The elkhound is a type of northern dog that has existed in Scandinavia since the Stone Age. They are known for their ability to hunt bear and moose, herding and as sled dogs. There are three types of elkhounds recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale, the registry of predominately European breeds. These types are the Black Elkhound of Norway, the Grey Norwegian Elkhound, and the Jamthund of Sweden. The breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the Kennel Club of Great Britain, and the Canadian Kennel Club is the Grey Norwegian Elkhound.
The Norwegian Elkhound is bold and energetic. He is normally friendly with great dignity but is also an effective guardian.
The skull of the Norwegian Elkhound is broad at the ears and then wedge shaped to the nose. The forehead and back of the skull are slightly domed. The ears are set high, firm and erect. They are taller than wide at the base with pointed tips. The eyes are very dark, oval and medium in size. The drop off between skull and muzzle (stop) is not large but is clearly defined. The bridge of the nose is straight. It is parallel to and about the same length as the skull. The lips fit tightly closed and the bite is scissors. The neck is of medium length and muscular. The body is short, causing the dog to look square in profile. The topline is straight and strong. The chest is deep and moderately broad. The legs are of medium length and substantial without being too heavily boned. The feet are small and slightly oval. The tail is set high, tightly curled and carried over the centerline of the back.
The coat is a double coat with a soft, dense woolly undercoat and a thick, hard, weather resistant, smooth lying outercoat. The undercoat is a light silver as is the outercoat on the legs, stomach, buttocks, and underside of the tail. The outercoat, other than previously specified is gray, medium preferred. The gray body color is darkest on the saddle and lighter on the chest, mane and distinctive harness mark which is a band of longer guard hairs from shoulder to elbow. The muzzle, ears and tip of the tail are black.
Average height is twenty inches. Average weight is between forty-five and fifty pounds.
My best friend.
“I grew up with Elkhounds in my family, and will always have an Elkhound in my family. This is my favorite breed of dog, by far. Elkhounds are usually very expressive dogs, very vivacious. They are dynamic in their emotional and physical lives. The bark is piercing, and may need to be curtailed a bit, but remember that the bark is used to communicate something to you as well (I think my Elkhound has about fifteen distinct types of bark). Elkhounds are intelligent problem-solvers. They like to figure things out. Be sure there are toys available in the house. Be sure to include yourself in your Elkhound’s play. These dogs are not ball chasers; they like to chase and be chased. They need to be involved in their family’s daily routine and social life. Exercise is of utmost importance ­p; my Elkhound helps keep me going! Watch food intake ­p; both amount and type of food. Elkhounds are prone to obesity if they aren’t getting the exercise they need and a proper diet. My current Elkhound buddy thrives on a homemade diet (found in a holistic animal health care book) that’s supplemented with a quality kibble. Elkhounds are also very sensitive souls. Give them lots of love and discipline them only when needed. With enough exercise, a warm house, a lot of pets and love, daily brushing, good food, and a cozy spot on the bed, an Elkhound is a divine, furry companion. Wah-woo, woof!”
Best dog one could ever own.
“I own a four-year-old female Norwegian Elkhound. She is the best dog I have ever owned; most loyal and best trained dog. Fast learner and at four years I can still teach her a new trick. She is a protective dog with my three children, which she sees as hers. One flaw: unless you raise them with another dog or cat as a puppy they are a one-dog show. Cleanest dog I know; needs a bath once a year but needs frequent brushings. Worst part is they tend to shed severly at springtime, but after a few brushes the coat is shiny and clean. I highly recommend them as a companion and family dog!”
Elkhounds are awesome!
“I now am the proud owner of two Norwegian Elkhounds. And let me tell you, you could never find a better family addition! I have a ten-year-old and a four-month-old, and they are the best dogs ever. They have more love and sweetness than any other breed I have ever owned. I feel like I hit the lottery when I get home and they happily greet me at the door. They are great around children, other dogs, and are very easy to train. The shedding is a challenge, but well worth the trouble. These loyal, loving and beautiful dogs bring so much joy to my family. Everywhere we go they get so many compliments on their beauty. And they love the attention! I would highly recommend this breed to everyone.”
Intelligent, sturdy, loyal and handsome.
“We have 2 Elkhounds. One we acquired as a puppy and the other was adopted at age 4. The breed has many positive qualities. They are sturdy enough to enjoy a good tussle, but not so large that my coffee table is in danger. My two are quite intelligent, both readily sit, stay, down, shake, and eat upon command. Now, by eat, I mean I can put their food in front of them and they will wait patiently until told to go to it, which they do with gusto. One, whom we had as a puppy, also pee’s on command – quite a handy trait when going on trips. The other shows off the breed’s endurance – he is a wonderdog in the woods, charging up steep trails and bounding over logs. He will stop and wait every 100 yards, so I trust him off leash, which I think is rare for this breed. While handsome is in the eye of the beholder, I am regularly stopped while on walks and the conversation generally follows this pattern: “Hey what kind of dog is that, a Husky?” “No, it’s a Norwegian Elkhound.” “Huh…. Good-lookin’ dog.” “Thanks.” These dogs are good around kids, around other dogs, and around the house. They love attention and are eager to please. They need regular exercise or they’ll get chunky. While any dog will stink if they roll enough mud and manure, these don’t have an inherent stink, like Terriers or Beagles. The Elkhound doesn’t have many drawbacks, but the prospective owner should consider the following. These dogs need exercise and attention, or they will get fat and mischievous. Barking can be a problem if not firmly discouraged as a puppy – case in point, one of our dogs rarely barks without good reason, The other barks at any stray cat, person, or shadow. Be prepared for hair – either brush or vacuum regularly, probably both. Overall we are very happy with our boys and recommend the breed without hestitation.”
Under all that hair…
“Under all that hair lies truly an incredible dog! A Norwegian Elkhound is a kind, stubborn, energetic, and of all things very intellegent friend to have around. These dogs normally have incredible problem-solving skills – they can figure out how doors, crate latches, refigerator ice dispensers, and most of all how people work. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation, plenty of grooming during the heavy shedding seasons and a very firm hand in training sice they will take advantage of you whenever they can manage – a strict pack order must be established with these dogs. Elkhounds respond very well to attention – they love to be spoken to and often learn what you are saying – I have an Elkhound who knows all of his vegetables by name! Elkhounds are by all means not for everyone, but if you want an active, playful, intellegent, fun-to-have-around kind of dog, and you don’t mind vacuming up scathes of blown coat every other day – then consider an Elkhound!”
“We recently acquired a 4 year old Norwegian Elkhound. He is a fantastic dog. I had heard that there could be problems with barking, however, our dog rarely barks (except at cats and German Sheperds). He is very friendly and outgoing. He absolutely loves children. He needs lots of exercise and seems to have unending stamina for running and walking (we take him for at least 2 hours per day, but he would gladly go for longer!) . We are currently in the process of completing some obedience classes. He is quite stubborn, but does want to please. Hard correction does not work well-praise and lots of petting seem to be the best motivators. He throves outdoors and our dog shows very little interest in being indoors. In the spring and fall, he does blow out his fur and the result, is a lot of large clumps of fur lying around. When wet, he does not have a “doggy” smell.”
Great family dog!
“I was hesitant about getting a 4 month old Elkhound from the local humane society last summer for our family, but he has turned out to be a wonderful family addition. Loves the kids (teenagers), loves the cats, loves to be outside, loves attention, and loves to dig holes in the yard! He is happy to play in his large fenced area during the day while we’re all at school or at work. He’s content to lay beside us in the evenings while we read or do homework as long as he gets his walk in the nearby woods (he has lots of energy!). I had heard that barking was a problem with this breed but he rarely barks unless a stranger comes on the property. Very friendly with all our guests and is perfectly behaved inside the house. Was very easily housebroken and seems very sensitive to criticism (very rarely given!) Did not do well in obedience training with 25 other dogs but will sit, stay, come when called, and heel when at home and at the park (where we always get lots of comments about how beautiful he is!) . He has just been wonderful! The only drawback……the fluff balls. If you are an immaculate housekeeper this is NOT your housepet!! The constant shedding of silvery fluff drives me crazy and I’m not the world’s most finicky housecleaner. Other than this, I would definitely recommend this breed IF you have the time for daily walks, don’t mind fluff balls (big ones) or never wearing black clothes again, and are willing to spend some time in basic training. A very loving, sensitive, loyal, energetic, and smart dog!”
The best breed I’ve owned.
“I have owned many breeds of dogs: Dalmations, Dobermans, Rotts, Poodles, Beagles, I could go on forever!! Many of these breeds I owned more than once. I would definately have to say that the Elkhound is my absolute favorite of them all. My Elkhounds were and are always trusted around my children (even when the dogs were bigger than the kids.) They are loyal, happy dogs that want nothing more in this world than a hand on their heads. They are a bit stubborn, but with good consistant training (which every dog needs) they can be loyal and well-mannered. Grooming can be a problem because they shed quite a bit, but a quick brush several times a day can turn them into wonderful housedogs. My Elkhounds were very easy to house train also, and I personally beleive they are one of the smartest breeds. For anyone lookin into this breed I highly recommend the Elkhound after you do your research, of coarse!”
Hairy, handsome but definitely your best friend.
“I have 14 year old and 2 year old Elkhound. One has never been a problem – apart from an adventure with a deer. He is very quiet and loves to sunbathe. He is now a little blind and deaf (although we’re not convinced that he is deaf all the time!) and a bit stiff in the joints. The other one is the total opposite, he is very boisterous, does bark quite a lot but is getting better. I love the breed and as said previously, I often get stopped out on walks by people who want to admire them. They shed their coats continuously sometimes more than others but it’s very theraputic pulling out clumps of fur after a busy day at work! Elkhounds are demanding but worth the effort. They are very intelligent but need a firm hand. I have to be careful when letting them run in the field not because they are agressive but because they tend to go on adventures, fully appreciating the trouble they will be in when they return. You can see them weighing up the situation just before they give you a backwards glance as their white tail disappears into the distance. They do return but only when they are ready! They also smell like biscuits – or is it just me? In the U.K. Elkhounds are quite rare so it gives you a thrill to see another one in the flesh.”