Norwegian Elkhound

Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated April 3, 2009)

The Norwegian Elkhound is one of the oldest inhabitants of Scandinavia. Long before he became the companion of the Vikings in both sport and conquest, the Elkhound, in much the same form as we find him today, roamed the saeters of Norway.

From these early days the Norwegian Elkhound has come down with its original traits unimpaired, a game, fearless hunter and a devoted companion. Four skeletons were discovered in Norway some years ago in a stratum belonging to the Stone Age. Experts pronounced them to be of dogs almost identical with the Norwegian Elkhound of today. Another skeleton was discovered in the Viste Cave at Jaeren, in western Norway, in a stratum which dated from 4,000 to 5,000 B.C. This skeleton was declared that of a dog closely resembling today's Norwegian Elkhound.

The Norwegian Elkhound was apparently no happenstance. He was bred for a particular job in a certain section of the world, and the fact that he has remained essentially the same throughout the years is proof that he did that job well. He was especially proficient in hunting elk, from which he gets his name. It is said that through his extraordinary scenting powers, the Norwegian Elkhound could wind an elk for a distance of three miles. After bringing his quarry to bay, the courageous dog held the animal for his master's arrival, or, with high intelligence, worked the elk in the direction of his master. He was also used in hunting bears, and later as a gun-dog and retriever on upland game birds, notably the black cock.

In Britain, the Norwegian Elkhound was used with success on small ground game, but has been known to kill otter. In this country, it could hardly be classed as a sporting dog, being used mostly as a companion, yet frequently as a farm dog, where he readily takes to working with livestock.

This breed of dog has been kept remarkably pure. This is shown in its high prepotency, for the offspring of any cross-mating will show a strong inheritance of this particular breed's characteristics. He is alert and compact, showing strength and endurance in every line. Such conformation was undoubtedly necessary for the breed to have survived in its original form of the passing centuries.

The breed is not an old one in this country, nor even in England, for among the first specimens to be imported into England from Norway were brought back in 1878. Elkhounds were soon imported into England from both Norway and Sweden, and many crosses were made. The variance in type was at first somewhat confusing, but the breed settled into uniformity and has so remained. In general appearance the Norwegian Elkhound is a dog fully capable of doing just what he has often been called upon to do, hunt day in and day out in rugged country where strength rather than excessive speed is demanded.

The general description of the Norwegian Elkhound is a typical northern dog. He is of medium size, with a compact, proportionately short body. He has a thick and rich, but not bristling, grey coat, with prick ears, and with a tail that is curled and carried over the back. His temperament is bold and energetic.

Additional information on the Norwegian Elkhound can be found at the website for the American Kennel Club.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


Using Boxes to Organize Your Clutter

Boxes are what we often use to organize our cluttered lives. The only problem with this is that in an attempt to organize ...

Discover More

Unclogging a Bathroom Sink Using Chemical Cleaners

Unclogging a drain, such as in your bathroom, does not have to be as difficult as many people think it to be. You do not ...

Discover More


Graceful in movement, the Borzoi is quick and lithe. Due to his courage, strength and speed he is a great coyote and wolf ...

Discover More
More Pet Tips

Irish Wolfhound

With great speed and gaming abilities, the Irish Wolfhound is often used for hunting wolf, coyote and other large game. ...

Discover More

American Foxhound

Said to be the most versatile of the hounds, the American Foxhound possesses great stamina, nose and natural hunting ...

Discover More

Black and Tan Coonhound

Raccoon and possum hunting are the Black and Tan Coonhound's specialty. He is not only hardy and tough, but affectionate, ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)