Originating in Scandinavia more than 6,000 years ago, the Norwegian elkhound was first domesticated by the Vikings, who primarily used the dog for tracking both large and small game animals, such as rabbit, mountain lion, moose, and elk. In addition to excelling as a hunter, the Norwegian elkhound, with its courageous, athletic, and dependable nature, also makes a great herder, guardian, and sled dog.
More recently, the elkhound has become a fairly common family pet and is currently listed at 100 on the American Kennel Club’s rankings of the most popular dog breeds. As a pet, the dog is valued for its loyalty, friendliness, and affection. However, the energy, independence, and confidence that makes the breed an excellent hunter and work dog can lead to problems in the home without proper training and socialization.