Norwegian Elkhound

Type: Northern Breed

Height: 19 - 21 inches. Males: 20.5 inches; Females: 19.5 inches average.

Weight: 43 - 55 lbs. Males: 55 lbs.; Females: 48 lbs. average.

Life Span: 10 - 12 years.

Litter Size: 7 - 14 puppies.

Country of Origin: Norway

Activity: Indoors - High. Outdoors - Medium.

Watch-dog: Very high. They are an excellent watchdog with their piercing bark.

Guard-dog: High

Description: The Norwegian Elkhound has the courage, agility and stamina to hold big game at a distance and the endurance to track for hours in all types of weather and terrain. They have been used for centuries to track a moose, dance around it to challenge it, then keep it at bay by barking until the hunter arrives. They have the squarely-built well muscled look of the Nordic-Spitz breeds, with the furry body, tail curled over the back and prick ears. They have an intelligent expression, and wear a black mask with a black saddle on grey or light tan fur. Norwegian Elkhound puppies are born black but turn gray in about a week as their fur develops. They are extremely versatile, and can do many different jobs. Norwegian Elkhounds are straightforward, equable, friendly and gentle characters. They are bold and independent, but are highly intelligent and productive. They enjoy a job or activity, and are friendly to even strangers. They are, however, intolerant of threats to their family. They will be protective and act as watchdog if they need to. Norwegian Elkhounds make a great family pet and home guardian as they are very loyal, courageous and dependable.

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Other Names: Elkhound, Norsk Elghund Grå, Norsk Elghund Sort

Colors: Gray with black tipped hairs. They usually have a black face with black ears, and a black saddle. They are born black and turn grey within a week.

Coat: Norwegian Elkhounds have a double coat. Dense, smooth lying, weather resistant outer coat is coarse and straight and the undercoat is soft and woolly. Unfortunately, shedding is year-round, but Elkhounds have no doggie odor.

Temperament: Norwegian Elkhounds are alert, friendly, dependable, trustworthy, independent, and dominant. They are highly intelligent but are also very stubborn. They are bold, playful, and alert. They can be boisterous when it comes to barking, and also protective. They are friendly towards even strangers, but are still attuned to any threats toward their family. Norwegian Elkhounds are loyal, courageous and a good watchdog.

With Children: Yes, if children do not pester them. They do better with older children.

With Pets: Yes, usually gets along well with other dogs.

Special Skills: Hunting dog for large wild game.

Care and Training: Minimal grooming is required to keep the coat of the Norwegian Elkhound as their coat is both water and dirt resistant. Norwegian Elkhounds should be exercised at least one hour per day which can consist of a run or free play. Early training is necessary especially in the area of barking. It is suggested you begin at about 12 weeks of age. Too much barking should be discouraged. Be firm with the Norwegian Elkhound as they have a mind of their own and are independent. Do not punish them unfairly, however.

Learning Rate: Very High. Obedience - Low. Problem Solving - High. Norwegian Elkhounds are very capable and understanding of what you ask, but would much rather do what they want.

Special Needs: Exercise and grooming.

Living Environment: A house with a fenced yard is essential. The owner of a Norwegian Elkhound must be dominant, as Elkhounds can be a challenge to train. The best owner for this breed would be a firm, active owner living in a rural or suburban setting.

Health Issues: Hot spots, shedding problems, and congenital kidney disease. Susceptible to subcutaneous cysts and tumors. Other health issues include PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), lens luxation, glaucoma, renal problems and hypothyroidism.

History: Norwegian Elkhounds can trace their ancestors back 6000 years to the Viking days where they were used as a watchdog and guarded against wolves and bears. They were probably used back in the Stone Age, and are thought to have changed very little since then in appearance. The Elkhound has been in existence in Scandinavia at least since 5 - 4000 B.C., from which archaeologists have found the bones of Elkhounds dating to that time in their native country. Elkhounds have been used as a hunter of elk, bear, lynx, moose, wolf and other large game. Their name actually comes from a mistranslation of the word "elghund", which literally translates into "moose dog". Although, the breed hunted both moose and elk and the mispronunciation of the name applies no major difference. Norwegian Elkhounds were actually government property when it came to mobilizing them for sledding hitches that would carry military supplies during wartime. All privately owned Elkhounds could be called by the Norwegian Defense Minister, by law, to serve in the wars! During this time, the breed was not selectively bred and simply developed without pedigree or planning. The FCI set out to organize this breed later on, by which they found that natural selection had created three distinctions among the breed: the Black Elkhound, which is the smallest, all black, and the rarest, the Grey Norwegian Elkhound, which is the most common and the middle sized breed, as well as the Jämthund, which was the largest, and used by the people to hunt large game in the Jämtland district of Sweden. In 1877 the breed was first exhibited with the Norwegian Hunters' Association. The British Elkhound Club was formed in 1923, and in 1930 the Norwegian Elkhound was accepted by the American Kennel Club. Today the Grey Norwegian Elkhound enjoys moderate popularity, and the other, rarer subspecies of the Elkhound are almost unknown outside their native countries.

First Registered by the AKC: 1930

AKC Group: Hound Group

Class: Hound

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 5), KC (GB), UKC