The Norwegian Elkhound
"Norsk Elghund"

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Norwegian Elkhound
(Norsk Elghund)
Weight: 48 — 55 lbs
Height: 18” — 21”
AKC Rank 2008 #98
Lifespan: 10—12 yrs
Group: Hound
Origin: Norway

Dog Breed Info - Norwegian Elkhound

A great closeup of the Elkhound.
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Breed Overview

Origin: Ancient times. Original function: Hunting moose, bear, other big game. Today, Companion, Moose hunting.

Norwegian Elkhounds (Norsk Elghunds) are scent hounds dating back to ancient times and the days of the Vikings and in Norway that have been used for not only tracking large gamer such as elk, moose, reindeer, and bear, but also a guardian, herder and to pull sleds when needed. They work in sub-zero weather over rough terrain and keep at it entire days at a time. The dog tracks the game, corners it, holds the prey and barks until the hunter arrives for the kill. The breed was recognized by the AKC in the 1930’s. Today the Norsk Elghund serves mainly as a companion dog and house pet.


Yes, learns fairly well if approached with a good trainer. She has a stubborn streak and it may take some time but the Elkhound wants to learn. Use clicker training and positive reinforcement training for the Elkhound. This method is made for difficult dogs and works very well. Try it.

Crate TrainingHere's a link if you're interested in crate training your Norsk Elghund puppy.

Potty Training

Some Norwegian Elkhound puppies can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

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A combination of hound and spitz-like dogs, the Norwegian Elkhound is bold and independent. She can be quite playful and outgoing. She loves to be outdoors playing in the cold weather similar to her native land. She can become destructive if not allowed enough exercise every day as she is a high-energy dog with a lot of stamina. The Norwegian Elkhound is usually friendly with strangers but wary of other dogs that may take her territory. Socialization and training must start as a very young puppy and continue onward for this breed to be useful later on. The Norwegian Elkhound is an excellent hunter and tracking dog with the ability to track over rough terrain for entire days at a stretch. At home, she is basically a calm, quiet and friendly companion.

If you happen to get a Norwegian Elkhound with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Wary of other dogs. Can be scrappy and cautious. Picks her own canine friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Best if raised with them. Probably best to not have too many other pets in the house.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Likes people. Bring on the relatives, neighbors and friends.


Very playful, fun-loving dog. Likes to chase and fetch things, romp around and bark!


Moderately affectionate. Does well for a big, active, energetic dog.

Good with children?

Older, well-mannered children 6 or 7 and up, okay. Toddlers, no.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe not. She needs a lot of exercise, too much for a senior. Let’s say NO.

Living environment

Apartment, house with medium to large fenced yard, farm, ranch okay. As long as the dog gets her exercise she’ll be okay in an apartment.

Take the Norwegian Elkhound out in the yard and play some brisk games of fetch or other games.

Energy level

High energy.

Exercise needs, daily

High. A Norwegian Elkhound enjoys jogging, long walks or vigorous play time fetching balls or whatever. As long as she gets her exercise, she’s a loving, peaceful, companion. Don’t over-exercise her in warm or hot weather.


Somewhat. A fair watchdog. This is essentially a friendly dog but she will announce strangers.

Guard dog

Just fair here too. She will protect her family, but is not known to be a serious guard dog.


Yes, a lot in the spring,


Has a long, double coat. Brush twice to three times a week with a stiff bristle brush, daily when shedding to remove dead hair.


SuggestedReading - Norwegian Elkhound
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • First 2 books are Owners Manuals, hard and soft covers, the first having more photographs.

  • 3rd book from the left offers "50 Games You Can Play With Your Dog" and is creative. offering good exercise and bonding plus a challenge to his desire to learn new things.

  • The book on the right is by the American National Rec Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. You get Vol 2 with a DVD.

Norwegian Elkhound Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Norsk Elghund puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Norwegian Elkhound Breeders with puppies for sale. You will need to go online and search for more Elkhound breeders, as I'm sure there are more out there.

Norwegian Elkhound Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Norwegian Elkhound Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Norwegian Elkhound Rescue As I write this, Petfinder is listing only 151 Elkhounds for the entire country. That number is subject to change, of course. If you do fine one to adopt, try to locate dog health records and save for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but there appears to be a shortage of this breed. Surf the web for more sources under Norwegian Elkhound Rescue groups or kennels.

Dog Health Issues For The Norwegian Elkhound
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Norwegian Elkhound by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Norwegian Elkhound. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Renal dysplasia—Disease of the kidney. Improper function of the kidney. If you own a Shih Tzu, or other breed prone to this, check twice a year with your vet for kidney function or.... sooner if you observe any unusual symptoms such as... increased drinking, increased or decreased urination, very little color to the urine, depression, loss of appetite, bad odor in breath plus any other unusual behaviors. See vet immediately!

  • Sebaceous adenitis— Mostly a cosmetic disorder, affecting appearance and not the dog’s health. Sebaceous glands help prevent dry skin and they become inflamed and die off. Some breeds have dry, scaly skin and patches of hair loss on top of the head, neck and back of the Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound and Akita. Severely affected dogs have areas of thick skin and extensive hair loss with a musty or rancid odor plus secondary skin infections. In short-coated breeds like the Vizsla, there is a moth-eaten look about the dog’s coat with some scaling to the trunk, head and ears. Treatments include an anti-seborrheic shampoo and fatty-acid dietetic supplements as well as a special topical spray and certain oral supplements. Recovery is very slow. See your vet.

  • Fanconi syndrome—Inherited disease usually showing up around ages 4 to 8 years age. A disorder where nutrients of the kidney are spilled into the urine instead of into the body where they belong. Symptoms: Excessive drinking and urination, glucose in the urine. It must be treated or the dogs usually die. Since glucose is “dumped” into the urine, it is recommended that Elkhound owners test their pets monthly beginning at three years old. Urine glucose test strips are available at drug stores.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. If your Norwegian Elkhound has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Intracutaneous cornifying epithelioma—Skin tumor primarily in purebred male dogs under 5 years old. They are benign and are found commonly on the neck, back, limbs and thorax, The tumor can be solitary or in small groups. A tumor can multiply 50 tumors a year for the life of the dog. Surgery is the recommended remedy.

  • Obesity - The Elkhound tends to put on too much weight, easily. Watch the food bowl and be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and doesn't beg for too much food and too many treats!

Other health problems could occur with your Norwegian Elkhound. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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