Norwegian Elkhound

Breed History

Norwegian Elkhound laying down

Norwegian Elkhound is a compact, sturdy, and smart dog that has a curly tail on that is tight to their bodies. Straight ears with a square box shape build you will notice that they look like dogs in their region.

Spitz type dog by nature displaying a strong prey drive and can hunt down large animals in packs. Strong hunting instincts and their size made them one of the best in their native land.

As one of the oldest breeds in the Spitz family they should all the characteristics you would see in any Spitz dogs. Same fur, working dog, guardian and a strong physical presence.

National dog of their country Norway a distinction they have held for a long time. First part of their name from their country as people from there hold the title of Norwegians.

Second part comes from what they did which is hunt Elk, or moose. Many animals have felt the presence of these dogs, but they are famous for taking down elks. Herder and guard dog from wolves and bears

They have been in this region from 4 thousand years ago. Skeleton remains with the Viking leaders along with their weaponry puts them in rare company having a proper burial of this kind.

Like most dogs they lost their jobs because people aren’t hunting elks to feed their families and it is sport around certain times of the year. Commercial farming practices has made it hard to justify hunting for food in recent memory.


Top 100 dog in registration in the United States they still enjoy more popularity than most dogs in the country. After being one of the earliest dogs to receive registration in the states many people still own them as pets.

In 1913, they got their official recognition. Although they had been in the country in earlier years, they had to wait like all the other dogs before forming their Kennel Club and getting recognized.

Hound dog in every major Kennel Club due to their strong prey drive and singular focus from their homeland. Here are the major kennel clubs and their breed standards for the Norwegian Elkhound.

Norwegian Elkhound Size

Male Height:  21 inches

Female Height: 20 inches

Male Weight: 55 pounds

Female Weight: 50 pounds

Boys aren’t too much bigger than girls in height or in weight.

Litter Size

6 puppies are the average litter size for the Norwegian Elkhound. Mothers have no issues pushing out their puppies naturally without help from humans.

Types of Elkhounds

Black Norwegian Elkhound – modern version of the Norwegian Elkhound and it comes in a different color of fully black. No Kennel Club shows this dog recognition except the international FCI Kennel Club.

Norwegian Elkhound – one of the oldest of this kind and they date back further than any other Spitz dog type. Most of the dogs in the Spitz section have some Norwegian Elkhound or a common ancestor in them.

Swedish Elkhound – is another dog that is known to hunt down Elk in packs without any issues. A little taller than the Norwegian Elkhound and Black Norwegian Elkhound.

White Elkhound – is a dog that is known for hunting Elk as well but is very recent and has no registration with any major Kennel Club yet.


  • Black – Gray and Silver
  • Gray – Black and Silver
  • Silver – Black and Gray

This dog must be gray and mostly gray. Any other color than the ones described above will result in immediate disqualification. Other colors would suggest some type of crossbreeding.


$1,000-$5,000 is the price of a Norwegian Elkhound. Prices vary depending on multiple factors. Location, currency exchange, supply, demand, and champion blood line can all affect the price dramatically.

Papers will ensure that your dog is full blood and meeting all breed standards. Quality of the puppy is high and close to the way they should look with the ability to participate in all dog show competitions.

When a dog doesn’t have papers at some point the dog’s parent’s bloodline was crossbred and couldn’t receive papers. Both parents without papers can dramatically change the way the dog looks.

Expect to pay much less around a few hundred dollars when you want to get one of these dogs without papers.


Before any grooming session make sure you exercise the dog for at least one hour to put the dog in a calm state mentally and physically. Strong introductions to the grooming process will help the dog stay calm any time you start the grooming process.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the dog at least once per week will be the best way to keep the coat brushed. Buy a brush that can get to the skin of this thick coat and brush it outwards.

Comb the dog at least once the per week and this will help a lot during shedding season. Excess hair that is loose will fall out on couches, in cars, and everywhere they go unless you groom properly.

Bathing the dog should be done at least once a month or every six weeks at the latest. Doing it on a schedule helps for our busy clients and when dirty for others.

Ear infections are something that can affect any dog. Spitz type dogs have straight ears and dirt can enter at any time causing a buildup and eventually infections. Avoid a costly vet bill by cleaning the ears weekly.

Nails will be trim if you exercise the dog, which we recommend. When you chose not to exercise, which we don’t recommend, you will have to cut them with nail clippers.

Professional help is a recommendation for the Norwegian Elkhound.

Life Span

12-15 years is the lifespan of the Norwegian Elkhound. They live a long time and an owner should be aware of the lifespan of this dog. Making a 15-year commitment when the dog is eight weeks old is a serious decision. Adopting this dog as an adult would be a great option because you can own them for a long time.

Health Issues

Eye Exam – getting the eyes a checkup from a licensed professional should happen at some time after the dog is 2 months old and these professionals can conduct early findings of eye related diseases. Some conditions are mild while others can cause partial or complete blindness.

Patellar Luxation – as a medium dog breed they still get issues with their kneecaps. Partial or complete dislocations can occur, and owners should be aware of this dog limping or favoring a certain leg. Get an x-ray to determine if the knee is in good or bad condition.

Hip Dysplasia – hips need an x-ray especially if the dog is not willing to participate in normal exercise activity.

Breed Group

Proud members of the Hound Group. All dogs in this group have a strong prey drive and are known historically to hunt large or small game. Specializing in hunting down a wild range of animals is the common connection between these dogs.

Here are some of the dogs in this breed group

Exercise Needs

Norwegian Elkhound is very active and needs a job to do. Failure to provide an outlet daily will result in some undesirable behavior. Owners showing a lack of ability to exercise their dogs will result in them getting rid of the dog or hating the presence of the dog. Either one of these are favorable outcomes.

Nonetheless, exercise cures all in this scenario. Dogs are digging, excessive barking, chewing up shoes, and other bad behaviors are all signs of boredom and can show a strong decrease with exercise.

Once you start exercising and some of these problems persists you want to increase the workload. Some people have no idea how much to exercise each day. When the dog is not giving you any issues at all you are exercising them enough. Remember, how much exercise is fluid and the dog’s needs will change.

Here is a basic guideline we give everybody to start with

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 minutes (run, walk, or treadmill)

Younger dogs will need frequent runs and sometimes running them daily is the best decision. Really bad behavior that needs to stop right now I would recommend two runs per day on a bike.

Next, as an adult you will need more balance and the dog will still need runs but not all the time. Having awareness of the energy levels and excitement will teach you how much they need.

Older dog in their senior years don’t need many runs. A walk around the corner will be all that they need.

Guiding you at all points of their life should be their behavior and excitement levels. Understanding this dynamic will help you get them exactly what they need all the time.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Building a strong foundation should start and end with exercising the dog. There is no activity that will make the dog listen to you for one to two hours per day better than exercise. Most of the issues you have will go away with a moderate exercise program of one hour per day. Adding a second session while training will take it to the next level. After a while the dog will be completely obedient, and you will not need to exercise so much but always enough to keep behavior in check. Expect to spend most of your time in this area.

 Commands training is very popular and for good reason. Your dog does need to be able to listen to you on and off leash for safety reasons. Although this is true people think this will help the dog with excitement or other areas of their life. Teaching the dog to sit will not help with dog energy levels and over-excitement.

Socializing the dog should be done after a strong hour exercise session and the dog will be nice and calm ready to socialize and not exercise. When taking them to the park you will notice that some owners bring their dog to exercise and the dog park is not the place for exercising.

Correct the dog with verbal commands or on and off leash corrections. Make sure the dog sits or lays after the no commands.

Additional Resources