Norwegian Elkhound


A medium sized Norwegian Elkhound
Norwegian Elkhound Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)19-21in (48-53cm)
Weight35-60lbs (16-27kg)
Hair Colour(s)Grey
Lifespan10-15 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size7-14
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftMedium

The Norwegian Elkhound is a rugged and robustly built dog. The square body is well muscled and relatively short, with straight legs and a tail that curls tightly over the back. The head is broad and wedge-shaped, with a black muzzle, dark brown eyes and erect riangular-shaped ears. The thick double-coat consists of a soft wooly undercoat and a hard, straight waterproof outercoat, and the colouring tends to be grey with lighter silver on the underside.


Norwegian Elkhounds are friendly and gentle dogs with bold, energetic and dignified dispositions. They thrive on love and attention, and being protective and loyal they make good companions and family pets, especially for more active people as these dogs have high energy levels. Plenty of mental and physical stimulation are required with these animals in order to reduce the risk of boredom. Although they are intelligent and learn quickly, these dogs can be very independent and headstrong and need assertive and confident owners in order to respond well to training. For this reason they are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership, rather than for novices. Norwegian Elkhounds will get along well with children, particularly when raised with them, but they can be aggressive towards dogs of the same sex, and need early socialisation with cats. As for strangers, some can be friendly while others may be reserved. Although they tend to be excessive barkers, these brave and determined dogs still make good watch dogs thanks to their imposing appearance and deep resounding bark, which they will use to raise the alarm.

History & Skills

Norwegian Elkhounds originate from Norway and are an ancient breed dating back to as early as 5000BC. With very acute senses of smell and hearing, they were used by the Vikings as guard and watch dogs, and were also used for tracking and hunting elk, bear, and other wild animals. These days these versatile dogs make good family pets, as well as watch dogs.

Breed Specific Ailments

Norwegian Elkhounds tend to live netween 10-15 years and are fairly healthy dogs. Some of the noted health problems include cataracts, thyroid problems, PRA, hip dysplasia, cysts, cancer, and kidney problems.


Norwegian Elkhounds are heavy shedders that also shed even more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so therefore are not suitable for those with allergies. Their grooming requirements are not high though, and the coat will need brushing twice a week and more during the heavier shedding periods. These dogs do not tend to have doggy odour.

Exercise & Environment

Norwegian Elkhounds are flexible but prefer to live indoors with a family. These energetic dogs will require a couple of moderate daily walks, and access to a secure yard or garden. The chance of a longer walk will be greatly appreciated, and they make good cycling companions.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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