You can tell by looking at the Norwegian Elkhound's thick, fluffy coat that it was built for cold weather. What else was this breed built for? Let's find out. Here are some interesting facts about the Norwegian Elkhound:
1. They've Existed for Thousands of Years
Records indicate the Norwegian Elkhound could have emerged as early as 5,000 B.C. Archeologists have found skeletons resembling the Norwegian Elkhound in the same sites where they have found Viking remains and weapons. This would make them one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.
2. They Were Bred for Big Game Hunting
The Norwegian Elkhound has historically been used for hunting big game, such as moose and bears. The Vikings bred only the dogs that were the best hunters and could withstand the harsh conditions and rugged terrain of the region. This selection process resulted in a dog that is compact and muscular, with impressive stamina.
3. Their Name Is a Misnomer
Technically, Americans should call these dogs “Moosehounds.” The Norwegian Elkhound's original name is “Norsk Elghund,” where “Elghund” translates to moose dog. The name causes confusion because Europeans refer to moose as elk, but in America, moose and elk are two different animals.
4. They Are Independent Workers
Hunters placed a lot of trust in their Norwegian Elkhounds. These dogs were bred to track moose independently. When a Norwegian Elkhound finds a moose, he holds its attention by jumping forward and back and barks loudly to tell the hunter where he is. After doing this work for thousands of years, Norwegian Elkhounds are consistently born with independent spirits.
5. They Can Do Many Different Jobs
Norwegian Elkhounds are versatile. In America, they have been used to hunt a wide variety of game, from birds to mountain lions. Because of their intelligence, they make good service dogs for people with disabilities. Their tracking abilities make them well suited for search and rescue teams.