People that love dogs often have a particular fondness for certain breeds. Some consider their favorite dog to be the Border Collie and others favor German Shepherds. For some people, their favorite dog is a little bit more unique than either of these breeds. One such example is the Norwegian Elkhound. These are beautiful dogs that are likely to turn the head of just about anyone that sees them. Chances are, you’ve seen one at least a time or two, but you might not have realized exactly what type of breed you were looking at. A lot of people think that they’re looking at some type of German Shepherd mix or perhaps a Husky cross upon first seeing a Norwegian Elkhound. The truth is, they are a breed all their own and you can learn 10 more things about them by reading the paragraphs below.
1. There are stout, muscular dogs
One of the first things you’re likely to notice when you look at a dog of this breed is that they appear to be quite capable of holding their own, regardless of the situation at hand. These dogs aren’t small, but they’re certainly not among the biggest dogs in existence, either. They’re very well built and have a great deal of muscle tone, giving them their characteristic look.
2. They come by there name, honestly
If you think that they just stumbled on their name of Elkhound, think again. These dogs are actually used to hunt elk, along with other equally large prey. In fact, they’re typically used to hunt animals like moose, bears and wolves. As you can see, it’s important that the dogs be both agile and muscular in order to be capable of hunting down prey such as this. It’s no wonder they all have that characteristic look.
3. They originated in Norway
These dogs were originally bred in Norway and for many years, they were scarcely seen anywhere but in that country. It wasn’t until several years later that people started bringing them from Norway into other countries. It was much later when the dogs finally made their way to the United States. Today, they are extremely popular in many parts of the world, but their numbers are still relatively few when compared to other more popular dog breeds such as the aforementioned Border Collie or German Shepherd.
4. They’ve been around for many generations
Although they weren’t officially recognized as a breed until about 1910, the breed itself has actually been in existence since the late 1800s. In fact, both the outward appearance and the temperament of the dog has changed relatively little during that time.
5. They’re considered a medium sized dog
When you look at a Norwegian Elkhound, you probably think you’re looking at a large dog but because of their rather compact nature, they’re actually considered a medium-sized breed. While they might be able to physically match the height of many other breeds that weigh more than they do, these dogs usually top out somewhere around 50 pounds at the most. By contrast, a large German Shepherd can weigh as much as 85 pounds, sometimes more.
6. They’re extremely brave
As you might have already guessed, these dogs don’t have a problem displaying a great amount of courage. Nothing less would be accepted by an animal that is bred to hunt other animals that are typically considered to be at the top of the food chain.
7. They’re intelligent
If a dog is going to go asked to go after a bear, wolf or moose, it had better keep its wits about it or it probably won’t be around for very long. As a result, these dogs are extremely intelligent. They’re very easy to train and they have a tendency to be obedient. With that being said, they’re also more than capable of thinking on their feet, so to speak. These dogs are able to get themselves out of trouble quite handily, especially out in the field when they’re up against the formidable animals they have been bred to hunt.
8. They’re loyal beyond words
Despite the rather tough nature of their breeding, these dogs have a tendency to be quite friendly and they’re extremely loyal to their handlers. Once you create a bond with a Norwegian Elkhound, you can rest assure that you have found a friend for life.
9. They make good pets for the entire family
Because they are so friendly and intelligent, they make excellent pets, even for families that have other animals or small children. The dogs can be taught to do just about anything and they want to please their people so they’re more than willing to do whatever is asked of them.
10. They can be predisposed to certain illnesses
Like virtually every other purebred dog, they have a tendency to be predisposed to a couple of different things that you need to watch out for. This includes hip dysplasia and a disease called progressive retinal atrophy which can lead to blindness. While the overwhelming number of Norwegian Elkhounds live out their lives without experiencing these diseases, it is important to watch out for things that seem out of the ordinary so you can catch any problems early on.