Norwegian Elkhound Puppies: Everything a New Owner Should Know About This Breed

  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

Rugged, yet friendly, the silvery Norwegian elkhound has a long history. So long, in fact, that you can trace the breed’s origins in Norway as far back as 5000 B.C.

One thing’s for sure: no one would ever accuse a Norwegian elkhound of being lazy. Recognizing the breed’s impressive endurance and spirit, the Vikings put these hounds to work as guard dogs, big game hunters, and livestock herders. And, unsurprisingly, the elkhounds rose to the occasion.

If you find yourself charmed by this dignified and independent dog, there are a few things you should know before bringing home one of your own. We’ve got you covered with all the facts you need, so continue reading to see what life might look like with a Norwegian elkhound puppy.

Norwegian elkhound puppy facts 

Known for their courage and independence, elkhounds are also tremendously people-oriented and playful.

Size Medium. Norwegian elkhound males will typically reach a height of 20.5 inches, while females will usually be around 19.5 inches tall. Generally, males weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 pounds, and females will weigh slightly less at around 48 pounds.
Breed Characteristics Bred to perform arduous tasks, the Norwegian elkhound is a sturdy canine with muscular legs and a dense gray coat that protected him from the elements. With ears standing at attention and eyes that exude intelligence, the elkhound has an alert and clever appearance. We especially love his fluffy tail that curves over his back!
Temperament Shy at first, an elkhound will pledge a lifetime of friendship once he gets to know you. Typically unaggressive, this friendly breed is a people-lover, through and through. He’s bold, playful, and always up for an adventure, so you can count on him to hit the trails with you if you’re the outdoorsy type. Just be ready to deal with an independent nature, a trait commonly seen with hound dogs.
Grooming and Health Needs If the thought of endless dog hair accumulating on your furniture makes you break into a cold sweat, perhaps it’s wise to pass on a Norwegian elkhound puppy. During their twice-a-year shedding season, an elkhound becomes a fur-factory, requiring daily brushing to keep his hair under control. One major positive of the breed: the AKC asserts that they don’t have a foul “doggy” odor, so baths can be kept to a minimum (at most, 2-3 times per year).

For the most part, elkhounds are a healthy breed. They can, however, suffer from hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, skin cysts, and eye problems.

Training This is an intelligent breed, to be sure. But even though they learn quickly, elkhounds are notoriously independent, which can throw a major wrench in your training sessions. This is not the type of dog who will follow instructions blindly without question. Get ready to deal with a bit of resistance.

Vetstreet recommends sticking to positive reinforcement with plenty of praise and treats as rewards. To keep your Norwegian elkhound puppy from getting bored during training, keep lessons short and entertaining, and don’t be afraid to change things up.

These dogs also tend to be leash-pullers, so build up your arm strength and train them to heel from a young age.

Energy Level Top performing athletes, Norwegian elkhounds are happiest in the great outdoors. Keep your tennis shoes handy—you’ll need to make sure he gets in at least two 30-minute exercise sessions per day. If you’re looking for an activity to share beyond the standard stroll through the neighborhood, consider signing up your pup for agility, flyball, carting, or herding competitions. Elkhounds will be equally pleased to accompany you on a vigorous hike or bike ride, and they’re exceptional swimmers.
Life Expectancy A relatively healthy breed, Norwegian elkhounds have an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Who is the best human for a Norwegian elkhound puppy?

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself: could a Norwegian elkhound be the breed for me? Without a doubt, these hounds can make terrific family pets, but they’re not a perfect match for every household.

Bred to endure long-lasting and strenuous hunts, elkhounds are an energetic breed that requires daily exercise to blow off steam. If he’s not given adequate time to stretch his limbs, this dog could resort to some destructive behaviors like chewing or howling.

If you already have an active lifestyle, great—this hound will be a happy participant in your outings. From swimming to hiking to canine competitions, the Norwegian elkhound is an adventurous, outdoorsy dog who loves to keep moving.

Be honest with yourself—is extra vacuum duty something you can live with? Because these dogs shed. A lot. During their biannual shedding season, the amount of hair wafting through your house will kick into overdrive.

Barking can be another issue with this breed. For people looking for a guard dog to ward off intruders, this could be considered a positive trait. But don’t forget about your neighbors: a barky dog could be enough to drive them insane while you’re out of the house.

In general, the Norwegian elkhound is a friendly, people-loving dog who gets along well with both children and strangers. He thrives on human companionship, and he’ll remain a steadfast friend for life.

Getting a Norwegian elkhound puppy

The decision to adopt or to work with a breeder for your new Norwegian elkhound puppy is a personal choice that requires research. Thankfully, there are many resources out there to help you find a rescue or a breeder who offers healthy, ethically-sourced elkhound puppies.

Adopting a Norwegian elkhound puppy

It may come as a surprise, but adopting a Norwegian elkhound puppy is possible. According to the AKC, most shelters report that the majority of their rescue dogs come from individual owner surrender due to a lifestyle change or an incompatibility with the dog. What this means for you: there may be adoptable purebred dogs and puppies out there who are looking for a new forever home.

The main difference between a breeder and a rescue is that a rescue may not always have young puppies to choose from. The benefit, however, is that most are mandated to only adopt out dogs that have been microchipped and spayed/neutered. This means you may end up with a dog who’s already been housebroken and doesn’t need these common medical procedures. You may also find a Norwegian elkhound mix that has all the traits you want from the breed, but with a little extra thrown in.

Finding an elkhound rescue can be as simple as searching the internet. You can check out the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America to find local rescues.

Finding a Norwegian elkhound breeder

The first step is to do your research. Sadly, there are many puppy mills posing as reputable breeders along with many online scams. Be aware, and reach out to different online forums for conversations about getting your future furry family member.

Be sure to ask questions, and make arrangements to meet the parent dogs or mother. In the end, you must follow your gut. If something seems wrong at a breeder you visit, or the elkhound puppy seems too good to be true, there’s probably something fishy going on. The AKC also offers resources for finding a breeder, with fairly strict guidelines on who they let participate.

Knowing what you’re in for when you get a Norwegian elkhound puppy is an important step in being a responsible pet owner. Whether you find an ethical breeder or are planning to adopt, prepare yourself for a bold and friendly addition to your household.

Norwegian elkhound puppy resources

After you find the right Elkhound puppy, it’s time to prepare your home! Here are a few resources to get you started.

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