The Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound, or ‘moose dog', is the national dog of Norway. It is a strong and hardy breed which enables it to deal with the sub-zero climate and challenging terrain.

Despite its name, the Elkhound is not a hound dog but comes from the Spitz family of dogs.  They are a medium-sized dog, ranging from 18-27 kilograms in weight, fully grown.  Their role has been as a hunter, guardian, herder and defender.  They are extremely intelligent, independent and alert, bold and very playful.

Norwegian Elkhounds are very loyal and they make an excellent family dog as they are generally very gentle and good with children.  They do however require a lot of attention and need to know their place in the family.  They are an ‘outside dog' at heart (preferring the cold weather) and require lots of exercise every day to keep them happy and healthy.  If they feel neglected, they may develop social problems and be destructive.

They can be a challenge to train and require an owner with confidence who can establish clear dominance in the owner-pet relationship.  They can have a tendency to take themselves off on adventures if a gate or door is left open and can be good at ignoring calls or commands (having what we lovingly refer to as ‘cloth ears').  

Due to the breed's origin, the Norwegian Elkhound has a thick double coat.  They require brushing every day, especially when they moult, to avoid their oil glands becoming plugged and to help them stay cool in the summer.   In warmer climates they will shed hair throughout the summer, leaving hair everywhere.  Some owners have been known to save the hair from brushes and combs, spin the cleaned hair into yarn and crochet or knit with it!  The resulting fabric is soft and warm.

A rare breed in New Zealand, Totally Vets has only one Norwegian Elkhound under its care - 10 month old Tedey, owned by Des and Shirley Richards who have provided us with this gorgeous picture.  Tedey's pedigree name is Dankia's Ruggan of Graena and he is one certificate away from becoming a New Zealand champion!