Norwegian Elkhound
norwegian elkhound at a dog show

Norwegian elkhound

The Norwegian elkhound is also known as the Norsk Elghund, Gray Norwegian Elkhound, Small Grey Elk dog, Harma norjanhirvikoira and the Norwegian Moose Dog. The Norwegian elkhound was first seen on the Norwegian land. However, they were first presented in an exhibition, in the year 1877. They belong to the Hound or Spitz group of dog breeds. They have been utilized since ages for hunting, herding, guarding and defending. They are commonly referred as the moose dog as they can easily track down moose and keep them away or drive them towards shooters. They can be also used as leash and give direction for hunting to their masters.

General characteristics

The following are the general characteristics and physical features of Norwegian elkhound:-

• The FCI has divided this breed into two groups: – the Black and the Grey.
• These dogs weigh about 50 to 55 pounds.
• They have a medium to sturdy build and have a square shaped body.
• Their average height is 19 to 21 inches.
• Their coat is straight and smooth in nature with a much softer under coat.
• The Norwegian elkhound is available in various coat colors such as black, white, grey, silver or a mixture of black and white.
• Their eyes are dark brown in color and they give a very friendly expression to their masters.
• Their average life span is 12 to 14 years, however few live more.
• Their ears are pointed and erect.
• Their tail is rolled in nature.
• The head is broad and a wedge shaped and consists of a defined stop.
• Their limbs are parallel and straight and proportional to their body.

Personality traits

The Norwegian elkhound is known for his hunting instincts. They are used for hunting large games such as wolves, moose and bears. They are tough and hard and will often hypnotize their target with their strength. They can also be kept as watch dogs as they can bark loudly and will easily trap suspicious persons.

Even though the Norwegian elkhound can be considered as a wild dog, it will form an inseparable bond with its masters if raised from puppy hood. These dogs are highly intelligent and they occupy the 36th position on the standard Stanley Coren’s scale for measuring intelligence in dogs. These dogs have an alert, independent and have a playful nature and they can prove to be excellent family dogs. However, they will require a big place for doing regular exercise and playing. This dog can be an attention seeker and will want their masters to love and praise them. They can get their feelings hurt if they are left alone or if their pride is disturbed. They won’t tolerate if they see their master giving more preference to some other pet when they are standing in front of their master. Temperament in these dogs depends much upon the type and amount of training they are given in puppy hood. However, they can get along with children very well and will give you respect if you give them back the same.
Training the Norwegian elkhound can be quiet challenging. You should buy a Norwegian elkhound puppy only if you have previous experience with dogs and a professional trainer. They will quickly learn things they are taught, however they may experience difficulty in obeying commands initially. Try a different approach to teach them commands such as come and go. They are highly agile and can be used as tracking dogs. They will never respond to you if you treat them harsh or misbehave with them, and can fight you back as well.

A home with a fenced yard shall be most suitable for your Norwegian elkhound.

Feeding habits

These dogs can rapidly gain weight, so make sure they exercise well. Take your dog for a 30 to 40 minute walk on a daily basis. They will live long and happy in a highly energetic and active family. Never over feed your Norwegian elkhound.

Feed them daily with 2 to 2 ½ cup of these high quality dog food, which can be divided into two equal parts. The amount of food that is given to your Norwegian elkhound primarily depends upon its age, and more profoundly its weight. Feed elder dogs with senior dog food.

Feed your dog with a premium quality dry dog food such as those form Acana, Taste of the Wild and Purina along with dog food supplements from Call of the Wild and others.

Health and Immunization

The Norwegian elkhound is prone to various diseases such as Progressive Genital Atrophy, Hip and Elbow dysplasia, Sebaceous Cysts and Renal problems, thyroid (like hypothyroidism), Fanconi Syndrome obesity and diabetes. You must keep a check on their weight on a regular basis.
Your Norwegian elkhound should be immunized at regular intervals so that they are protected from various diseases that are caused by dangerous viruses. Some mandatory vaccines includes: – Parvovirus, Rabies, Distemper, Coronavirus, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza and Parainfluenza vaccines along with booster doses that should be given to them every year.


There will be two to three times in a year when these dogs will shed like anything. You should keep a check and brush them regularly, at least twice in three weeks. In rest other months, the coat shall be easy to maintain. The Norwegian elkhound will naturally smell like a dog and you should bathe them often to keep of the smell and maintain hygiene. Bathe them at least once or twice in a week. Check their ears for any signs of redness or flea infection. Their ears should be cleaned with a pH balanced ear solution. Brush their teeth at least two to three times a week to avoid oral problems and buildup of tartar.
The Norwegian elkhound is registered and recognized by the American Kennel Club and various other organizations. Therefore, you can buy this dog according to their set guidelines. You can even adopt or rescue these dogs from various rescue groups and reputable local and private breeders.