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Norwegian Elkhound Mastery: A Comprehensive Guide to this Resilient Breed
Home Dog Breed The Majestic Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

The Majestic Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

by CareTips Dog
The Majestic Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

The Norwegian Elkhound is a majestic dog breed that originated from Norway. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about this active and friendly dog.

Introduction Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

The Norwegian Elkhound is one of the Northern Spitz-type breeds and is the National Dog of Norway. These medium-sized dogs were originally bred to hunt moose, bear, and other large game. Their ancestors date back thousands of years ago to the time of the Vikings.

Norwegian Elkhounds have a sturdy, muscular build and a lush gray, silver, black and white coat. They are an energetic and hardy breed well-suited for life in cold climates. While they make vigilant watchdogs, they are also extremely friendly and loyal.

Adaptability ⭐⭐

Apartment Living ⭐
Novice Owners ⭐⭐
Sensitivity ⭐⭐⭐
Alone Time ⭐
Cold Weather ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hot Weather ⭐⭐

All-Around Friendliness ⭐⭐⭐

Family ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Kids ⭐⭐⭐
Dogs ⭐⭐⭐
Strangers ⭐⭐

Health & Grooming ⭐⭐⭐

Shedding – ⭐⭐⭐
Drooling ⭐
Grooming ⭐⭐
Health Issues ⭐⭐
Weight Gain ⭐
Size ⭐⭐⭐

Trainability ⭐⭐

Easy to Train ⭐⭐
Intelligence ⭐⭐⭐
Mouthiness ⭐⭐
Prey Drive ⭐⭐⭐
Barking ⭐⭐⭐
Wanderlust ⭐⭐

Exercise Needs ⭐⭐⭐

Energy Level ⭐⭐⭐
Intensity ⭐⭐⭐
Exercise Needs ⭐⭐⭐
Playfulness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Norwegian Elkhound has a sturdy, athletic build. They are around 20-21 inches tall and weigh about 55 pounds. Their lush gray coat can range from silver to black. They have a tail that curls tightly over the back. Their face has a wolf-life appearance with dark almond-shaped eyes and erect, pointed ears.


  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Independent minded
  • Protective
  • Energetic
  • Hardy
  • Playful
  • Popularity

Currently the Norwegian Elkhound ranks 201st out of 196 breeds registered with the American Kennel Club. They are much more popular in their native Norway.


Norwegian Elkhounds form strong loyalties and make devoted companions. They thrive when included in family activities. Elkhounds are energetic dogs that need a lot of vigorous daily exercise. They are quick learners but have an independent spirit. With proper socialization, they get along with kids, other dogs, and strangers. Elkhounds make excellent watchdogs and will sound the alarm for any suspicious activity. Their playful nature stays puppy-like into adulthood.


12-15 years

Coat Color

Gray is the most common coat color in Norwegian Elkhounds ranging from silver gray to grayish black. It is often accented with lighter silver guard hairs. Small white markings are allowed but not desired. The undercoat is dense and soft.

Breed Type

The Norwegian Elkhound is a purebred dog breed recognized by all major kennel clubs. It is not a mixed breed.

Caring for a Norwegian Elkhound


As active family dogs, Norwegian Elkhounds do best on high-quality commercial dog food formulated for medium to large breed dogs. Make sure to choose a formula for their life stage. 3-4 cups of kibble per day divided into two meals is typical.

  • Salmon, fish, beef and turkey are excellent protein sources for building lean muscle.
  • Whole grains like brown rice and oats provide steady energy.
  • Fruits and veggies add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


  • A securely fenced yard provides space to run and play. Underground electric fencing is not secure enough.
  • A dog door allows access to the yard to relieve themselves during the day.
  • Daily leashed walks around the neighborhood should be provided.
  • Access to cool, shady areas in warm months is important.


  • Norwegian Elkhounds thrive on regular social interaction and playtime with their family.
  • Training sessions and interactive puzzle toys will stimulate their smart minds.
  • Be patient and consistent when training – this breed can have a stubborn side. Use positive reinforcement.


  • Brush the thick double coat weekly using a slicker brush and undercoat rake.
  • Bathe every 2-3 months or as needed using a dog shampoo. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Trim nails monthly since they grow quickly.
  • Brush teeth weekly to maintain dental health.
  • Clean ears weekly to avoid infections.

Preparing for a Norwegian Elkhound

  1. Here are a few tips to prepare for welcoming a Norwegian Elkhound into your home:
  2. Puppy-proof your home by removing valuables and securing cords/toxins. Confine them when you can’t supervise.
  3. Stock up on dog supplies – crate, leash, collar, bowls, etc. Have healthy training treats on hand.
  4. Find a trusted veterinarian and schedule a first puppy appointment.
  5. Look into puppy kindergarten classes for early socialization and training.
  6. Child-proof your home if you have kids. Teach children how to gently interact with dogs.

You’ll need these essential supplies for a Norwegian Elkhound:

  1. High-quality dog food and treats
  2. Stainless steel bowls
  3. Comfortable dog bed and crate
  4. Leash, collar and ID tag
  5. Poop bags and scooper

Grooming tools like nail clippers, slicker brush and undercoat rake

Health Issues

Norwegian Elkhounds are generally healthy but prone to:

  • Hip Dysplasia – can cause lameness. X-ray hips of potential parents.
  • Hypothyroidism – causes lethargy, hair loss and obesity. Treat with medication.
  • Eye Problems – yearly vet exams recommended.
  • Fanconi Syndrome – rare kidney disorder. Genetic testing available.


Norwegian Elkhound puppies should receive these core vaccines:

  • Distemper
  • Adenovirus
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies

Adult Elkhounds need vaccine boosters and wellness exams annually. Ask your vet about lifestyle vaccines as well.


When choosing a name for your Elkhound, opt for something short, distinct and friendly-sounding that will get their attention during training.

Some good name ideas include:

  • Loki
  • Freya
  • Bjorn
  • Sven
  • Sigrid
  • Frida
  • Leif
  • Astrid

Adopting a Norwegian Elkhound

If you are interested in adopting a Norwegian Elkhound, first make sure the breed will fit your lifestyle.

You can find Elkhounds through:

  • Breed-specific rescues like Norwegian Elkhound Rescue Network
  • Shelters and humane societies

Be sure to ask:

  • Why the dog is being rehomed
  • Temperament and energy level
  • Health and veterinary records
  • Proof of breed with pedigree papers

Some well-regarded Elkhound rescues include Elkhound Rescue of America and Love an Elkhound Rescue. The adoption fee is typically $200-$400.

Before bringing home an adopted Elkhound:

  • Make sure your home meets their exercise needs
  • Have all supplies ready especially a crate/bed
  • Locate a veterinarian and schedule a check-up
  • Dog-proof your home and yard
  • Read up on training an adopted dog

How do I stop my Elkhound from biting?

Redirect biting onto chew toys, use positive reinforcement for good behavior, provide regular exercise, and enroll in training classes for unwanted chewing and mouthing

How can I socialize and raise a friendly Elkhound?

Socialize your Elkhound puppy in a positive way starting at 7 weeks by exposing them to new people, dogs, places, and stimuli frequently in a controlled, safe way. Continue socialization into adulthood. Reward good behavior and correct negative reactions calmly using positive methods.

What’s the best way to train an Elkhound?

Use positive reinforcement like praise, treats, and toys. Be patient and consistent. Seek professional training help with their stubborn streak. Socialization is also important.

How often should an Elkhound see the vet?

Elkhound puppies need vet visits at 8, 12, and 16 weeks for vaccines and deworming. Adults need annual wellness exams, heartworm tests, and vaccine boosters. Senior dogs require vet checkups every 6 months.

Are Elkhounds good family pets?

Yes, when properly exercised and socialized, Norwegian Elkhounds make very friendly, devoted family companions who are great with kids. They become very attached to their families.

Are Elkhounds good with kids?

Norwegian Elkhounds tend to do very well with children, especially if raised with them. Always supervise interactions and teach kids how to politely interact with dogs.

Are Elkhounds good with other pets?

Early socialization is key for Norwegian Elkhounds to get along with other household pets. Most do fine with other dogs and small pets when properly introduced.

Are Norwegian Elkhounds intelligent?

Yes, the Norwegian Elkhound is a bright, clever breed. They excel at agility, obedience training, and learning tricks. Keep training sessions short and upbeat to hold their interest.

By following our website, you can find the perfect dog breeds for you and provide them with the best possible dog care. Remember that owning a dog is a lifelong commitment that requires time, money, and patience. But it is also a rewarding experience that will bring you joy and companionship. All information in Dog care tips.

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