Black Norwegian Elkhound

35-45 lbs
Norsk Elghund Sort, Norsk Elghund Black, Black Elkhound, Norwegian Moose Dog

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed that, according to fossil records, may date back to 4000-5000 BC. While it is unknown what the ratio of grey dogs to black dogs was in ancient times, in the late 1800s the breed standard for the Norwegian Elkhound specified only grey dogs. Some breeders preferred the all black dogs anyway, and continued to breed them even though they were not recognized by the major kennel clubs. As such, the Black Norwegian Elkhound was bred with different priorities, creating a smaller, more agile dog with a keener sense of smell and stronger prey drive. These dogs are rarely seen outside of Scandinavia.

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Norwegian Elkhound

Black Norwegian Elkhound Health

Average Size
Male Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats
Height: 18-19 inches Weight: 40-50 lbs
Female Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats
Height: 17-18 inches Weight: 35-45 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
  • Obesity
Minor Concerns
  • Fanconi Syndrome
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Glaucoma
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examination
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Blood and Urine Protein Screens

Black Norwegian Elkhound Breed History

The Norwegian Elkhound is a sturdy medium-sized dog that was developed as a hunting dog to assist in the tracking and hunting of moose and bear in primitive Norway, as far back as 4000-5000 BC. Although these small dogs were specialized for moose, referred to as elg in Norwegian, Elkhounds developed particularly keen senses and were able to effectively stalk and hunt several varieties of game. At some point in the early 1800s lines of solid black dogs began to emerge, often back-crossed with the traditional grey Norwegian Elkhound. In 1877, the Norwegian Hunters Association held it’s first dog show, and in 1901 the first Norwegian Elkhound standard was drawn up, and all but the grey dogs were excluded. While the Black Norwegian Elkhounds were now excluded from the show ring, they were still being developed as hunting dogs, and breeders focused on abilities such as scent tracking. The Black variety continued to fall out of favor as the popularity of the grey dogs rose. The Black Norwegians were close to extinction, but in the mid-1950s several dedicated breeders began their efforts to preserve the breed and a stable population has now been established in Norway. While the Black Norwegian Elkhound is seldom seen outside of Scandinavia, it is growing in popularity in Norway and the surrounding countries. It has been recognized as a separate breed by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and some smaller national breed clubs, but not yet by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

Black Norwegian Elkhound Breed Appearance

The Black Norwegian Elkhound is a lean and muscular canine that is slightly smaller than the grey-colored Norwegian Elkhound, usually between seventeen and nineteen inches at the withers and roughly thirty-five to fifty pounds. They are a squarely built breed with a wedge-shaped head, a straight, somewhat tapered muzzle, a particularly strong, straight back, and a high set tail that curls tightly up over their back. They typically sport dark brown, oval-shaped eyes and upright triangular ears that sit high up on their heads and are often swiveling and turning, listening for sounds. Their legs are straight and strong and they have small, oval-shaped paws with thick pads. Their double layered coat is comprised of a dense woolly undercoat with a longer, courser coat lying flat over it; both layers are a shining black in color, although some Black Norwegian Elkhounds may have some small white markings on the areas of the feet and chest.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Black Norwegian Elkhound eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Black Norwegian Elkhound nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Black Norwegian Elkhound coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Black Norwegian Elkhound straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Black Norwegian Elkhound Breed Maintenance

The coat of the Black Norwegian Elkhound is both dense and abundant but is typically easy to care for. Their coats are resistant to both dirt and water and this dog also has a low odor profile so bathing is only required on an occasional basis. A good combing or brushing every two to four days should be sufficient to keep the coat clean and shining during most of the year, although daily brushing may be required when the dog sheds more heavily at the change of seasons. This dog is particularly prone to obesity, so it is important to monitor the amount and quality of the food they are being offered. 

Brushes for Black Norwegian Elkhound
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Black Norwegian Elkhound requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Black Norwegian Elkhound Temperament

The Black Norwegian Elkhound is an energetic dog who enjoys the outdoors, particularly in colder environments. This dog tends to become very attached to their families and while all interactions between canines and children should be closely supervised, as a breed they are usually quite tolerant of children as well. They can be territorial and tend to be rather loud about it, even more so than the grey version of the Norwegian Elkhound, so they don’t tend to make good roommates in smaller spaces and they are often rather combative with other canines. For some Black Norwegian Elkhounds, you may find that they view a fence more as a suggestion and their strong hunting instincts will often tempt them to exit the yard in pursuit of fast moving objects, so a tall, sturdy fence and supervision may be required if you want to keep your dog from wandering. For the most part, this is an easy breed to train if positive training methods are used, although heavy-handed training may prompt more aggressive behavior from these canines. 

Black Norwegian Elkhound Activity Requirements

This is an active and intelligent working breed of dog, and they demand a job of some sort, much more so than their grey colored cousins, these dogs are also agile, durable, and up for just about anything, particularly in cold weather. As working dogs, they are not only excellent big game dogs, they are also quite capable as hunters of small game, as herding dogs, and even as sled dogs. In the home arena, dog sports that can help keep your bundle of energy occupied can include tracking trials, herding trials, agility training, competitive obedience training, rally sports, and even freestyle canine dance. They are built for the cold rather than the heat, so care should be taken to avoid heat exhaustion in warmer climates.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Black Norwegian Elkhound Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.90 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$25.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Black Norwegian Elkhound Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats at six months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 33.5 lbs
Female Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.5 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
Female Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 37.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.5 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
Female Black Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 18 months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs

Black Norwegian Elkhound Owner Experiences

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