Norwegian Elkhound

48-50 lbs
Norsk Elghund, Grahund, Grey Elkhound

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.

purpose Purpose
hunting large game, herding, guarding
history Date of Origin
500 BC
ancestry Ancestry
northern spitz

Norwegian Elkhound Health

Sketch of Norwegian Elkhound
Average Size
Male Norwegian Elkhound size stats
Height: 19-21 inches Weight: 48-55 lbs
Female Norwegian Elkhound size stats
Height: 19-21 inches Weight: 48-50 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Sebaceous Adenitis
  • Pyotraumatic Dermatitis
  • Hypothyroidism
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Norwegian Elkhound Breed History

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.

Norwegian Elkhound Breed Appearance

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.

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

Norwegian Elkhound Breed Maintenance

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.

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

Norwegian Elkhound Temperament

The Norwegian Elkhound is intelligent, independent and brave, displaying the characteristics of both hounds and Spitz-like dogs. Dogs of the breed are playful and love being outside, particularly when the weather is cold. The Norwegian Elkhound will welcome its family with enthusiasm, while being appropriately wary of strangers, making him a successful guard dog. Tending to be a dominant breed, the Norwegian Elkhound may fight with dogs of the same sex, particularly if they are not familiar to them. As a result of their independent nature, firm, consistent training is required though unquestioning obedience should not be expected. When a dog of the breed feels that he has been unfairly punished, he will show his disgruntlement and in some circumstances hold a grudge. Good natured and friendly, dogs of the breed bark a lot to communicate, as well as if someone is coming toward your home.

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

Norwegian Elkhound Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Norwegian Elkhound Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Norwegian Elkhound at six months
Male Norwegian Elkhound size stats at six months
Height: 7.0 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
Female Norwegian Elkhound size stats at six months
Height: 7.0 inches Weight: 15.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Norwegian Elkhound at 12 months
Male Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
Female Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 27.5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Norwegian Elkhound at 18 months
Male Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
Female Norwegian Elkhound size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs

Top Norwegian Elkhound Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Norwegian Elkhound breeders of 2023.
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder Elkhound Hill
Elkhound Hill
Waterfall, Pennsylvania
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder Silverbares
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder Jandal Norwegian Elkhounds and German Shorthaired Pointers
Jandal Norwegian Elkhounds and German Shorthaired Pointers
Winters, Texas
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder RiverWind Norwegian Elkhounds
RiverWind Norwegian Elkhounds
Sanger, Texas
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder Laurel Fork Farm
Laurel Fork Farm
Bowden, West Virginia
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder Magnolia Ridge Elkhounds
Magnolia Ridge Elkhounds
Starkville, Mississippi
Top Norwegian Elkhound breeder Castlebar Elkhounds
Castlebar Elkhounds
Oneonta, New York

Norwegian Elkhound Owner Experiences

3 Years
I have walked one Norwegian Elkhound. When I first met him, he did bark, but right away warmed up to me. He seemed to have a lot of energy and was nonstop during his walk. After my initial walk with him, he seems like he is an independent and stubborn dog. He wanted to do his own thing and wasn’t the best at listening. He did seem on high alert the entire time and pulled on the leash his entire walk. He is triggered by smaller animals, such as squirrels and is more on the high energy side. With that being said, he is very sweet and at home was more cuddly. If all Norwegian Elkhounds are similar to him, I believe they are most suitable for someone who is going to take their time and train them while giving them the proper exercise needed for their energy level.
5 years, 9 months ago
6 Months
5 People
House & Yard
beginning scentwork
playing in water
He's fantastic. Very stable temperament, very confident, and very smart. He has his independence, and honestly my experience so far has just been that if you have a good bond, it goes a long way. If I am fair, spend lots of time playing and petting, he is much more willing to work with me. His impulse control has already become significantly better after some work, and he is starting to understand loose leash walking. Overall, he does very well just going everywhere with me. He is very friendly toward people, doesn't mind dogs, and is already fine with the car and being transported. He shows very strong natural instincts, and I know that a solid and reliable recall will be our biggest challenge. I think I will always have an elkhound.
4 years, 1 month ago
3 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Anything in the snow and driving
Weiry at first I Rescued him
2 years, 6 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
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