Norwegian Elkhound or Elkhound - Origin, Character and Behavior

Norwegian Elkhound or Elkhound: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Want to get to know one of the dogs that...

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Want to meet one of the dogs that accompanied the famous Vikings? You are very lucky because we are going to tell you about the Norwegian Elkhound, a dog with character and amazing qualities. These ancient dogs are affectionate, loyal, but also courageous and excellent hunters. Thanks to his sense of smell, his endurance, his tenacity and his beautiful appearance, he is a hit with dog lovers! In this PlaneteAnimal breed sheet, we talk to you in detail about these magnificent dogs and we tell you everything you need to know about them!

Happy reading!


  • Europe
  • Norway

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group V

Physical Characteristics

  • Rustic
  • Muscular
  • Proportional


  • Average


  • 45-55

Adult Weight

  • 10-25

Life expectancy

  • 10-12

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Strong
  • Society
  • Very loyal
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Affectionate

Ideal for

  • Children
  • House
  • The hunt
  • The guard
  • Sports

Recommended climate

  • Cold

Hair type

  • Medium
  • Long
  • Smooth
  • Hard
  • Big

Origin of the Norwegian Elkhound or Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a dog belonging to the category of Nordic Spitz. It is traditionally considered a hunting dog. It is common in the Norwegian mountains, where it probably originated.These dogs are also called elkhound and they are probably the descendants of the ancient bog dog, i.e. the first dogs that lived with the peoples of Europe in prehistoric times.

According to the archaeological remains found at the sites, where the remains of Viking ships and settlements have been found, and where the skeletons of dogs almost identical to those of dogs have also been found modern elk, it is assumed that they were dogs that accompanied the Vikings on their many journeys.

Traditionally, elkhounds were employed, as can easily be inferred from their name, as hunting dogs. This is no coincidence, as these dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, as well as great stamina in hunting prey, most commonly elk and Norwegian mountain bears.

Characteristics of the Norwegian Elkhound

These dogs are considered a medium to large breed and the males measure between 45 and 55 centimeters at the withers for a weight that varies from 23 to 27 kilograms.The females, on the other hand, are slightly smaller and measure 45 to 50 cm for a weight that oscillates between 18 and 25 kg.

Its body is square in shape, very strong and sturdy. Its tail is of high insertion, rolled up on the back and covered with a dense and long hair. Its head is wedge-shaped, tapering as it approaches the black nose and its stop is not abrupt. Its eyes are usually dark brown in color and not too large or prominent. Its ears, erect and high insertions, as well as the tail, are pointed and elongated.

The coat of the Norwegian Elkhound has two layers, a relatively long, dense, smooth and rough outer coat and a very soft, dense and woolly undercoat. This two-layer structure allows a great capacity of insulation against the cold which prevails in the regions of origin of this dog. Gray scale is the accepted standard and they normally have a lighter tone on the belly, chest and legs, and they have black dots on the surface of the coat which determine the degree of light or dark grey.The front part of the muzzle and the ears form a kind of dark mask.

Norwegian Elkhound Character

The Norwegian Elkhound is a very attentive dog with a very active and alert nature, characteristics that make him an excellent watchdog who will warn you of the approach of anything he considers to be being a hazard. This is also the reason why they are rather wary and reluctant in the face of foreigners. They are usually not really aggressive.

On the other hand, the Norwegian Elkhound is a very affectionate and sociable dog, especially with humans. It is a dog that is ideal for children, as it is particularly patient and attentive with them, taking care of them and ensuring that nothing happens to them. They are therefore excellent nursing dogs.

Another character trait of the Norwegian Elkhound is that it is a very independent dog.As you will have understood, it is a dog that needs space to move around and you must therefore give it space. He is also a very playful and active dog who needs exercise to stay calm.

Finally, it should be noted that these dogs have a huge fondness for sweets, which makes it easier to train them with treats.

Caring for a Norwegian Elkhound

As we said before, the Norwegian Elkhound needs a lot of activity to be in top shape. This dog really has a lot of energy and he will need daily exercise or he will be nervous and may exhibit disruptive or abnormal behavior. A minimum of one hour of high intensity exercise per day is recommended. In addition to unbalancing them, physical inactivity can cause them to become obese.

As for the maintenance of the coat, it needs a minimum of 2 to 3 brushings per week to be in good condition. They should be washed only when they are really dirty because their skin is delicate and they can suffer from various skin diseases.

" As they are very greedy dogs, in addition to making them play sports, it will absolutely be necessary to provide them with a quality diet which is mainly composed of meat and fish. When feeding this dog, you should choose quality kibble that is made from natural ingredients suitable for human consumption. To establish a homemade diet, we recommend that you consult this article: BARF diet for dogs."

If you have adopted an elkhound puppy instead of an adult dog and it is also the first dog you live with, you need to get a basket, lots of toys (especially chew toys ) and bowls.

Norwegian Elkhound Training

The elkhound dog is a dog with a strong personality, therefore, to obtain good results in training, it is recommended to train it from an early age and to be very consistent.Otherwise, they will be reluctant and it will be impossible to teach them anything.

As we've said before, this breed has a huge fondness for sweets, so treats are a great way to inspire them to learn. We can also take advantage of their good sense of smell and exercise them with sniffing and tracking games, which will stimulate them physically and mentally.

To obtain good results when training the Elkhound, it is recommended to give him physical exercise before the sessions, to reward him and to use training techniques based on positive reinforcement and respect. The use of punishment, shouting or violence will not produce positive results for anyone; on the contrary, it will lead to the development of fear, insecurity and anxiety in the dog. It is therefore advisable to reinforce good behavior and encourage the dog at all times to continue learning with words of encouragement and petting.A properly stimulated and motivated dog will not only learn faster, but will also be happier.

Finally, in order to achieve the desired results, it is essential to be consistent and patient. Some breeds are able to internalize certain commands or cohabitation habits despite less strict training, but with this dog it is necessary to work with the techniques mentioned above every day. However, you should never exceed 15 minutes per session, because if the time is too long, the animal ends up getting bored or stressed.

Elkhound He alth

The Norwegian Elkhound can boast robust and solid he alth, devoid of serious congenital or hereditary diseases. They only seem to be somewhat prone to skin diseases such as dermatitis or fungal infections.

Regular visits to the vet are recommended to keep our dogs in good general he alth.During these visits, in addition to vaccinations and internal and external deworming, diagnostic tests should be carried out to determine their state of he alth and detect the appearance or presence of diseases as early as possible.

If we provide them with all the care they need and if we submit them to regular checks, the Elkhounds can accompany you for a period that varies from 12 to 15 years.

Pictures of Norwegian Elkhound or Elkhound

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