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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA


Breed Spotlight

The Norwegian Elkhound

The Elkhound's roots lay in the country of Norway where the breed was used as a hunting dog mainly for moose. The Elkhound's job was to locate the presence of a moose by its sense of smell and bark to alert its handler. The dog would then circle its find until the hunter made the kill. The Elkhound was used to hunt not only moose and bears but also mountain lion as well.

Though currently a loyal companion dog, it is wise to keep in mind this dog's origin and purpose. Being a hunting dog of such fierce game gives us a window to the soul of the Elkhound. This is a fearless, independent and willful dog, with a desire to hunt and chase animals that run away and with an I can do anything attitude. This can mean trouble for the novice dog owner who wants a dog that lays at his feet. That is not to say that Elkhounds do not make wonderful and devoted pets, if the proper amount of training, socialization and confinement (fenced yard or run) is provided by an experienced dog handler.

This is a dog that needs an outlet for its energy and hunting nature, probably not a great companion on long nature walks off leash, unless you want to spend your time chasing a dog who is after some wild animal scent. Due to its hunting instinct this is a dog that is going to want to explore, and it is not recommended it be allowed off leash in an unfenced area.

Being independent and strong willed, this is a breed that is not easily impressed with harsh words or corrections. A motivational method of training such as clicker training is highly recommended. The Elkhound has to think it's his idea to do something and be able to make choices rather than follow a commmand because you said so.

The Elkhound has a very thick, dense coat which requires frequent bi-weekly brushing and occassional bathing. These dogs range in height from 18-21 inches and weigh between 40-55 pounds. The coat color is silver gray with black tips and a blackish/gray face.

Elkhounds are a member of the group of dogs considered to be northern breeds (huskies, malmutes, etc.) and like these other breeds are more willful and independent than a lab or golden. Elkhounds have been used as therapy dogs in hospitals, and get along well with children and other pets so long as they are introduced slowly and are taught how to behave. Since by nature they can be quite stubborn, they need an owner who is patient, but persistent, in teaching basic good manners and giving lots of positive social experiences. For more information on this breed, you may contact the Norwegian Elkhound Rescue at (301)942-3763; email address ruthness@aol.com