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Is an Elkhound the right dog for you?


Before you consider becoming the owner of an Elkhound, it's a good idea to see if it's traits and characteristics match your idea of a dog. If you lack a strong will of your own, if you want a dog that is unquestioningly obedient or you don't have the time to develop the strong  bond that the Elkhound is capable of, then maybe the elkhound is not the right breed for you.

The "Dog of the Vikings" is a breed that has remained essentially unchanged for more than 6,000 years. Most elkhound owners would agree that once you’ve been owned by an elkhound, no other breed will do.

The Norwegian Elkhound is an undeniably beautiful breed of an ideal medium size. Not too big for house or car, and nor too small to be an effective guardian or a companion to active children. As with any breed, each Elkhound has a unique personality. The breeding of each dog also affects its temperament. But there are certain characteristics that you can expect in every Elkhound.

The Elkhound is not used for hunting in the UK but in Norway this is still his primary purpose and his hunting instincts are still very strong. Here it is regarded as an all-around family dog. However those strong hunting traits are still the key to its personality. Energetic, curious, agile and devoted to his family, the Elkhound is generally outgoing and friendly. Because it is so observant and keen to bark, and because of its sturdy appearance, an elkhound can be an excellent watch dog. However they are too friendly and not aggressive enough to be  guard dogs. They have of a great deal of common sense and most elkhounds are independent. 

The elkhound is hardy enough to keep outside, but so keen to be involved with the family that it would prefer to be a housedog. It is a very food-motivated dog that can become conveniently “deaf” to your commands when he smells food. It will take any chance to beg a treat. Although it's very easy to fall for those soulful eyes, you have to watch their weight carefully. Pet food manufacturers’ feeding recommendations are rarely correct for an elkhound.
     Elkhounds are energetic, intelligent dogs. Without careful obedience training, they may take over the role as pack leader around your house and become quite dominant, especially towards children, less strong-willed adults or other dogs. More often than not, this is likely to take the form making the owners do exactly what the dog wants. I remember one whose owner often gave him a biscuit to stop him barking.. It didn’t take the dog long to work out that just one bark would get him a biscuit. Another whose owner allowed him to sleep on their bed until the dog actually growled at them when they tried to go to bed.  Elkhounds can be successfully trained to do obedience and agility but the training must be consistent and usually food led. They are not natural dogs to walk to heel or to retrieve and although quite a number enjoy toys and balls, many just can’t see the point of them. In 40 years I have only had 3 elkhounds that actually liked to play with toys but they do love to play with each other and have a terrific sense of humour.

The main drawback with an elkhound for many people is the coat. Easy to keep clean and requiring fairly minimal grooming, they do shed profusely, twice a year for bitches and once for dogs but when they do shed, believe me they shed bag after bag full of hair.


Now read about their character to decide  if the Elkhound is the right dog for you and your family


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