The Essence of the Breed For those with a passion for dogs, “goose bumps” are indeed characteristic of the experience of seeing a correct, well-made purebred dog. Th e “right” ones fi ll your eye, command your attention, and possess unmistakable breed type. Anne Rogers Clark wrote, “Type, to me, is what makes the dog look like its breed. An untypical dog that is sound is worthless; a typical dog that is sound is priceless.” As a hunting athlete, the Elkhound is not a breed of extremes. Th e correct Elk- hound has a square pro fi le ( Th e distance from the forechest to the rump equals the height from the withers to the ground.); is of medium size and moderate propor- tions. Ideally a male is 20-1/2 inches tall at the withers and a bitch 19-1/2 inches. A smaller dog will be ine ff ective in rugged terrain and deep snow while a dog exceed- ing 21-1/2 inches is likely to sacri fi ce nec- essary agility and e ffi ciency when holding the moose at bay.
When looking for the breed’s signature square pro fi le where half the dog’s height is in its leg length, do not be fooled. Some dogs may appear square, but upon exami- nation be found to have a short rib cage and long loin. Th is is incorrect. An Elkhound must be presented in proper condition—lean and hard. Over- weight and sloppy should not be reward- ed. In addition, this breed should have substance but not be over done. Visualize the dog maneuvering rough terrain while hunting. Too much bone does not serve the animal or the hunter. Heads, Tails or Both First impressions are often lasting. When approaching an Elkhound, you should be struck by its beautiful wedge shaped head with comparatively small and erect ears. Th e Elkhound’s expressive dark brown oval eyes exuding a calm, alert expression will draw you in. Th e muzzle should be dark with a straight nose that
is approximately the same length as the back skull. A very important aspect of the Elk- hound pro fi le is it signature tightly curled tail. It must be set high and curled over the centerline of the back. While variations to the standard are not a disquali fi cation, some Norwegian judges will not con- sider an Elkhound without an absolutely correct tail. Neck & Topline A strong, well arched neck of medium length is essential in the functional bal- ance of the dog and allows maximum maneuverability when holding the moose at bay. Often overlooked, a strong neck aids the elkhound in jumping, dodg- ing, and sprinting. If the dog appears square but its head seems to be set on its shoulders, the dog is out of balance and proportion. Another often overlooked feature of this breed is its topline. Again, think athlete.
Above: Illustrated square; Below: Head shot.
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