The Norwegian Elkhound Black is an old breed that developed from local spitz breeds in the areas along both sides of the Norwegian-Swedish border. It has existed as a separate breed since the mid-1800s.
Photographer: Vibeke Brath
The Black Norwegian Elkhound is a typical spitz-type dog and the smallest of the elkhounds. It is a calm, devoted dog that forms close bonds with family members.
The breed has a fearless appearance and is mentally strong. These used to be highly valued traits in connection with close game encounters and bear hunting. The Black Elkhound has proven to be especially suited as a leashed tracking dog. Through systematic selection the breed has become a specialist at this form of hunting.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Black Norwegian Elkhound was quite common, especially in the eastern, inland valleys of Norway. The breed was used for elk and bear hunting. After 1900, most elkhound breeding in Scandinavia focused on the Grey Norwegian Elkhound, while the Black Elkhound was increasingly neglected.
By the mid 1950s, the Black Elkhound population had dwindled considerably and the breed was close to extinction. However, a few committed persons started breeding the best of the remaining dogs. This led to a gradual increase in numbers, and presently, between 90 and 150 Black Elkhound puppies are registered by the Norwegian Kennel Club each year. So after many years in obscurity, there is now a viable population of Black Elkhounds in Norway, even if the breed still is the Grey Elkhound’s “little brother”.
Appearance and size
The Black Norwegian Elkhound is a typical spitz-type dog and the smallest of the elkhounds. It has a well-balanced, squarely-built body, erect and pointed ears, a tail that is firmly curled over the back, and a shiny black, short-haired coat. Some white markings on the chest and toes are acceptable. Black Elkhounds have a proud posture and are very muscu¬lar and athletic. Height at the withers is 46-49 cm for males and 43-46 cm for bitches.
The breed is generally very good-natured, but can also be quite headstrong if permitted. Black Elkhounds can bark quite a bit, especially when kept in a kennel or on a leash. Black Elkhounds are often said to have a more stubborn nature than the Grey Elkhound, but this is mainly a matter of how they are trained and treated.
Black Elkhounds love to exercise and are easy to train. Regular walks out in nature while the dog is still a puppy provide the foundation for a great outdoor and hunting companion later on. A Black Elkhound rarely runs off if it has the chance, but naturally there are individual variations. The breed is mainly used as a leashed tracking dog, primarily for elk hunting.
Breed registration statistics
Below you can find the registration statistics for the Norwegian Elkhound Black in the Nordic countries from 1990 onwards.