Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound


Norwegian Elkhounds are beautiful dogs with wolf-like faces. While they are smart as can be, they also have a great sense of humour. They'll race you around the kitchen island, reverse directions when you do, and then howl.

Lifetime Care

Breed Profile







Life Span





Progressive Retinal Atrophy

of dogs

What is PRA?

Atrophy refers to the partial or complete wasting of a body part. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of degenerative diseases that affects the photoreceptor cells in the retina. The cells of the affected dog's body deteriorate over time because of this disease, eventually resulting in the dog becoming blind.

Clinical Signs

  • Progressive loss of night vision

  • Day vision degeneration

  • Cloudy eyes

  • Grey eyes with a slight sheen appear

  • Walls and unfamiliar obstructions may be bumped into by your cat

  • Having difficulty with stairs or jumping down steps

  • Decreased pigmentation of the eyes


Currently, PRA does not have an effective treatment available due to this condition developing from mutated DNA. Antioxidant supplements and vitamins have not shown any measurable effect on this disease, although they are not harmful to your pet and may help reduce stress on the lens cells and potentially delay cataract development. Your cat's blindness may be prevented or delayed if the underlying causes such as cataracts or retinal detachment are caught and treated early.

Eligible vet bill


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Amount a Spot accident & illness plan could cover*


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*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been satisfied and the annual coverage limit has not yet been met. Annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit and coverage limits, and exclusions may apply. Eligibility may vary. Visit for full terms. For Canada enrollments only, reimbursement rate is based on the pet's age.



Although they may be reserved around strangers, they will happily greet family members and others they know. 


They are not usually very playful


They are very affectionate and devoted to their families.

Lifetime Care


Elkhounds have a double coat that can shed dirt and is weather-resistant. They have a short, thick, smooth topcoat. Their undercoats are dense, woolly, and soft.


Elkhounds are usually medium gray, with black-tipped guard hairs accented by light silver. There is usually a darker gray color on the saddle, and black tipping on the ears and tail. Gray is usually the color of their chest and manes.




Despite their easy coat, they require weekly brushing, possibly more when shedding.


Positive reinforcement works well for them, but they can have a stubborn streak that sometimes hinders them.

The Norwegian Elkhound is known for barking, and although the trait can be trained out of some, you cannot always count on it. To the average dog owner, this background means that exacting obedience work is out of the question. It won't be a problem for them to learn basic obedience and they'll make a great family dog, but pleasing you is not their highest priority.

Norwegian Elkhounds are strong-willed enough to take over a home if given half a chance. Without proper training and socialization, they can become dominant. Owners must be firm and consistent during training. Obviously, they prefer a winter climate with a lot of snow to play in. Elkhounds are true adventurers who prefer to go outdoors on their adventures. You must exercise for a long period of time every day, so if you're not ready to become an outdoorsman, take a second look — if you can't keep up, you may soon have a house full of destroyed belongings that met their fates when they found ways to burn up their endless energy. A fast-moving performance event such as agility is a natural fit for the Elkhound.

As soon as they are outside, the Elkhound may see game they can track, and may ignore your calls for them to return. While they were bred to track but not attack game, Elkhounds have been known to kill on their own due to their strong prey drive. The Norwegian Elkhound makes a wonderful family member due to their affectionate nature. In addition to being excellent with children, they make excellent watchdogs, treating strangers with suspicion. Their loyalty is unmatched, and they thrive on attention.

Norwegian Elkhound: Introduction to the Breed

Pet ownership is one of the most important decisions you can make for your family. Before purchasing another puppy, research the available puppies and determine which will fit your family and lifestyle best. You should carefully consider the characteristics you would like in a dog, along with those you would prefer it not to have. Norwegian Elkhound have a few things you should know.

Norwegian Elkhounds dogs are generally:

  • Active

  • Loving

  • Intelligent

  • Friendly with families

  • Fearless

  • Reliable

The Norwegian Elkhound breed is noble, dignified, and intelligent. Though loving, affectionate, and sometimes silly, they tend to be reserved with strangers at first.

Norwegian elkhounds are relatively independent dogs, like other northern types. When it comes to modern obedience training, this independence can pose a challenge when holding an elk at bay until the human hunter arrives for the kill. Compared to other breeds, the Elkhound tends to bark more and be more territorial. They are proud, intelligent, and independent, yet affectionate. Norwegian elkhounds may view smaller pets as prey. Therefore, they should be avoided by families with smaller animals.

What are the Origins of the Norwegian Elkhound?

Norway is a stunningly beautiful and rugged country where the Norwegian Elkhound originated. They can be traced back roughly a thousand years, when the Vikings used a similar dog breed to guard and hunt. The Norwegian Elkhound breed may date back as far as 5000 BCE since archaeologists have found skeletons of dogs whose shape closely resembles that of the breed. It is little doubt that this breed has been closely intertwined with mankind's history, despite its uncertain history.

Throughout Norwegian history, the Norwegian Elkhound has been a common fixture not only among Vikings, but also in general. The breed has been used to guard herds, flocks, and homes and to hunt large game such as bear and moose. Their role in hunting was to track down prey, then bark at it until the hunter arrived to kill it.

In 1877, the Norwegian Hunters Association held its first dog show for the Norwegian Elkhound. The Norwegian Elkhound was soon shaped into a serious contender in the conformation ring by breeders who strived to create breed standards and records. As a family companion, the Norwegian Elkhound excels in a variety of dog sports and careers, including conformation, agility, obedience, flyball, freestyle, tracking, guarding, herding, sledding, and search and rescue. In addition to being used as hunting dogs, Norwegian Elkhounds are still used in their original capacity.

What are the Risks for the Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed?

As with all breeds, elkhounds have certain health conditions that they may be susceptible to. If you are considering this breed, you should be aware that not all Elkhounds will develop any or all of these conditions. When purchasing a puppy, make sure the breeder can show you the health clearances of both parents. A health clearance indicates that a dog has been tested and cleared of a particular condition.

Some common health conditions for Elkhounds may include:

  • Fanconi Syndrome

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

  • Sebaceous Cysts

A Norwegian Elkhound needs daily exercise (breeders recommend 30 minutes twice a day), not only to burn off energy but also to help maintain a healthy weight. Due to their exceptional food motivation, they are at risk of becoming obese (watch out for those huge, soulful brown eyes aimed at your dinner), so proper feeding and exercise are required throughout their life. Despite being a barker, they generally do well in apartments. It is better to live in a home with a fenced yard.

The benefits of crate training extend to all dogs, and it helps ensure your Elkhound won't have accidents in the house or get into things they shouldn't. A crate can also be used as a place for them to nap. You should begin crate training your Elkhound at a young age so they will be more likely to accept confinement if they ever need to be boarded or hospitalized. Elkhounds shouldn’t be left ina crate all day though. They shouldn't stay in it more than a few hours at a time except at night (but they will probably prefer to sleep in your bed with you). Crates and kennels aren't meant for Elkhounds since they are people dogs.