Meet the breed: Norwegian Elkhound

Apr 5, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Image: Hillary Kladke/Moment Open/Getty Images

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We're here to help you meet the breed that's right for you. If you're looking for an affectionate pet to add to your young family, find out everything you need to know about the Norwegian Elkhound!


  • checkLoyal
  • checkPlayful
  • checkProtective
  • checkBold
  • checkHigh grooming needs


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Around since the Stone Age, the Norwegian Elkhound is known for its great hunting and watchdog skills. A better hunter at night than during the day, this breed can hunt small to large animals, including its namesake, elk. A Scenthound, this dog is known to hunt an animal from a mile away, find it, and bark a notification to his hunting companion for retrieval. A prized sled dog, this breed is athletic and has a strong ability to handle rough terrains.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Hound
  • UKC group: Scenthound
  • Average lifespan:  12 - 15 years
  • Average size:  50 - 60 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Coarse and weatherproof
  • Coloration: Gray and silver
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Square, medium-sized body; black, wide nose; dark brown oval eyes; broad, strong chest; straight and strong legs; thick muzzle; strong, pointed ears on top of head and fluffy tail that points upwards
  • Possible alterations: Puppies are born black and turn silver within a few weeks of birth

Is this breed right for you?

The Norwegian Elkhound does extremely well with children, especially when introduced to them when a puppy, and is a loyal and loving family dog. Protective of and affectionate to his family, he's very devoted to his owners and does best in a family setting. An active and people-loving breed, he does best when exercised daily. A big shedder, the Norwegian Elkhound will need to be groomed at least twice a week. In need of a yard and a known barker, this breed does best in homes located in colder climates.

Norwegian Elkhound breed characteristics

A dream day in the life of a Norwegian Elkhound

A lover of his people, the Norwegian Elkhound will ideally wake up at the foot of the bed of his owner. After breakfast with his family, he'll enjoy a morning job outdoors. Coming home to a good brushing, he'll inspect the house to ensure it's safe and secure for the homeowners. Playing with the kids all day, he'll nose up to the cat, and bark away any possible intruders. After a game of Frisbee and tag in the backyard, this pup will head back inside to enjoy the evening with his loving humans.

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