The Grey Norwegian Elkhound or Norwegian Moose Dog (Norsk Elghund in native language) is one of the oldest Spitz type dogs in the world. There are some proofs that this breed was developed some 6.000 years ago by local Scandinavian population. Norsk Elghund, together with the Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund, Lapponian Herder, and Swedish Elkhound, belongs to a group of dogs that were further developed through hybridization of male dogs and female wolves after their domestication. Today, this dog is included in the Nordic Hunting Dogs section in class of primitive dog breeds. So, what is a Norwegian Elkhound in general? This is a medium-sized working dog mainly used to support big game hunt – bear, wolf or moose. He can be also successfully used for guarding, watching and herding. This is a strong and agile breed with a huge personality and self-confidence. This dog’s boisterous spirit is very moving, so the people owning one of these will have a lot of fun. The Norwegian Elkhound life expectancy is somewhere between 12 and 16 years, although they can sometimes live a few years longer.
Norsk Elghund Personality
Main Norwegian Elkhound characteristics are playfulness, independence, loyalty, persistence, alertness, high intelligence, agility, boldness, resilience, and boisterousness. He is loyal to his owner and is always cheerful with other family members. He simply enjoys the company and can be a good child companion since he loves to play a lot. Happy little fella :) However, strangers will have to beware, especially first-time visitors of your property. They can be protective and aggressive, and can even bite in some cases. These dogs have a strong prey drive, so it’s no wonder cats and smaller animals are in serious danger with Elkhounds around. They can also be very aggressive and intolerant with other dogs, especially of the same sex. So, the proper training and socialization is necessary in order to be sure this little buddy won’t make some mess!
The Norsk Elghund simply can’t live in an apartment. He needs a large yard or some open space to spend his energy, and energy is something this dog has in abundance! He is always ready for some action, so you will literally have to plan some activities or exercises for him on a daily basis. This is very important for the dog’s health and to be sure he won’t do some crazy things, which he is prone to when bored. I suggest you take him to walk a few times a day, or do some hiking together. Any kind of activity will suit, just don’t be lazy! Move your ass and have fun. It is healthy living for both of you ;) However, when out make sure you always keep an eye on him. This dog likes to roam and look around. This way he can pick up some nice scent that will certainly draw his attention! In other words, he can switch to his hunting mode and disappear suddenly. So, watch after him carefully!
The Norwegian Elkhound bark is very loud and sharp, which is of great importance when hunting or guarding. However, sometimes he can really exaggerate with barking, which can be very annoying. That’s why you will have to teach him some commands to stop it. Make sure you do it on time, as soon as you spot this nasty habit. Once trained properly, he can be very obedient dog, but the training process itself won’t be that easy. Well, Norsk Elghund is after all Nordic primitive breed, he is headstrong and independent, so this is kind of expected, right? Yeah, I think we can agree on that. So, it is no secret that only experienced and dominant owners will be able to successfully put this buddy on the right track. You will have to work with him from day one! Only this way your dog will successfully become obedient and ready to work.
Main Physical Characteristics Of Norwegian Elkhound
What does a Norwegian Elkhound look like? This is a sturdy looking dog with strong and compact body covered with medium-length double coat. The waterproof overlying coat is rougher and longer, while the underlying coat is soft and dense. They shed twice a year – in the spring and in the fall. During these shedding periods regular daily grooming is a must. Main Norwegian Elkhound colors are always the same – grey, black and white. They are combined in the authentic motives on certain parts of the body. Every dog has more or less identical motives. The black and dark grey hair can be found on the upper side and tip of tail, muzzle, ears, back and upper body parts, forehead, around the eyes, and in small amount around the neck, while the lighter grey and white hair is prevalent on shoulders, legs, stomach, buttocks, around the neck, and on the lower side of the tail.
The Norwegian Elkhound has a broader wedge-shaped head, which is quite reminiscent of German Shepherd. The medium-length muzzle with powerful scissor jaws and black nose is tapered. The oval-shaped eyes are dark brown with black eye rims. His triangular, pointy ears are stiff. The neck is short and thick. Moose dog has a long brushy tail, which is tightly curved high atop his straight and strong back. The broad chest is lowered significantly in comparison to abdomen. His front legs are strong and straight, and they often have dewclaws. The hind legs are tightened and firm. Both pairs of legs have round paws with small pads. The legs look a bit short when compared to the size of his body. In the end, when you take all his physical characteristics into account, it is no wonder this dog has such a strong and robust appearance.
Norwegian Elkhound Size And Weight
– Height between 19 and 21 inches (48-53 cm)
– Weight between 50 and 60 pounds (23-27 kg)
– Height between 18 and 20 inches (46-51 cm)
– Weight between 40 and 55 pounds (18-25 kg)
The one of the most prized Norwegian Elkhound traits is his high intelligence. Definitely, he is one of the smartest primitive dogs. In Stanley Coren‘s book “The Intelligence of Dogs“, which includes all dog breeds around the world, this smart-ass is on the solid 36th place. This means that he can quite easily learn all commands through smart and focused training sessions. Quite remarkable, isn’t it? No wonder he is such a good working dog, but on the other hand, his intelligence can definitely cause you a headache. You see, the Elkhound is a Spitz type dog, and as such is quite independent. Now, when you combine the two, his intelligence and independence, you have a self-assured dog who is capable of all sorts of crazy things, especially if not exercised regularly. So, make sure you act properly with this buddy.
Multipurpose Working Dog Breed
As I wrote above, the Norwegian Elkhound hunting skills are quite phenomenal! This dog can equally well work alone or in a group during the hunt. Thanks to his superb sense of smell, he can pick up the scent of a moose or any other animal from afar. When face-to-face with an animal, his intelligence and cunningness come to play. He is literally able to control an animal with fast moves and loud barking, which reveals a precise location of the game to the hunter. He can even drive the game to a hunter’s location! These incredible capabilities combined are the reason he is often used for various other tasks. Norwegian Elkhound can be an excellent watchdog or a herder if need be. No matter how demanding task really is, this buddy will figure out how to do it properly. After all, he is the National Dog of Norway, so yeah, he is something special indeed!