do have some breed related health issues. Sebaceous cysts, which are benign skin growths, plague many Elkhounds. Some have hip dysplasia and/or luxating patellas. Some Elkhounds have eye-related issues. Renal disease is not uncommon in the Elk- hound. All but sebaceous cysts can be test- ed or x-rayed and certi fi ed clear or a ff ected through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Elkhounds occasionally acquire cancers, such as hemangiosarcoma or stomach cancer. So far, research has not pin-pointed any speci fi c cancer that tends to be heritable in the breed, but research is ongoing. Th e Norwegian Elkhound makes a wonderful and ful fi lling companion! He is strong-willed, yet deeply loyal with an abiding love of his owner. He is fun, yet digni fi ed, with a strong sense of purpose. Th e Elkhound is a relatively easy keeper that wants to be with his people but doesn’t demand constant attention. Th ese are some of the reasons many people throughout the years have said to me, “My Elkhound was the best dog I’ve ever owned.” BIO Randi L. Johnson lives in Greenwood Village, Colorado with her husband and three Norwegian Elkhounds, one young male, his dam and grand dam. She has grown up with Elkhounds and has helped raise them all of her life, influenced by her parents and grandparents, who were Nor- wegian immigrants. She has been breed- ing and showing the beautiful gray dog for more than a decade. Her Elkhounds and descendants of her breeding stock have done well in the show ring and at Regional and National Specialties. One such dog won the breed at our National Specialty in 2008. Randi observes her dogs using agility skills almost every day. Th e dogs practice their natural tracking ability while on walks and jogs with Randi, on a nature trail behind her property and up at the family cabin. Th ey are her personal ther- apists whenever she has a need. One of Randi’s dogs let her know, repeatedly, that “something was wrong” within months before Randi discovered she had early stage breast cancer. Needless to say, Randi will never have another breed.
freshly dug hole, coming across a “crater” next to your foundation and disappearing sprinkler heads are just a few. Elkhounds, as smart as they are, always have a reason for their mischief and only some take part in these sorts of activities. Where did that gopher go? How about a nice cool den during a warm summer day? No bone? A sprinkler head will do. Also, Elkhounds love to chase small game. Along with this comes the barking, sometimes incessant, as with a treed squirrel. Just hope you have tolerant neighbors! However, the same barking behavior DOES make him a good watchdog. Many would be sur- prised to know that a certain percentage of Elkhounds love the water. Some like to run through sprinklers. Others enjoy run- ning through shallow streams and some actually like to swim, but usually with a purpose. My father started breeding Nor- wegian Elkhounds and Labrador Retriev- ers back in the 40’s. He used his Labs for pheasant and duck hunting. My father had a need for adventure and the curios- ity of an Elkhound. He decided to try his Elkhound’s “paw” at duck hunting. His Elkhound jumped into the water and swam quickly toward the duck. When He came to shore with duck in mouth, my father hastefully took the duck so as to quell any “Elkhound notions” of running o ff with this tasty morsel for dinner. My father said that his Elkhound was a natu- ral. I say, “What could be more natural than an Elkhound going after easy prey at any cost.”
Indoors, the Elkhound can be a loving companion, lying at your feet or by your side on the couch. You may also fi nd him “crashed” on the fl oor in another room, sleeping. Sometimes he’s just “in your face,” always curious as to what you are doing. After your Elkhound has had his full and complete meal, and you are cooking or eat- ing dinner, there he is, looking up at you with those dark soulful eyes in complete adoration? Don’t fl atter yourself. Th e Elk- hound is a food motivated chow hound. Don’t give in. Yes, you can train him not to beg, with patience and persistence. Only give him treats as a reward for good behav- ior or speci fi c requests. If not, he will be successfully training you, the result being negative consequences to his health. A heavy or obese Elkhound is one that will be plagued with weight related health prob- lems until his shortened life is over. Th e Elkhound is generally an easy keeper. Because his double coat sheds rain, sleet, snow and other foreign substances, it is, in essence, self-cleaning, with very little doggie odor. Only a good brushing and/or combing is generally needed, once or twice a week. However, Elkhounds do shed. Some shed once or twice a year and others shed a little, all year long. For those that shed once or twice a year, much more diligence will be needed to rid the dog of old, dead coat and there will be times when you may be living with tufts of hair everywhere! Norwegian Elkhounds are generally healthy dogs, but, like all breeds, they
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