All About the Breed Norwegian Elkhound

Have you recently fallen for the Norwegian Elkhound or do you simply love rare breeds? Learn all about the breed here, including: Breed History, Personality Traits, Train-ability, Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed, and Common Health Concerns.

Also known as the Norsk Elghund, Norsk Elghund Gra, Gray Norwegian Elkhound, Small Gray Elk Dog, and the Norwegian Moose Dog, the Norwegian Elkhound is a loyal and playful breed.

But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you?

This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.


The origin of the Norwegian Elkhound can be traced back to over ancient Norway, over 6,000 years ago. Enthusiasts believe these dogs to have descended from the primitive and ancient Pariah Dog, though this has never been proven scientifically or otherwise.

Throughout its history, the Norwegian Elkhound has been most commonly used for hunting large game such as elk and wolves, herding and protecting cattle and shepherds, and as a watch dog, proving its superior abilities to work in any climate and terrain.

The Norwegian Elkhound made its United States Debut in the early 1900's, gaining favor as an impressive show dog breed.

Though the Norwegian Elkhound has attained an underground popularity for its many skills, the breed remains rather rare outside of Europe.

Personality Traits

Best known for its fearless and loyal nature, the Norwegian Elkhound is willing to do whatever it takes to protect its owner and territory. This breed is very intelligent and easily trainable. These dogs are known to be very playful well into old age and enjoy time outdoors, no matter what the weather. As a pet, the Norwegian Elkhound is gentle, obedient, loving, and affectionate.


Due to its eagerness to impress and please its owner, the Norwegian Elkhound generally responds well to basic training and commands. These dogs are very bright and have the ability to learn to perform most any task its trainer is willing to take the time to teach.

Establishing immediate dominance and trust is key to successfully training the Norwegian Elkhound. This breed responds best to a stern yet gentle approach by a confident handler.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed

There are many benefits to owning a Norwegian Elkhound. These dogs remain active well into old age and are often quite entertaining to watch when at play. When properly socialized from a young age, the Norwegian Elkhound gets along well with other pets and small children, known for being particularly protective of children.

This breed is protective and territorial, making an excellent guard dog and deterrent to would-be intruders. The Norwegian Elkhound is loyal, obedient, loving, and affectionate, making an amazing family pet and companion alike.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a Norwegian Elkhound. This energetic and athletic breed requires large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so.

A Norwegian Elkhound not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out by destroying property, chewing, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.

The Norwegian Elkhound has a strong instinct to hunt and will occasionally indulge in a good chase. When on the run, these dogs are rather quick and may pose a threat to other animals, neighborhood pets, and small woodland creatures. The Norwegian Elkhound must be leashed or properly secured at all times when outdoors.

Like most Spitz breeds, the Norwegian Elkhound's thick and beautiful coat requires almost constant attention, brushing, and grooming to maintain its attractive appearance.

As previously mentioned, the Norwegian Elkhound remains rather rare outside of Europe and the United States and can prove difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.

Common Health Concerns

While the Norwegian Elkhound is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: hip dysplasia, likeliness to develop cysts, kidney problems such as chronic infection, progressive retinal atrophy, thyroid problems, obesity, and bloat.

Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a Norwegian Elkhound?

Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.