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BaxterBoo Blog
May 21, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Norwegian Elkhound

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  • Height: 18"- 21”
  • Weight: 40-60 pounds
  • Historical function: Moose, bear, and wolf hunting. Also guard dog.
  • Modern function: Companion, agility
  • AKC classification: Hound

Physical Characteristics:

The Norwegian Elkhound is a sturdy Spitz-type dog with a square build, a double thick coat, pricked ears, and a tightly curled plumed tail that is carried high over the back. The legs are straight and parallel. The coat color is light grey with black tips, giving a silvery appearance. Puppies are born black and lighten within a week.

History of the Breed:

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed originating in Scandinavia and documented as far back as the Stone Age (4,000-5,000 years ago) by skeletal remains. They later became companions to the Vikings and functioned as watchdogs and hunting companions. They have also been valuable as sled dogs.


The Norwegian Elkhound is a lively, bold, intelligent, outgoing, athletic dog that requires a lot of exercise. They can be a bit independent and headstrong, but this breed is friendly and trustworthy with children. As hunters, this dog should not be trusted with non-canine pets. This dog is not known for being great at obedience training, so firm, calm leadership is required to gain this dog's respect and loyalty.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to give this dog a job.
  • Preferred living conditions:  This is a dog ready for adventure and is happiest if that adventure takes place outdoors in cold weather.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat requires minimal brushing. Do not bathe often to retain water-resistant qualities. Sheds heavily seasonally.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia, eye problems and obesity.

Breed Club Links: Norwegian Elkhound Association of America Perfect Pairings: Zoom Groom Natural Rubber Dog Grooming Brush

Have any stories about a Norwegian Elkhound? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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