Norwegian Elkhounds are among the oldest dog breeds: dog skeletons, similar to current Elkhounds, have been found from the Stone Age.
Elkhounds are hounds for large game, mainly elks. They are courageous, self-assured dogs with considerable stamina. Due to their social character, they are good family dogs, provided they are given sufficient opportunity to expend their energy.
In Norway and Sweden, Elkhounds are still used for hunting elks. Hunting takes two forms: in some regions leashed Elkhounds are used. In other areas, they are used for hunting unleashed: they are to track the elk and keep it occupied to allow the hunter to get the animal within range.
Elks are not always harmless; the dogs thus require an excellent nose and stamina. Intelligence and courage are also of great importance. It may take a while for the hunter to reach the dog and elk, so the dog must be able to work independently. Because these dogs require a certain level of wilfulness for their work, servile obedience cannot be assumed.
Given the right upbringing, respect, and attention, these are fine family dogs which, if necessary, keep undesired visitors at a distance. Most Scandinavian breeds are still very close to nature which makes them sensitive, but need to be prevented from becoming nervous or shy.
Daily free movement is important for Elkhounds; a daily sturdy walk in natural surroundings is a must for these dogs. During walks, these dogs are alert and active, but they are calm at home.
Their coats require additional maintenance only in moulting periods, twice a year. Outside of these moulting periods, a weekly combing or brushing suffices.
General appearance: an extremely self-confident dog, squarely built with a soft, friendly and extremely intelligent expression: the tail lies in a tight curl on the back. Male dog height: 52 cm, bitch: 49 cm.