The Norwegian Elkhound (Norsk Elghund ) enjoys the prestige of being the official national dog breed of Norway. Traditionally bred to aid in the hunting of moose, the Norwegian Elkhound’s compact build betrays the considerable bravery needed to approach and help contain an animal many times its size and weight.
Origin and brief history
The Norwegian Elkhound has long been understood to be one of, if not the very, oldest of all domesticated dog breeds. The Elkhound has been the faithful moose- and bear-hunting companion of Scandinavians (and Vikings) for at least six thousand years, with archaeological findings suggesting that the relationship between humans and the breed’s ancestors may extend all the way back to the Stone Age. Until modern times, it was rare to see the breed outside of Norway, and such examples were highly desired for their hunting capabilities. It has been officially recognized by The Kennel Club since the beginning of the 20th century.
Bred to be reliable hunting dogs, the Norwegian Elkhound possess many qualities which suit them for a variety of roles. Their fierce loyalty and high level of intelligence are what make them effective hunting dogs, able to understand commands and carry them out quickly. They are a social breed, and their playful, extroverted personalities and ability to co-exist with other pets and small children make them attractive as family pets. An Elkhound is happiest and best-behaved when it receives plenty of attention and affection, and is made to feel as if is part of the family. They are very independent, so training an Elkhound successfully requires patience and fortitude.
Originally bred in a relatively cold climate, the Norwegian Elkhound sports a dense coat which is coarse above and soft beneath. Depending on the climate, will be shed in its entirety two or three times per year and daily brushing with a stiff bristle brush is a good idea during these times to aid in its removal. Otherwise, the Elkhound sheds an average amount and the coat will requires only weekly attention. Elkhounds are generally clean animals, producing little in the way of offensive odor, and therefore only require occasional bathing.
Specification of Breed
The Norwegian Elkhound is a compact, medium-sized breed which is sturdy and designed for action. A full-grown adult may weigh between 48 and 55 pounds and stand about 20 or 21 inches at the shoulder. Most of the breed are monochromatic, tending to a gray or silver coloration interspersed with cream colors and accented solid black at the ears and snout. The average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
Though the Norwegian Elkhound’s qualities make it a good house pet, there are two things to bear in mind if you are considering the breed. The first is that the Elkhound is very social and desires to be involved with its family. It is not a breed which copes well to being tied up or ignored, and doing so may lead to behavioral problems and antisocial tendencies. In addition, the Elkhound has an independent disposition, meaning that proper training will require a lot of attention and patience.
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