Norwegian Elkhound.jpg
Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group 2-E: Nordic Hunting Dogs
Origin Country Norway
Weight Males: 50-55 pounds. Females: 44-48 pounds.
Height Males: 18-21 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Other Name(s) Norsk Elghund Gra, Standard Gray Variety: Gray Norwegian
Breed Type Pure
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Norwegian Elkhound

Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group 2-E: Nordic Hunting Dogs
Origin Country Norway
Weight Males: 50-55 pounds. Females: 44-48 pounds.
Height Males: 18-21 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Other Name(s) Norsk Elghund Gra, Standard Gray Variety: Gray Norwegian
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Also known as the Norsk Elghund, he is the national dog of his native Norway. The Elkhound is an ancient breed, prized throughout history for his versatility and character. Remains of these dogs have been found dating as far back as 4000 BCE. They have historically been used to track and bay large and small game animals, including bears, badgers, wolves, rabbits, and of course, moose (or elg) in his native Norway’s tongue. In fact, elg, or elk, actually means moose in the Norwegian dialect, meaning that he was most noted for his ability to track the giant moose of Norway. However, hunting isn’t this breed’s only trick, since he excels as a guard dog, watch dog, herding dog, and flock guard.

During the nineteenth century, some breeders developed a somewhat smaller strain that was black, as opposed to the typical gray color. This variety later became known as the Black Norwegian Elkhound, which is rarely seen outside of Norway.

These dogs were first exhibited in shows by Norwegian huntsmen as far back as the last quarter of the nineteenth century, but, they weren’t officially declared a recognized breed until the 1920s.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull type is moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is fairly broad between the ears, giving the head breadth. When viewed in profile, may be just slightly arched or flat. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin, substance, or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and preferably dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Somewhat small to medium in size, set high on the skull, and triangular in shape with pointed tips. The ear height should be equal to or slightly equal to the width of the base. They should be mobile and firmly erect. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, broad at the base, and tapering slightly toward the nose when viewed from any direction. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length allows for good head carriage, it is strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Compact, short-coupled, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried curled over the back down the center or to either side, but never tucked. The tail is of a moderate length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down, although the tail may not be completely straightened.
Movement: Smooth, effortless, and efficient, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: Independent, fearless, intelligent, energetic, and loyal, Norwegian Elkhounds are even-tempered and level-headed, although they can also be fiercely protective and aloof with strangers due to their strong guarding instincts. They are also high in prey drive and hunting instincts. A combination of these attributes makes early puppy training and socialization (to people and other animals) imperative. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds

Proportions: Square to off-square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being equal to or just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The length-to-height ratio is between 1:1 and 10:9. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull type is moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is fairly broad between the ears, giving the head breadth. When viewed in profile, may be just slightly arched or flat. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin, substance, or wrinkle.
Expression: Intelligent, watchful, and confident.
Stop: The stop is marked and distinct, but not abrupt or overly pronounced.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, broad at the base, and tapering slightly toward the nose when viewed from any direction. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are smoothly muscled. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and preferably dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Somewhat small to medium in size, set high on the skull, and triangular in shape with pointed tips. The ear height should be equal to or slightly equal to the width of the base. They should be mobile and firmly erect. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, short-coupled, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length allows for good head carriage, it is strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut and may be flat and level or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never long, swayed, or roached.
Croup: Broad and gently sloped.
Underline: May be slightly tucked up or parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried curled over the back down the center or to either side, but never tucked. The tail is of a moderate length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down, although the tail may not be completely straightened.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Norwegian Elkhound comes in two coat varieties; the plush grey variety flat coated black variety.
Gray coat variety: Thick, dense, coarse, abundant, medium-length outer coat. The coat is smooth on the face, head, and front of legs, and longest and thickest on the neck, thighs, back of forelegs, and tail. There is an abundant ruff. The undercoat is soft and dense.
Black-coat variety: Dense, coarse, and close-lying medium to somewhat longer length outer coat. The coat is smooth on the face, head, and front of legs, and longer on the neck, thighs, back of forelegs, and tail. There is an abundant ruff. The undercoat is soft and dense.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes three color varieties of the Norwegian Elkhound breed: the standard gray, the standard black, and the nonstandard color variety. Both standard color varieties permit a small amount of white hairs on the chest and feet.
Gray coat color variety: Various shades of gray, gray-cream, or gray-brown that is comprised of the agouti coat pattern, all with a black mask that extends to darkened ears.
Black coat color variety: Jet black.
Nonstandard coat color variety: Liver, cream, soot, all standard or nonstandard colors with large amounts of white on the feet, legs, chest, tail, or head, any color other than gray agouti or black.

Movement

Smooth, effortless, and efficient, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

Independent, fearless, intelligent, energetic, and loyal, Norwegian Elkhounds are even-tempered and level-headed, although they can also be fiercely protective and aloof with strangers due to their strong guarding instincts. They are also high in prey drive and hunting instincts. A combination of these attributes makes early puppy training and socialization (to people and other animals) imperative. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.