A medium to large spitz dog (with a thick coat, prick ears and tail curled over the back), the Norwegian Elkhound dog is a powerful hound with a squarish shape and compact body. Adult male dogs stand at 52cm and weigh around 23kg and females are 49cm tall and weigh 20kg. The thick, profuse coat comes in shades of grey with the hair of the topcoat tipped black.
An ancient breed, with archaeologists unearthing the skeletons of a similar dog dating back to 4,000-5,000BC, the Norwegian Elkhound dog breed is a spitz breed used for hunting elk. He would track down the elk and bark and keep it in one place until the hunter came to shoot it. He was first exhibited at a dog show in Norway in 1877 and is still used for hunting in Scandinavia.
A friendly, confident dog, the Norwegian Elkhound is energetic and hardy. A natural watchdog, he is vocal and will need early training to bark on command. A good family dog, he is independent but does enjoy the company of his loved ones. The houseproud should note that the coat does shed profusely.
As with many breeds, the Norwegian Elkhound can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
About an hour's daily exercise is needed as a minimum, though the Norwegian Elkhound dog is capable of more - this is a dog bred to track elk for miles in harsh conditions, after all! Do ensure he is kept cool in warm weather.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
The weather-resistant coat of Norwegian Elkhounds comprises a thick, woolly undercoat and a profuse topcoat, which is longer on the back of the legs, and on the neck and tail. A brush through two or three times a week is advised, with daily grooming when the coat sheds.