Showsight Presents the Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound

Judging The Norwegian Elkhound

By Bonnie Turner

ears up, feet straight ahead underneath the dog and tail up and over the back. His keen interest in his handler demon- strates his showiness.

Seek and appreciate dogs with good dark markings. Frown upon large patch- es of white on the chest or sootiness on the legs/ feet and lack of dark markings.

taller dogs that embody the assets laid out in the Perfect Elkhound scenario above. In your ring as judge, you decide what you will and will not reward (as the standard mandates of course) but I urge you to seek out the balanced dogs and proceed with judg- ing from there. This breed is capable of breeding down in size in one genera- tion, taller dogs can be an asset in the gene pool. • When hunting, the dog ranges far ahead of the hunter. Imagine the courage of this dog as he follows game sans human guidance. Then this 40-50 lb. dog must face a 1200 lb. moose and contain it until the hunter arrives. This requires great intelligence and indepen- dence of spirit. I am fond of saying what we love about these dogs is what we hate about them. They fail to understand why repeti- tive training is necessary-they already learned how to do what you want the first time you did it! After a perceived irritation, they are fond of refusing to comply with your wishes with payback usually delivered upon stepping into the ring. Complaints about their propensity to bark denies the necessity of their “voice”- the hunter can only find the dog and the game by homing in on that bark. Elkhound owners try to use this explanation to pacify the neighbors in their subdivision too!!! • In Norway, Elkhounds are expected to work the farm, guard the family as well as hunt well past the age of ten. They are intu- itive, loving, loyal, happy companions.

You reward this dog, mark your book, award the ribbons and proudly pose in the photo. You experience the thrill judges get when they know they have found a truly great dog. A little extra information not men- tioned in the standard: • Good Elkhound eyes are dark brown and seem to be rimmed with black eye- liner. This liner extends from the outer corner up towards the ear. These are called mascara lines. Light spots known as spectacles above or below the eyes, detract from the all important expres- sion of the dog. • Black markings of the mask, ears and back are essential pigmentation. In your judging you will encounter darker dogs as well as very silver dogs. While the dog must be an overall grey color there is a matter of preference here but is certainly not the ultimate criteria. You will find that the overall darker dog will carry longer guard hairs as these hairs are light at the base and become black closer to the tips. Very deserving mature dog. Athletic appearance,good bone & leg length, com- pact body, high tight tail set, good angu- lation. Note: This dog demonstrates the boldness, dignity and power which are hallmarks of the breed.

• Light markings running from the withers down to the elbows are called harness marks. • This dog is an endurance runner. When hunting, he is expected to run for days at a time and once his quarry is cornered he must have the stamina and agility to contain his game by barking, leaping and spinning to avoid danger- ous hooves. In the ring they should move freely, usually with head up and ears erect (wind scenters) and they should project confidence and power. • There is a good deal of discussion about size in the Elkhound. The sug- gested height is documented in our standard. When judging, I make mental note of these criteria: type, soundness, conditioning and temperament/show- manship. Over the past few years I have witnessed judges who sort out by size alone. They completely discount dogs of merit that are larger than the other exhibits, ignoring dogs that fulfill more of the criteria than the smaller compe- tition does. Frequently, dogs that are too big do not possess the required ground covering gait and are cloddy and overdone. But there are some Very deserving young dog. Athletic appearance, good bone & leg length,compact body, high tight tail set, good angulation.

Parent Club: N o r w e g i a n E l k h o u n d Associat ion of America.

To request the newly prepared material “The Norwegian Elkhound A Comprehensive Study” go to: neaa.net/judge-educ-info.html. Other judge’s materials available as well. ■

180 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE • J UNE 2011

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