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Norwegian Elkhounds

"All About The Norwegian Elkhound Dog"

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"The Norwegian Elkhound tracks his prey silently
then sounds off like a hound dog, once the prey is cornered."

Alternate Names

Gray Norwegian Elkhound
Norsk Elghund
Small Grey Elk Dog
The Dog of The Vikings


Body: Short, square build with a straight level back, deep chest, well sprung ribs, and short, wide, tucked-up loins.

Coat: Thick, hard, smooth, and weather resistant with a soft wooly undercoat.

Color: Light gray with distinct dark gray marking and black on the muzzle, ears, and tip of tail.

Ears: Small, erect, high set, pointed, mobile, and well insulated.

Eyes: Small, oval-shaped, deep brown color and expressively fearless and friendly.

Feet: Small, and oval with thick pads; toes are tight.

Head: Broad between the ears, wedge-shaped, slightly arched, moderate stop, and tapered muzzle.

Legs: Forelegs straight, moderately long, and well-boned. Hindquarters are muscular with straight, strong legs.

Neck: Well-muscled, medium length, and slightly arched.

48 - 55 pounds
Height: 19.5 - 20.5 inches

Tail: High set and carried upward over the back in a tight curl.

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Recommended for experienced dog handlers
Can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sexual gender
Not recommended with cats
Not recommended for urban living
Sheds year round; heaviest during shedding season (spring and fall)Recommended for experienced dog handlers

The Norwegian Elkhound is intelligent, friendly, bold, robust, and self-confident. He has a high level of endurance and loves and needs vigorous workouts and play time to quell his abundance of energy and ambition. Because of his strong hunting instincts he shouldn't be left to roam about on his own. Keep him on a lead or in a securely fenced in area or he will likely be off on his own hunting excursion ignorant to the perils of traffic and other dangers.

AKC Standard says, "His friendly disposition, intelligence, his staunchness, his absolute dependability and trustworthiness, his eagerness to please, his sensitivity, and his fearless confidence have gained for him everywhere a popularity based even more on his comradely character then on his unsurpassed abilities as a hunting dog."

He is usually friendly with strangers and visitors, can be aggressive with dogs of the same sexual gender, and will likely view cats as prey unless he is raised with them. Training can be difficult due to his independently confident personality. Don't worry, he'll respond to your command - when he's good and ready.

Begin obedience training and socialization when he's young. An experienced dog handler will be best suited for the Norwegian as he can easily lose focus on the task at hand and requires patience and persistence, along with positive reinforcement to correct his behavior. Use lots of praise and provide treats to reward him for a job well done.

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Breed Type

AKC Group: Hound Group (scent hound)

Used to protect livestock from such predators as bear, lion, fox, and wolves, and for his exceptional scenting abilities to hunting large game like elk. He tracks his prey silently but once he has them cornered he keeps them at bay and sounds off, much like a hound dog, until his master arrives for the kill.

He has also been used to pull sleds; paired with an elkhound of the opposite sex to prevent fighting among the males.

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Care and Grooming

Exercise: Lots of vigorous daily exercise for this highly energetic breed.

Grooming: Brush two to three times weekly; daily during shedding season.


Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

Possible Problems:
Hip Dysplasia
Kidney disease
Recommended Certificates: CERF - for the eyes
OFA - for the hips

Elkhounds can withstand extreme cold temperatures but are not fond of hot, humid climates.

Country of Origin


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