Norwegian Elkhounds are medium-sized, square-built, balanced dogs covered in thick, smooth coats that are usually gray with black tips. They have broad, wedge-shaped heads with dark, oval-shaped eyes, tapered muzzles and ears that are set high. Their muscular necks lead down to strong backs and deep chests. They have thick tails that curl over the back. Overall, the Norwegian Elkhound appears bold, alert and handsome.
The Norwegian Elkhound brings character, friendliness and energy to any household. Loving and welcoming, it loves attention and quality time with family members. However, similar to other Arctic breeds, the Norwegian Elkhound has an independent side: It can be slightly reserved with new people and resistant to some training. It also tends to bark—a trait carried down from its hunting ancestors. Overall, Norwegian Elkhounds are pleasant, clean and protective. And they get along great with kids.
Norwegian Elkhounds can live as long as 15 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, eye problems and thyroid problems. The Norwegian Elkhound’s dense coat is fairly easy to groom. A good brushing every few days will keep it looking great. During shedding seasons, you might want to do the brushing outdoors. Norwegian Elkhounds should not be bathed too often: Soap can remove their natural weatherproofing.
An ancient breed, the Norwegian Elkhound dates back more than 6,000 years. These dogs served Scandinavian farmers and Vikings as herders, watchdogs, hunters and companions. The Norwegian Elkhound’s cherished traits—fearlessness, loyalty and versatility—evolved naturally from its many years of exposure to stark climates and close companionship with hunters.