Since the ancient times of the Vikings, the Norwegian Elkhound was a constant companion with hunters, mariners and families. The national breed of Norway, this hound ha existed in Scandinavia for more than 5,000 years. Tapestries display him along with the Norse gods; portraits of mighty hunters depict both their swords and their Elkhounds…The Norwegian Elkhound is a strong, courageous dog that can withstand cold, icy climates, deep snow, and rugged mountain terrain. In the days of the Vikings, what we now call moose, they referred to as elk. As a hunting scenthound, the hunter would attach him to a very long lead and let him follow the scent of the moose. He then held the moose at bay, barking steadily, until the hunter arrived to kill the prey. In the late 1800’s he was noticed at Scandinavian dog shows and made his appearance in America. He was recognized by the AKC in 1930.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a handsome dog, with a fluffy grey, black and white coat, his tail curled over his back, and erect, pointed ears. His expression is one of alert, intelligent curiosity. He has a commanding presence with his hardy stance and deep chest. He has a high energy level with the need for frequent exercise. He does not do well in apartments or city life. He’s boisterous and playful, always ready for adventure!
In temperament, the Norwegian Elkhound is bold, independent, and moderately affectionate. He’s friendly with strangers, but often doesn’t like other dogs. He’s prone to nuisance barking if he’s bored or lonely. He’s a fairly good watchdog, but with few protective instincts since he doesn’t feel threatened by strangers. His quick intelligence makes him a good hunter of fowl and small mammals. He’s also used as the protector of herds of goat and sheep. He usually likes children, especially if he’s raised with them.
In training, the Norwegian Elkhound needs to begin basic obedience training and socialization skills as a puppy. With a firm hand and proficient trainer, he does well in obedience but will not do well with a first-time dog owner since he can find very creative ways of getting into trouble! Even in rural settings, he should be leashed as the Vikings discovered; on his own, he’ll go off on a scent and you’ll never see him again! If you’ve got rabbits eating your garden, this dog will end the problem without having to be trained to do so. In the right environment with the right trainer/owner, he can be great fun and a good companion dog.
The luxurious coat of the Norwegian Elkhound needs twice-weekly brushing to avoid shedding. His primary health concerns are hip dysplasia, exzema spots and kidney disease. In general, he’s a hardy, healthy dog that’s easy to maintain.
If you can keep up with his adventurous nature and playful exercise needs, you’ll find the Norwegian Elkhound to be a fine companion for the household and the field.
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