The Norwegian Elkhound is a medium-sized, gray hunting dog with a Spitz-type build and typical northern breed features. They are squarely built, athletic, and possess the stamina to hunt for many days at a time in wet, cold weather. The double coat is thick, gray, and built to withstand extreme temperatures, moisture, and to shed debris and dirt. The tail it tightly curled over the back. The head of the Norwegian Elkhound is wedge-shaped and broad, with a clearly defined stop. The prick ears are pointed but are mobile, as one might expect from a hunting dog. The eyes are warm and friendly, dark brown in color and oval in shape. The muzzle tapers evenly, but is not pointed. The chest is wide and deep, and the length of the body comes from the ribcage.
Size and Weight
Adult male Norwegian Elkhounds should ideally stand 20.5 inches and weigh about 55 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and should stand 19.5 inches and weigh around 48 pounds.
Coat and Color
The Elkhound's double coat is thick and weather-resistant. The undercoat is dense, soft and wooly; while the outer coat is short, thick, and lies smooth against the body. The coloring is usually medium gray with black-tipped guard hairs accented with light silver. There is usually dark gray coloring on the saddle, and black tips on the ears and tail. The chest and mane are light gray.
The Norwegian Elkhound is an average shedder but two to three times per year, depending on the climate, the dog will blow his entire coat. Weekly brushing will manage the months of low-shedding, but while the dog is shedding heavily, daily brushing is a must. The coat is naturally clean, especially when brushed on a regular basis, and because Norwegian Elkhounds don't emit much of a dog odor, baths are only required as needed.
The ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.