Norwegian Elkhound

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Norwegian Elkhound

With dense silver-gray coat, deep chest, sturdy legs, and muscular thighs, the Norwegian Elkhound is the picture of an alert and steadfast dog of the north. Agility and herding trials are good outlets for their natural athleticism and eagerness. Strong and confident, this breed is intelligent watchdogs and truly sensitive souls of people.

Other Names Norsk Elghund Gra, Standard Gray Variety: Gray Norwegian
Color Black & Gray, Black & Silver, Black White & Silver, Gray & Black, Gray Black & Silver, Silver & Black, Silver Gray & Black
Height Males: 18-21 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Weight Males: 50-55 pounds. Females: 44-48 pounds.
Life Span 12-15 years
Personality Friendly, Confident, Dependable
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #93
Groom Needs Weekly Brushing
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog Yes
Family Dog
Litter Size 5-10 pups

Norwegian Elkhound Pictures

Norwegian Elkhound Video


The Norwegian Elkhound is a hardy fellow built to make a living from hunting; their deep chest, well-muscled outlines, and strong and powerful legs all point to that singular fact. Nowadays, the Elkhound has found domestic services at home, especially as keen watchdogs and delightful companions. A modern Elkhound is a reliable dog package in smooth and thick double coats, the undercoat being woolly and, straightened out over it is, the topcoat. They usually come in a silver-grey color, often with saddle markings. With erect ears and a broad head, an Elkhound differs slightly from most typical hounds that have dropping ears.

A typical Norwegian Elkhound is a robust, compact dog weighing close to 60 pounds (males) or 50 pounds (females). While a full-grown male measures up to 19-21 inches from shoulder to paw, a similar female stands shorter at a shoulder height of 18-20 inches. The Elkhound is filed under the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club. They make jolly good dogs with the durability of health. They live 11-15 years on the average.

Living with Norwegian Elkhound

With double coat, most of the year Norwegian Elkhound doesn’t shed too much, but two or three times a year he “blows coat” and sheds like crazy. During shedding season they will have “tumbleweeds” of silver undercoat rolling around their house. The outer coat will shed as well, but not to the degree that the undercoat will. 

Weekly brushing and a five-minute “back-brushing” (brushing in the opposite direction to which the coat lies) every day will help you keep the fur storm under control. Begin accustoming your Elkhound to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy to make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards. And you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.

He generally doesn’t smell too doggish and requires baths only when absolutely necessary. A bath with a high-quality dog shampoo two or three times a year for the family pet is perfect and helps the dead coat to fall out and new, healthy hair to grow in.

Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. You should ask a vet or groomer for pointers, because dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. 

His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. 

Brush your Elkhound’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. And daily brushing can help more to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

The Norwegian Elkhound requires daily exercise 30 minutes twice a day not only to burn off energy but also to help him maintain a healthy weight. More exercise means a happier Elkhound.

They shouldn’t be expected to live outdoors full-time due to their strong desire to be near people. Time outdoors with family is some of the Norwegian Elkhound’s favorite. 

This hardy working breed is built for hiking, running, swimming, and playing. The breed is also prone to weight gain, and exercise can help prevent obesity.

They are known to wander, especially if a critter crosses their path, so fenced areas, leashes, and a solid recall are important for the Elkhound. He does all right in apartments, but he is a barker, so take that into consideration. A home with a fenced yard is more suitable.

They are independent and lovers of the woods and their freedom. So when exercising their Norwegian Elkhounds, owners should resist the temptation to allow them to roam the neighborhood or the park off lead. Most Norwegian Elkhounds love swimming and many enjoy agility as well as herding trials.

Elkhound puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. So you shouldn’t allow jumping up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs, which can increase pressure on their joints and spines at an early age and lead to serious problems later in their lives.

Norwegian Elkhounds are food-motivated and prone to overeating. The breed responds well to treats during training sessions. The amount of dog food given to the dog should vary with age, size, activity level and metabolism.

Norwegian Elkhounds do not tend to guard their food, but children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.

When you feed Norwegian Elkhound puppies, you should follow the feeding schedule and stick to the same routine. You can change a puppy’s diet very gradually always to make sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets.

It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements.

Watch out the dog’s calories consumption and weight to prevent him from obesity and to keep them in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day, instead of leaving food out all the time. 

Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

Elkhounds are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they sometime also get into certain health conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, obesity, hypothyroidism, sebaceous cysts, Fanconi syndrome and eye concerns. Not all dogs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

Most owners losing their dogs due to cancer or heart issues, so Negligible incidences of PRA have been found but can be traced to foreign dogs. Hip dysplasiaoccurs, but by and large, dogs that are checked usually get a “good” or “fair” evaluation from OFA, with many rating “excellent.” There have been some bouts of renal (kidney) issues, but this seems to have been put out of the breed’s current state of health.

Responsible breeders will screen their stock for health conditions regularly by some common health tests, such as hip dysplasia and ocular examination.

Total Annual Cost: $2889

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Being highly intelligent, the Elkhound learns very quickly and this breed does not tend to be a star performer in the obedience ring.

Their independent nature makes training a little difficult but they can be inspired by their hunting traits. Help the Elkhound burn off excess energy through agility, flyball, advanced tricks, and other activities.

Obedience training isn’t the Norwegian Elkhound’s favorite, but dog sports and task-related training will keep him happy.

Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to prevent your Elkhound from accidents in the house or get into things he shouldn’t. Crate training at a young age will help your Elkhound accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized. But never stick your Elkhound in a crate all day long because they are people dogs, and they aren’t meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.

Early training with positive reinforcement techniques and plenty of high-impact treats will help the Elkhound learn basic obedience, so you should keep training fun and interesting. And it is necessary to be a very firm and consistent pack leader with this breed to ensure they know who’s boss.

The Norwegian Elkhound has fantastic tracking skills: he performs well in tracking competitions and can be trained for search and rescue.


The Norwegian Elkhound is believed to have originated some thousand years ago (5000 B.C), dating back to the era of the Viking. Some reports included that at the fall of the Viking, an Elkhound was found with the shield and sword lying beside it, a testament to its importance to the group. The Norwegian Elkhound is a fascinating breed with a history bathed in myth and legends. A ridiculous story is one that portrays that the Elkhound was named king in the land of Throndhjem, around the 1100s. There are isolated representations and artifacts from old Norway that depicted the Elkhound, one of which is the skeleton of an Elkhound found in the Viste Cave, in western Norway some millennia ago.

They were popular for hunting elks or moose, boar, and other wild animals, due to their developed scenting and tracking abilities. Elkhounds were of two broad types — the bandhund and the loshund — both of which can be used simultaneously in a hunting outing. The bandhund tags by a line behind the hunter, scenting the quarry, while the loshund goes before them in search of the prey, baying when it stops and barking furiously when it finds it. However, they are prized mainly for their keen scenting ability, and not for the hunting proper, which they weren’t involved with. 

The Norwegian Elkhound domiciled the cold and Arctic climates of the north, the mountainous ranges, and rain forests, unbeknownst to much of the dog-loving community, till the 1800s when the pedigrees for the breed were kept. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930.

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