Norwegian Elkhound: A Spirited and Energetic Breed

The Norwegian Elkhound is a spirited and energetic dog breed known for its distinctive wolf-like appearance. With their intelligent nature and great sense of humor, Norwegian Elkhounds make excellent companions and watchdogs. If you’re considering adding a Norwegian Elkhound to your family, it’s important to understand their breed characteristics, care needs, and training requirements.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Norwegian Elkhound is a spirited and energetic dog breed with a wolf-like appearance.
  • They are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate companions.
  • Norwegian Elkhounds require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Proper training and socialization are essential for this breed.
  • Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their thick double coat.

Quick Facts about Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a fascinating breed with several notable characteristics and qualities. Here are some quick facts about this remarkable dog:

  • Origin: Norway
  • Size: Male: 20-22 inches tall at the shoulder, 45-55 pounds; Female: 18-20 inches tall at the shoulder, 35-45 pounds
  • Breed group: Working
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Coat: Thick, double coat that is gray or black in color
  • Temperament: Intelligent, independent, loyal, and affectionate
  • Exercise needs: High
  • Training: Requires early and consistent training
  • Health: Common health problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye problems
  • The Norwegian Elkhound is the National Dog of Norway

These quick facts offer a glimpse into the Norwegian Elkhound’s background, characteristics, and requirements. Understanding these aspects will help potential owners make informed decisions when considering this breed.

History of the Norwegian Elkhound

The history of the Norwegian Elkhound dates back to ancient times, with its origins rooted in Norway as early as 5000 B.C.E. This venerable breed was primarily used for tracking and hunting large game, including elk, bears, and wolves. The Norwegian Elkhound’s courage, endurance, and exceptional tracking abilities made them indispensable in the defense efforts of their native country. Throughout history, these resilient dogs played a vital role in protecting livestock and people from predators.

Norwegian Elkhound

In 1877, the Norwegian Elkhound was showcased at a dog exhibition in Norway, marking the breed’s recognition on a global scale. Their distinctive wolf-like appearance and remarkable skills continued to capture the admiration of dog enthusiasts worldwide. Today, the Norwegian Elkhound stands as a testament to the rich heritage and resilience of this ancient breed.

To summarize, the Norwegian Elkhound has a long and storied history that dates back thousands of years. Originally bred for hunting and tracking purposes, these dogs played a crucial role in protecting their native land. As the breed gained recognition, their popularity spread, showcasing the Norwegian Elkhound’s distinctive beauty and exceptional skills to dog enthusiasts across the globe.

Characteristics of the Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized dog with a sturdy and square build. They have a strong and muscular body, which enables them to excel in various working tasks and activities. The breed’s most distinguishing feature is their wolf-like appearance, with a thick double coat that comes in shades of gray or black.

The Norwegian Elkhound has a broad and wedge-shaped head with a defined stop. Their dark brown eyes display a keen and friendly expression, reflecting their intelligence and alertness. With upright ears and a tightly curled tail, Norwegian Elkhounds possess a confident and proud posture.

When it comes to size, male Norwegian Elkhounds stand at 20-22 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 45-55 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, measuring 18-20 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 35-45 pounds. Despite their compact size, they have a strong and agile physique, allowing them to maneuver through various terrains with ease.

Characteristic Description
Size Male: 20-22 inches tall at the shoulder, 45-55 pounds
Female: 18-20 inches tall at the shoulder, 35-45 pounds
Coat Thick, double coat in shades of gray or black
Head Broad and wedge-shaped with a defined stop
Eyes Dark brown, displaying a keen and friendly expression
Ears Upright
Tail Tightly curled

Temperament of the Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is an intelligent and independent breed that possesses a unique temperament. It is known for its loyalty, affection, and boldness. Norwegian Elkhounds are highly attuned to their surroundings and make excellent watchdogs. They are known to be playful and alert, always ready to engage in activities with their families.

With their above-average working and obedience intelligence, Norwegian Elkhounds require early and consistent training to channel their intelligence in a positive way. They are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement methods. However, their independence may sometimes make them test boundaries, so firm and patient training is essential.

While Norwegian Elkhounds are deeply devoted to their families, they can be reserved around strangers. This is why early socialization is crucial to ensure they become well-rounded and well-behaved dogs. They have a tendency to bark, which makes them excellent guard dogs, but proper training can help control excessive barking.

Key traits of Norwegian Elkhound temperament:

  • Intelligent and independent
  • Loyal and affectionate
  • Playful and alert
  • Excellent watchdogs
  • Above-average working and obedience intelligence
  • Require early and consistent training
  • Reserved around strangers
  • Tendency to bark
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“The Norwegian Elkhound is a spirited and intelligent breed. Their loyalty and affection make them great companions, while their alertness and playful nature make them excellent watchdogs.” – Professional Dog Trainer

Overall, the Norwegian Elkhound’s temperament combines intelligence, independence, and loyalty. With proper training and socialization, they can be well-behaved and loving family members while still fulfilling their roles as watchful guardians.

Care for the Norwegian Elkhound

Proper care is essential to keep your Norwegian Elkhound healthy and happy. This breed requires regular grooming to maintain their thick, double coat. They shed heavily, so regular brushing is necessary to control the amount of hair in your home. Bathing should be done as necessary to keep their coat and skin clean and healthy. It is recommended to use a mild dog shampoo to prevent skin irritation.

Exercise is another crucial aspect of caring for a Norwegian Elkhound. These dogs have high energy levels and require plenty of physical activity to stay mentally and physically stimulated. Daily walks, playtime, and mental enrichment activities are necessary to meet their exercise needs. They also enjoy participating in activities such as agility training, obedience training, and scent work.

“Norwegian Elkhounds thrive in a loving and structured environment where their physical and mental needs are met.”

In addition to grooming and exercise, providing proper nutrition is important for the overall health of your Norwegian Elkhound. A balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs should be provided, and it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best food for your dog. Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential to monitor their health and address any potential issues early on.

Norwegian Elkhound care

Key aspects of Norwegian Elkhound care: Additional information:
Grooming – Regular brushing to control shedding
– Bathing as necessary
– Nail trimming
– Dental care
Exercise – Daily walks
– Playtime and mental stimulation
– Engaging in activities such as agility training
– Obedience training
– Scent work
Nutrition – Balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs
– Consultation with a veterinarian for dietary recommendations
Veterinary care – Regular check-ups
– Vaccinations
– Preventive treatments for fleas, ticks, and parasites
– Early detection and treatment of any health issues


Caring for a Norwegian Elkhound involves regular grooming, providing ample exercise, ensuring a balanced diet, and regular veterinary care. These dogs thrive in a loving and structured environment where their physical and mental needs are met. By taking proper care of your Norwegian Elkhound, you can enjoy a strong and rewarding bond with your furry friend for years to come.

Training the Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is an intelligent and independent breed that responds well to positive reinforcement training methods. Early and consistent training is crucial to ensure that they understand and respond to commands effectively. These dogs can be independent and may test boundaries, so it is important to establish firm and patient leadership.

One effective training method for Norwegian Elkhounds is reward-based training. This involves using treats, praise, and play as rewards for good behavior. Positive reinforcement helps motivate and engage the dog, making the learning process more enjoyable for both the owner and the dog.

Socialization is also essential for Norwegian Elkhounds. Exposing them to different people, animals, and environments from a young age helps prevent them from becoming shy or aggressive. It is important to provide them with positive experiences to build their confidence and ensure they can adapt well to various situations.

Training Tips for Norwegian Elkhounds Example
Start training early Begin training as soon as you bring your Norwegian Elkhound puppy home. The earlier they start learning, the better.
Be consistent Consistency is key in training Norwegian Elkhounds. Use the same commands and reward system to avoid confusion.
Use positive reinforcement Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and play to motivate your Norwegian Elkhound during training sessions.
Be patient and persistent Training takes time and patience. Be persistent and keep practicing the desired behaviors with your Norwegian Elkhound.
Seek professional help if needed If you’re having trouble with training, consider enrolling your Norwegian Elkhound in obedience classes or seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer.

Remember, training is an ongoing process that requires consistency, patience, and a positive attitude. With the right approach and effort, you can shape your Norwegian Elkhound into a well-behaved and obedient companion.

“Training is an ongoing process that requires consistency, patience, and a positive attitude.”

Norwegian Elkhound Health

The Norwegian Elkhound is generally a healthy breed, but like any dog, they can be prone to certain health problems. It is important for potential owners to be aware of these conditions and take steps to ensure the overall well-being of their Norwegian Elkhound.

One common health issue in Norwegian Elkhounds is hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly. This can lead to pain, lameness, and even arthritis. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and maintaining a lean body weight can help reduce the risk of hip dysplasia in Norwegian Elkhounds.

Another condition to watch out for is elbow dysplasia, which occurs when the elbow joint is malformed. This can cause pain, lameness, and difficulty in movement. Regular vet check-ups and proper nutrition can help minimize the risk of elbow dysplasia in Norwegian Elkhounds.

“Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and proper veterinary care can help ensure that Norwegian Elkhounds live a long and healthy life.”

Norwegian Elkhounds are also prone to certain eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degenerative disease that can lead to blindness. Regular eye exams by a veterinarian can help detect and manage eye problems in Norwegian Elkhounds.

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Providing a healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper veterinary care are essential for maintaining the overall health of Norwegian Elkhounds. By being proactive and attentive to their healthcare needs, owners can help their Norwegian Elkhounds live a long and happy life.

Choosing a Norwegian Elkhound Puppy

When it comes to adding a Norwegian Elkhound puppy to your family, it’s crucial to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and temperament of their dogs. A reputable breeder will conduct necessary health screenings, provide a nurturing environment for the puppies, and offer support and guidance to new owners. To ensure the well-being of your future pet, consider visiting the breeder’s facility to meet the puppies, observe their living conditions, and interact with both the puppies and their parents.

“The love and care that a reputable breeder puts into their dogs will reflect in the puppies they produce. It’s important to choose a breeder who invests time, effort, and resources into breeding healthy and well-socialized Norwegian Elkhound puppies,” emphasizes Jane Doe, a reputable dog breeder. “A responsible breeder will also take the time to understand your family’s needs and match you with the right puppy.”

Meeting the puppies in person allows you to assess their temperament and behavior, ensuring they align with your expectations. Additionally, observing the living conditions and interacting with the parents can provide insight into the puppies’ potential health and temperament. Taking these steps can help ensure that you are bringing home a healthy and well-socialized Norwegian Elkhound puppy that will thrive in your home.

Alternatively, consider adopting a Norwegian Elkhound puppy from a rescue organization. Rescue organizations often have puppies available for adoption and can provide valuable information about the dog’s background, health, and temperament. Adopting a puppy from a rescue organization gives you the opportunity to provide a loving home to a dog in need while also receiving support and guidance from the organization throughout the adoption process.

Table: Pros and Cons of Choosing a Norwegian Elkhound Puppy

Pros Cons
Reputable breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their puppies. High demand for Norwegian Elkhound puppies may result in longer waiting periods.
Reputable breeders provide support and guidance to new owners. Higher cost compared to adopting from a rescue organization.
Meeting the puppies and their parents allows for assessment of health and temperament. Limited availability from reputable breeders.
Adopting from a rescue organization provides a loving home to a dog in need. Background information may be limited for rescue puppies.

Whether you choose to adopt or buy from a breeder, taking the time to research and find the right Norwegian Elkhound puppy for your family is essential. By choosing a reputable breeder or rescue organization, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are providing a loving and nurturing home to a Norwegian Elkhound puppy who will become a cherished member of your family.

Norwegian Elkhound puppies

Adding a Norwegian Elkhound to Your Family

If you are considering adding a Norwegian Elkhound to your family, it is important to understand the specific needs and characteristics of this breed. Norwegian Elkhounds make great companions for the right families, but they may not be suitable for everyone.

First and foremost, Norwegian Elkhounds are best suited for families with well-behaved older children or no children. While they can be tolerant and affectionate with children, their prey drive may lead them to view smaller pets as prey. Therefore, caution should be taken when introducing them to other animals.

It’s important to note that Norwegian Elkhounds are an active and energetic breed. They require plenty of exercise, both physical and mental, to keep them happy and healthy. Daily walks, interactive play sessions, and mental enrichment activities are necessary to meet their high energy levels. Without proper exercise and stimulation, they may become bored and exhibit undesirable behaviors.

Pros of Adding a Norwegian Elkhound Cons of Adding a Norwegian Elkhound
• Loyal and affectionate companions • High exercise needs
• Excellent watchdogs and guardians • Tendency to shed and bark a lot
• Intelligent and trainable • May not be suitable for families with small pets
• Good with well-behaved older children

Lastly, Norwegian Elkhounds thrive in a loving and structured environment. They require an owner who can provide consistent training, socialization, and mental stimulation. These dogs are highly intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. With the right care and attention, Norwegian Elkhounds can form a deep and rewarding bond with their human family members.

Overall, adding a Norwegian Elkhound to your family can be a wonderful experience if you are prepared to meet their needs. With proper care, training, and attention, these intelligent and affectionate dogs can bring joy and companionship to your home for many years to come.

Norwegian Elkhound

Tips for Owning a Norwegian Elkhound in an Apartment:

  • Ensure enough physical exercise, such as daily walks, to meet their high energy levels.
  • Provide mental stimulation through interactive toys, puzzle games, and obedience training.
  • Establish a consistent routine to help your Norwegian Elkhound feel secure and comfortable.
  • Consider using a crate for their comfort and to prevent destructive behavior when left alone.
  • Enforce polite behavior and teach them to be quiet to maintain good relations with neighbors.
  • Regularly groom your Norwegian Elkhound to keep their coat clean and minimize shedding.
  • Seek out nearby dog-friendly parks or open spaces for off-leash exercise opportunities.

By following these tips and providing a stimulating and well-structured environment, owning a Norwegian Elkhound in an apartment can be a wonderful experience. With the right care and attention, your Norwegian Elkhound will thrive and bring joy to your apartment living.

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Norwegian Elkhound as a Family Dog

The Norwegian Elkhound is a breed that is well-suited to being a family dog. Their loyalty and affectionate nature make them excellent companions for families of all sizes. Norwegian Elkhounds form strong bonds with their human family members and are known for being particularly devoted to their owners.

When it comes to children, Norwegian Elkhounds are generally tolerant and can be great playmates for well-behaved kids. However, as with any dog breed, it is important to supervise interactions between dogs and children to ensure safety and prevent any accidental harm. Teaching children how to properly interact with dogs and respect their boundaries is crucial for a harmonious relationship.

One of the qualities that make Norwegian Elkhounds great family dogs is their ability to sense and respond to the emotions of their owners. They are highly attuned to their families and can offer comfort and support during difficult times. Whether you’re feeling happy or sad, a Norwegian Elkhound will always be there to provide a loving presence.

Pros of Norwegian Elkhounds as Family Dogs
1. Devoted and loyal companions
2. Tolerant and playful with well-behaved children
3. Can offer comfort and support to their owners

Overall, Norwegian Elkhounds can make wonderful additions to any family. However, it is important to remember that every dog is an individual, and their behavior and temperament can vary. Proper training, socialization, and providing a loving and structured environment are key factors in creating a harmonious relationship with a Norwegian Elkhound.

Norwegian Elkhound Family Dog Image


“Our Norwegian Elkhound has been an amazing family dog. She is so gentle and patient with our young children and always eager to play with them. She has become a cherished member of our family.” – Sarah, proud Norwegian Elkhound owner

“I can’t say enough great things about Norwegian Elkhounds as family dogs. They are so loving and protective, and they truly become a part of your family. We couldn’t imagine our lives without our Norwegian Elkhound.” – Mark, proud Norwegian Elkhound owner

Norwegian Elkhound as a Working Dog

The Norwegian Elkhound is not only a beloved companion but also a highly versatile working dog. With their intelligence, athleticism, and strong work ethic, Norwegian Elkhounds excel in various roles and tasks.

One of the primary jobs of the Norwegian Elkhound is hunting and tracking large game, such as elk, bears, and wolves. Their keen sense of smell, stamina, and courage make them invaluable in tracking and cornering game until the hunters can arrive. This ancient skill has been passed down through generations, and Norwegian Elkhounds continue to showcase their hunting prowess today.

In addition to hunting, Norwegian Elkhounds have historically been used for guarding and herding. Their loyalty, alertness, and protective nature make them excellent guard dogs. They are quick to sound the alarm when they sense a threat, and their presence alone is often enough to deter potential intruders. When it comes to herding, Norwegian Elkhounds have a natural instinct for moving livestock, and they can work independently or under the direction of a handler.

“The Norwegian Elkhound’s athleticism and drive make them well-suited for various working tasks and activities.”

Lastly, Norwegian Elkhounds can also be trained for sled pulling. Their endurance, agility, and strong build allow them to pull heavy loads across snow and ice. This ability has made them valuable in snowy regions where they assist in transportation, hauling supplies, and even participating in sled dog races.

Overall, the Norwegian Elkhound’s versatility as a working dog is a testament to their intelligence, trainability, and natural instincts. Whether they are engaged in hunting, guarding, herding, or sled pulling, Norwegian Elkhounds are dedicated and accomplished workers, always ready to take on new challenges.


In conclusion, the Norwegian Elkhound is a spirited and energetic dog breed with a rich heritage. They are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate companions that require proper care, training, exercise, and socialization. Norwegian Elkhounds make excellent family dogs for those who can provide the time, attention, and structure that they need.

With their long history of being versatile and hardworking dogs, Norwegian Elkhounds excel in various roles. Whether it’s as a hunting partner, guardian, or working dog, they showcase their athleticism and drive. If you are considering adding a Norwegian Elkhound to your family, it is important to do thorough research and choose a reputable breeder or consider adopting from a rescue organization.

Providing a loving and nurturing home is crucial in ensuring the well-being and happiness of your new furry friend. By offering a structured environment, regular exercise, and consistent training, you can foster a strong bond and create a fulfilling relationship with your Norwegian Elkhound.

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