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Adopt a Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


Spitz, Northern (hunting)

Area of origin:


Original function:

hunting elk (moose)

Average size of male:

Ht: 20.5, Wt: 55

Average size of female:

Ht: 19.5, Wt: 48

Other names:

Elkhound, Norsk Elghund

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Norwegian Elkhound Dog Temperament

The Norwegian Elkhound combines traits of hounds and Spitz-like dogs, resulting in a breed that is bold, playful, independent, alert, boisterous and, unlike most hounds, even protective. This is a dog ready for adventure! He needs daily exercise, lest he become frustrated or even destructive. He is friendly with strangers. He may bark a lot.

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Care

The Elkhound was developed to hunt all day under grueling conditions. He needs daily exertion in order to feel satisfied. This can be in the form of a good jog, very long walk or invigorating play session. He is happiest living with his family. His double coat needs brushing twice a week and daily during main shedding season when he sheds a lot.

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Health

Major concerns: CHD
Minor concerns: pyotraumatic dermatitis, PRA
Occasionally seen: Fanconi syndrome
Suggested tests: hip, eye
Life span: 10-12 years

Interested in the history of the Norwegian Elkhound dog breed?

The Elkhound is an unusual hound because his roots lie in the Spitz breeds, which he still closely resembles. This breed's placement in the hound group reflects his hunting ability because he hunts like a hound. Still, the Elkhound is a breed of many skills. He has served humans as a hunter, guardian, herder and defender at least since the time of the Vikings. In a land of subzero temperatures, deep snow, thick forests and rugged mountains, only the hardiest of breeds could evolve to perform the variety of jobs at which the Elkhound excels. Of all his roles, hunting elk (actually, moose) is this breed's forte. Two hunting-style Elkhounds are used: The Bandhund is attached by a long line to the hunter while trailing the elk, while the Loshund runs ahead trailing until he is within striking range. His goal is to hold the elk at bay, and will hunt quietly if the animal begins to run away. If the elk stops, the dog begins barking furiously to alert the hunter. Nimbly jumping in and out toward the elk, he deftly avoids the swinging antlers. Either way, the Elkhound's job is not to kill the elk, but to locate it and hold it at bay for the hunter. Although the breed had been carefully bred for centuries, only since the late 1800s were pedigrees kept and breeding according to standard performed. The breed has been exhibited in Scandinavian dog shows since that time and was brought to England and America shortly thereafter. The AKC recognized the breed around 1930, and it has enjoyed moderate popularity since then. In Scandinavia, the Elkhound is still tested by grueling elk hunts that may entail an entire day of trailing.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Norwegian Elkhound Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Norwegian Elkhounds ready for adoption:

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