Norwegian Elkhound

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Norsk Elghund
Country/Date of origin:
  • Norway
  • 11th century
  • 19-1/2 to 20-1/2 inches
  • 48 to 55 pounds
  • Naturally protective, and friendly to strangers.
  • Very intelligent, although notoriously hardheaded and stubborn.
  • Tends to be a one-person or one-family dog.
  • This is not a frivolous, fun-loving dog.  Elkhounds have a very serious outlook on life.
  • Bark is high pitched and piercing.

This is the dog of the Vikings.  It has existed almost unchanged since the Stone Age.  The Norwegian Elkhound is a specialist hunter of the largest member of the deer family—the moose.  A member of the spitz group of dogs, they are versatile animals, hunting, guarding, and even pulling sleds.  The Elkhound’s powers of scent are legendary.  They can detect a moose from five or six miles and will whimper to alert the accompanying hunter.  Also of mythic proportions is its endurance in subfreezing weather.  In 1913, the first Norwegian Elkhounds were registered in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Stud Book.

Body Type:
  • Looks like a stocky, medium-sized sled dog.
  • Erect ears are not altered.
  • Tail is carried tightly curled over the back and is not altered.
  • The flat, double coat is extremely dense.
  • Permissible colors are any shade of gray with black-tipped outer hairs.
  • Muzzle, tail tip, and ears are black.
  • Requires extensive brushing.
  • Sheds excessively.
Health Concerns:
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Renal dysplasia.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Pyoderma.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Fanconi’s syndrome.
  • Skin tumors.
  • Keratoacanthoma.
What you should know:
  • The Elk in the name of this breed refers to what Americans call a moose.  The animal we call elk (wapiti) is not native to Norway.
  • Puppies are born black and turn gray in about a week.
  • Do not choose a puppy older than a few weeks that has so many black-tipped outer hairs that it appears to be black rather than gray.
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