Breed Category: Hunting
Country of Origin: Sweden
Average Size:53-65 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight:25-35 kg
Average Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High
The Elkhound has a cream-coloured thick undercoat with thick, densely packed covering hair. The colour of the outer-coat is dark or light grey and there should be cream-coloured patches on the nose, cheeks, throat, stomach, front of the chest, legs, and underside of the tail.
The coat hardly needs any grooming. During molting is best to use a comb with a double row of metal teeth to remove loose hairs from the under-layer of the coat. In common with other Arctic dogs, the hair of the Elkhound does not have the typical dog smell.
This breed is equable, straight forward, intelligent and cunning, has a sense of humor, is sensitive to nuances in the voice, and is physically demanding of itself.
This dog needs a calm handler who exudes a natural authority. An equable and consistent manner of approach to their training is essential.
Initially bred and still used today for hunting large game in cold terrain , they are especially strong and tough. The form a strong bond with their owners and crave their company. They are vocal with a loud bark making them great watchdogs
They are always up for a romp, they are playful, inquisitive and intelligent. They are big playful dogs. They are a cold weather dog and are not suited to the hot Australian Climate so are not popular or common here. Their high energy, independence and strength makes them difficult to walk on a chain, ensure you train them as a puppy not to pull or may find yourself being dragged around when they become adults. They have high exercise requirements or they will get bored and make their own fun… with your shoes, your washing, your fence…
They have a strong sense of pride and desire to please, shaming or shouting at them will hurt their feelings rather than teach them a lesson. They are most often big gentle giants, great with children and since they believe to be part of your “pack” do best when they feel they are a part of the family.
They are intelligent, yet difficult to train due to a strong independent streak. Training attempts may be considered suggestions rather than commands. Persevere with encouraging them of the importance of following commands such as come, and stay, but should your Norwegian Elkhound find something better to do… don’t be upset if they choose this other path. They are well balanced, excel in agility sports and are great trackers even in snow.
They are a hardy breed but suffer the typical ailments of large dogs such as hip dysplasia, renal problems and cysts as they age and in some cases, thyroid problems. Progressive retinal atrophy has also been linked to the breed. They are voracious eaters, and many have no clue as to what is enough. Do not overfeed or allow them to graze or you will have one fat dog.
Typical of a large breed, average lifespan is around 10 years, with some individuals living to 12 or more.
The Swedish Elkhound gets on with other dogs even though its bark can have a frightening effect upon them. They are rather reserved with strangers and yet they are no watchdogs. Children and Elkhounds together do not usually cause any problems and the same applies to any animals present in and around the house.
The Swedish Elkhound is a hunting dog through and through and is still used for this purpose to this day in its native country. Its task is to track large wild animals independently and bring them down. To do this, it searches large areas of terrain. This dog is really unsuitable as a pet in a busy urban environment.
If it is allowed off the lead, the chance is that its hunting instincts will cause it to run away, with all the consequences that could follow. In wild countryside, the Elkhound will normally be constantly on the move. It verges on cruelty to animals to enclose such a dog and limit it to three short walks each day. From this it is clear that the Elkhound is only suitable for the few people who are able to hunt with it.