MAINTAINING THE STANDARD
BOLD DRIVEN FAMILY
An amazingly versatile dog:
THE NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND
Throughout his history this medium-sized dog has had many names. In the English language that name might still cause arguments. That's no wonder for he is not a hound and he does not hunt only Elk! He belongs to the "Spitz" group, is a "Nordic" dog, and, although originally developed to hunt big game (bear, deer, moose, etc.), the "Elghund" (his Norwegian name) is much more than just a hunting specialist.
He was and still is also a farm dog who can be trusted around the other farm animals - he even can be used for herding!- a sled dog strong enough to pull a sleigh or a cart, a gentle pet good with children, and an intelligent watch dog alerting you to the arrival of visitors.
The breed has been refined for only 140 years so he is still a natural dog whose roots go back thousands of years. He was the friend and companion of the Vikings on their forays through North Western Europe and even across the sea as far as Nova Scotia.
As a hunting dog, the Elghund must be full of energy, bold, and appear to be aggressive. He must be energetic enough to track game for many miles and bold enough to stand up to bull moose and bear. An Elghund which is not agile and smart would soon be put out of action by his prey's hooves, claws or horns.
All this calls for intelligence, which makes the dogs easy to train. But they do not perform every time they are asked. Elghunds have a mind of their own. You will get a look which seems to say, "I did that five minutes ago; why should I do it again?"
The Elghund's muzzle is wider at the base than at the nose, giving his head a wedge shape. A good fill under the oval or almond shaped dark brown eyes protects the eyes when he runs through the woods; the pointed ears are very mobile when erect. He shows friendliness and affection by laying his ears flat against his head. The Elghund reveals a lovely "mascara" line from the outside corner of the eye to the base of the ear. This line may be missing if the face is too dark. There also may be black "beauty marks" on the cheeks.
The compact, square body of the Elghund makes him as long as he is tall, with his height being just about half leg and half body. The short back is created by a strong short loin and the tail is carried tightly curled over the centre of the back.
The Elghund brings a bear or moose to stand by teasing the animal; his dodging in and out bothers his large prey. The dog's build allows him to jump away quickly, to turn in mid-air, and to leap vertically. This makes size and build so important. A small, short-legged dog will tire too quickly; a large or long-legged dog will not have the needed speed to dodge and dart in and out of reach again. The ideal height at the shoulder is: 20 1/2"-21 1/2" for dogs, and 19" -19 1/2" for bitches.
The coat of the Elghund is dense and thick, making it weather-resistant. This makes the Elghund a good companion for out-door activities. The soft woolly undercoat protects him from the cold and the heat, the smooth-lying guard coat repels rain and wet snow. Twice a year the Elghund sheds; many hours can be spent brushing that useful coat but aside from this brushing, nail trimming and regular exercise, the Elghund is truly a low maintenance dog. He does not require regular trips to a groomer.
The Elghund is often described as grey. The undercoat should be silver or cream (not yellow) and the guard hairs black tipped. Elghunds should not be too light or too dark. Pronounced white markings are a no-no.
The Elghund's gait has been described as a "dilt" or a "rocking gallop". A sound dog will move freely, without effort or swaying of the back and with a gait which is neither choppy and inefficient, nor flashy and extremely showy. He is a natural trotter; therefore his angulation should be moderate.
In our days many dog owners live in or near a city and not on a farm, and not many people hunt moose, bear or other game with their dogs. Today the Elghund's task might be to be a good pet and a trustworthy companion. Responsible breeders, however, will do whatever they can to preserve the true Elghund characteristics so he'll be able to be both a good pet and a good hunter.
There are a number of things the owner of an Elghund must always remember:
He is still so close to nature (where food is not always readily available) that he tends to eat as much as he can when it is there. He should, therefore, never be fed more than he really needs. Obesity is as bad for a dog as it is for humans!
Bred to be an intelligent hunter, the Elghund is full of curiosity. He always wants to find out what lies beyond his world, and left on his own, he goes to investigate. Although he might eventually come back to his starting point, it is much safer to make sure that the back yard, where no fast cars might bring his life to an untimely end, is securely fenced.
The Elghund is bred for action. Exercise will keep the dog (and the owner!) in good shape, and save the dog from the boredom which might lead to mischief. A good long walk at a brisk pace will keep the dog's muscles firm and strong.
A dog obedience course will teach the dog and his owner what to expect from each other. An Elghund is by nature a people lover, but being in a class with other dogs and owners will not only socialize him, but will also teach you how to ask obedience from the dog. The Elghund is a very independent-minded dog; once he has learned a certain routine, he might think that a repeat performance is useless. He'll gladly move on to the next exercise.
A satisfied owner and a happy dog form a team that's hard to beat. An Elghund is not very demanding; taking good care of him will give you a faithful and loving friend who just wants to enjoy your company.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a typical northern dog, of medium size, with a compact, proportionately short body, with a thick and rich, but not bristling, grey coat, with prick ears, and with a tail that is curled and carried over the back.
His temperament is bold and energetic.
Dogs, about 20-1/2 inches (52 cm) at the shoulders; Bitches, about 19-1/2 inches (50 cm).
COAT AND COLOUR
Coat thick, rich and hard, but rather smooth lying. On head and front of legs, short and even; longest on neck and chest, on buttocks, on hind side of forelegs and on underside of tail. It is made of longer and harder covering hairs, dark at the tips, and of a light, soft, woolly undercoat. Colour grey, with black tips to the long covering hairs; somewhat lighter on chest, stomach, legs, underside of tail, and around anus. The colour may be lighter or darker, with a slight shading towards yellow; but a pronounced variation from the grey colour disqualifies. Too dark or too light individuals should be avoided; also, yellow markings or uneven colouring. There should be no pronounced white markings.
“Dry” (without any loose skin), broad at the ears; the forehead and back of the head only slightly arched; the stop not large, yet clearly defined. The muzzle is of medium length, thickest at the base and seen from above or from the side, tapers evenly without being pointed. The bridge of the nose is straight; the lips are tightly closed and the teeth meet in a scissors bite. Eyes not protruding, brown in colour, preferably dark, lively, with fearless energetic expression. Ears set high, firm and erect, are higher than they are wide at the base, pointed (not rounded) and very mobile. When the dog is listening, the orifices are turned forward.
Of medium length, “dry” (without any loose skin), strong, and well set up.
Legs firm, straight, and strong; elbows closely set on.
Powerful, compact, and short, with broad, deep chest, well-sprung ribs, straight back, well-developed loins, and stomach very little drawn up.
Hind legs with little angulation at knees and hocks. Seen from behind, they are straight. Feet comparatively small, somewhat oblong, with tightly closed toes, not turned out. There should be no dewclaws on hind legs.
Set high, short, thickly and closely haired, but without brush; tightly curled, not carried too much to one side.
Pronounced variation from grey colour.
NECC BOARD MEMBERS
Donna first fell in love with Elkhounds in 2000. She now runs Elgwood Elkhounds and shows in both Canada and the US. She has been to many places that she would likely never havebeen to if it weren’t for her “fur kids.
Arielle grew up in a show household where Elkhounds quickly became her greatest comrade and allies. Daughter to Lisa, who runs Fanta Reg'd. Arielle finds her talents best used outside of the show ring, in taking photos and long walks with the elkies.
Lisa met her first Elkhound in 1988 and never looked back. Since then she has shown bred and made friends and family with many Elkhounds. She runs Fanta Red'g and enjoys, handling, rally & obedience classes on top of showing.
J. Paul Woito
Paul has been an enthusiastic Elkhound representative since the mid 70's. In that time he's show across Canada and the US, holding memberships in both National breed clubs. Now retired he's happy to help preserve the Elkhound heritage.
Vince is proof that the Elkhound love can catch you at any point. He bought his first dog, an Elkhound, at fifty-three, thanks to his wife's strong advocation. It is reputed that her grandfather was the first to have imported Elkhounds into Canada with his kennel in the late 1930s and 40s.
Sheila has trained, shown, raced, groomed, rescued and raised dogs for over 40 years. Her motivation is to help promote ‘Responsible Dog Ownership’. Sheila and her husband Clif own The Neighborhood Pup Dog Center in Whitehorse and they run Vigeland Kennels.
Donna has lived her life with 7 Elkhounds over the years and is a lifetime member of the CKC. She has been a collector of archived material on Elkhound kennels and shows in Canada and is dedicated to sharing the history and knowledge.
Anne runs Ruterfem Reg's Kennels, located in Brandon Manitoba and has bred Norwegian Elkhounds since 1970. She hosted a successful 2017 NECC National Specialty in Manitoba and continues to work hard to promote sound, healthy, quality Elkhounds.
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