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Norwegian Elkhound Grey

Other names: Norwegian Moose Dog, Grey Elk Dog, Norskelghund, Grå norsk elghund, Gray Norwegian Elkhound, Small Grey Elk Dog, Harmaa norjanhirvikoira, Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound Grey

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient spitz breed. The national dog of Norway, the Elkhound is a revered and skillful hunting dog. A brave and fearless animal, they’re used to track moose, bears, elk, and even wolves. This dog is exceptionally loyal and tends to form a close bond with one member of the family. Thanks to its sharp (and very loud) bark, the Elkhound also makes an excellent watchdog. 

Key facts about the Norwegian Elkhound Grey

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Playful Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed that was developed around 3,000 years ago. It’s a result of a female wolf and male dog hybridization that occured long after wild wolves were first domesticated. It seems that Scandinavian tribes  were looking for a way to improve the existing hunting breeds by crossing them with wolves. And they certainly succeeded with the Norwegian Elkhound. This dog has been hunting alongside humans ever since and still helps hunters track large game such as moose, elk, and bears. This highly prized dog was rarely seen outside of Norway until the late 19th Century. It was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1901. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Norwegian Elkhound Grey

Adult size

Female : Between 17 and 18 in

Male : Between 18 and 19 in


Female : Between 44 and 55 lb

Male : Between 44 and 55 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



Medium sized spitz breed. Sturdy build with a square body and large head. Thick fur and bushy tail.  Alert, intelligent expression. Elongated muzzle.

Good to know

Young Elkhounds are very boisterous, and as puppies, they border on the hyperactive. They need a tremendous amount of exercise and stimulation. 

Elkhounds love cold weather, especially the snow. 

The Elkhound can be very stubborn and disobedient. They can run rings around less experienced dog handlers.


  • 33%


    A loyal and affectionate dog that enjoys lots of contact with its owner. Much less affectionate around strangers.

  • 100%


    An energetic, bold character that loves to play. The Elkhound is a very intelligent dog, so games must be interesting.

  • 33%


    Older Elkhounds are quite calm, but younger dogs, and especially puppies, are very boisterous. Has a tendency to jump up, which can unnerve people who are less familiar with dogs. 

  • 66%


    A very intelligent dog with a strong and independent mind. Keeping them mentally stimulated is just as important as keeping them well exercised. 

  • 100%


    This dog was bred to hunt elk, moose, and bears. Has a very high prey drive. A fearless hunter. 

  • 100%

    Fearful / wary of strangers

    A very confident dog that will rarely get scared by anyone or anything. However, they can be a little suspicious of strangers. Because they’re so loyal to the pack, they view strangers as outsiders, and a potential threat.  

  • 100%


    Independent and very strong-willed. A dominant personality, especially around other dogs. 

    Behaviour of the Norwegian Elkhound Grey

    • 100%

      Tolerates solitude

      A social dog that requires lots of human contact and company. These dogs have been working alongside people for thousands of years. They’re not suited to solitude. 

    • 33%

      Easy to train / obedience

      Responds well to reward-based training methods, but requires a firm and confident handler. Consistency and structure are really important when training these highly-intelligent animals.

    • 100%


      Known as a very vocal breed. The Elkhound has a loud and very distinct bark. 

    • 100%