THE NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND – HUNTER, ATHLETE By Leslie Forrest & Patricia Viken E valuating a breed requires that the judge understand the history and purpose of the breed. Th e Norwegian Elkhound has a very long history veri fi ed by science
and honored in folklore. Th e folkloric tradi- tions give us the legend of “How the Elk- hound Obtained Its Curly Tail,” and “ Th e Saga of the Wolf Night” to name a few. Scienti fi cally, archeologists have unearthed remains of two dogs with skeletal features similar to present day Elkhounds dating ca. 5,000 - 4,000 B.C. Professor Brinchmann at the Museum of Bergen in Norway attests to the Elkhound’s primal existence. Brinch- mann analyzed bones and relics found in Viking burial sites and concluded that the bones were dog skeletons, a testament to the value man placed on his dog in that early era. Artifacts unearthed from a grave at Val- loby leave little doubt as to the existence of Elkhound-like dogs in Norway before the time of Christ. Th e Norwegian Elkhound, the national dog of Norway, exists as a hunting athlete. Th e animal must not be fl ighty or frivo- lous. It is a solid, sturdy, hunting breed that loves its job. To become a show champion in Norway, an Elkhound must win in the conformation ring and earn a fi rst prize in fi eld trials. When judging an Elkhound, ask yourself, “Is this Elkhound capable of per- forming as a hunting dog?” Answering that question requires a bit of knowledge about Norway. If you have never had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country, understand that Europe’s true wil- derness is not found in the Alps but in the northern reaches of the continent and into the Arctic Circle. It is a land commanded by glaciers, sheer fj ords, mountainous ter- rain, and extensive coastline. It is not con- ventional wilderness, but expansive, uncul- tivated, and uninhabited —wild country. Th is is the terrain where the Elkhound trails moose.
Veteran bitch in snow
“When judging an Elkhound, ask yourself, ‘IS THIS ELKHOUND CAPABLE OF PERFORMING AS A HUNTING DOG?’”
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