Showsight Presents the Norwegian Elkhound

norwegian elkhoud Q&A WITH KATHY CARTER, GLENDA HAGGERTY & KEVIN RICHARD

movement front and rears—coming and going, either cowhocked/very narrow rears, or fronts that come out of the same hole and look like paddling mixmaster fronts. Also some very round , protruding eyes. 7. The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural, temperament-wise or other? GH: My biggest concern is that some breeders are breeding dogs with hip dysplasia. Dysplasia is the largest problem in Elkhounds. In Norway, they recognize the problem in the most effective way; dogs cannot be registered if either of their parents are dysplastic. KR: The Elkhound ranks in the 90-100 in AKC registra- tions, which is middle of the pack in popularity. Very few people know the breed. We often hear, “Oh my god, he/ she is beautiful. What breed is this?” This concerns me; people need to know how versatile and adaptable the Norwegian elkhound is. Be it in a house, hunting, show- ing, guardian or companion. North, South, East or West— the breed is very capable. 8. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? KC: Definitely the gait, many are flying around the ring like German Shepherds with long extended gaits, which is not correct for this breed. Usually those dogs are too long in body and coupling. Also very straight fronts and over angled rears. 9. The biggest problem facing you as a breeder? GH: Currently, my biggest problem is finding a pool of genetically and structurally sound males to choose from to breed. KR: I have been very fortunate in having the best mentoring from successful breeders such as Pat Trotter, Skip Weir and Gayle Thomas, to name a few. I also have very eager partners: my wife, Linda, Nicole Cassavechia of Canada and Lori Webster from New York. We’re able to keep a few dogs extra in our program, which helps. Our biggest concern is just that we do need a bigger gene pool. A lot of Norwegian Elkhound breeders are going back in time and using frozen semen from the older generation, which can be very successful if chosen right. Still, I think we need to educate and promote this versatile breed to hunt- ers, farmers, pet people, etc. In this way, we would have more options in our breeding programs. 10. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? GH: My advice to a breeder is to only breed the highest quality in all areas. Pay careful attention to temperament and genetic health, especially good hip history. Plan on spending a lot of time socializing and handling pups. My advice to a judge is to look at the whole dog. Ask your- self, could this dog hunt over rough terrain with ease

for hours? Look at breed type and pay special attention to soundness and to reach and drive. KR: To a new breeder: do the research and purchase the best bitch you can find. Then rely on the mentorship of whomever you think. Start with your bitch’s breeder. If you are interested enough you’ll succeed. Pick everyone’s brain—it helps. For the Judge: you all read the standard. Remember this is a big game hunter in its’ country of origin. After you’ve found what you like, or not, in the lineup, good clean movement is a must, as well as, ease of gait. The animal you feel can do the job and not wear out or break down, is the one that should be picked. 11. In considering a stud dog for your breeding pro- gram, how far back do you research his pedigree? In other words how many generations do you feel have bearing on the litter produced? GH: I usually look at four to five generations for phenotype and genetics. KR: In choosing a stud, we certainly look at four genera- tions. Yet, as far as genetic problems, you must look as far back as possible and if you can think of who brought what to the table and not have it affect your bitches’ pedigree. Most important if you like your bitch, try to phenotype the sire to bitch; this is important to me. In other words, if mom and dad match up after a pedigree research is done, the results could have less risk, half as easy to say harder to do. But when it works, it’s worth it. I reiterate, always remember these dogs are meant to hunt and they are supposed to be athletes with a purpose. Pretty doesn’t always get the job done—strength of gait and functionable type does. 12. We all agree Elkhounds are the most wonderful breed, what good and bad information do you pro- vide your prospective puppy buyers? GH: For puppy buyers, I give the pros and cons: Pros: Companionship, intelligence, a great hiking partner (on lead) and protection. Cons: Barking, shedding, tendency to become over- weight if fed too much and cannot survive without a high-fenced yard and ample shade in the summer. KR: Most Norwegian Elkhound buyers we find are repeats. Their father, grandfather or they have had one. This is why the NEAA and all Norwegian Elkhound breeders should work on making the Elkhound more popular. We stress socialization, getting your dog out, obedience, agil- ity; whatever you can do the first year of your dog’s life— the better your pet will be to live with. And of course regular shots and worming are a must.

404 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018

Powered by