Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound

24 October 2023

Considering bringing home a new family member? The floofy Norwegian Elkhound can be a great choice for the right home!

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Let’s talk about… Norwegian Elkhounds: what are they?

  • Norwegian Elkhounds are a breed of dog that originated in Norway and have been used for centuries as hunting dogs.
  • They are a medium-sized spitz-type breed with a distinctive wolf-like appearance.
  • Elkhounds were primarily bred for tracking and hunting large game, such as elk and bear.
  • They have a strong sense of smell and excellent endurance, making them well-suited for tracking and holding game at bay until the hunter arrives.
  • They have been used as search and rescue dogs, as well as sled dogs in some regions.
  • Elkhounds are known for their thick double coat, which comes in various shades of grey, ranging from light silver to darker shades of grey.
  • They have a wedge-shaped head, erect ears, and a tightly curled tail that rests over their back.
  • On average, male Norwegian Elkhounds stand between 48 to 53 cm tall, while females are slightly smaller at 46 to 51 cm.
  • The average weight for Norwegian Elkhounds is between 20 to 25 kg.
  • These dogs have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years.
Norwegian Elkhound  Exercise needs 4/5; Grooming ease 3/5; Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Norwegian Elkhounds like?

  • Norwegian Elkhounds have a friendly, independent, and courageous temperament.
  • They are loyal and devoted to their families and make excellent companions.
  • Elkhounds are known for their alertness and protective nature, which makes them good watchdogs. They can be quite vocal dogs.
  • They are generally good with children and can get along well with other pets if properly socialised from a young age.
  • However, their hunting instincts can make them prone to chasing smaller animals, so caution should be exercised when introducing them to smaller pets.
  • Elkhounds are intelligent dogs but can also be independent and strong-willed.
  • They require consistent training with positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Early socialisation is important to help them develop good manners and be comfortable in various situations.
  • Norwegian Elkhounds thrive when they have a job to do and enjoy participating in activities such as obedience, agility, or tracking.
Harry, the Norwegian Elkhound
Harry, the Norwegian Elkhound

How much exercise do Norwegian Elkhounds need?

  • Norwegian Elkhounds are an active breed that requires regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • They benefit from at least 1.5 hours of exercise per day.
  • This exercise can be a combination of walks, jogs, playtime in a securely fenced area, or engaging in canine sports such as tracking or agility.
  • Elkhounds have a high energy level and enjoy outdoor activities.
  • They have a strong instinct to follow scents, so it's important to keep them on a lead or in a secure area to prevent them from wandering off.
  • Mental stimulation is equally important for Elkhounds, and they thrive when given tasks to complete or puzzles to solve.
  • It's important to note that individual exercise requirements vary based on their age, health, and overall energy level.
  • Norwegian Elkhound puppies have specific exercise requirements to support their growth and development.
  • As young puppies, their exercise should be limited to short and controlled play sessions to avoid overexertion.
  • Puppies should not engage in intense or high-impact activities until their bones and joints have fully developed, usually around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • Consult with your vet for specific exercise recommendations tailored to your Norwegian Elkhound puppy.
Loki, the Norwegian Elkhound
Loki, the Norwegian Elkhound

Do Norwegian Elkhounds need a lot of grooming?

  • Norwegian Elkhounds have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and free from tangles and mats.
  • They have a dense, weather-resistant outer coat and a soft, insulating undercoat. To maintain their coat, they should be brushed at least once or twice a week to remove loose hair, prevent matting, and keep the coat looking tidy.
  • During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage the increased hair loss.
  • Elkhounds shed moderately throughout the year, with heavier shedding occurring during seasonal changes.
  • Norwegian Elkhounds are generally clean dogs and do not require frequent bathing unless they get particularly dirty or develop an odour.
  • Overall, grooming the Norwegian Elkhound is an important part of their care routine to keep their coat healthy and well-maintained.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Mila, the Norwegian Elkhound

Are Norwegian Elkhounds easy to train?

  • Norwegian Elkhounds are intelligent dogs but can also be independent and strong-willed.
  • Training them requires consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Early socialisation is crucial to expose them to different people, animals, and environments, helping them develop into well-rounded and well-behaved adults.
  • Start training your Norwegian Elkhound puppy from a young age, focusing on basic obedience commands, lead manners, and positive interactions with people and other animals.
  • Use reward-based training methods such as treats, praise, and play to motivate them and reinforce desired behaviours.
  • Keep training sessions engaging and varied to prevent boredom, as Elkhounds can become stubborn if they feel repetitive or uninteresting.
  • With proper training, socialisation, and positive reinforcement, Norwegian Elkhounds can become well-trained and obedient companions.
Sonia, the Norwegian Elkhound
Sonia, the Norwegian Elkhound

What do Norwegian Elkhounds eat?

  • Feeding your Norwegian Elkhound a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and well-being.
  • As puppies, they should be fed a high-quality puppy-specific diet that supports their growth and development. They should have 3-4 meals a day until they are six months old when this should be reduced to twice daily meals.
  • Puppies have specific nutritional requirements, so it's important to follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer or consult with your vet for personalised recommendations.
  • As they transition into adulthood, usually around 12 to 18 months of age, they can be slowly changed on to an adult dog food formulated for their size and activity level. Again your vet can advise.

Are Norwegian Elkhounds healthy?

Norwegian Elkhounds are generally a healthy breed, but like any dog, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some of the health concerns that may affect Norwegian Elkhounds include:

Body Weight

  • Obesity - Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation leading to secondary health concerns.

Bones and Joints

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Fanconi Syndrome - abnormal function of the tubules in the kidney which can lead to kidney failure

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Norwegian Elkhound is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Norwegian Elkhounds

BorrowMyDoggy has 125 Norwegian Elkhound members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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