THEIR JUDGE AND THEIR BREEDER
BY BONNIE TURNER
“ T he Norwegian Elkhound is a hardy gray hunting dog.” These are the first words of the Official Standard. Any prospec- tive breeder or judge can obtain a copy of this standard, read and study it. He or she can then pro- ceed to follow either of these two ultra-important paths, feeling possessed with the knowledge needed and forti- fied with enough knowledge to produce excellent results. The sport of dogs requires successful breeders or judges possessing an intrinsic (go-with-your-gut) confi- dence based on knowledge and experience that can only be attained through constant learning/studying. I have always felt that if you produced a wonderful litter when first starting out, luck had befallen that breeder. As to judges, initial assignments are usually followed by a few reflections on, “Woulda, Could, Shoulda.” The quality breeders and judges get their feet under them and, ulti- mately, produce a quality result, time after time, with the aforementioned learning/studying. My goal here is to benefit current and prospective breeders and judges by giving you some of the background that is not mentioned in the wording of the standard. I would like to expand on the intimate characteristics of the Elkhound that years of experience has provided me. Often, little-known factoids stick in a person’s mind and lend themselves to greater interest in that breed. GENERAL APPEARANCE: The gray dog is very difficult to see in the woods. The underbody and underside of tail are light silver, and help to provide the hunter (or the distressed owner of an escapee) with a sighting of their dog. The silver under- side is vital to coat color—and in the woods. Imagine the courage of a 50-pound dog trailing and holding an ant- lered and sharp-hooved giant of an angry animal many times taller and weighing 1,200-1,500 lbs. After trailing for miles, he must hold the moose until his human can get there to bring down their quest. To this end, the dog can be a barker (much to the chagrin of neighbors). The hunter must find the moose, and his dog, since his two legs leave him in the moose’s and the dog(s)’ dust quite early in the hunt. The hunter must listen for his dog(s) in order to have a chance of finding them. The moose is a great swimmer and has good speed. Now, how impressed are you with the abilities of this dog? Did you know that many of today’s Norwegians still fill their freezers every fall with game he has killed with his Elkhounds?
240 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2021
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