Let's talk Swedish Elkhound

Swedish Elkhounds were born to be outdoors, as evidenced by their luscious weather-proof coats and sturdy build. Originally developed to track large and small animals alike on snowy terrain, the breed of today displays impressive stamina and perseverance, as well as a strong-willed spirit. The Swedish Elkhound is suited to an active family, who can invest in play time - come rain or shine. Indoors, they adapt well to their human’s mood. If you’re looking for a lap dog, sorry but you’ve come to the wrong place.

Official name: Swedish Elkhound

Other names: Jämthund, Swedish Moosehound, Norsk Elghund

Origins: Sweden

Close-up of Swedish Elkhound in black and white

 Drooling tendencies Very low  Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Medium  Suited to apartment living ? Medium
 Energy level*  High  Family pet?* High
 Compatibility with other pets Medium  Can stay alone?*

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of Swedish Elkhound
Male
56 - 66 cm Height
30 - 35 kg Weight
Female
51 - 61 cm Height
25 - 30 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2-12 months
 Adult age  1-7 years
 Mature age  7-10 years
 Senior age  from 10 years

 

Grey Swedish Elkhound puppy standing in long grass and purple flowers

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Get to know the Swedish Elkhound

All you need to know about the breed

“Protective” is a good way to sum up the Swedish Elkhound in one word. This fearless working dog was developed for hunting bear, moose, and elk back in the day - today this translates into an excellent watchdog, capable of forming an affectionate attachment to his owners.

Their hunting heritage is nothing to fear - Swedish Elkhounds are even-tempered and intelligent, who tend to adapt well to their surroundings. Outside, the world is their oyster, with so much possibility for exploring or chasing after a ball - just be careful when they’re off leash as their hearing can be selective once they catch on to an exciting scent! This breed is not for the faint-hearted or self-confessed lazy types - ideally, the Swedish Elkhound should be getting around 90 minutes of various exercise on a daily basis. After all, they are used to roaming snowy Swedish landscapes!

Early socialisation is important for your Swedish Elkhound as they are naturally wary of strangers (protective, see?) and can assume they’re the leader when around other animals. Socialisation will help them keep both these things in check.

Swedish Elkhounds do great with life indoors - so long as they’re getting enough exercise of course. They are playful and patient towards children once trained, though supervision is required - and loyal to their humans. The breed is an all-round great canine companion who will always choose your company over being left to their own devices. Go forth and have fun together.

Close-up of Swedish Elkhound with blue sky in background

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2 facts about Swedish Elkhound

1. The Bodyguard

The Swedish Elkhound will appoint themselves personal bodyguard of their humans - no invitation necessary. The breed forms a strong attachment to each member of their family and tends to be on high alert 24/7, signalling the arrival of strangers with a non-aggressive bark. This is a dog that most definitely has your back!

2. A real chatterbox

Their hunting heritage saw Swedish Elkhounds’ tracking down large animals by scent and keeping them at bay, letting their humans know the news by barking until they arrived on the scene. While the Swedish Elkhounds of today are no longer off hunting moose and bears, they still have a strong barking instinct. Even with some firm training, getting this under control may be a challenge.

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History of the breed

The Swedish Elkhound first made its appearance thousands of years ago in Jämtland, a land-locked province stretching 315 kilometres right in the heart of the Scandinavian peninsula. It is widely believed that the breed kept company with the Vikings, assisting them with their hunting activities and accompanying them on travel expeditions.

Until 1946, the breed was considered to be the same as the Norwegian Elkhound, despite several physical differences, including coat color, pattern, and size. It has been shown that the Swedish Elkhound doesn’t just possess wolf-like features, they actually have wolf blood in them - the result of mixing female wolves with native male dogs in the past. The breed also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund, and Lapponian Herder. Basically, it is understandable if you confuse them with one of these breeds.

The Swedish Elkhound has quite the resume, having been used as sled dogs, animal hunters, rescue dogs and army dogs, as well as friendly family companions. Impressive, right? But despite their many admirable qualities and even temperament, the breed remains rare outside of Sweden and was not recognised by the United Kennel Club until 2006. The American Kennel Club has still not recognised the breed.

Swedish Elkhound looking at the camera with mouth open in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Swedish Elkhounds

1. Eyes

Almond-shaped dark brown eyes, with a calm expression.

2. Head

A broad head with a wolf-like appearance and pointed ears.

3. Body

Body is rectangular in shape, solid and strong.

4. Coat

A thick double coat, light or dark grey in colour.

5. Tail

Tail is bushy and of medium size, curling gently over back.

Close-up of Swedish Elkhound looking past the camera, trees in the background

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Swedish Elkhound
Side view of Swedish Elkhound puppy sniffing grass

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Caring for your Swedish Elkhound

Grooming, training and exercise tips

With their lush double coat, which means some moderate shedding, the Swedish Elkhound will benefit from regular grooming. A daily brush is optimal to prevent matting, get rid of dead hair, and keep their coats clean. Increase brushing action during the twice annual shedding season. As a working breed, the athletic Swedish Elkhound has plenty of energy to burn, baby, burn! Long walks, a jog, a nice hike - all of the above will keep your Swedish Elkhound in great shape, feeling content and stave off any boredom. Swedish Elkhounds are intelligent, and quick to learn, but the training challenge comes courtesy of their strong-willed streak. Be patient, be firm and keep training sessions fun above all else. Food rewards will definitely help – just be sure to count these as part of your dog’s daily food rations. Early socialisation will help make sure that your Swedish Elkhound stays cool around other canines.

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All about Swedish Elkhounds

Ja (that’s “yes” in Swedish). Swedish Elkhounds are devoted to their humans and, once trained, playful with children – supervision is always required though, due to the breed’s sturdiness, which can quite literally floor young children. So long as your Swedish Elkhound is getting enough exercise, they will make for calm company indoors.

It’s a match! With “bold” as their unofficial middle name, the Swedish Elkhound is a natural at guarding (and watching) over their family. Always ready to deploy their bark in a non-aggressive way, the Swedish Elkhound will warn their humans of the presence of strangers.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/