Originally from the land of ice and snow, the Norwegian Elkhound got her start herding, hunting, and guarding in the time of Vikings. Sturdy, solid hunters, these dogs are built to run all day through rugged terrain in subzero temperatures. Their stamina and versatility are simply astounding, especially in forested, snowy terrains. Norwegian Elkhounds are dignified, confident, and independent dogs. They make for vigilant guardians and friendly companions.
This ancient breed is originally from Norway, as you might have guessed from the name. These medium-sized dogs can grow to between 48-55 pounds and live an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting, Companion
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 88
FAMILY spitz, Northern (hunting)
AREA OF ORIGIN Norway
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION hunting elk (moose)
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 20.5 Weight: 55
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 19.5 Weight: 48
OTHER NAME elkhound, Norsk elghund
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Shy
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance High tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Norwegian Elkhounds are reliable, bold, and boisterous. They are very playful and can be friendly toward kids and other dogs, but should be supervised in both circumstances. Early, frequent socialization could definitely help. For all their love of the great outdoors, Norwegian Elkhounds want to spend time with their chosen people as much as possible.
WHAT IS NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Given their heritage, it won't surprise you to learn that the Norwegian Elkhound is an active breed. These dogs are athletes who thrive on the physical activity and mental stimulation exercise provides.
Norwegian Elkhounds tend to be protective, which is somewhat unusual for hound breeds: it must be the spitz in her. This dog's deep bark is formidable and should definitely discourage unwelcome visitors. But no matter how fearless, a Norwegian Elkhound is a sensible guardian—yours might be reserved around strangers, but it's unlikely she'll be aggressive if properly socialized.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND?
This sensitive, people-loving breed responds well to training. They're smart and independent-minded though, so be patient and consistent with your puppy. Fun, short training sessions will help keep this smarty-paws engaged. Norwegian Elkhounds respond well to praise, play, and treats. Be sure to discourage pulling and excessive barking early and often.
This breed excels in obedience, agility, and rally.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO NORWEGIAN ELKHOUNDS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Those super-thick coats are great for helping Norwegian Elkhounds thrive in near-Arctic temperatures, but these double coated dogs are hardcore shedders. They don't need much grooming, but their hair will be everywhere. You can help keep the dustpuppies at bay by brushing her frequently, especially during seasonal sheds. They don't smell very doggy, and their hair tends to shed dirt. Bathe as necessary.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO NORWEGIAN ELKHOUNDS HAVE?
This is a robust breed. Some suffer from hip dysplasia, eye ailments, and skin irritations.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE NORWEGIAN ELKHOUNDS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Norwegian Elkhounds among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large and furry as a Norwegian Elkhound! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND'S BEST DAY?
This dog's best day definitely involves jumping through snowbanks with you. Put on your thermal underwear, pack a warm thermos, and bring snacks — you and your Norwegian Elkhound could be sledding or snowshoeing until the sun goes down.
SHOULD I ADOPT A NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND?
Your Norwegian Elkhound will thrive in an environment that provides plenty of exercise and lots of time with her beloved people. As you'd expect in a dog bred to hunt moose near the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian Elkhound thrives in cold weather and wilts in the heat. They shouldn't be shaved either. Miami beach bunnies: this is not your dog. The Norwegian Elkhound needs space to spread out and stretch her legs, and she can't handle tropical temperatures. But active winter sports-types who enjoy dashing through the snow? This dog will see you on the bunny trail.
Have you decided that a Norwegian Elkhound is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.