What is an elkhound?



The Norwegian Elkhound is a very old and natural type of dog. Often called the "dog of the Vikings", the elkhound served as a hunter of large game, and as watchdogs and guardians of the homestead. The elkhound is the national dog of Norway, and has a statue dedicated to the breed in Oslo. 
In Norway, these sturdy dogs are still used for hunting, and are required to have their hunting certificate in order to get their championship. 

What the AKC calls the Norwegian Elkhound is called the Grahund in Norway. "Gra" for Grey and "Hund" for Dog. The Gray Dog. There are other types of Elkhound, which are not currently recognized by the AKC.


The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium sized dog. Males are approx. 20 1/2 inches tall at the withers and weigh around 50 lbs. Females are approx. 19 1/2 inches tall at the withers and weigh around 45 lbs. 

The elkhound is a hardy gray hunting dog. In appearance, the elkhound is a typical northern dog of medium size and substance, square in profile, close coupled, and balanced in proportion.

This breed is stocky and square in profile, closely coupled and well balanced. It has a broad head with medium sized prick ears, and a tail that is curled over the back. the eyes are almond shaped. They have a double coat, with an outer layer of straight, coarse grey, black, and silver hairs. The undercoat is dense, fluffy whitish insulating hair. The color is an overall grey, with dark harness markings, black muzzle and ears.


Loyal, Affectionate, Courageous, Protective, Eager to Hunt, and Creative. This is a breed who is an independent thinker, but wants to be where you are.

The elkhound is an independent hunter, free of direct command to silently trail moose or bear and to hold the game at bay until the hunter can approach. He holds the game at bay by barking and being an annoyance rather than a threat. 

Elkhounds are expected to have the stamina and agility to hunt day after day, in terrain that varies from marsh to hilly timber growth, and in all weather conditions.

While the elkhound is not allowed to perform its large animal hunting function in the United States, they are used for small game such as raccoons and some types of birds. They are excellent companions, and excel at performance activities such as tracking, obedience, and agility. And yes, they even herd.