The Norwegian Elkhound is among the breeds of hunting dogs that belongs to the ancient Northern Spitz type. It has originated centuries ago in western Norway, and is widely known for its ability to hunt and track moose as well as bear or wolf. Apart from being a hunter, it is also famous as a herder, guardian, and defender. Their name came from the Norwegian words Norsk Elghund, which is the literal translation of what they are called today. As mentioned, they are an ancient dog breed that has developed for over 6,000 years. Originally, they helped Vikings and Scandinavians in hunting big game. Today, they are used as pets and home companions.
Thousands of years ago, Norwegian Elkhounds were used as companions and watchdogs by the Vikings. They were taken to the sea with them during their voyages. Hounds of the same dog breed were also used by the Lapp natives to herd their reindeers. In the following years, the hound had been used for hunting dogs. Because of their keen scenting ability, they were used to locate game, such as moose, bears, and wolves. They would bark to alert their owners of their game’s whereabouts.
Positive training is necessary when it comes to this dog breed. They are naturally intelligent and alert, but can be mischievous and sensitive too. If your approach is the other way around, the training might backfire. Experts say that it is best to introduce respect training so your hunting dog will develop the right kind of attitude towards you. Teach them specific words in specific methods so they’d learn how to acknowledge them in the most respectful way.
The Norwegian Elkhound stands about 20.5 inches and weighs to about 52lbs. It has a white, gray, and black coat that is made of two layers. The first layer is a dense smooth coat that is silvery gray on its underbody, legs, and tails and black at the ears, muzzle, and tip of the tail. The second layer is a protective guard coat that keeps them warm during the cold season. Among the distinctive features of this hunting dog include its medium build and curled tail.
Because they are bred for hunting big preys, Norwegian Elkhounds are strong and hardy. Despite their physique, they develop a certain kind of bond with their owners. They also have a loud bark, making them ideal as watchdogs. The dog breed is loyal to their packs, and can make a suitable family dog when trained properly. It is playful, alert, intelligent, but can be mischievous and boisterous at times. In Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, Norwegian Elkhounds rank 36th and is above average in terms of obedience and working intelligence.
More often than not, Norwegian Elkhounds can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy or cysts renal problems, thyroid problems, and hip dysplasia. However, when given the right attention and healthcare, they can achieve a healthy life with little problems. Their lifespan is 12 to 16 years. Because of their health tendencies, they should be taken regularly to a veterinarian for check-ups. It is also vital to understand the supplements needed to keep him up and running at all times. More so, Norwegian Elkhounds are prone to fast weight gain, so they should not be overfed. Work with your veterinarian for more information about this.