Averaging 48 to 55 pounds and having originated from Norway, the Norwegian Elkhound is a medium sized dog that has performed numerous jobs over the years to include: guarding farms, herding and protecting flocks, and hunting big game. The breed is built to handle rough terrain and cold climates, with a thick coat to protect him from the elements. The Norwegian Elkhound is active, requiring daily exercise (around 20 to 30 minutes twice daily) that will challenge him both mentally and physically. Dogs of the breed tend to be independent thinkers and extroverts who like to be in the thick of the action. His excellent agility helps him avoid possible attack from that which he is hunting and his ability to work in the cold for extended periods of time makes him a great sled dog. A devoted dog, the Norwegian Elkhound will be very protective of his family and prefer to be with them all of the time. While the breed is not aggressive by nature, his bark will help provide safety from possible intruders.
Having accompanied the Vikings, the role of the Norwegian Elkhound was originally to hunt big game like moose and elk. Over time, the breed’s ancestors have taken on many other roles to include guardian, defender and herder. Its name comes from its moose hunting ability; “moose” in Norwegian is “elg”. While the dogs have been seen in Norway for centuries, it was in 1877 that they began to be displayed in dog shows and the breed standard became established. The Norwegian Hunters Association’s first show was that year and owners of the breed starting keeping better records of the pedigree of their dog. A breed standard was written and a stud book published. The Norwegian Elkhound was recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1923 and gained recognition from the American Kennel Club around 1930. With the ability to work in cold climates for long periods of time, the Norwegian Elkhound makes a great sled dog and his agility allows him to avoid attack. The breed is so useful that the Norwegian Defense Minister can draft all elkhounds, despite their being privately owned, during wartime. While the Norwegian Elkhound is popular as a pet, it is still a working dog in its native Scandinavia.
A strong, medium-sized dog that averages from 48 to 55 pounds, the Norwegian Elkhound is square in shape with a tail that curls over its back and that typically has a black tip. His thick double coat, which keeps him warm in the coldest of temperatures, is water and dirt resistant; with a top coat that is short and smooth, standing away from his body and a dense, soft undercoat. Medium gray in color, dogs of this breed have a lighter silver undercoat. Dogs of this breed are not speedy but possess the strength and endurance to hunt for hours without getting tired. The ears of the Norwegian Elkhound are triangular in shape with good mobility, usually with black tips.
With the exception of a few times a year, the Norwegian Elkhound does not shed significantly. His coat is easy to maintain, requiring it be brushed weekly; during shedding periods more brushing might be necessary. A rubber brush or metal tooth comb are recommended to remove the dead hair that is stuck to the newly grown hair. Considered a clean breed when it comes to his coat, he is not particularly smelly and should only be bathed (with a high quality shampoo) when absolutely necessary. The nails of the Norwegian Elkhound should be trimmed as needed and his teeth brushed regularly to promote dental health. Norwegian Elkhounds require strenuous exercise for at least an hour every day. Dogs of the breed will be happy to run alongside your bike or take long hikes. While dogs of the breed can live outside even in cold weather, they prefer to be indoors with their family. As this breed is very active, having access to a fenced-in yard in helpful.