(aka: Norsk Elghund, Elkhound)
The Norwegian Elkhound is medium in size, and has an athletic and sturdy build. He is a handsome dog that carries himself with dignity. His expression is keen and alert, and his erect ears add to his alert appearance. The coat of the Norwegian Elkhound is dense, straight, and coarse, with a softer undercoat. The outer coat is weather resistant, and the coloring is gray and silver, with black tips. The weight of the Norwegian Elkhound is around 35-50 pounds for females and 50-60 pounds for males. These dogs stand at around 19-21 inches in height.
Norwegian Elkhound Temperment
The Norwegian Elkhound is a gentle and friendly dog, and is also very versatile, displaying great courage and determination. This is a dog that puts one hundred percent into everything that he does, and is confident and dignified. He can be very independent and strong willed, and is therefore best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership. The Norwegian Elkhound has high energy levels, and needs plenty of exercise. Regular walks or a safe, secured area in which to play and exercise are important. Although these dogs are intelligent and quick to learn, they are also very headstrong, and need an assertive and confident owner in order to respond well to training. The Norwegian Elkhound makes a good watchdog, as he will bark to raise the alarm - in fact, he will often bark a lot anyway, and is not well suited to those looking for a quiet pet.
The Norwegian Elkhound loves the attention of his family and likes to get involved in activities, so this is not the breed for those with little time for their pets. These dogs need families that are active, attentive, and loving. In order to reduce the risk of boredom, both mental and physical stimulation is required. The Norwegian Elkhound tends to get along well with children, particularly when brought up with them. They can be dog aggressive with dogs of the same sex, and should also be socialized early with cats. When it comes to strangers, some Norwegian Elkhounds can be friendly, and others may be more reserved. The Norwegian Elkhound is a protective and loyal dog, and makes a good family pet for the right family.
In terms of grooming the Norwegian Elkhound is a pretty low maintenance dog, and his coat needs to be brushed twice weekly under normal circumstances. However, during heavier shedding you will need to brush on a daily basis. These dogs are high shedders, and shed to some degree all year round. They are therefore not the best choice for allergy sufferers.
The Norwegian Elkhound was originally a Viking dog and is believed to have existed since about 5000 BC. It has been used throughout history for a variety of purposes from hunting moose and big game through to herding and guarding. It is believed that the original dogs of the breed were skeletally very similar to the current breed and it is considered to be one of the oldest breeds of domestic dogs.
The Norwegian Elkhound hunts by scent and can actually smell game several miles away. They use their piercing and rather high pitched bark to alert the hunters, then scent track the game until they find it. The Norwegian Elkhound has been known to track for days at a time, barking to keep the hunter's aware of its position. They traditionally hunted in small packs, surrounding the moose or game animal and then barking to alert hunters that they had the game at bay. Despite what the name suggestions, the Norwegian Elkhound was originally used to hunt moose, which, in Norwegian, is pronounced "elg". The Norwegian Elkhound has also be used to hunt bear, badger, caribou, reindeer and rabbits.
The Norwegian Elkhound in more recent times has been used as a watch dog, guard dog and sled dog. In its homeland of Norway there is still a law that allows the Minister of Defense to draft all of the breed located in the country in times of war should they be needed for transportation purposes.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a relatively independent dog that needs early training and socialization to be friendly and well-behaved dogs. They do not respond well to negative types of training and are reported to actually remember any negative treatment or unfair or harsh punishment. They will bond very strongly with a family that treats them well and will work hard to protect and interact with the family.
As an independent breed a Norwegian Elkhound is not recommended for owners that want a dog that will immediately respond to all commands. The Norwegian Elkhound typically will respond to commands but tends to respond after considering the situation rather than upon the immediate command. This is likely due to their breeding which encouraged dogs to think and problem solve when they were chasing or holding game until the hunters arrived.
The Norwegian Elkhound requires high levels of socialization when they are young to prevent any possible dog aggression or wariness of strangers. They are a watch and guard dog breed and were bred to bark to alert people and need to be taught to only bark for short periods of time. When bored or alone for long periods they can become problem barkers very quickly.
A Norwegian Elkhound will need to be exercised before training sessions to ensure that the dog can focus. A good hour of exercise is usually sufficient to allow them to attend to what you need. Obedience training is ideal as it helps owners establish their command in positive and controlled settings as well as providing excellent socialization opportunities for the young dog. A very intelligent dog they are quick to learn with the owner expects of them and will need little prompting to learn a new trick or command. They should not be taught through highly repetitive training as they will become bored and non-responsive.
Since the breed can have a high prey instinct socializing with other animals, especially cats in the house, is critical at a young age. Norwegian Elkhounds that have not been socialized with other animals should never be left alone with the animals, even if things seem to be going well.
The life expectancy of the Norwegian Elkhound is around 10-15 years. There are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed, and this includes: cataracts, thyroid problems, PRA, HD, cysts, cancer, and kidney problems. The parents of the Norwegian Elkhound puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.