The Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a hardy and versatile breed that has been a beloved companion and hunting dog in Norway for centuries.

Known for their striking silver-gray coat, pointy ears, and bushy tail, these dogs are visually impressive and possess a keen sense of smell and incredible stamina. Despite their hunting heritage, Norwegian Elkhounds also make excellent family pets due to their loyalty, intelligence, and playful nature.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the Norwegian Elkhound’s history, characteristics, and care to help you decide if this breed is the right fit for you.


The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed that has existed for over a thousand years. The breed’s exact origins are uncertain, but it is believed that they descended from dogs brought to Norway by Viking raiders from Russia and Finland.

Originally, Norwegian Elkhounds were bred to hunt big game, including elk, bear, and wolves. They were prized for their incredible stamina, sharp senses, and fearless nature, making them ideal for hunting in the harsh Norwegian terrain.

The breed’s popularity continued to grow in the 19th century when Norwegian Elkhounds were introduced to England and later to the United States. In 1913, the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America was formed, and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917.

Despite their hunting heritage, Norwegian Elkhounds have also been used as sled, rescue, and guard dogs. Their versatility and adaptability have made them a popular breed not only in their native Norway but also around the world.

Today, Norwegian Elkhounds remain a beloved breed, prized for their loyalty, intelligence, and striking appearance. They continue to be used as hunting and working dogs but also make excellent family pets due to their affectionate nature and playful demeanor.


The Norwegian Elkhound is known for its loyalty, intelligence, and independence. They are confident dogs that are fearless and self-assured, which makes them an excellent choice for families and individuals who lead an active lifestyle.

Norwegian Elkhounds are intelligent and quick to learn, which makes them relatively easy to train. However, their independent nature can sometimes make them stubborn and difficult to motivate. They respond well to positive reinforcement and enjoy a challenge, so it’s essential to keep training sessions engaging and varied.

This breed is incredibly loyal and protective of their families, which can make them excellent watchdogs. They bark to alert their owners to any potential danger, but they are not aggressive dogs unless they feel their family is threatened.

Norwegian Elkhounds are also very social and love spending time with their families. They are playful and affectionate, and their energetic nature makes them excellent playmates for children. However, due to their hunting heritage, they have a strong prey drive, which can make them unsuitable for homes with smaller pets.

Norwegian Elkhounds make excellent companions for active individuals and families willing to provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need. They thrive on attention and affection and repay their owners’ love with loyalty and devotion.


The Norwegian Elkhound is a hardy breed that requires moderate grooming and exercise. Here are some things to consider when caring for a Norwegian Elkhound:


Norwegian Elkhounds have a thick, double coat that sheds heavily twice a year. Regular brushing is necessary to keep their coat healthy and shiny and to minimize shedding. Bathing should be kept to a minimum to avoid drying out their skin and stripping natural oils.


Norwegian Elkhounds are energetic dogs that require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. Long walks, hikes, or jogs are great ways to provide the physical and mental stimulation they need. They also enjoy playing games like fetch and tug-of-war.


Norwegian Elkhounds are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training. It’s important to start training early and to keep training sessions engaging and varied to prevent boredom.


Norwegian Elkhounds are social dogs that enjoy spending time with their families. Proper socialization is necessary to ensure they get along well with other dogs and people.


Norwegian Elkhounds should be fed high-quality dog food appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. It’s important not to overfeed them, as they are prone to weight gain.

Health: Like all breeds, Norwegian Elkhounds are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin allergies. Regular veterinary check-ups are necessary to catch any potential health problems early.

Norwegian Elkhounds are relatively low-maintenance dogs that require moderate grooming and exercise. With proper care and attention, they make loyal and affectionate companions that bring joy to any household.

Health & Welbeing

Norwegian Elkhounds are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 12-15 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues that potential owners should be aware of.

  1. Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that affects the hip joints, causing pain and difficulty walking. Norwegian Elkhounds are prone to this condition, and it is important to have them screened for hip dysplasia before breeding.
  2. Eye problems: Norwegian Elkhounds are also prone to certain eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Regular eye exams are necessary to catch any potential problems early.
  3. Skin allergies: Norwegian Elkhounds can be prone to skin allergies, which can cause itching, redness, and hair loss. Various factors, including food, pollen, and parasites, can cause these allergies. Keeping their coat clean and well-groomed can help prevent skin allergies.
  4. Ear infections: Norwegian Elkhounds have floppy ears that can trap moisture and bacteria, leading to ear infections. It’s important to keep their ears clean and dry to prevent infections.
  5. Hypothyroidism: Norwegian Elkhounds are prone to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. This can cause weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. It is treatable with medication.
  6. Cancer: Like all breeds, Norwegian Elkhounds are susceptible to cancer. The most common types of cancer in Norwegian Elkhounds are lymphoma and osteosarcoma.

Norwegian Elkhounds are relatively healthy dogs with a few health issues to watch out for. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care can help catch and treat potential problems early, ensuring your furry friend’s long and healthy life.


The cost of a Norwegian Elkhound can vary depending on a number of factors, such as breeder reputation, location, and lineage. Here are some factors that can influence the cost of a Norwegian Elkhound:

  1. Breeder reputation: Norwegian Elkhounds from reputable breeders can cost more than those from less reputable breeders. Reputable breeders are likelier to have health-tested their breeding stock, ensuring that their puppies are healthy and free of genetic disorders.
  2. Lineage: Norwegian Elkhounds with champion bloodlines can also cost more than those without. Champion bloodlines indicate a dog’s quality and can increase its value.
  3. Location: The cost of a Norwegian Elkhound can vary depending on the location. The cost may be higher in areas where the breed is more popular due to increased demand.
  4. Training: The cost may be higher if you are interested in a Norwegian Elkhound that has already been trained. Trained dogs are in high demand and can command a higher price.

A Norwegian Elkhound from a reputable breeder can range from $1,500 to $3,500. This price includes initial vaccinations, deworming, and a health certificate from a veterinarian. Additional costs may include spaying or neutering, microchipping, and a health guarantee.

In addition to the initial cost of the puppy, it’s important to consider ongoing expenses such as food, grooming, and veterinary care. Norwegian Elkhounds have thick coats that require regular grooming, which can add to the cost of ownership.

Norwegian Elkhounds are not a cheap breed, but they are worth the investment for those willing to provide them with the love and care they need to thrive.


Q: What is a Norwegian Elkhound?

A: A Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized dog breed originating in Norway. They were originally bred for hunting moose and other large game.

Q: What does a Norwegian Elkhound look like?

A: Norwegian Elkhounds have a thick, gray coat and a distinctive curled tail. They are medium-sized dogs, weighing 48-55 pounds and standing 19-20 inches tall at the shoulder.

Q: What is the personality of a Norwegian Elkhound?

A: Norwegian Elkhounds are intelligent, independent, and energetic dogs. They are loyal and affectionate with their families but can be aloof with strangers. They have a strong prey drive and may not be the best fit for homes with small pets.

Q: Do Norwegian Elkhounds shed a lot?

A: Yes, Norwegian Elkhounds have a thick coat that sheds seasonally. They require regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition and to minimize shedding.

Q: Are Norwegian Elkhounds good with children?

A: Norwegian Elkhounds can be great family dogs and are generally good with children. However, like any dog, they should always be supervised around young children.

Q: Do Norwegian Elkhounds have any health issues?

A: Yes, Norwegian Elkhounds can be prone to hip dysplasia, eye problems, skin allergies, ear infections, hypothyroidism, and cancer. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care can help catch and treat potential problems early.

Q: What is the lifespan of a Norwegian Elkhound?

A: The average lifespan of a Norwegian Elkhound is 12-15 years.

Q: Are Norwegian Elkhounds easy to train?

A: Norwegian Elkhounds are intelligent dogs but can be independent and stubborn. They require consistent and patient training from an experienced owner.

Q: How much exercise do Norwegian Elkhounds need?

A: Norwegian Elkhounds are an energetic breed that requires daily exercise. They enjoy long walks, hikes, and playtime in a fenced yard.

Q: Can Norwegian Elkhounds live in apartments?

A: Norwegian Elkhounds can adapt to apartment living as long as they receive enough daily exercise and mental stimulation. However, they may be more suited to homes with a fenced yard where they can run and play.

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