Though it is naturally a hunting dog, a Norwegian Elkhound has great versatility and energy. It makes a great family pet if trained right. Find out why.
Cold winds, snow, and ice do not deter this most rugged of dogs, for it is Scandinavian through and through. The Norwegian Elkhound can be trained to pull sleds and also makes a first-class household pet. As a member of the Spitz family of dogs, it has remained essentially unchanged over thousands of years.
In Norway, ancient fossil skeletons of dogs have been found that are identical to the living Elkhound. It worked well with Nordic hunters a thousand years before the time of Christ and later accompanied the Viking raiders across the seas. Its traditional quarry ranged from rabbits and deer to lynx, bear, and elk. The Elkhound arrived in Britain during World War I and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935. Although it is not used as a hunting dog outside its native land, this Nordic creature is still used to catch prey in some parts of Scandinavia.
The Elkhound’s temperament is independent, civilized, and courageous. They are particularly determined and independent yet, affectionate dogs. They love to roam, and any time they pick up the scent of an animal, they will pursue their hunt while either informing their owners with a cry or simply ignoring them.
Such dogs love strenuous activity and should be taken for a walk (or jog) every day for at least one hour. They have the ability to keep up with bicyclists. If they are allowed to exercise each day, they can be kept in an apartment. Still, a large, fenced-in backyard is best.
As a pet, the Elkhound is known to be loyal and friendly but alert and bold. They make great companions for children as they greet those they know with great eagerness. Their owners must be firm and gentle when disciplining and obedience training them, teaching them not to bark excessively. Such a dog should be taught to heel alongside or behind the owner, never in front. Because they are natural-born hunters, such dogs should not be trusted alone with cats, hamsters, or other non-canine pets. Still, they can be trained to get along with other animals fine.
The Norwegian Elkhound body is short and compact but powerful. Their overcoat is waterproof, coarse, with ruffles around its neck, while the undercoat is soft and dense. Their colors are shades of grey but lighter on the areas underneath. Its muzzles, ears, and tail tip are black. Its legs are straight, strong, and powerful, but not coarse. Their feet are solid and slightly oval, with well-arched toes and firm nails. The tail curls up tightly over its back.
A Norwegian Elkhound’s head has these characteristics: it is broad, wedge-shaped with a distinct stop and a gradually tapering muzzle; the eyes are of medium size, dark brown in color, and oval in shape; their ears are comparatively small, pointed, erect, and stand straight up; the bridge of the nose is straight, and the jaw is strong with a perfect scissor bite.
Adult Elkhounds stand between 18 and 21 tall and weigh 40 to 60 pounds.
This breed of dog lives 12 to 15 years. As they age, they are likely to develop hip dysplasia, pyotraumatic dermatitis, which is caused when the dog licks or bites at its skin, or possibly Fanconi syndrome, a kidney disorder. Since the breed gains weight easily, you need to be careful not to overfeed them.
Their coat is easy to maintain and should be brushed at least once a week. As the hair of the undercoat sheds, it must be removed with a rubber brush or wooden comb with a double set of metal teeth to prevent the old, dead hair from clinging to the new. Since their coat is water and dirt-resistant, they must be bathed to remove excessive body oils.
Adopting a Norwegian Elkhound
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