The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed which has been used as a large game hunter, a guardian, a herder, and a defender. The breed is a Spitz type breed which excels at its duties under even the worst climate conditions. Its name, translated means “Norwegian moose dog”. The Norwegian Elkhound does not hunt like a hound dog, nor is it a true hound; it just holds animals at bay until the hunter can arrive to shoot them.
The breed stands around 20 inches high and weighs up to 52 pounds. The body of the breed is robust. Its coat is double layered with a underlying coat which ranges from black to silver and an overlying black-tipped guard coat. The coat of the breed is well-suited to the climate from which it originated; it keeps them warm and is weatherproof. The fur is used in rural regions of Norway to make sweaters, since the dog sheds fully twice a year. The tail of the Norwegian Elkhound is tightly curled over its back.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a very loyal breed which is well suited to guarding with its loud bark. It makes an excellent family protector due to its strong bond with its owner, as well as companion. It is playful and loves adventure. It is an active breed which needs plenty of daily exercise in order to keep it from being destructive. The breed, despite its bond with its family, can be very independent and therefore challenging to train. The breed needs to be trained and socialized by a dominant owner at an early age. It makes an excellent hunting companion if properly trained, because of its agility and ability to track.
The breed is fairly low maintenance, aside from regular brushing during shedding seasons. The coat of the breed allows most dirt to slide off, and on top of that the breed tends to clean itself.
The Norwegian Elkhound generally lives 10 to 12 years. It may suffer from various health problems including progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, renal problems, and thyroid problems, but overall the breed is relatively healthy.