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Norwegian Elkhound

Country/Date of Origin: Norway/11th Century

This is the dog of the Vikings. It has existed almost unchanged since the Stone Age. The Norwegian Elkhound is a specialist hunter of the largest member of the deer family, the moose. A member of the spitz group of dogs, they are versatile animals, hunting, guarding and even pulling sleds. The Elkhound's powers of scent are legendary. They can detect a moose from five or six miles and will whimper to alert the accompanying hunter. Also of mythic proportions is its endurance in subfreezing weather. In 1913, the first Norwegian Elkhounds were registered in the American Kennel Club Stud Book.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Norsk Elghund

AKC Group: Hound

Breed Club: Norwegian Elkhound Association of America

Rescue Club: Where To Adopt a Norwegian Elkhound

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Body Type:

  • Looks like a stocky medium sized sled dog
  • Height: 19-21 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 44-50 pounds
  • Erect ear is not altered
  • Tail is carried tightly curled over the back and is not altered


  • Naturally protective and friendly to strangers
  • Very intelligent although notoriously hardheaded and stubborn
  • Tends to be a one person or one family dog
  • This is not a frivolous, fun loving dog. Elkhounds have a very serious outlook on life
  • Bark is high pitched and piercing


  • The flat double coat is extremely dense
  • Permissible colors are any shade of gray with black-tipped outer hairs.
  • Muzzle, tail tip and ears are black
  • Requires extensive brushing
  • Sheds excessively

Health Concerns:

  • Hot spots may develop in hot weather as in other profusely coated dogs
  • Skin cysts and small benign skin tumors are prevalent
  • Eye problems including progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and lens luxation
  • Genetic kidney disease
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • The Elk in the name of this breed refers to what Americans call a moose. The animal we call elk (wapiti) is not native to Norway
  • Puppies are born black and turn gray in about a week. Do not choose a puppy older than a few weeks that has so many black-tipped outer hairs that it appears to be black rather than gray

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