Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a breed with ancient roots. It developed over 6000 years ago and were used by early Scandinavians as a hunting dog for big game such as bears and moose.

It is a sturdy, medium sized dog with a distinctive wolf-like look. It is the National Dog of Norway and the name Norwegian Elkhound, is a direct translation from Norwegian, meaning Norwegian Moose Dog.

History and Evolution

The Norwegian Elkhound originated in Scandinavia and is an ancient breed, it is thousands of years old and have been around since the Stone Age.

The Vikings used them as guard and hunting dogs. Used both for small and big game, moose, elks, bears, badger, lynx, wolf, rabbits and reindeer. This breed was, and still is, a highly prized sled dog, often used to ferry supplies over frozen terrain.

Today, they are still being used as hunting dogs, but can also be used as tracking, herding, watchdog, guarding, sledding and agility.

The breed was first exhibited in 1877 at a dog exhibition in Norway.

Coat and Color

The Norwegian Elkhound has a distinctive silver-gray double coat. It is thick, hard and can withstand harsh weather conditions. It has a trademark saddle markings and black tipping on its ears and tail.

It goes without saying that this dog requires regular brushing and washing to make this impressive mane look at best at all times. Especially due to the fact that this dog is a (seasonally) heavy shredder. The fur is both water and dirt resistant and they do not have the usual smell of dog hair.

Living Conditions

This breed will be ok as an apartment dog, if sufficient exercised! It is fairly active and does best with large yards. The Norwegian Elkhound also prefer the cold climates and can easily sleep outdoors, but prefer to sleep close to its human pack.


The breed is very energetic and thrives on activities. They need a daily, long walk or jog, at least for one hour, but preferable even more. They will enjoy a running beside you when you ride your bike or taking your jog, they also love a good run in the woods.

Height, size and weight

The breed is a medium-sized spits-type dog. Males are 48-53 cm tall (19-21 inches), females 46-51 cm (18-20 inches). The males weight about 23-27 kg (50-60 lbs) and females 18-25 kg (40-55 lbs).


The Norwegian Elkhound is alert, loyal, courageous and friendly. They can be somewhat reserved towards strangers, but friends of the family and people they know, they will greet with enthusiasm.

They are bred for hunting large game and allthough they are strong and sturdy, these dogs have an inseparable bond with their family. They make excellent family dogs and are good with kids, particularly when introduced to them at a young age.

This breed is hunters, they should not be left alone with other small non-canine pets such as rabbits, hamsters, mice or rats. They can also be cat chasers, unless raised with the family cat.


This breed is usually healthy, but as most medium and large breeds, they are prone to hip dysplasia, renal problems and cysts, particularly in later life. But overall, they are a hardy breed with few health issues. They are however prone to rapid weight gain and must not be overfed.