Norwegian Elkhound Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Norwegian Elkhound Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient spitz-type dog that Vikings prized as a hunter, guardian, and companion. The Norwegian Elkhound has historically been used for hunting big game, such as moose and bears. The loyal dogs were buried with their masters, an act reserved for the Vikings’ most treasured items that would be necessary when they reached Valhalla or the afterlife.

Norwegian Elkhounds are known by several other names, including Norwegian Elkhound, Scottish Norwegian Elkhound, Long-Haired Norwegian Elkhound, English Norwegian Elkhound, Elk Dog, and Elkies. Its registered breed name, Norwegian Elkhound, comes from its moose hunting ability; “moose” in Norwegian is “elg.”

This proud spitz dog is the National Dog of Norway. Elkhounds are a hardworking breed with a goofy side; they refuse to take life too seriously. The spunky little Elkhound has a powerful bark, vital in moose hunting. Though training may help to teach them not to bark, Elkhounds will bark; it’s in their DNA, so it’s just a fact of Elkhound companionship. 

This good-natured companion was developed as an independent-thinking dog. Consistent, positive training methods from an owner who doesn’t give an inch are necessary. They may not be an ideal match for a first-time dog owner.

The Average weight of Norwegian Elkhounds is 51 pounds, and their average height is 19 inches. Norwegian Elkhounds have 5 to 10 puppies per litter once a year, and their lifespan is 10 to 12 years. 

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Norwegian Elkhounds?

The Norwegian Elkhound is built to cope in rugged terrain and a cold, unwelcoming climate. He’s a good choice if you like a Spitz breed with a bold, boisterous outlook on life. An active dog needs daily exercise that will challenge him physically and mentally and prevent him from becoming destructive or noisy. 

He barks a lot, and that’s just how he communicates. In some instances, that’s a good thing. The hardy, good-natured Elkhound is friendly in general. Still, he will alert you to anyone approaching the home, and his deep bark will make intruders think twice about coming onto your property. If you’re not home during the day to prevent him from barking unnecessarily, he may drive the neighbors barking mad.

This intelligent and highly trainable dog responds well to positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise, and food rewards, but he is an independent thinker. Don’t expect his unquestioning obedience, and you won’t be disappointed. Keep training sessions short and fun, so he doesn’t get bored. 

He’s not difficult to groom, but he does shed a lot of hair. Brush his double coat weekly to keep it clean and remove loose hair. Daily brushing will help keep excess hair under control during spring and fall shedding seasons. In addition, trim his nails as needed, brush his teeth, and keep the ears clean to help prevent infections.

A people-loving dog like the Elkhound needs to live in the house. It’s an unhappy Elkhound who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.

Norwegian Elkhound Breed Traits

Norwegian Elkhound Information


Males 19 to 21 inches

Females 18 to 20 inches


Males 50 to 60 pounds

Females 40 to 55 pounds

Relation with family

Docile and affectionate family member

Relation with children

Playful and lovable

Relation with other dogs


Shedding level

More than average

Drooling level


Coat type 

Double coat

Coat length

The outer coat is long, straight, and harsh to the touch.

The undercoat, however, is soft, furry, and close together.

Coat grooming frequency

Weekly brushing

Reaction to strangers

Alert but friendly

Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



10 -12 years 

How Does the Norwegian Elkhound Interact with Family?

Norwegian Elkhounds are one of the oldest dog breeds in Europe. These dogs are agile, alert, and always ready for adventures with their families. In addition to being fun family companions, they are also accomplished watchdogs. The dogs are part of the hound group and were favorite hunting companions for the Vikings. Although exceptional hunting dogs, they also make ideal family companions.

The Norwegian Elkhound breed is very gentle with children despite their hunting background. They also bond well with multiple family members. However, they feel that everyone is on equal footing and won’t take well to family members who think they’re dominant.

How Does the Norwegian Elkhound Interact with Other Dogs?

Other dogs and dog-experienced cats can usually live with a Norwegian Elkhound. Still, the Elkhound’s prey drive and dominant nature may result in chasing or bossy behaviors. Early socialization with other pets can help create a peaceful living situation. Likewise, dogs and other pets raised together will likely see each other as family members and live peacefully together. 

Some Norwegian Elkhound dogs may fight with strange dogs; to prevent them from getting destructive or frustrated, provide them with a daily exercise routine. Untrained Elkhounds may also pull when put on a leash. The most successful way of preventing dog fights is proper training and keeping the Moose Dog on a strong leash when talking it out for walks or visiting dog parks.

How are Norwegian Elkhounds with Older People?

Norwegian Elkhounds are okay with older people; however, their energy level might be overwhelming. Norwegian Elkhounds need a lot of exercise and grooming. Suppose the senior person lives in an apartment. In that case, space could be a problem because very active dogs could wreak havoc if cooped up with insufficient space. 

Seniors in homes with large backyards can get a Norwegian Elkhound and hire a dog walker for those long daily walks. Similarly, grooming the Moose Dog might be too much for frail seniors. However, arranging for the walker or another person to brush the dog frequently can allow older people to continue living with their beloved furry friends.

How are Norwegian Elkhounds with Children?

Norwegian Elkhounds tend to love children and are often an excellent match for a household with kids if both child and dog are taught how to interact with each other safely. Older kids are recommended, as the Elkhound can be rambunctious. Dominant behaviors toward both children and adults should be discouraged.

Parents should always supervise dogs when they’re around young kids. That way, the dog can get to know your kids and learn that they’re okay. It also helps if you have kids when you get a young Norwegian Elkhounds o that the dog can grow up around kids. 

How are Norwegian Elkhounds with Neighbors or Guests?

Norwegian Elkhounds, as a breed, are very affectionate, thinking everyone is their friend. They will snuggle up with anyone willing. Of course, if you’re there, your Norwegian Elkhound will accept anyone you introduce. Neighbors and familiar guests will be welcomed as part of the family. Only unfamiliar people that seem not to belong will cause the Moose Dog to bark a warning.

What are the Physical Traits of the Norwegian Elkhound?

The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized dog standing at roughly 18 to 21 inches high and weighing anything from 40 to 60 pounds. People love this dog because of its beautiful wolf-like face and bright eyes.

The Norwegian Elkhound is bold and energetic, a hardy gray hunting dog known for his lush silver-gray coat and dignified but friendly demeanor. In appearance, a typical northern dog of medium size and substance, square in profile, close coupled and balanced in proportions. The head is broad with prick ears, and the tail is tightly curled and carried over the back. The distinctive gray coat is dense and smooth lying.

As a hunter, the Norwegian Elkhound has the courage, agility and stamina to hold moose and other big game at bay by barking and dodging an attack. The endurance to track for long hours in all weather over rough and varied terrain. The durable Elkhound is among Europe’s oldest dogs. They sailed with the Vikings and figured in Norse art and legend.


Traits information




Males 19 to 21 inches

Females 18 to 20 inches


Males 50 to 60 pounds

Females 40 to 55 pounds

Skull/ Head

Head: Wedge-shaped and lean, with no loose skin.

Skull: Fairly broad between the ears, and slightly arched in profile with a clearly defined stop.


Medium, oval, dark brown in color


Erect, comparatively small, wide at the base with pointed tips 


Same length as the skull, thickest at the base, tapers evenly





Exercise Needs



10 to 12 years


Abundant double coat of fur. Coarse, weather-resistant top hairs cover a downy, insulating layer underneath.

Coat color

Grey and Silver


Set high, tightly curled and carried over the centerline of the back. 


Strong, lean, and muscular

How to Feed a Norwegian Elkhound?

Your Norwegian Elkhound’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Norwegian Elkhound’s diet on a medium breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Norwegian Elkhound grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Norwegian Elkhound from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Norwegian Elkhound’s medium size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Norwegian Elkhound’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Norwegian Elkhound food formulated for a large breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

The Norwegian Elkhound’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Elk Dogs several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

A premium food specially formulated for Norwegian Elkhounds and its benefits are listed below: Norwegian Elkhounds’ best dog food is Farmina Natural & Delicious Ocean Ancestral Grain Cod & Orange Adult Medium & Maxi Dog Food.

Every Farmina food is made with the best ingredients with the correct amounts of protein, fats, limited carbohydrates and advanced long-life vitamins, and minerals. The Natural & Delicious high protein, 20% Ancestral Grain formulas comprise 60% animal ingredients (pre-cooking weight), 20% organic spelt and organic oats, and 20% vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals. Delicious Codfish & Orange flavor contains no peas, legumes, meals or by-products for nutrition you can feel great about.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the range of Farmina Natural & Delicious Ocean Ancestral Grain Dry Dog Food recipes in this range:

  • Protein-Packed: With responsibly sourced animal protein as the first ingredient for strong, lean muscles in small breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.
  • Probiotics: Guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics are included to support your dog’s digestive health
  •  Glucosamine and chondroitin: Included in this recipe to help your adult Springer Spaniel maintain healthy joints

When Norwegian Elkhounds are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Farmina Natural & Delicious Ocean Ancestral Grain formulas are crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Norwegian Elkhound Puppy Eat? 

The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a large breed dog like the Norwegian Elkhound. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Norwegian Elkhound puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Norwegian Elkhound puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Norwegian Elkhounds should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Norwegian Elkhounds with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that Norwegian Elkhounds Should Take?

Norwegian Elkhounds can be affected by several genetic health problems, including multiple drug sensitivities from a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1). Dogs with this mutation can have severe or fatal reactions to several common drugs, including the common heartworm preventive ivermectin and loperamide, a human antidiarrheal agent sometimes used in dogs. Screening not only your puppy’s parents but also your dog for these conditions is a lifesaving necessity. 

Norwegian Elkhound breeders should also have the following health tests done:

DNA Tests covering 7 main categories

  • Musculoskeletal and Dental
  • Haemolymphatic
  • Skin and Immune
  • Urogenital
  • Metabolic and Endocrine
  • Ophthalmological
  • Neurological

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Norwegian Elkhounds?

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Norwegian Elkhound has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Norwegian Elkhounds should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Obesity: Norwegian Elkhounds love food and love training humans to feed them more. Combine that with how difficult it is for most people to provide an Elkhound with enough exercise, and it’s an equation for obesity and the health problems it leads to, such as joint issues. The remedy is not overfeeding your pup and keeping their activity level high. Share any weight or diet concerns with your vet.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A common problem in large breeds and older dogs, hip dysplasia, happens in some Elkhounds. Hip dysplasia is when the hip joint isn’t formed correctly and rubs, causing the dog pain. Symptoms include lameness in the back legs, decreased activity, and “bunny hopping.” Veterinarians are well versed in treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, and potentially surgery.
  • Genetic Eye Conditions: Several genetic eye conditions that lead to blindness occur in the breed, including progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and cataracts. They are not curable, but they are rare. However, a dog who loses sight can still lead a happy and full life. Always select a Norwegian Elkhound puppy from a reputable breeder who will screen for these issues in their breeding program.
  • Renal (Kidney) Disease: Norwegian Elkhounds may experience kidney problems. Symptoms include excessive urination and thirst, as well as weight loss. While this is rare, there is no cure for kidney disease. Still, there are treatment options, including a special diet, medications, and ensuring your dog always has access to freshwater.
  • Hypothyroidism: Insufficient production of thyroid hormone, causing hair loss, dry skin and coat, and susceptibility to other skin diseases in Moose Dogs

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Norwegian Elkhound by purchasing a Norwegian Elkhound from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Norwegian Elkhound?

Norwegian Elkhounds require vigorous activity daily because of their natural energy level. Because of the breed’s activity level and loud bark, these dogs are better suited to houses with yards than to apartments. At least a walk a day is recommended. Running shorter distances in enclosed areas and playing fetch are examples of activities that are ideal for these dogs, including hybrid activities like combining fetch with a good long run.

Norwegian Elkhounds require strenuous exercise for at least an hour every day. Dogs of the breed will be happy to run alongside your bike or take long hikes. While Moose Dogs can live outside even in cold weather, they prefer to be indoors with their family. This breed is very active, and access to a fenced-in yard is helpful.

What are the nutritional needs of Norwegian Elkhounds?

The nutritional needs of a Norwegian Elkhound include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Norwegian Elkhound are listed below.

  • Protein: Norwegian Elkhounds need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Norwegian Elkhound’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Norwegian Elkhound’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Norwegian Elkhounds need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Norwegian Elkhounds sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Norwegian Elkhound puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Elk Dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Norwegian Elkhound.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Norwegian Elkhounds are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Norwegian Elkhound’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Elk Dogs.
What is the Ideal Norwegian Elkhound Weight?

The ideal weight for Norwegian Elkhound males is 55 pounds and 48 pounds for females. It is essential to manage your Moose Dog’s nutrition. To keep it healthy and active, you must maintain a healthy diet to prevent weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. 

Obesity can be a significant health problem in Norwegian Elkhounds. It is a severe disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain, and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your furry friend food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people’s food and doggie treats.

Instead, read those eyes as begging for attention rather than food. Focus on sharing hugs, brushing your Kelpie’s fur or teeth, playing a game with her, or perhaps taking her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you.

What is the Shedding Level of Norwegian Elkhounds?

Because of their initial breeding location, the Norwegian Elkhound goes through two complete coat cycles each year. They have a summer coat and a winter coat. That means shedding is a significant issue in homes that own this breed. You can temper this issue a little with daily grooming, especially when the new coat grows. 

Norwegian Elkhounds are double-coated, and these pups shed year-round and “blow” their coats twice yearly in the spring and fall. That means massive shedding all over your place. Because of the amount of shedding your Norwegian Elkhound does, this breed is not suitable for a home with allergy sufferers.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Norwegian Elkhounds?

The Elkhound has a soft, woolly undercoat and a coarse, straight topcoat. The thick double coat is easy to groom with brushing several times a week, but it sheds heavily. During seasonal sheds, you’ll think it’s snowing Elkhound hair. 

At those times, daily brushing will help remove the loose hair so the new hair can grow. One positive is that there’s never any need to trim his coat or whiskers, and baths are rarely necessary.

Note: Overbathing will strip Elkies of their protective oils and destroy their coat’s water resistance. So keep bathing to a minimum. It would be best to rinse any dirt off with clear water without shampoo or other chemicals.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Norwegian Elkhound Dog.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming session could calm your Norwegian Elkhound enough to make the grooming process the ideal time for bonding with your furry friend. You can also give your Moose Dogs their favorite treats to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be an enjoyable and stress-free process for your Norwegian Elkhound. 

What is the Drooling Level of Norwegian Elkhounds?

As a Moose Dog owner, you could expect to find a below-average tendency to drool. However, drooling is a natural process, and the primary triggers of drooling are listed below, which, in Elk Dogs, will increase drooling levels. When drooling is excessive, a trip to the vet is recommended.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. A stressed dog pants and breathes with an open mouth, causing it to drool. 
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when male Norwegian Elkhounds spot female Elkies in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Norwegian Elkhound?

The Norwegian Elkhound has a thick double coat to keep him warm in the coldest temperatures. The coat is water and dirt-resistant, with a smooth topcoat standing away from his body, and a dense, soft undercoat.

What is the Coat Lenght of the Norwegian Elkhound?  

Moose Dogs have a short soft, dense, and woolly undercoat. The overcoat is straight, smooth, short, thick, and rich on the head and the front of the legs. The neck, chest, buttocks, hind part of legs, and underside of the tail have the longest hair.

What are the Color Options of Norwegian Elkhound?

When Elkies are born, puppies will have black coats. Their outer coats turn gray and silver with black tips while maintaining a light undercoat as they grow and develop. The variations in shade are determined by the quantity of the black tips of the guard hairs.

The undercoat is clear, light, and silver. The muzzle, ears, and tail tip are black, and the black of the muzzle shades go to lighter gray over the forehead and skull. The coat on the legs, stomach, buttocks, chest, the underside of the tail, and harness markings are lighter, without black tips.

What are the Social Traits of the Norwegian Elkhound Breed?

The social traits of the Norwegian Elkhound are affection, playfulness, and friendliness. The Norwegian Elkhounds are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Elk Dogs are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood. Norwegian Elkhounds do not form closer bonds with one family member, unlike many other dogs. Instead, they favor all. If yours is a hunting dog, he will likely choose the hunting master as his favorite dog daddy. Other social traits of Norwegian Elkhounds are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Norwegian Elkhounds love interacting with their family, from children to grandparents. However, they are highly energetic and need between 60 and 90 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. In a multi-generational home, the older family members can share the quiet times with the Norwegian Elkhounds while the younger generation deals with playtime and walking or jogging.
  • Children-friendly: Norwegian Elkhounds enjoy running around or chasing after children, and playing catch is one of their favorite games. Norwegian Elkhounds are sensible enough to care when young children are part of the play. However, supervision is essential in such circumstances. Socialization is vital for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Norwegian Elkhounds are the perfect canine companions for active families. They are not couch potatoes and prefer to spend most of their time outside. Norwegian Elkhounds will always be ready to join a family member jogging, skateboarding, cycling or hiking.
  • Pet-friendly: Norwegian Elkhounds can get along great with cats and other animals, especially if they’re raised with them. However, the innate hunting instincts of the Norwegian Elkhound might trigger a chase of trespassing neighborhood cats.

How Do Norwegian Elkhounds Interact with Strangers?

Norwegian Elkhounds are typically wary of strangers, and they will treat unfamiliar people with suspicion until they are satisfied that their owners are not threatened. Once their owners invite the strangers into the home, the Moose Dogs will relax. However, Norwegian Elkhounds are alert even when they don’t seem so. They are always aware of anything that happens around them, and any strangers and potential intruders will be warned to back off. The Norwegian Elkhound will use a unique warning bark to alert the owner of a threat. 

Is the Norwegian Elkhound Playful?

Norwegian Elkhounds are playful with children, adults, and senior citizens, and make excellent family dogs. Unlike most large dogs, the Moose Dog instinctively knows to be careful when young children are part of the play. However, even though this is a character trait of the Norwegian Elkhound breed, there are no guarantees that your small child will be safe if left unsupervised to play with the furry family pup. Having your dog and your children socialized will give peace of mind.

Are Norwegian Elkhounds Protective?

Norwegian Elkhound will be very protective of his family and prefer to be with them all of the time. While the breed is not aggressive by nature, his bark will help provide safety from possible intruders.

What is the Adaptability Level of Norwegian Elkhounds?

Norwegian Elkhounds are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to a condo or a home in the suburbs, they will quickly adapt if they are not separated from their human families and have ample outside play space. They would not live happily in an apartment with limited outdoor space. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior.

What are the Personality Traits of Norwegian Elkhounds?

The people-loving Elkhound is inclined to be friendly to family and strangers alike. He has a deep bark that will give intruders second thoughts, but only if they’re unfamiliar with the Elkhound’s typically unaggressive nature.

If he is brought up with children, the loving and good-natured Elkhound enjoys their company and can be a good playmate. Remember that no dog is automatically good with kids. An adult Elkhound who is not experienced with children needs time to get used to their quick movements and shrill voices. Teach children never to tease or mistreat a dog. Like any dog, never leave an Elkhound alone with young children, no matter how well he knows them or how gentle he seems.

Elkhounds are vocal, and it’s their job to bark, after all. Don’t think your Elkhound will be quiet simply because you don’t have elk wandering the streets. Be prepared to teach him when it’s okay to bark and when to stop from an early age.

Can Norwegian Elkhounds be Aggressive?

The Norwegian Elkhound is loyal and affectionate, and he does very well with children and is generally friendly with strangers. However, he can be aggressive to other dogs and animals, so it’s important to properly socialize your Elkhound from puppyhood to various new experiences and dogs.

Can Norwegian Elkhounds be Dangerous?

Like any other animal, a Norwegian Elkhound will become aggressive if they are scared or have to defend themselves. Moose Dogs’ aggression may manifest as growling or snarling, especially at strangers near their home. Putting themselves between you and a stranger could lead to dangerous situations.

Do Norwegian Elkhounds Ever Attack?

If a Norwegian Elkhound identifies someone or something as a potential intruder, its natural instincts kick into high gear. It will attack other dogs, pets, or people who stray onto your property if there is even the smallest thought that harm could come to their family.

Can Norwegian Elkhounds Kill Humans?

Yes, Norwegian Elkhounds can kill humans, but it is improbable. Norwegian Elkhounds are exceptionally protective of their human families, and specific circumstances could drive any dog to react aggressively. Events that could cause a violent attack by any breed include

  • Attacks on their human families.
  • Protecting their own safety
  • Mistreatment by their owners like chaining their dogs to poles outside.
  • Owners dishing out physical punishment or other forms of abuse.

Whatever the circumstances, serious provocation must be present to trigger a violent attack by a Norwegian Elkhound.

Do Norwegian Elkhounds cope with being left alone?

Norwegian Elkhounds can live alone for a few hours without any problems but they are not the kind of canines that you could leave alone for a long time.

Can I leave my Norwegian Elkhound at home?

Elkhounds are fiercely loyal, protective, and devoted to their families, preferring companionship over alone time. When they are left in isolation, they typically display signs of separation anxiety. Many Norwegian Elkhounds tend to form strong bonds with all their family members. Therefore, even if one family member stays behind, it will likely prevent the Elkie from developing separation anxiety. 

Can Norwegian Elkhounds be left alone for 8 hours?

Norwegian Elkhounds need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours and may develop separation anxiety. Don’t get a Norwegian Elkhound if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods. Leaving your Norwegian Elkhound alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety.

How to Train a Norwegian Elkhound?

Training Norwegian Elkhounds requires a calm, firm, and confident manner. Owners should set the rules for the breed to follow. It would be best if you were consistent and never faltered. However, be gentle while showing an air of authority. Being meek or passive will make your Norwegian Elkhound think he is dominant over you. If that is the case, the dog will never listen and may become willful, stubborn, and obstinate. Norwegian Elkhounds are highly intelligent and obedient, so training them is typically easy. Below is a list of a few tools to help the process.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Norwegian Elkhound will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Norwegian Elkhound.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Norwegian Elkhound will learn to obey only sometimes.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Norwegian Elkhound.
  • Making your Norwegian Elkhound sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Norwegian Elkhound with love in your heart will prevent you from seeing training as punishment.

How Frequently does a Norwegian Elkhound Bark?

Norwegian Elkhounds are calm, naturally protective, intelligent, and loving. And although Moose Dogs aren’t known to bark incessantly, they can get quite loud and aggressive if they detect impending danger. However, boredom and separation anxiety can also cause excessive barking.

The frequency of your Elk Dog’s bark will not likely be enough to upset your neighbors. Most dogs have different-sounding barks for different purposes, and after all, that is the only way canines can have their say.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Norwegian Elkhounds hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Norwegian Elkhound is barking as a way of alerting you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Elk Dogs may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.  
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Norwegian Elkhound feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Norwegian Elkhound uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Norwegian Elkhound is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Even though Norwegian Elkhounds are not typically nuisance barkers, knowing their language might come in handy. However, if your Norwegian Elkhound is the exception to the rule, below are some positive and negative motivators that might help to change your canine companion’s barking habits.

  • Whenever your Moose Dog starts barking, command him to be quiet and if your Norwegian Elkhound obeys, reward him with his favorite treat or toy. If he disobeys your command, withdraw some benefits like not giving him his favorite toy.
  • Engage Norwegian Elkhound in her favorite activity or exercise. Tired Elk Dogs might sleep while you are away.
  • Look for attractive toys that would keep your Norwegian Elkhound busy while you are away.
  • Continuous barking might call for a visit to the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Norwegian Elkhound?

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Norwegian Elkhound happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep him occupied.

Elkies are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. Elk Dogs’ playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Norwegian Elkhound, and some of them are listed below.

  • Play with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Norwegian Elkhounds who are Six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent accidents
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns
  • Low interest in physical activities
  • Poor social skills

What are the Breed Standards of Norwegian Elkhound?

The Norwegian Elkhound is a robust spitz-type known for his lush silver-gray coat and dignified but friendly demeanor. The durable Elkhound is among Europe’s oldest dogs, and they sailed with the Vikings and figured in Norse art and legend. Norwegian Elkhounds are hardy, short-bodied dogs standing about 20 inches at the shoulder. 

Elkies have a dense silver-gray coat and a tail curling tightly over the back. The deep chest, sturdy legs, and muscular thighs belong to a dog built for an honest day’s work. The eyes are a dark brown, and the ears mobile and erect. Overall, an Elkhound is the picture of an alert and steadfast dog of the north. Elkhounds are famously fine companions and intelligent watchdogs.

Some of the breed standards of Norwegian Elkhounds are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Norwegian Elkhound Breed Information 


Gray, medium preferred, variations in shade determined by the length of black tips and quantity of guard hairs. The undercoat is clear light silver as are legs, stomach, buttocks, and the underside of the tail. The gray body color is darkest on the saddle, lighter on the chest, mane, and distinctive harness mark, which is a band of longer guard hairs from shoulder to elbow.


Norwegian Elkhounds are classified as a medium-sized breed

Eye Color 

Dark brown

Average Weight 

About 55 pounds for males; about 48 pounds for females.

Average Height

Males 20½ inches, females 19½ inches

Average lifespan 

Norwegian Elkhound Dogs have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years

What is the General Information about Norwegian Elkhound?

The Norwegian elkhound’s history reaches back thousands of years to perhaps as long ago as 5000 BC. Since then, these hardy dogs have served their human companions as big game hunters, including the elk from which the breed derives its name.

However, the Norwegian elkhound’s hunting skills are not limited to elk. These dogs can hunt badgers, lynx, mountain lions, bears, wolves, reindeer, and rabbits. They also are prized flock guardians, watchdogs, and sled dogs.

Their courage has earned them a special place in their native country’s defense efforts; in times of war, the Norwegian Defense Minister has the authority to mobilize all privately owned Norwegian elkhounds.

There’s been no better ambassador to the Norwegian Elkhound breed than Elk Dog, the beloved dog from the 1940s silver screen who saves the day again and again. The Norwegian Elkhound has been a main character and appeared as a perfect family dog in such books as Albert Payson Terhune’s “Lad of Sunnybank” and Eric Knight’s “Moose DogCome Home.” 

The Norwegian Elkhound’s popularity leaped to its most incredible heights during the nearly two-decade run of “Elk Dog,” which aired from 1954 to 1973. The series captured the fancy of the American public, and the Norwegian Elkhound became widely known and loved. Suzy Royds, a Norwegian Elkhound breeder with over 30 years of experience, agrees. 

“They give you eye contact. They want to bond and please you. They want to be your companion,” Royds says. “They’re super easy to train.” She notes they’re fantastic with children and other pets.

Today, the Norwegian Elkhound ranks 38th among the breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.

How Rare is a Norwegian Elkhound?

Norwegian Elkhounds are an endangered species today. Since these dogs were raised only for the purpose of hunting most of the time, their numbers have declined considerably today. Today, there are only around 4,000 Norwegian Elkhound dogs worldwide. Today, they are bred as working dogs and make ideal companion dogs for humans. But they are not widely chosen. Therefore, they are not bred in large numbers.

Norwegian Elkhounds have a shorter life expectancy due to some serious health concerns. They can live up to 15 years but due to ailments like cancer and heart disease, their life expectancy can be shortened, and they could die sooner.  

Where to Buy or Adopt a Norwegian Elkhound?

A purebred Norwegian Elkhound’s price can range between $1,200 and $2,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies can cost as much as $5,000 from top breeders. 

If you want to bring a Norwegian Elkhound home, you should not rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this giant dog in the cutest little dog body.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote the dogs. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Norwegian Elkhound puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Norwegian Elkhound a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Norwegian Elkhound puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Norwegian Elkhound is recognized by the AKC, UKC and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Norwegian Elkhound owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • Elkhound Association of Scotland 
  • Norwegian Elkhound Club of America
  • The Norwegian Elkhound Club of Great Britain
  • Norwegian Elkhound Club of Canada: NECC
  • Jandal Norwegian Elkhounds and German Shorthaired Pointers Winters, Texas
  • Magnolia Ridge Elkhounds Starkville, Mississippi
  • Silverbares Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
  • RiverWind Norwegian Elkhounds Sanger, Texas
  • Laurel Fork Farm Bowden, West Virginia
  • Castlebar Elkhounds Oneonta, New York

If you manage to track down Norwegian Elkhound breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Norwegian Elkhound puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Norwegian Elkhound puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Norwegian Elkhounds may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Norwegian Elkhound is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Norwegian Elkhounds?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Norwegian Elkhound can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Norwegian Elkhound Rescue website. 

The adoption fee for a Norwegian Elkhound from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $150 and $200. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Norwegian Elkhounds or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Canada Guide To Dogs (National Norwegian Elkhound Rescue, Inc.)
  • Canada Norwegian Elkhound Dog Rescue Group
  •  US Norwegian Elkhound Club’s rescue network
  • Elkhound Rescue Fund UK
  • Norwegian Elkhound Relief & Rescue 
  • Norwegian Elkhound Rescue Foundation
  • American Norwegian Elkhound Club (CCA) Rescue Network
  • John Nelsen Moosedog Rescue Fund, Inc.
  • Norwegian Elkhound Association of America
  • Norwegian Elkhound Club of the Potomac Valley Rescue
  • Norwegian Elkhound Rescue

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Norwegian Elkhound rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Norwegian Elkhounds online through reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

A Norwegian Elkhound rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Norwegian Elkhound mix.

Norwegian Elkhound mixes for adoption may be less challenging to find in shelters and rescue facilities. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Norwegian Elkhound, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested. 

The most common Norwegian Elkhound dog mixes are listed below.

  • Norwegian Elkhound X German Shepherd mix = Elkhound Shepherd
  • Norwegian Elkhound x Beagle mix = Elk-a-Bee
  • Norwegian Elkhound x Keeshond mix = Elk-Kee
  • Norwegian Elkhound x Miniature Pinscher mix = Miniature Pinschelkhound
  • Norwegian Elkhound X Labrador mix
  • Norwegian Elkhound X Border Collie mix
  • Norwegian Elkhound X Golden Retriever mix

Norwegian Elkhound mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

What is the History of the Norwegian Elkhound?

As rugged as the land from which he sprang, the Norwegian Elkhound was a cherished possession of his Viking masters, and he appears in many of the old sagas. Although he is known as the “Dog of the Vikings,” the Elkhounds’ earliest association with humans dates from much earlier. In the famous Viste Cave at Jaeren in western Norway, archeological investigations discovered several stone implements and bones dating from 5000 to 4000 BC.

From the present back through the centuries of recorded time, Elkhounds have been kept in Norwegian rural districts. They worked along with farmers, herders, and hunters to serve as watchdogs, guardians of flocks, and trackers of big game. Their prey included moose, reindeer, and bear — all outdoor jobs in a rugged country and a rigorous sub-arctic climate.

In 1877 the Norwegian Hunters Association held its first dog show, and that year perhaps marks the beginning of interest in the Elkhound as a show dog. Records and stud books were established in the ensuing years, and a standard was formulated. As an increasing number of experienced breeders in Norway focused their attention on the breed, the Elkhound gradually came into his own as a show dog.

Interest in the breed spread to England, and the British Elkhound Society was formed in 1923, about seven years before a similar organization to sponsor the breed appeared in this country. The Norwegian Elkhound Association of America was organized in an informal way about 1930.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Norwegian Elkhounds?

The prices of Norwegian Elkhounds range between $1,200 and $2,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the puppy’s bloodline, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Norwegian Elkhound and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Norwegian Elkhound and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year.  

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Norwegian Elkhound are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely not affect the maintenance costs of Norwegian Elkhounds because they don’t need professional grooming to trim and bathe the Norwegian Elkhound.

How to Name a Norwegian Elkhound?

Choosing a name for your Norwegian Elkhound involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Norwegian Elkhound’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Norwegian Elkhounds respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Norwegian Elkhound pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name-ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Norwegian Elkhound will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Norwegian Elkhound. Below is a list of suggestions of names inspired by your Norwegian Elkhound’s ancestors and famous owners. 

Norwegian Elkhound Breed Names

Honoring their Viking roots

Norwegian Elkhound Boy Names

Norwegian Elkhound Girl Names


A man of power in Norway


Legendary female hunter


Son of Thor


Achiever of victory for the people


One who rules


Born at night


Fighter protecting his home


Girl who baits and traps


God of Thunder’s Bear


Dark-colored beauty

What are the Different Types of Norwegian Elkhounds?

Norwegian Elkhounds is one of the Northern Spitz-breed dogs, but below is a list of several other similar breeds that form part of the Spitz variety of canines of the north.

  • Black Norwegian Elkhound
  • East Siberian Laika
  • Finnish Spitz
  • Karelian Bear Dog
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Swedish Elkhound (also called Jamthund)
  • West Siberian Laika
  • White Elkhound

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Norwegian Elkhound?

Norwegian Elkhounds are rare and may be challenging to find, but even if you do, purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Norwegian Elkhound at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Norwegian Elkhound may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to Norwegian Elkhounds.

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Finnish Spitz – Shares a love of elk hunting, a loud bark, and playful nature with the Norwegian Elkhound. This dog is somewhat smaller in size, however.
  • German Spitz – A smaller alternative, the German Spitz shares the thick coat, watchdog traits, and thick coat with Norwegian Elkhounds and a similar color.
  • Japanese Spitz – A smaller alternative to the Norwegian Elkhound, the Japanese Spitz shares strong family loyalty, a fluffy coat, and an athletic build.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.