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Black Norwegian Elkhound Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Norwegian Elkhound Association of America

Native Country

Other Names
Norwegian Elkhound, Small Grey Elk Dog, Norsk Elghund Sort, Norsk Elghund GraBlack Norwegian Elkhound, Gray Norwegian Elkhound, Norwegian Moose Dog, Elkhound

Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-13 Years

Litter Size
Average 5-9 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC Hound

General Description

The Elkhound is a handsome dog with a dense, silvery gray coat with dark, expressive eyes. Their tails are carried tightly curled over their backs and their mobile pointed ears express their moods and happiness .

Norwegian Elkhounds are bred for hunting large game, such as wolf, bear and moose. Although the breed is strong and hardy, the dogs typically have an inseparable bond with their masters and are quite loyal. All Elkhounds have a sharp loud bark which makes them suitable as watchdogs.

Norwegian Elkhounds are loyal to their "pack" and make excellent family dogs given proper attention. They are bold, playful, independent, alert, extremely intelligent, and, at times, a bit boisterous. They rank 54th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of above average working/obedience intelligence.

Breed Standard

Head: Broad between the eyes. Skull almost flat. Clearly marked stop. Straight nose bridge. Moderately long muzzle. Strong jaw. Tightly closed lips.
Ears: Set on high. Firm and erect. Pointed tips.
Eyes: Brown color, as dark as possible
Body: Short and compact. Strong, muscular neck without dewlap. Broad, deep chest. Ribs well sprung. Belly very slightly tucked up. Broad, straight back. Muscular loin.
Tail: Set high. Thick. Carried curled tightly over the back.
Hair: Harsh, thick, abundant. Short on the head and front of the legs. Longer on the chest, neck (collarette), back of the legs and thighs. Long on the extremities. Wooly, lighter undercoat in grays. Blacks have black undercoat.
Coat: Gray variety: shades of gray with black tips on the longest hairs; lighter on the chest, belly, legs, and under the tail. Black variety: brilliant black. A small amount of white on the chest, front legs, and feet is permissible.
Size: Gray variety: dog: approx. 52 cm (20.5 in) ; bitch: approx. 49 cm (19.3 in).Black variety: dog: 45 to 50 cm (17.7-19.7 in) ; bitch: 42 to 47 cm (16.5-18.18.5 in).
Weight: Gray variety: approx. 25 kg (55 lb).Black variety: approx. 20 kg (44 lb).


Originating in Norway, the very old Norwegian Elkhound already existed at the time of the Vikings. This mighty hunter attacks large game (deer, elk, bear, wolves) without a moments hesitation. The breed was shown for the first time in 1877 and recognized by The Kennel Club in 1901. There are two varieties: the Gray Norwegian Elkhound and the Black Norwegian Elkhound.


The breed's object in the hunt is to independently track down and hold the moose at bay—jumping in and out toward the moose, distracting its attention, while signaling to the hunters by barking very loudly—until the hunter who follows the sound can arrive to shoot it. The dog will only bark while the moose is stationary, but it can also slowly drive the moose towards shooters lying in wait. The Norwegian Elkhound is also used on a leash. In this mode of hunting, the dog leads the hunter in the direction of the moose while keeping quiet.

The Norwegian Elkhound is not suited to life in the city. He needs a lot of room to run and burn off his energy, preferably in the forest. Daily brushing and combing are required.


Hunting Dog, Herder, Sled Dog, Utility Dog: Army Dog, Pet.


Norwegian Elkhounds sometimes carry a genetic predisposition to suffer from progressive retinal atrophy, or, like many medium and large breeds, hip dysplasia, renal problems and cysts, particularly in later life; they are also prone to thyroid problems. Overall, however, they are a hardy breed with few health problems. Elkhounds are prone to rapid weight gain and must not be overfed.

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