Norwegian Elkhound

The Elkhound is one of the oldest known domesticated canines, and skeletons of a very similar breed of dog, which have been excavated in Norway, are over 6,000 years old. Originally, the Elkhound, with its acute senses, was an all-purpose farm guard dog, which was also used for hunting Elk.


The Elkhound can scent an Elk up to three miles away. It possesses an extraordinary stamina and will pursue its prey over incredible distances on the worst possible terrain. This dog has also hunted bears and wolves successfully. Today, with hunting under strict control, the Elkhound has become a popular pet and show dog.

The Elkhound is one of the oldest breeds. Note the characteristic curled tail carried over the back.


The Norwegian Elkhound should be trained and socialized from a puppy with kindness and patience. Elkhounds are hunters by nature and they can be boisterous, but they are also faithful and affectionate. Generally good with children, they should be kept away from babies and toddlers in case of accidents. When a dog wishes to sleep, it should always be left in peace. Indifferent to weather conditions, it loves to be outside in the snow.

must know

Some PRA and hip dysplasia are present in this breed. Only buy an Elkhound from breeders who have had the appropriate veterinary tests carried out.


The Elkhound is of medium size – dogs are 52cm (20.5in) in height and weight 23kg (51lb) whereas bitches are 49cm (19.5in) and 20kg (44lb). A Spitz breed, it is easily recognized by the pricked ears facing forward, the distinctive tail curled over the back and the grey, thick, cold-proof coat.

Strangers 3/5

Friendly until proved otherwise

Temperament 4/5

Friendly, playful

Exercise 5/5

Plenty including walks and free running

Grooming 1/5

Only once a week

Other dogs 3/5

Relaxed unless challenged


Easy personality with a streak of individuality

General care

The Elkhound is not a fussy eater and, being a hunting breed, it should be kept in a fit, athletic condition, so even in a domestic environment it will need plenty of exercise every day. In fact, it is almost impossible to exhaust an Elkhound. The coat must be deep combed and brushed once or twice a week; not to do so causes tangles and mats which are an ideal breeding ground for parasites and can be acutely uncomfortable for the dog. These dogs moult twice a year, and during this time daily grooming will be required.

Gallery of Norwegian Elkhound