Norwegian Hound

Other names: Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Hound

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

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Intelligent Hunter

Size :

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

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Norwegian Hound

Adult size

Female : Between 19 and 21 in

Male : Between 20 and 23 in


Female : Between 44 and 55 lb

Male : Between 44 and 55 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



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.


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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    The Norwegian Hound is a fearsome hunter. He is capable of tracking down bears, moose, and wolves.

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    Fearful / wary of strangers

    He is naturally very suspicious of unfamiliar people and can be out of control if he is not well socialised.

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    These dogs are strong-minded, willful, and can become a real handful if not properly trained.

    Behaviour of the Norwegian Hound

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      Tolerates solitude

      The absence of his master doesn’t worry him, and allows him to fulfil his mission of guardian.

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      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.

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      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.

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