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Living with elkhounds

What is an Elkhound like?

A Champion on the move

 

Elkhounds can be an ideal family pet but you must do your homework before deciding on one to be sure it's the right dog for you. 

Health 

Elkhounds are a very healthy breed with very few hereditary diseases. Those which do rarely occur are  hip dysplasia, eye problems like PRA or Glaucoma and occasionally cyst/skin problems. Most breeds have some of the above but responsible Elkhound breeders will have had  their stock tested for these problems before breeding. Always ask what tests the parents have had. Most Elkhounds will never have a problem.

Always buy from a reputable breeder. Make sure you see the mother and make sure the parents have been health tested. If the owner cannot produce at least up to date eye and hip tests for the parents then leave. 

Use your intuition. If the owner of the litter asks no questions, isn't bothered whether you have a fenced yard or if you will be home with  the pup or where and how the pup will be kept, then they don't care about their pups or their breeding. A good breeder will keep in touch with you for life, will be happy to advise you and should insist that if there be any problems, they will take back the dog immediately or will try to find it another home. If the breeder of your prospective puppy isn't interested in any of this, run a mile. Don't be swayed by the poor cute puppy that looks so sad. It probably is and you won't be doing it or yourself any favours by encouraging such breeding.

Silky one eye

Size: 

Elkhounds are medium-sized. Males should be 20.5"  at the shoulder and weigh around 50 pounds. Females stand at 19.5" and weigh between 40-45 pounds.

Lapdogs

Children
Most elkhounds adore children and make wonderful family dogs but it important to remember that ALL dogs, of any breed can bite if they are badly trained or ill treated.
NO dog should ever be left alone with a child.
All children must be taught how to read a dog's body language. They need to know the language that says leave me alone or I am afraid or I am happy and many more.
All children must be taught how to treat a dog and must never be allowed to torment it, dress it up, pull its tail etc etc.
No young child should ever be allowed to walk a dog. Dogs can be incredibly strong and children simply do not have the strength or maturity to control them.
No child should ever go near a dog when it is eating.
Are you eating?

 

Training.
Elkhounds are a hunting breed. They were originally bred to hunt Elk (Moose) in Norway and are used for that to this day. The hunting instinct can be very strong. They do not attack the Elk themselves, but hold it at bay by barking and dancing around it avoiding the vicious hooves. They can bark at home as well so you must control this!
They are a very intelligent breed and will look for ways to outsmart you.
They can also be quite stubborn.
Never give a dog attention for doing wrong; only for doing right. If the dog has done something you don't want, telling it off is giving attention. It is far better to ignore the misdeed where possible and instead praise and treat for doing the right thing.

An elkhound will not train in the same way as say a labrador or border collie. Most will not be utterly attentive to you as a person during training and please you just for the sake of it. They are very intelligent and need to see a reason for doing what you want them to do.
  They are VERY food orientated and will train easily if there's a treat to be had. Do remember to take treats out of the normal food allowance for the day or you will quickly end up with an overweight dog.

I hold by the premise that here are very few bad dogs but a huge number of bad owners who have not trained their dog properly and do not understand it.
Sending a dog away to be trained is not helpful. The owner needs to know how to train their own dog. It can be a wonderful learning experience for both owner and dog. Dogs should always be trained with kindness, not punishment. Show them what to do, not what they shouldn't do.

 On the plus side, they have virtually no "doggie" odor and I have found that many children who are allergic to other breeds  have no problems with Elkhounds despite the hair. It's not usually hair that causes allergies but dander from the skin.

If you are not going to be showing your dog then a bath once a year is adequate. Their coats are weather resistant and dirt easily brushes out. Combing them out right down to the skin about once a fortnight is enough but when they are shedding they will need daily grooming. Be prepared for a bag full of hair each time.

 

 

Getting a puppy.
If a puppy wets in the house it's not the pup's fault. Puppies have small bladders and need to go often. They also need to learn how to ask you. If your pup has an accident it's your fault for not letting it out often enough or for not reading the signs it gives. You need to pay constant attention to your pup's needs. It needs to go out immediately after feeding with with lots of coaxing to "go potty" or some such phrase and then profuse praise when it performs in the right spot and then to go out at least every two hours. If you have to leave a young pup for several hours while you are at work, maybe you should think about having an older dog; perhaps wait until you can spend more time with it or arrange for someone to come in regularly to attend to the puppy.

 

Exercise: 

Some Elkhounds are very energetic and need to have consistent exercise daily (at least 20 to 30 minutes twice a day) , others are very laid back couch potatoes. They do need stimulation. Toys are usually popular and most dogs enjoy learning obedience or agility or even doggy dancing.

 

Feeding

Elkhounds actually need less pound for pound than pet food manufacturers recommend. If you feed the recommended amount you could find that your dog gets fat. Use common sense and if your dog is putting on weight, reduce the food. You will extend your dog's life by keeping it trim. Excess weight leads to arthritis, heart and breathing trouble and other health problems.

 

 

Shedding:  

I should write this in RED ! Elkhounds SHED!

hair of the dog hair of the dog!

They are a double-coated breed and males shed once and females shed profusely twice a year.  If you want an immaculate house, DON'T GET AN ELKHOUND! 

You will always find some dog hair around, especially in rugs, furniture and on your clothes and even in unimaginable places! Elkhound owners joke about where that hair gets to. But then , mix it with a little sheep's wool and it spins beautifully. The birds love it too.

 

Guard Dog:               

Norwegian Elkhounds are excellent watch dogs. They are very alert and will bark at noises they hear. They are not guard dogs. Once someone enters the home they could very well make friends with the intruder rather that attack them. But each dog is different.

Attention

Elkhounds are very devoted to their owners. They need to be with, around and near humans because they thrive on love and attention. 

 

 

 Consider your lifestyle and household schedule-do you travel a lot, do you work long hours, are you busy with your children's activities? Can you afford vet fees if your dog gets sick? In other words, do you have the time to give the love and attention an Elkhound needs???

 

 

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