Description & History

The Elkhound or Elghund - which means "Elk Dog" - is a member of the Spitz group of dogs and originates from Norway.

The breed's ancestry can be traced back thousands of years and, due to selective breeding, has changed little over the centuries.

It was once the hunting dog of the Vikings. An intelligent breed, which down the centuries has been used for its many qualities - speed, stamina, scenting, and tracking.

The Elkhound is not a pack hound, which make it invaluable to the lone hunter.

When the Elkhound locates its quarry, it will bark to alert the hunter. The elk is a large animal, so skill and a lot of hard work is required on the part of this hound to hold its quarry at bay until the hunter arrives for the kill. As well as elk the breed are just as adept at tracking other game - deer, lynx and badger.

The lone hunter will usually keep only two hounds - a male for hunting and a bitch for breeding.

For centuries, the Elkhound, like other Spitz breeds have been used for pulling sleds. Elkhound teams comprise male and female pairings - males are best kept apart due to the likelihood of them fighting.

Elkhounds arrived in Great Britain shortly before the First World War, but it was not until 1923 that the British Elkhound Society was founded.

Rosamund Walters.

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