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Norwegian Elkhound


Norwegian Elkhound



Being an ancient breed of over a thousand years old, the Norwegian Elkhound has been by man's side since the time he hunted with slingshots and was used in Scandinavia as a hunter of big game, especially Elk and Moose and other game such as badger, lynx, mountain lion, bear, wolf, reindeer and even rabbit. Some of their other amazing talents include: hunting, tracking, herding, watchdog, guarding, sledding and agility.



The fearless and friendly Norwegian Elkhound will greet family and friends it knows with enthusiasm and affection however, can be somewhat reserved with strangers. They are affectionate, loyal, engaging and sensitive and have a clean, docile and outstanding character. Having a strong mind of its own this dog is fairly independent and you may find it somewhat resistant to obedience training.  It will be important to be firm with this dog but at the same time to show affection and be fair as this dog can be upset for a long time if punished unfairly, and will let you know how it feels.  They are normally good with non-canine pets and because of their background some Norwegian Elkhounds may bark a great deal but can be easily trained not to bark.



Height:  46-53cm  (18-21in)

Weight:  18-27kg (40-60lb)

The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized Spitz-type dog which is hardy, sturdy and squarely built with the stamina to hunt all day long for days at a time. Their double coat is of a distinctive grey colour with a lighter undercoat and undersides and their muzzle, ears and tail tip are black.  With strong jaws and a head that is broad and wedge shaped it has a defined stop. Their pointed prick ears are very mobile and they have eyes which are dark brown displaying a keen, friendly expression. The body is relatively short and most of the length should be in the ribcage and their tail is rolled tightly over their back. The forelegs are straight and parallel to each other and their paws are thick padded and small and tight.



These dogs have a hard, coarse, weatherproof coat which is relatively easy to groom. With regular brushing, extra care should be given while the dog is seasonally shedding its dense, heavy undercoat as the dead hair will tend to cling to the new hair.  Ideally the dead hair should be removed with a rubber brush or a wooden comb with a double row of metal teeth and brushes and combs designed just for this purpose are sold in pet and dog grooming stores. It is recommended to bath only when necessary; otherwise the natural oils in the skin will be removed causing dry and irritated skin. Like other Arctic dogs their coat is both water and dirt resistant and they do not have the usual doggy odour.


Life Expectancy

10-16 Years


Health Concerns

Because of past careful breeding, Norwegian Elkhounds do not suffer from any specific hereditary conditions. They may be prone to being overweight but with careful monitoring of their diet this will not be a problem.



Being reliable, energetic and alert they make great family pets and sensible guard dogs. Apartment living will be okay if the dog is sufficiently exercised. The Elkhound is fairly active indoors and does prefer a yard. Preferring the cooler climates the Norwegian Elkhound is a very energetic dog and thrives on lots of strenuous activity. They require daily, long, brisk walks or for those energetic owners, jogs for at least an hour.  They will even enjoy running beside your bike, but keep in mind that these dogs like to roam, so beware if it picks up an interesting scent, it may ignore you when you call it and just keep following its nose instead.

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Hounds: these dogs hunt by sniffing the ground to pick up and then follow a scent, calling and barking all the while.  Dogs of this type include English Foxhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Whippet to mention a few.


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