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Norwegian Elkhound

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A Gregarious Adventurer

Fearless, happy, bold

Norwegian Elkhounds are protective, playful, and alert, large dogs. Elkhounds are friendly with children and strangers, but can be territorial with cats and other dogs if not properly socialized. Also known as “Dogs of the Vikings,” these outgoing dogs enjoy the cold outdoors and are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, families, cold climate dwellers, and experienced dog handlers. They are confident and courageous, always ready for an adventure and daily exercise outdoors is ideal. A good long walk or hunting-like game will keep them challenged, content, and calm while indoors.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs. 


Breed Details

Height:19-20 in. Weight:48-55 lbs Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
3

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
2

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
4

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: A Norwegian Elkhound smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she'll get bored. She can have a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must.

Grooming: She needs a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year she blows her coat and loses crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time.

Dental: Norwegian Elkhounds generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


A Norwegian Elkound is an alert and trustworthy guardian that can be independent and headstrong. With enough exercise and a confident owner, she can be a docile and affectionate family member.

Positive Traits:

  • Energetic, active, and athletic

  • Devoted, loyal, and protective

  • Good watchdog with a loud bark

  • Gregarious, extroverted personality

  • Good with children

  • Confident, steady, and fearless

Negative Traits:

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

  • May have a tendency to bark excessively

  • May be territorial when it comes to cats and other dogs

  • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

  • Can be strong-willed and difficult to train

  • Sheds quite a bit

Whether you are considering adding a new Norwegian Elkhound to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Norwegian Elkhound will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Norwegian Elkhound you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

Some health issues a Norwegian Elkhound could encounter:

Kidney Disease

Kidney Disorder

Hip Dysplasia

Arthritis

Dwarfism

Diabetes

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed that has been found in burial sites along with their Viking masters. They have been used for centuries as hunters of large game, guardians, herders, defenders, and even sled dogs: truly versatile dogs. The Elkhound is the national dog of Norway and is known for its stamina and agility.

The Elkhound enjoys vigorous play and can be too exuberant for small children —they tend to jump on people in excitement. They are eager to please and thrive on love and attention from their whole family.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Norwegian Elkhound shows signs of the following:

  • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

  • Stiffness or reluctance to rise/sit/use stairs

  • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

  • Cloudiness to eye lens

  • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Lameness with or without swelling

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

  • Small, hard horn-like skin growths

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Care

    Routine Care: A Norwegian Elkhound smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she'll get bored. She can have a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must.

    Grooming: She needs a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year she blows her coat and loses crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time.

    Dental: Norwegian Elkhounds generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    A Norwegian Elkound is an alert and trustworthy guardian that can be independent and headstrong. With enough exercise and a confident owner, she can be a docile and affectionate family member.

    Positive Traits:

    • Energetic, active, and athletic

    • Devoted, loyal, and protective

    • Good watchdog with a loud bark

    • Gregarious, extroverted personality

    • Good with children

    • Confident, steady, and fearless

    Negative Traits:

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

    • May have a tendency to bark excessively

    • May be territorial when it comes to cats and other dogs

    • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

    • Can be strong-willed and difficult to train

    • Sheds quite a bit

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Norwegian Elkhound to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Norwegian Elkhound will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Norwegian Elkhound you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

    Some health issues a Norwegian Elkhound could encounter:

    Kidney Disease

    Kidney Disorder

    Hip Dysplasia

    Arthritis

    Dwarfism

    Diabetes

  • History

    The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed that has been found in burial sites along with their Viking masters. They have been used for centuries as hunters of large game, guardians, herders, defenders, and even sled dogs: truly versatile dogs. The Elkhound is the national dog of Norway and is known for its stamina and agility.

    The Elkhound enjoys vigorous play and can be too exuberant for small children —they tend to jump on people in excitement. They are eager to please and thrive on love and attention from their whole family.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Norwegian Elkhound shows signs of the following:

    • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

    • Stiffness or reluctance to rise/sit/use stairs

    • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Lameness with or without swelling

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

    • Small, hard horn-like skin growths

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

Norwegian Elkhound Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Norwegian Elkhound breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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