Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound has also been known by a few different names such as Norse Elghund, Grå Norsk Elghund, Gray Norwegian Elkhound, Small Grey Elk Dog, Norwegian Moose Dog, and Harmaa norjanhirvikoira.

Norwegian Elkhound Image

The main name for the breed comes from the direct translation of its original Norwegian name, which is Norsk Elghund, meaning “Norwegian moose dog.”

Being from an ancient breed—spitz-type—the Norwegian Elkhound has a long history preceding it. The Norwegian Elkhound is also the National Dog of Norway, known for its history as a hunter, guardian, herder and defender. The Norwegian Elkhound is a courageous animal that has had other jobs the Norwegian Elkhound has enjoyed included tracking and hunting moose or elk as well as other large game like bears and wolves.


Hailing from Norway, the Norwegian Elkhound can be traced back thousands of years, possibly as far back as 5,000 BCE. Historians don’t know for sure because archaeologists have found skeletons of dogs that match the same description as a Norwegian Elkhound.

In 1877, the Norwegian Elkhound became a breed of interest in the first dog show of the Norwegian Hunters Association. After the show, that was when the Norwegian Elkhound started to become a standard and when records started to be kept.


The Norwegian Elkhound is considered a medium-sized dog. The average height of a male or female Norwegian Elkhound is 19.5 to 20.5 inches. The weight average for a standard Norwegian Elkhound male or female is 44 to 51 pounds.


Norwegian Elkhounds are quite loyal to their masters and often create an inseparable bond between them and their owners. They are also loyal to their “pack” which makes them a great family dog. Although originally a hunting dog, the Norwegian Elkhound has become a family companion for most. In some places, the breeds original hunting purpose is still practiced.

There are many words that describe a Norwegian Elkhound: playful, independent, alert, extremely intelligent, alert. Sometimes boisterous is one of them. In the ranking of Stanley Coren’s list of Intelligent Dogs, the Norwegian Elkhound rank 36th, which makes them above average working and obedient intelligence.

Norwegian Elkhounds love their families and take care of them with an almost possessive devotion. They need early socialization just as with most dog breeds. They need to see many different people, places, sounds and experiences to ensure your pet becomes well-rounded.

Norwegian Elkhounds do fine in smaller apartment settings, but this breeds is definitely a barker. A home with a fenced yard may be better; and although your Norwegian Elkhound can live outdoors just fine, they much prefer to live with you and your family inside.


The Norwegian Elkhound has a lifespan of 12 to 16 years and is a relatively healthy breed. Sometimes Norwegian Elkhound carry a genetic predisposition and can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy or hip dysplasia, renal problems, and cysts, They are also prone to thyroid problems. Other than these few possible health problems, the Norwegian Elkhound is also prone to rapid weight gain and needs to not be overfed.


With a coarse and straight overcoat, and a soft undercoat, the beautiful black and white color of the Norwegian Elkhound is one of its best characteristics. Since its coat is a double coat, it sheds dirt and is water-resistant, which means the Norwegian Elkhound only needs weekly brushing to maintain. Although the Norwegian Elkhound does not shed often, it does have two to three times a year that it fully sheds it coat, which needs a lot of brushing.You only need to bathe your Norwegian Elkhound if necessary, and high quality dog shampoo due to the kind of coat it has.

As for other grooming, the Norwegian Elkhound needs to have its teeth brushed two to three times per week, but daily brushing would be even better. Also, the nails of a Norwegian Elkhound need to be trimmed once or twice a month if your Norwegian Elkhound doesn’t get enough exercise to wear them down naturally. Basically if you can hear them clicking on the ground, the nails are too long.

As for training, a Norwegian Elkhound does well with crate training. Not only a great way to housebreak a Norwegian Elkhound, but a crate is a great place for your pet to go and rest.


Here is a link to the Norwegian Elkhound Rescue. Please check your local area for other rescues near you or to learn more about this breed.


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