With unparalleled stamina, even in rough terrain, the Norwegian Elkhound remains a dignified, independent, and generally friendly hunting dog with beautiful silver-grey hair. Interestingly, Scandinavian hunters still use the breed during long, arduous moose hunts.
The independent, alert, bold, playful, and boisterous Norwegian Elkhound dog combines qualities of spitz-like dogs and hounds. Always in search of an adventure, it is happiest playing outdoors in cold climates.
Although it barks a lot, it is amicable with strangers. Some Norwegian Elkhound dogs may fight with strange dogs; to prevent the dog from getting destructive or frustrated, provide it with a daily exercise routine. Untrained Elkhounds may also pull when put on a leash.
Whilst not known for its intelligence, the breed is instinctive and will follow its eyes and nose when led. As with most Spitz, the Norwegian Elkhound has a high energy level and benefits from wide, outdoor spaces in which to exercise and play. Affectionate and tactile, the breed craves human attention and contact and is devoted and loyal to its master. The ideal breed choice for the active family or dedicated sole owner, providing its exercise needs are met. The average Norwegian Elkhound will weigh 18-27 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when shown the appropriate care, although it is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy.
The most serious aliment affecting it is canine hip dysplasia (CHD), while minor health problems such as renal dysplasia, hot spots, and sebaceous cysts are common. Hip, eye, and urine tests are good for this breed of dog.
Originally, the Norwegian Elkhound was a scenthound that made use of its tracking powers to hunt large game and moose. A strange hound that closely resembles the spitz breeds of old, it also functioned as a guardian, defender, hunter, and herder since the age of the Vikings.