Other names: Swedish Elkhound, Swedish Moosehound


The Jamthund is named after a small province in central Sweden. It was developed by mixing domesticated hunting dogs with wild wolves, which explains the breed’s wolf-like appearance. Used as a sled dog, a watchdog, and a hunting companion, the Jamthund is tough, brave, and very loyal. But while they’re very calm and gentle around humans, the Jamthund can become aggressive and dominant towards other dogs. Today, the Jamthund is still used as a hunting dog. They track elk, lynx, and even bears. 

Key facts about the Jämthund

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

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Origins and history

Although the Jamthund is a very ancient breed, it wasn’t recognised by a kennel club until 1946. This is because the Jamthund and the smaller Norwegian Elkhound were considered as the same breed. The two dogs have a striking similarity, so it’s understandable how many experts believed that the Jamthund was just a larger version of the Elkhound. It’s named after a central Swedish province called Jamtland and locals refer to this big, powerful breed as the “bear dog.” The Jamthund is one of the few working dog breeds that are brave enough to track and hunt bears. The Jamthund is a social and friendly dog, but many experts recommend against keeping them as just pets. The breed has a natural work ethic and will quickly grow bored of domestic life.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Jämthund

Adult size

Female : Between 20 and 24 in

Male : Between 22 and 26 in


Female : Between 55 and 66 lb

Male : Between 55 and 66 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



Large spitz breed. Strong, proud stature. Alert expression. A wolf-like appearance. 

Good to know

Often referred to as stubborn, this strong-minded dog needs a confident and competent handler.

Very gentle and soft around the family, but can quickly become aggressive if it perceives any threats to the pack. Early socialisation is crucial. 

Shouldn’t be left alone with other pets or small animals. 


  • 33%


    This big dog is a real softy at heart. They love being around their favourite people and really enjoy human contact. 

  • 66%


    A naturally playful breed. Enjoys high energy games that can also provide a mental challenge.

  • 66%


    Once properly exercised, the Jamthund becomes surprisingly calm. In fact, they’re actually quite docile, especially during the late evening. 

  • 66%


    A very intelligent dog with a strong and independent mind. Enjoys being mentally challenged. 

  • 100%


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

  • 100%

    Fearful / wary of strangers

    A confident and self-assured dog. Will never display any nervous behaviour around strangers. 

  • 100%


    Independent and strong-willed. Likes the feeling of being in charge. Tends to assert its personality over other dogs.

    Behaviour of the Jämthund

    • 100%

      Tolerates solitude

      The Jamthund is happiest when working alongside its handlers. This dog thrives of a close and lasting relationship with a master. Not suited to solitude.

    • 33%

      Easy to train / obedience

      Can be a little stubborn. Puppies can struggle to focus during early years training. However, these dogs are willing learners with a desire to please. 

    • 100%


      Generally quiet. Relaxed and calm around the home. Has a tendency to bark when they come into contact with other dogs. This is their way of saying “I’m the boss!”

    • 100%

      Tendency to run away

      Very unlikely to run away. Prefers to stay close to its master. 

    • 66%


      This dog is prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviour. They also enjoy digging up the garden.  

    • 66%

      Greedy / Gluttony

      No issues with overeating.

    • 100%

      Guard dog

      An  excellent watchdog. Brave, loyal, and completely fearless. Has an excellent nose for potential trouble. 

    • 33%

      First dog

      Not the best option for the first-time dog owner. The Jamthund is willful and very strong. Can easily dominate less-experienced dog handlers. 

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      Is the Jämthund right for you?

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      • 33%

        Jämthund in a flat

        A flat is the wrong environment for this large, energetic, working dog. 

      • 100%

        Need for exercise / Sporty

        This dog needs around two hours of exercise every day.

      • 66%

        Travelling / easy to transport

        These big  dogs can be awkward to transport, especially for people with smaller cars.


        • 33%

          Jämthund and cats

          It’s best to keep the Jamthund away from cats. They are well known for chasing and hunting small animals. 

        • 33%

          Jämthund and dogs

          The Jamthund is a competitive and aggressive animal. They like to take a dominant position and will often overwhelm smaller dogs.

        • 66%

          Jämthund and children

          The Jamthund is very affectionate to children that they know well. However, they should never be left unsupervised around unfamiliar children.

        • 33%

          Jämthund and the elderly

          Far too big and strong for the majority of elderly dog owners. Many elderly people may struggle to meet this dog’s exercise demands. 



          The initial cost of a Jamthund puppy is between £1,000 to £1,500. The average cost to keep one of these dogs (including vet bills, insurance, and food) is between £50 to £100 a month. 


          A weekly brush. Without this, their coats can become matted and tangled. This is very uncomfortable and can also lead to skin infections and other health complications. 


          Very heavy shedders during spring and autumn.

          Nutrition of the Jämthund

          4 cups of high-quality dog food.

          Health of the Jämthund

          Life expectancy

          A very healthy and well-bred dog. Their average life expectancy is between 12 and 14 years.

          Strong / robust

          These dogs have been hunting some of the world’s largest and most dangerous predators for thousands of years. Bred to survive in the harshest natural environments. Very strong. Very robust. 

          Withstand heat

          Sheds during the spring, which helps keep them cool in summer. However, they’re not designed for warmer climates. Will feel uncomfortable in hotter countries. 

          Withstand cold

          They have a thick, double-layered coat that provides protection against the cold, the rain, and the wind. No problems surviving the cold.

          Tendency to put on weight

          No issues with weight or obesity. Any unexplained weight gain could be linked to an underlying health issue. Consult a vet for more advice. 

          Common illnesses

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