Norwegian Elkhound

Dog Breed Profile
Norwegian Elkhound

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• High energy level
• Medium exercise needs
• Very playful
• Moderately Affectionate
• Shy towards other dogs
• Shy around other pets
• Friendly around strangers
• Easy to train
• Great watchdogs
• Very protective
• Moderate grooming requirements
• Low tolerance to heat
• High tolerance to cold


The Norwegian Elkhound is a dog breed that is suited for endurance and agility as opposed to speed, traits which make it highly valuable for many hours of trailing game. Ideally suited for colder climates due to his thick overcoat and wooly undercoat, this dog thrives on lots of exercise and he has a very bold and energetic temperament.

He is especially fond of spending time with his family and won’t be happy if left alone outside. He’s great with children, but it’s a good idea to introduce him to them when he’s young. He’s playful and intelligent, and is a good guardian and protective member of the family.

This is one dog that truly loves the colder climates and he’ll be thrilled to play outdoors in the snow.

  • Best suited to being a part of the family as opposed to living outdoors, even though they can handle the cold temperature
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for include hip dysplasia and eye issues
  • Grooming needs include twice a week brushing and daily brushing during shedding.
  • The Norwegian Elkhound is a friendly, loving animal that can be easily trained
  • Has a great relationship with family members, young and old, and are very protective but do make great watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 55lbs and 20.5 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 48lbs and 19.5 inches tall

Care & Health:

Due to the Norwegian Elkhound’s genetic makeup, this dog requires daily exercise or he may become frustrated and destructive. Because he has a high level of endurance, his walks need to be long, and he’ll also enjoy a jog or energetic playtime. While he is capable of living in the outdoors in cold weather, he is much happier in the house with his family.

Brush the Norwegian Elkhound at least twice a week, and when he’s shedding you’ll need to brush him every day.

Major Health Concerns:

–CHD (Canine Hip Displasia)

Minor Health Concerns:

–pyotraumatic dermatitis, PRA(Progressive Retinal Atrophy), and occasionally Fanconi syndrome

Test for:

–hips and eyes

Life Span:

– 10 to 12 years

Breed History:

The Norwegian Elkhound carries many qualities that are not seen in other hounds. Throughout history, and dating back to the time of the Vikings, he has worked as a defender, hunter, guardian and herder. His job has never been to kill his prey, but to trail it and alert his hunter to its location, keeping it at bay until the hunter can finish the hunt.

This breed has been around since ancient times, and bred just as long, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that pedigrees were carefully preserved and breeding was done to comply with standards for the breed. At this point the dogs were regulars in dog shows in Scandinavia, leading to their importing into England and then to America.

The AKC recognized the Norwegian Elkhound in the 1930s, and people have been moderately interested in breeding and showing these dogs as well keeping them as pets. This elkhound is still used in Scandinavia for day long elk-trailing hunts.

  • Family history is spitz, Northern (hunting)
  • Originally from Norway
  • Originally from the ancient times
  • Original purpose was hunting elk (moose)
  • Today they are used for companion
  • Also known as elkhound, Norskelghund