Learning About The Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

Background and Registry


The Norwegian Elkhounds had a long history before them. It goes back to Medieval times and the era of Vikings wherein they were bred traditionally as guard dogs for farms and hunters for wild animals that are sometimes bigger than themselves. In fact, the dog breed was called an “Elkhound” for their expertise in hunting elks.

Many Norwegian Elkhounds had been featured in different myths through the years. History even holds pieces of evidence that some of the Norwegian Elkhounds were held with high esteem for being loyal companions of respected lords and masters.

At present, this dog breed still retains their natural bravery, intelligence, and loyalty which makes them a great friend and partner to any fur parent who would love them.


Prestigious clubs such as the British Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed of the Norwegian Elkhound.

For the latter club, the breed is categorized under the Hound group having been bred previously as hunters.

General Information on Norwegian Elkhounds

  • HeightMale 20.5 in, Female 19.5 in
  • WeightMale 55 lb, Female 48 lb
  • Lifespan12 to 15 years


Independent, Smart, Loyal, Playful, Courageous, Stubborn

Best match

Families with older kids, Active single fur parents, home with fenced-in yard, spacious apartment

Physical Appearance

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

Norwegian Elkhounds fall under the category of medium-sized dogs. The male variety of this breed is significantly bigger at a height of 20.5 in and weight of 55 lb, compared to their female counterpart which only has a height and weight of 19.5 in and 48 lb, respectively.

A Norwegian Elkhound is a spitz-type dog breed that has adorable dark brown eyes and a pointed snout with a black nose. It has tall and erect ears topping its head. It has a solid body and powerful legs making it an effective hunter even against preys bigger than it is.

The coat of a Norwegian Elkhound is very thick. It is a double coat that is woolly underneath which makes it good protection particularly against the cold. So you wouldn’t need to worry about its need for an additional layer of protection during the winter season.

A Norwegian Elkhound’s topcoat is smooth and soft to the touch. It is black-tipped and doesn’t grow long. It is normally grayish in color peppered with some silver. This is further accentuated by darker shades of gray that are sometimes almost black at some parts while its underside is almost always a lighter shade of gray.

Overall, it gives the impression of regal beauty that will get a second look in a crowd and can even take your breath away.



Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

Norwegian Elkhounds would need a moderate amount of grooming. While they can live with at least once a week brushing, this should be increased especially during shedding season as they can spread hair everywhere in your home.

Brushing the coat of your Norwegian Elkhound has its perks too. It helps remove all the debris, dead hair, and dirt that got stuck into it and allows it to look healthy all the time.

If you don’t know it yet, the coat of a Norwegian Elkhound contains a natural oil. This helps keep it moisturized and keeps its coat healthy. By regularly brushing the coat of your Norwegian Elkhounds, you are also helping spread this oil.

You can also maximize the brushing experience of your fur baby by making this one of your bonding times as well. Give it a few rubs as you go about brushing it and don’t forget to give it a treat afterwards.

Norwegian Elkhounds may enjoy being brushed, but they will be more motivated to behave if they know that there is something for them at the end of the activity.


You’d be happy to know that with how thick the coat of a Norwegian Elkhound is, it doesn’t easily get smelly. Thus, bathing can be done once a month or whenever it is necessary.

There are dog formulated shampoo and conditioners available commercially that you can use in bathing your Norwegian Elkhound. You may also want to check for any sore spots or allergies on the skin of your pooch as you are drying it. This would enable you to address it quickly so the condition wouldn’t worsen.

Other Grooming Needs

The ears of your Norwegian Elkhound can accumulate dirt. That’s why it needs to be checked and cleaned at least every week.

There are ear cleaners for doggos available at the pet stores that can help you with this task. You can also use cotton balls on cleaning the outer part.

You will notice that the nails of your pooch grow long easily. Thus, you will need to clip this at least every other week. You wouldn’t want your pooch to be bringing in the dirt with those nails.

Just be careful in cutting its nails because cutting them too short could accidentally nip the base of its nail which causes bleeding. This would not only hurt your fur baby but would also scare it off from the task

Lastly, don’t forget about cleaning the teeth of your doggo at least every other day. Doing this can keep it healthy and strong, and can prevent it from developing oral health problems.

Food and Feeding

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

An energetic dog such as Norwegian Elkhounds would need a sufficient amount of nutrition to sustain them daily. It’s a good thing that even if they have various dietary requirements throughout their life, there is a selection of dog food out there that could help meet their needs. You just need to be selective of the ingredients and pick one that would not only be of high quality but would also be healthy.

There are types of dog food out there that are made of fillers and refined ingredients. You should veer away from those. Instead, choose one that is made up of whole grains.

You should pick one formulated also for Norwegian Elkhounds. This should be a high-protein diet with a small portion of carbohydrates.

If you would choose dry food for your adult Norwegian Elkhound, the recommended amount would be between 2 to 2 1/2 cups of kibble per day. This should be divided into 2 feeding schedules.

This can still be modified depending on the intensity of its exercises and other physical activities per day. If you think your fur baby would need more, you can gradually increase the serving size. But be watchful that it should also maintain its ideal weight. You won’t want to cause your Norwegian Elkhounds to be obese.

You could also choose to give your fur baby canned food, cooked food, and even raw ones. Just make sure that the serving would be equivalent to its ideal kibble need.

The problem normally for cooked food is that they can be pricier and could take a lot of effort to make. It can be harder to balance too in terms of the ingredients. But a vet could guide you in how to prepare a balanced meal for a Norwegian Elkhound.

Vitamins could also help supplement the diet of your pooch. This is good in helping them boost their immune system and strengthen other parts of the body.

Likewise, you can ask the opinion of your vet for the best vitamins for your Norwegian Elkhound and how much you should give it.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

You are in for an energetic and playful dog breed with a Norwegian Elkhound dog breed. It is a pooch that enjoys the great outdoors and is used to exploring different scents that attract them having been bred traditionally as hunting dogs. Because of this, you will not have a hard time putting a leash on it and encouraging for a stroll.

A Norwegian Elkhound should have plentiful of exercise daily. Given the high amount of energy it has, at least an hour of exercise distributed into two schedules daily would do good in providing it mental stimulation and in maintaining its great condition.

While a walk would suffice for other breeds of dogs, you may need to be more creative in planning the physical activity of your Norwegian Elkhound to give it satisfaction.

You may bring your doggo for a hike. You may also play catch with it or a game of fetch. Swimming can also be a part of the schedule or other dog sports.

If you are not an active person, then having a fenced-in yard would work too. You can let it play on its own after a 15 to 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. You can supplement its playtime with a ball it can chase or other interactive toys.

Just don’t forget to put it under close monitoring because being a natural hunter, it can easily get lost into its instinct particularly if it spots other smaller animals nearby.

It is important for a fur parent not to miss the exercise schedule of a Norwegian Elkhound. Doing so could lead to misbehavior such as incessant barking, howling, or the destruction of your furniture.


Right Training Approach

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

One of the characteristics that you would love about a Norwegian Elkhound is that it is intelligent. But while that ensures that it won’t have any problems learning the things taught during training, it poses a challenge because it can be an independent thinker too. This means that the trainer needs to work extra hard in establishing its dominance over this pooch.

Norwegian Elkhounds normally embrace the role of being in charge which does not bode well during training. This may cause it to be resistant to its trainer’s effort and just decide to do the thing it wants to do. In short, the training wouldn’t be successful.

Training a Norwegian Elkhound is not for the faint of heart. There is a big possibility that fur parents who have not handled similar dog breeds before may have difficulty especially if they failed to establish their role as the alpha early on.

It will also help you if you are going to use a reward-based approach because this will be a good way to motivate your Norwegian Elkhound. You may find that it will respond better to treats than praises so it is best if you keep yummy treats with you during the training.

When you continue with this approach, it is possible that training will be among the activities your Norwegian Elkhound will be looking forward to.

Negative reinforcement should never be the approach with a Norwegian Elkhound. This can affect have a negative and lasting impact on the behavior of your fur baby. It may cause it to be anxious and depressed. There are also chances that it could cause it to be aggressive which no fur parent would want.

Basic Training

When you get past that obstacle in planning how you will approach training your Norwegian Elkhound, you can now proceed on the actual training.

Understandably, it can be tempting to jump into teaching your Norwegian Elkhound different tricks. This can be fulfilling especially when you can show it off with your friends during gatherings. However, before you can jump into this, it is highly advisable to prioritize potty training first.

Potty training helps instill discipline on your doggo while at the same time making sure that it won’t spread its stinky business in your home. You can start by proactively taking it outside at those times where it would likely be doing its business such as upon waking up, before going to bed, and every after its feeding schedule.

Soon enough, your doggo would get the hang of the schedule you set. It is even possible that it will develop its way of communicating to you when it would need to go out. Some dogs expressed it by pacing restlessly near the door, while others whine or scratch the door too. Your Norwegian Elkhound may develop its own habit too so you just need to wait and see.

Afterwards, you can start your Norwegian Elkhound with obedience training by starting with simple commands. This will be a good foundation if you decide to let your fur baby go through advanced training in the future.


With the natural intelligence and independence of your Norwegian Elkhound, it is important to socialize it as early as possible. This is not a tedious task because all you need to do is to let it meet people and even other dogs as well. You don’t even need to do much because you can socialize your pooch even as you just bring it out on your daily walk.

The importance of socialization to your Norwegian Elkhound is that it will help it adapt to different surroundings. It will teach it how to act around strangers and it would assist in curbing any potential aggression it may have. In that way, it will grow up to be nothing but a well-behaved and confident pooch.

Common Health Concerns

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

Like other breeds of dogs, a Norwegian Elkhound is not invincible. It is also susceptible to different health issues.

Among the most common health concerns linked to this breed are the following:


This is a disorder wherein your Norwegian Elkhound gains unnecessary fat that makes it go above its ideal weight. The primary cause of this is the overconsumption of food and an unhealthy diet. This poses a risk because it increases the probability of a Norwegian Elkhound developing other diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.

To prevent a Norwegian Elkhound from getting obese, it is the responsibility of a fur parent to feed it only with a healthy meal and regulate the amount of its food depending on its size, age, and activity level. If you notice that your fur baby is starting to get round, then it is a sign already that you need to adjust its food because it may be getting a bit more than what is good for it.

Fanconi Syndrome

This is the disorder affecting the kidney of a Norwegian Elkhound wherein the tubules do not function properly. This causes kidney failure after a while.

A Norwegian Elkhound suffering from this almost always looks lethargic. There is also frequent vomiting, urination, and loss of appetite.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

These are two health issues affecting the skeletal makeup of a Norwegian Elkhound. This is when the bones comprising either the hip joint or elbow joint of a Norwegian Elkhound are not a perfect fit for each other. So instead of working smoothly, they glide against each other which causes extreme pain to a Norwegian Elkhound.

Whether it is the hip joint or the elbow joint that is affected, the result is the same. This causes lameness and affects the mobility of a Norwegian Elkhound. This can even result to the development of arthritis later in their life.

There is no cure for either Hip or Elbow Dysplasia. This can only be managed with the use of pain medications. There are even instances when surgery is necessary to help make the life of a Norwegian Elkhound suffering from either of the above-mentioned condition more comfortable.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

PRA is a disorder that affects the eye of a Norwegian Elkhound. The photoreceptor cells decline over time which leads to permanent loss of vision. This is a hereditary disease that is normally passed by parent dogs to their offspring and there is no known cure for it.

A Norwegian Elkhound that is suffering from this disease is known to experience difficulty in seeing at night. Likewise, although there is no cure for it, your vet will help you manage this disease so your pooch could still have a normal life.

Unfortunately, most of the common health issues that a Norwegian Elkhound suffer from have no exact cure. One way to prevent this, however, is to only get a pup from reputable breeders. They don’t breed parent dogs with diseases that they can transfer to their offspring. Thus, it will improve the likelihood that your Norwegian Elkhound will not suffer from hereditary diseases.

It could also help if you schedule a regular check-up for your dog. This will help detect the onset of any medical condition and make it possible to manage it early.


Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

Expect that a Norwegian Elkhound would have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years on average. This is assuming that the pooch is healthy and well-cared for.

A Norwegian Elkhound’s healthy lifestyle should be maintained throughout its life. The healthier it is, the higher is the probability that it will live long. At the end of the day, the health of a Norwegian Elkhound depends on the care, diet, and discipline the fur parent provides to the fur baby.


Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

It cannot be emphasized enough that a Norwegian Elkhound can be a very independent dog breed. It is smart and used to be in control so you may find it not always agreeing with you instantly.

That’s why you should bond with it as early as possible. When you gain its trust, you know that you will have a loyal and reliable partner for life.

You will have your own protector with a Norwegian Elkhound. It is fearless and alert. It is protective too. It is not innately aggressive especially when it has been trained and socialized from puppyhood. But it can be very reserved when it is around strangers. Your Elkhound would like to know them first before warming up to them.

This is the exact opposite of how it will treat its family with tail wagging and a lot of smooches when it welcomes them at the end of the day.

A Norwegian Elkhound is very devoted to its human. Despite all the confidence in working solo, it finds comfort in being around its fur parent all the time. It seeks attention intentionally and loves all the bonding time it can get with its favorite person. Since it is also an active and playful dog, making your bonding time with it fun and exciting can help strengthen your relationship with it.

But of course, a Norwegian Elkhound cannot be expected to just reach its maximum potential all on its own. A fur parent should guide it through the process by providing it sufficient training and socialization to make it well-rounded.

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breeds As Family Members

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed
Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

A Norwegian Elkhound can be a great pet for single individuals who have an active lifestyle. Being packed with high amounts of energy, you can trust that it can keep up with the activities you have in mind. It can accompany you during long walks, runs, or even if you decide to go on a hiking trip. It has just the stamina for it especially if it is conditioned through daily exercises.

If you are a fur parent with your own family and kids, a Norwegian Elkhound would be a good fit as well particularly if you have older kids. It can be a great playmate because, unlike other breeds that are of small size, a Norwegian Elkhound is not fragile. You can even trust it to be your children’s protector all the time.

However, you should also exercise utmost caution because a Norwegian Elkhound can exhibit dominant tendencies with them and with other pets, if you have any. It can even see small pets as prey. Because of this, you need to thoroughly socialize them especially if they did not grow up together. Teach the kids the right way to handle a Norwegian Elkhound and even afterwards, closely monitor their interactions.

With the size of a Norwegian Elkhound, it is ideal for it to live in a house with an enclosed yard so it could have a space to play and explore. It could be an apartment dog if the place is spacious enough but if you have close neighbors, you might want to reconsider because it can be a real barker.

While the Norwegian Elkhound’s incessant barking could be curbed by exercising it regularly, it can persist from time to time. With how loud its bark can be, it can be a bit of noise to your neighbors.


The Cost of Getting a Norwegian Elkhound

Purchasing a Norwegian Elkhound Puppy

Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

It is difficult not to fall hard with a Norwegian Elkhound. Its beauty alone makes it a head-turner.

If you want to get one, make sure that you have something between USD700 to USD5000. This is the normal cost for a Norwegian Elkhound puppy.

You should be wary if someone is offering it to you for way cheaper than that amount. Start asking relevant questions especially about the pedigree or the health condition of not only the puppy but its parents as well.

You may not be getting a purebred Norwegian Elkhound if it is being offered at a cheap price. It is also possible that it does not come in good quality.

Keep in mind that when you get a Norwegian Elkhound, you should only make a deal with a reputable and trusted breeder. In that way, you can have it in good quality and without any hidden issues especially health-wise.

Reputable breeders have a strict breeding program. All the parent dogs need to go through a strict breeding process first before they can be crossed. This ensures that they don’t have any health issues that they can pass on to their litter. They are well-cared for also when it comes to health care needs, vaccines, and diet. This is even extended to their litter until such time that the pups are released to the owners.

Reputable breeders do not scrimp on the needs of a Norwegian Elkhound. They may sell a Norwegian Elkhound puppy at a slightly higher price but you know that you are getting your money’s worth so it is still a good deal.

Considering the Shelters

If you want to get a Norwegian Elkhound at a cheaper price, you might want to check also the shelters in your neighborhood.

Amazing pets they may be, but there are instances when Norwegian Elkhounds still land on shelters for one reason or another. Because of this, many of them are looking for forever homes.

Other Costs to Consider

It is tempting to get a Norwegian Elkhound, that’s understandable. Not only is it adorable, but it can also be a valuable companion. But before getting one make sure that you know that this is a big responsibility and there are corresponding expenses you need to meet to give it a comfortable life.

For instance, it would need a good-quality of dog food. There would also be a need for dog accessories such as a leash for its daily walk, dog bows to hold its food, and even a dog bed for it to sleep at night. There would be a need for vaccines that you need to pay for at least yearly. This keeps a Norwegian Elkhound from developing potential health issues.

There are also times when your Norwegian Elkhound would need emergency services especially if it gets sick. Not to mention, other miscellaneous fees such as making your home dog-proof and bringing it to the vet for pampering whenever needed.

All of these should be considered in your budget.


Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed

It is hard to resist having a Norwegian Elkhound with all its amazing traits. Not only is it smart and protective, but it can be very loyal as well. This is a great pet for you especially if you want one that can be a devoted companion to you for a long time.

Of course, there would be work involved on your part particularly if you want your Norwegian Elkhound to reach its maximum potential. Nevertheless, your effort would be worth it if your fur baby would grow up to be a trained and well-rounded dog.

But keep in mind also that getting a Norwegian Elkhound or other dogs is a big responsibility. You must ensure first that you are prepared and you can cover all the costs before getting one.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is an Elkhound a good family dog?

There is no reason why a Norwegian Elkhound wouldn’t be a good family dog especially if it is well-trained and socialized starting at a young age. It is very loyal and protective. Despite its natural independence, it doesn’t fail to show its devotion to its fur parent too. Moreover, it is not even naturally aggressive.

However, families would small kids should be cautious because a Norwegian Elkhound is a natural hunter.

How much does an elkhound puppy cost?

A Norwegian Elkhound puppy would cost you something around USD700 to USD5000. You can expect that the better is the quality, the higher would be the price.

If you are planning to get one, however, it is important to get one only from reputable breeders. This would ensure that your Norwegian Elkhound pup wouldn’t be in poor condition. They have a strict program in place that does not compromise the quality of the puppy they produce. Thus, you are getting the best value for every penny you will spend.

What dog Group is a Norwegian Elkhound?

The American Kennel Club categorized the Norwegian Elkhound dog breed under the Hound Group due to its history of being bred traditionally as a hunting dog. It was called an Elkhound for being an exceptional Elk hunter.

How big does an Elkhound get?

A male Norwegian Elkhound has an average height of 20.5 in and weight of 55 lb. Their female counterparts grow slightly smaller than them at a height of 19.5 in and weight of 48 lb. They are considered medium-sized dogs.

Similar Posts