Showsight Presents the Norwegian Elkhound

“Who can or cannot hunt in the dense woods”. Jump, stand on hind quarters and bounce away from a moose, bear, etc and take whatever weather is thrown at them. We don’t give much leeway on form and function. 5. In considering a stud dog for your breeding pro- gram, how far back do you research his pedigree? In other words how many generations do you feel have bearing on the litter produced? GH: I usually look at four to five generations for phenotype and genetics. EH: Having seen most of the Elkhounds in pedigrees over the past 60 years is an advantage in determining what effect a stud will have on our line. When we use our own we know what to expect, but over this period having bred to many studs that met our criteria in at least the past three-four generations. With these some have been incorporated while others have not. Major early contri- butions were from CH. Silver Ski of Pomfret (Correct Small Ears), CH. Bobb of Pitch Road (Norwegian Import) (moderate chest and correct leg to chest ratio) and CH. Branstock’s Joker Joe (Correct Movement). We check to see that we can continue to maintain aspects such as these when adding to our line. RR: I typically look back at least seven but the first three generations make the biggest impact. Then you have to look at the maternal lines, as I think the dam lines will influence the breeding more than the male lines. Not that you don’t look at them, but the maternal line, especially a strong female line, can influence things more so. KR: In choosing a stud, we certainly look at four genera- tions. Yet, as far as genetic problems, you must look as far back as possible and if you can think of who brought what to the table and not have it affect your bitches’ pedigree. Most important if you like your bitch, try to phenotype the sire to bitch; this is important to me. In other words, if mom and dad match up after a pedigree research is done, the results could have less risk, half as easy to say harder to do. But when it works, it’s worth it. I reiterate, always remember these dogs are meant to hunt and they are supposed to be athletes with a purpose. Pretty doesn’t always get the job done—strength of gait and functionable type does. 6. We all agree Elkhounds are the most wonderful breed, what good and bad information do you pro- vide your prospective puppy buyers? GH: For puppy buyers, I give the pros and cons: Pros: Companionship, intelligence, a great hiking partner (on lead) and protection.

Cons: Barking, shedding, tendency to become over- weight if fed too much and cannot survive without a high-fenced yard and ample shade in the summer. EH: The main bad thing is that Elkhounds have a very dense coat and if you cannot live with the hair shed in varying degrees virtually all year round, this is not a breed for you. They can be very independent in nature, but loyal to their owner in nature, which makes for a great dog to live with. At times they can be very active, especially when they first get out of their dog runs. RR: Pros: Elkhounds love their people but they aren’t velcro dogs, so they won’t be on top of you wanting attention all the time. They are intelligent and are happy doing everything from laying on the couch to hiking in the mountains. Cons: They can bark at times, not to hear themselves bark but at rabbits, birds, squirrels, etc. Not constantly, by any means, but at times. They are a double-coated breed so when they do shed, there is a lot of hair. They don’t shed all the time like some breeds, so if you brush and get the dead hair out it doesn’t last a long time. If you don’t, you’ll have a lot of hair for a while. KR: Most Norwegian Elkhound buyers we find are repeats. Their father, grandfather or they have had one. This is why the NEAA and all Norwegian Elkhound breeders should work on making the Elkhound more popular. We stress socialization, getting your dog out, obedience, agil- ity; whatever you can do the first year of your dog’s life— the better your pet will be to live with. And of course regular shots and worming are a must. 7. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? GH: My advice to a breeder is to only breed the highest quality in all areas. Pay careful attention to temperament and genetic health, especially good hip history. Plan on spending a lot of time socializing and handling pups. My advice to a judge is to look at the whole dog. Ask your- self, could this dog hunt over rough terrain with ease for hours? Look at breed type and pay special attention to soundness and to reach and drive. EH: New breeders should learn the backgrounds of your dogs. Talk to longtime breeders who are producing good specimens. I spent many hours talking with everyone in the breed when starting out as did the rest of my family. Today everyone seems to know all about the breed right off. Judges need to know the breed specific traits of the Norwegian Elkhound and what are life/death important as there are numerous ones. Judges need to know how tall 19 ½ inches and 20 ½ inches are. If it looks like an Aki- ta, it’s not an Elkhound. Judges need to not penalize the

224 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2017

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