Breeds 101

Norwegian Elkhound


The national dog of Norway, the Norwegian Elkhound has existed in Scandinavia for at least 5000 years; Current standards were developed in the late 1800’s.

The Norwegian Elkhound has its roots in the Spitz family; the breed’s tracking abilities have earned it a place of honour in the Hound Group. Robust, vigorous, athletic, and with a strong voice, which it willingly uses when it sees its prey, this is the most classic of the Spitz breeds, and Stone Age fossils from Norway confirm its antiquity.

An ancient breed that hunted with the Vikings, the Norwegian Elkhound is hardy and has the stamina to outlast moose, bear, and hunter alike; When working as a gundog it doesn’t chase, but follows its prey in a hound-like manner.

An extremely versatile breed, it has been used to hunt lynx and wolves, as well as elks, and is a successful retriever of small game such as rabbits and foxes. Norwegian farmers also use it to herd farmyard chickens and ducks.

The Norwegian Elkhound is devoted to the chase but also thrives on human companionship, making it a good candidate for an active family’s pet.


Medium: Females: 19 inches, 48 pounds; Males: 20 inches, 55 pounds.




Alert, bold, playful, independent; may be destructive if not given enough exercise; good with children and strangers, but not to other dogs.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Active owner with plenty of time for exercise.


Daily strenuous exercise; fenced yard, training; tolerance to shedding, patience with barking, attention to overeating.

Life expectancy:

10 to 12 years.