When we saw him, I was like, yeah, that is a very small amount of sheltie,” Penner said.
They assumed it was a sheltie mixed with another breed.
Since the couple had been looking for so long and had driven for hours, they decided to take the dog home, renaming him Ted Lasso after the show on Apple TV starring Jason Sudeikis.
“It’s kind of an inspirational, feel-good show, and (Teddy) made us feel really good during the stressful times of that first fall of the pandemic,” Storm said.
“We are beyond thrilled to have a rescue dog,” he said. “There was no doubt in our mind we wanted to get a rescue. We had grown up with rescue dogs. We just think it is so important to give them a good home.”
About a year later the couple found an app that could help them identify their dog’s breed by submitting a photo.
“Immediately, the result was Norwegian lundehund. We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, who has been taking pictures of our dog?’ Like it was a spitting image,” Penner said.
Shortly after, she joined a Norwegian lundehund Facebook group and confirmed that more of Teddy’s unique traits made sense for his breed.
“Like the fact that he has dewclaws on every six toes on every foot,” Storm said.
Norwegian lundehunds were named the No. 1 rarest dog breed in 2021, according to the American Kennel Club.
“The sad thing is we have no idea where he came from, who his littermates are, what his old name used to be. There’s just so much history that we wish we could learn about him. Like how old he is,” Penner said.
The rescue estimated Teddy to be between 3 and 7 years old and said he’d been an emotional support animal to his former owner, who died, the couple said.
When Teddy first joined their family, he was a very reserved and shy dog. But after 2.5 years of companionship, Teddy has become more outgoing—he’s even got his own Instagram page.
“We’ve started catching him trying to get food off of our table,” Penner said. “He’s definitely feeling very comfortable.”
Teddy likes to snack on tuna and salmon, or anything that isn’t raw vegetables.
The family also has a 10-month-old baby named Eli that Teddy has been fairly protective of. The couple said Teddy would guard the baby’s bassinet or sleep outside his room.
Teddy likes thoroughly sniffing his surroundings, visiting Russell Park and otherwise enjoying the couch.
He has hyper-mobile legs that can fold 90 degrees, giving him a distinctive run. He likes watching other dogs but doesn’t know how to play fetch, Storm said.
In November Teddy had surgery to remove part of a tumor from his back left leg. Teddy has a type of nonaggressive, slow-moving cancer.
To see more pictures or follow along on Teddy’s adventures, check out his Instagram page at instagram.com/ted_lasso_the_lundehund.