Norwegian Elkhound

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Norwegian Elkhound

Breed Fact

Country of Origin: Norway
Hypoallergenic: No
Height: 49 – 52 cm
Weight: 22 – 25 kg
Color: Silver, Grey
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
Temperament: Playful, Bold, Alert, Loyal, Hardy, Strong Willed
Litter Size: 3 - 10 puppies
Health Problems: Prone to hip dysplasia, pyotraumatic dermatitis and PRA. Occasionally seen is Fanconi syndrome. Gains weight easily, do not over feed.

Brief info: The Norwegian Elkhound originated in Scandinavia and is one of the most ancient breeds; it is thousands of years old and has been around since the Stone Age. A skeleton similar to today's Norwegian Elkhound dating from 4000 to 5000 BC has been found. To put some perspective on it, these dogs have been around since man hunted with slingshots and lived in caves.

They worked as a hunting and guard dog for the Vikings. The dogs were used as big and small game hunters tracking animals such as moose, elk, bear, mountain lion, badger, lynx, wolf, reindeer and rabbit. The dogs would track the quarry and alert the hunter by barking, holding the animal at bay until the hunter arrived. Norwegian Elkhounds can smell game from over a mile away. The dogs tended to work better at night than in the daytime.

The Norwegian Elkhound is a sturdy, medium-sized Spitz-type dog. The body is short and squarely built. The back is straight and strong. The wedge-shaped head is broad at the ears.

The muzzle is thicker at the base, tapering but not to a point, with a clearly defined stop. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The medium-sized, oval-shaped eyes are dark brown. The ears are set high on the head, firm but very mobile. The chest is deep and relatively wide. The legs appear straight from the front. The oval paws are small and tight with thick pads. The tail is set high, tightly curled over the back. There are usually dewclaws on the front legs but not on the back.

The weather-resistant, double coat is thick and hard. The coat is gray with black tips and a lighter undercoat and undersides with a black muzzle, ears, and tip of the tail. Norwegian Elkhound puppies are born black and turn gray when they are about a week old as their coat develops.