The Norwegian Elkhound breed has been honoured as the national dog of Norway. He descends from Spitz-type dogs known in Scandinavia since Viking times (AD 800-1000) and perhaps even earlier since archaeological findings in west Norway included two dog skeletons dating to 4000 to 5000 BC that are similar in structure to today's Elkhounds. In their homeland, Elkhounds have been used to pull sleds, guard home and family, do mountain rescue and hunt big game such as moose and bear as well as smaller quarry. The breed was known as the Elghund, meaning "moose dog," but it became Elkhound in English.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized dog with a thick, medium length coat and an alert, independent disposition. These dogs are full of energy and a bit too confident if not trained properly. They enjoy the outdoors, especially in cold weather. They stand just under two-feet tall, and weigh between 40 to 60 pounds. Their harsh coat is normally grey and silver, with tips of black. Their muzzle, ears, and tail tip are always black. The puppies are born black, and lighten as they mature. Bold and energetic, the Elkhound is an excellent family pet and guardian noted for being good with children