Norwegian Elkhound Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Norwegian Elkhound Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The AKC Standard says, "Bold and energetic, an effective guardian yet normally friendly, with great dignity and independence of character."
Definitely this is a capable, confident dog with a strong presence, whose self-reliance requires supervision and leadership.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a bundle of energy just waiting for the signal to go, yet when well trained he can control himself. This rugged breed plays hard and enjoys vigorous exercise -- on-lead or in a safe enclosed area, for many have strong hunting and chasing instincts.
Most Norwegian Elkhounds are friendly with strangers and must be taught not to jump up into their faces, while others are more restrained, but even the friendly ones are great watchdogs and can be protective when necessary. They seldom bite, however, preferring to corner intruders by barking nonstop and feinting to and fro, as they do when holding game animals at bay.
Norwegian Elkhounds can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex and may be cat chasers unless raised with the family cat.
Training can be a challenge, as this breed is dominant and headstrong and may use his intelligence in clever ways that suit his own purposes. Yet owners who know how to lead will find him eminently trainable.
Norwegian Elkhounds bark a LOT -- and some individuals have extremely high-pitched, piercing voices.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized and spitz-like, with a wolfish face, prick ears, thick coat, and curled tail
- Is sturdy and rugged, yet athletic and agile
- Plays vigorously and likes a lot of outdoor exercise, especially in cold weather
- Is capable and confident, a bold, self-assured dog with a strong presence
- Is polite with strangers, yet with his keen senses and watchful attitude, makes a dependable alarm dog
A Norwegian Elkhound may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Suspiciousness toward strangers when not socialized enough
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Lots of barking
- Heavy shedding
A Norwegian Elkhound may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Norwegian Elkhound
If I was considering a Norwegian Elkhound, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Young Norwegian Elkhounds (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including toddlers and infirm people. Elkhounds don't need miles of running exercise, but they must have daily opportunities to vent their energy in a large, safely-enclosed area. Overly-confined Elkhounds are quickly bored – and bored Elkhounds become even more rambunctious and prone to destructive chewing.
- Mind of their own. Norwegian Elkhounds are not Golden Retrievers. They are capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They are often manipulative, and some are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Elkhound to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Norwegian Elkhound Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Barking. Norwegian Elkhounds are extremely vocal dogs, quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. Norwegian Elkhounds should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, many Norwegian Elkhounds have intense, high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge. Barking is a hallmark of this hunting breed, I warn you.
- Heavy shedding. Another hallmark of the Norwegian Elkhounds is shedding. These dogs shed a LOT. You'll find hair and fur all over your clothing and furniture. Just so you know!
To learn more about training Norwegian Elkhounds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Norwegian Elkhound the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Norwegian Elkhound. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Norwegian Elkhound might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Norwegian Elkhound home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Norwegian Elkhound...
When you're acquiring a Norwegian Elkhound PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Norwegian Elkhounds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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