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Norwegian Elkhounds Are Great Pets

Updated on April 6, 2013

What's An Elkhound?

Norwegian Elkhounds are fantastic pets, but they have some qualities and behaviors that you should research before you add one to your family. I wouldn't trade mine for the world, but sometimes she's a lot of work! Elkhounds are a medium breed dog who shed like crazy! If you don't like furry pets and don't want to worry about controlling shedding, this dog is not for you! They also bark a lot and tend to pull when going for walks. I bet if you have a Norwegian Elkhound you've tried using a Gently Leader! They are very gentle and sweet and truly want to please their family.

Abbey The Elkhound

My dog Abbey is a seven year old Norwegian Elkhound. She is a great companion and I can't imagine life without her. In 2005 I decided I wanted to adopt a puppy, but when I researched the process I realized that adoption was not going to be an option for me. Since I was renting my apartment it was going to be difficult for me to get all of the paperwork I needed in order to be approved for adoption. I had done a lot of research on dog breeds and I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a nonshedding small to medium sized dog. I desperately wanted a puppy and I happened upon Norwegian Elkhound puppies. I fell in love with the curly tailed beauties immediately. They were everything I didn't want in a dog and I bought one anyway. Abbey is probably the furriest shedding dog I have ever encountered, but her gentle demeanor and unconditional love and loyalty make the daily shedding and vacuuming worth it.

About The Breed

What's An Elkhound All About?

Norwegian Elkhounds are originally from Scandinavia. They were bred as hunting dogs and guard dogs. These dogs make ideal hunting dogs because they are mid-sized and have a lot of stamina. The key to their success as hunting dogs is their bark. Norwegian Elkhounds have a fierce bark. When hunting they circle their intended target which was originally elk and bear. They would bark at the animals and eventually get them cornered. This gave the hunter an easy target to shoot at.

Elkhounds are typically black and gray with some color variation. They are a medium breed that typically weighs 46-55 pounds. They have beautiful markings and a curly tail. Their undercoat is very thick and they shed a lot. Daily brushing is recommended. Their coat is waterproof which ideal in hunting situations. These dogs are typically very friendly and get along well with children. They love to go for walks and partake in family activities. Elkhounds can get very focused on things, especially if they catch an interesting scent. I do not recomment that you ever trust a Norwegian Elkhound off it's leash unless you feel very comfortable with their training.

Guides to Elkhounds and other fun things

Norwegian Elkhound (Comprehensive Owner's Guide)
Norwegian Elkhound (Comprehensive Owner's Guide)

If you're going to own an Elkhound, you should probably learn as much as you can about the breed. This book should help.

Elkhound (Petlove)
Elkhound (Petlove)

This book is full of information about the Norwegian Elkhound breed.


How I Care For My Elkhound

Like any pet, Abbey needs a lot of care and attention. Like I mentioned before, she is a very furry girl. I have to constantly brush her in order to keep her shedding under control. I also have a hard time walking her. This could be due to my lack of training in this area, but I've resorted to using a gently leader when I walk her. A gentle leader is often mistaken for a muzzle, but it's really nothing like a muzzle. It goes around her muzzle and clips around her neck. The leash attaches under her mouth. This makes it nearly impossible for her to pull me when I take her out. Abbey is a very loyal dog and she desperately wants to please me. She was very easily house broken and trained (aside from pulling during walks). She is very ashamed of herself if she disappoints me or has an accident. I give her reassurance and let her know how much I love her.

Abbey's Favorite Toys

Here are a few things that make my Elkhound a happy girl.

What Do You Think Of Norwegian Elkhounds?

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    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 5 years ago from Philippines

      a bit scary with it's stare....but still cute

      great lens

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: Just thinking... If you find people in public tend to react negatively to Abbey because of mistaking the Gentle Leader for a muzzle, an alternative that we find works quite well for habitual pullers is a harness with the leash clip on the front (not on the back - having the leash fastened on at the back can actually encourage pulling). Easy Walker is a good one, made by Premier (the same company that makes Gentle Leader).

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Abbey is a lovely girl, such an adorable face! I once had a Shiba Inu and the thick undercoat with massive daily shedding sounds very similar. Great for cold climates, though! :)

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Beautiful dog, Kathleen! Thank you for sharing her story! =)

    • profile image

      elkhounds 5 years ago

      @elkhounds: The NEAA (Norwegian Elkhound Association of America) is

    • profile image

      elkhounds 5 years ago

      @reginapolite: Elkhounds will bark to alert, but they are generally not guard dogs. They are an extremely friendly breed.

      To find a well-bred elkhound, the best place to look is at the NEAA website you will also find fantastic information about the breed

      If you are looking for a rescue, please visit Most of the dogs available have been evaluated and/or are in foster care so you would have an idea about their temperament and needs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, Kathleen and welcome to Squidoo! I enjoyed this lens. Give Abbey a scratch behind the ears for me.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the introduction to a breed I didn't know about.

    • kathleenhainey profile image

      kathleenhainey 5 years ago

      @reginapolite: If you really wanted one you could find breeders online. You can also go to and adopt one. Most of them are a mixed breed, but may be perfect for your family. As far as guard dogs, they have a fierce bark and most elkhounds are protective of their "pack". If I heard an elhound barking at me from outside a house, I would think twice about breaking in!

    • profile image

      reginapolite 5 years ago

      Are they difficult to find? This seems like an uncommmon breed. Also, how are they as guard dogs?