Other names: Norwegian Elkhound
The Norwegian Hound is a direct descendant from the ancient Spitz breeds. The national dog of Norway, the Elkhound has a well-earned reputation as a brave and fearless hunting companion. As well as tracking small game, these powerful dogs were also used to hunt moose, bears, and even wolves. These bold, playful dogs make excellent pets for experienced owners. First-time owners should think carefully before adopting the Norwegian hound.
Key facts about the Norwegian Hound
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Origins and history
The Norwegian hound is an ancient breed, originating in Norway’s huge forests, among the lakes and rivers. Its remains have been found in ancient Viking burial sites, and many were buried alongside their owners. They were developed to track moose and bears and would hold them at bay until their masters arrived.
They made their first appearance at a dog show in 1877 and were recognised by the Kennel Club in 1901. They are rarely seen or bred outside of their native Norway.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds
Section 1 : Scent hounds
Physical characteristics of the Norwegian Hound
Female : Between 19 and 21 in
Male : Between 20 and 23 in
Female : Between 44 and 55 lb
Male : Between 44 and 55 lb
Grey, silver, tan.
Type of coat
Short but extremely thick. Tough and wiry on the surface, with a soft undercoat.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a powerfully built dog with a thick, husky-like coat. Slightly shorter than the average spitz, with a compact and short trunk, they have large, square-shaped heads, moderately long muzzles, and strong jaws. The eyes have a frank, bold, and friendly expression, and the ears are high, pointed, and stiff. The Elkhound has a long, fluffy tail that curls upwards. They look like a cross between a Husky and a German Shepherd.
Good to know
This is a dog that requires an expert dog handler. They’re exceptionally strong and very intelligent. Inexperienced dog owners will have a tough time handling these animals.
Despite their wild natures, they make excellent pets for the right kind of owners.
Despite being bred to hunt some of the most fearsome predators on the planet, the Norwegian Hound is a big softy to the people he meets daily.
Younger Norwegian Hounds are extremely playful. They have boundless energy and will play for hours at a time. Games that stimulate his intellect and physical abilities will help to reinforce his education and the relationship between master and dog.
The Norwegian Hound can be quite boisterous, especially when they get excited. Although this can be entertaining, it can also overwhelm some people. These powerful dogs need a confident hand.
These dogs are very smart. This means they know how to get what they want. This highly intelligent dog is capable of running rings around an inexperienced dog owner.
The Norwegian Hound is a fearsome hunter. He is capable of tracking down bears, moose, and wolves.
Fearful / wary of strangers
He is naturally very suspicious of unfamiliar people and can be out of control if he is not well socialised.
These dogs are strong-minded, willful, and can become a real handful if not properly trained.
Behaviour of the Norwegian Hound
The absence of his master doesn’t worry him, and allows him to fulfil his mission of guardian.
Easy to train / obedience
This intelligent, independent dog requires an expert handler who is familiar with complex dog training methods. First-time owners will struggle to handle this willful animal.
This dog is a real barker, and he’s capable of making lots of noise. He will bark incessantly when he spots his prey, and when he wants to get his master’s attention. Early training and socialisation are vital.
Tendency to run away
His very strong predatory instinct drives him to run off as soon as he has the opportunity.
They’re not naturally destructive dogs, although they are prone to separation anxiety. This can lead to destructive behaviour, and these powerful dogs can do lots of damage. Make sure their needs are being met.
Greedy / Gluttony
Using treats to educate this dog is a must, because you really need to have good sources of motivation to get him to cooperate.
The Norwegian Hound is a first-rate watchdog. They also make excellent guard-dogs. They’re strong, brave, and fearless. Just one look at these dogs will deter any potential intruders.
If you’ve never owned a dog before, then the Norwegian Hound is not a good place to start. They’re far too willful for a novice dog owner.
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Norwegian Hound in a flat
These working dogs should never be kept in a flat or a small house. He should preferably live in the countryside, in a secure environment to avoid repeated escapes.
Need for exercise / Sporty
One hour of high-intensity physical and mental exercise every day. These dogs are much better on the leash than other working dogs, although they still need to run free and explore. This dog has stamina, courage, and energy in spades.
Travelling / easy to transport
Norwegian Elkhounds are too big to travel by plane. He can travel alongside his master thanks to his average size, but it requires a lot of training and socialisation work to him to integrate well into new environments.
Norwegian Hound and cats
If you’ve got cats, then don’t get a Norwegian Hound. These dogs have a huge prey drive and will chase any cats at the first opportunity.
Norwegian Hound and dogs
If they’re introduced from an early age, Norwegian Hounds get on really well with other dogs. Older hounds can be territorial and very protective of their owners. They might see other dogs as a threat.
Norwegian Hound and children
Despite being very playful and loving, these dogs can be very boisterous and do not like being harassed. They’re not really suited for families with young children or toddlers.
Norwegian Hound and the elderly
Some elderly people will struggle handing these powerful dogs. They can also be quite stubborn and demanding.
A Norwegian Hound costs approximately £560 if not registered at the Kennel Club.
Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £50 to £100 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.
This dog must be brushed very frequently to maintain the protective qualities of his coat.
Nutrition of the Norwegian Hound
Traditional food, such as raw meat, vegetables, and starchy foods are recommended. Rationing portions into two meals should avoid a stomach upset.
Health of the Norwegian Hound
The lifespan of a Norwegian Hound is approximately 13 years.
Strong / robust
These dogs are extremely strong and robust. Remember, they were bred to hunt wolves and bears.
The cold and wet won’t bother these dogs. Their thick furry coat provides excellent insulation during the winter months.
Tendency to put on weight
These dogs are not prone to weight gain or obesity, but they do become less active as they get older. So adjust their food intake accordingly.
- Ear infections
- Renal problems
- Progressive retinal atrophy