Showsight Presents the Norwegian Elkhound

“...TRACKING COMES NATURALLY TO ELKHOUNDS.”

the title. Several dogs have followed in his footsteps and the all time leader MACH 5 Ch. Vikrest Steppin’ Out in Style RN CD “Prada”, is still active and working on that MACH 6 at the age of 7 with owner/handler Betsy Flagg. Elkhounds are a healthy breed and dogs are frequently competing into their teens. Obedience is another venue where Elkhounds can shine. Elkhounds have worked at the every level of obe- dience, including the highest levels of competition obedience. Th e first two Obedience Trial Champions were owned and handled by Don and Mar- ilyn Rotier, Am/Can OTCH Cama- lot’s Bella Tigra (Norwegian import!) and Am/Can OTCH Camalot’s Trul- leAyla UD in the 1980s. Elkhounds are quite intelligent and learn things very quickly. Th e challenge is to have them show what they know in public. Frequently, the mischievous imp in the Elkhound can think up new and better ways to perform the obedience exercises, pleasing the crowd, but not necessarily the judge! When work- ing with Elkhounds a sense of humor is requirement. When Rally was added to the AKC performance options, Elkhounds were right there in the forefront. Rally is a fast paced fun activity for both dog and owner. Th ere are twists, turns and

jumps, keeping both Elkhound and handler on their toes. Rally has prob- ably become the most popular dog sport for Elkhounds and the first Ral- ly title came within weeks for the start of the new sport, a Rally Novice title for U-CD Wrathwood’s Lasting UD RN NA NAJ “Merlin” and his owner/ handler Dona Barsul. Merlin was also a Search and Rescue dog, once again showing the versatility of the breed. Being Scent Hounds, tracking comes naturally to Elkhounds. Even with that advantage, it is also a very challenging sport. We are proud to say that there is a Champion Track- er (CT) Elkhound, “Alley” CT Ch. Highland Tornado Alley CD RN VNE owned and handled by Wendy Vise-Wiley. A tracking dog uses their nose to follow a set track and the han- dler is just along for the ride. Not being in the Herding Group, the Elkhound cannot contend in AKC herding trials, but dogs have earned American Herding Breed Associa- tion (AHBA) titles. Th e breed stan- dard mentions Elkhounds being used as reindeer herding dogs in Norway. Melanie Rodgers and her Elkhound Silkgrass Trufa’s Hy Mountain Bey- la RE CGC have the AHBA Junior Herding Dog title on sheep. Barn Hunt is a new sport where dogs climb up, over and under straw

bales to find tubes containing live rats. Th ere are three levels with increasing numbers of rats to find. In 2014 the National Champion was an Elkhound, the first one ever! Ch. Janor’s Guilty as Charged CD GN RAE MXP MJP “Loki” and owner/handler Dennis Bell took the honors at the Barn Hunt Nationals in Missouri. Th is up and coming sport is ideally suited for the Elkhounds natural scenting and scrambling abili- ties and is becoming very popular in the breed. But, at the end of the day, Elk- hounds also love just being with their people and enjoying the great out- doors with them, hiking, skijoring, rafting or camping. Th ey are built to go all day in the forest of Norway looking for game and enjoy getting out into nature. In Norway, they hunt o ff leash, “ loshund ” and on leash “ bandhund ”, but in the US we usually keep our Elkhounds on leash because they expect you to come looking for them, not the other way around! Th ey are busy looking for moose and the Norwegian hunting test requires them to bark for three hours to help the hunter find them once they have the moose at bay. Th ey are also used for hunting bear in their native Nor- way. A more loyal and loving friend and companion you cannot find.

Left: Kibo doing the weave poles in agility; he was the High In Trial Agility Dog at the 2014 Elkhound National Specialty. Right: Impi, an Elkhound, warming up for the obedience ring.

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2015 • 169

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