NORWEGIAN ELKHOUNDS: THEIR JUDGE AND THEIR BREEDER
THIS IS NOT A DOG BUILT FOR SPEED, BUT RATHER FOR ENDURANCE.
NECK, TOPLINE AND BODY: This is not a dog built for speed, but rather for endurance. For agility, the body is short. The ribcage comprises most of its length, thereby providing the room needed for heart and lungs. They must have a hard, level topline, which denotes great mus- culature. Leg strength, the ability to leap and twist (to evade attack), stems from the topline as well. All of these attributes just “scream” athlete. The dog’s very survival has always been deter- mined by his athleticism, intelligence, and the ability to think on the run. Coat: Thick and harsh to resist snow, ice, and freezing rivers and lakes. The outer coat keeps them warm and not wet enough to freeze, while the downy undercoat (that you find all over your floors and in your food) keeps them protected. Forequarter and Hindquarters: Paws are small and oval to travel easily over rough or icy terrain. Imagine a dog with large and/or open toes trying to cover rough terrain with such feet. Length of leg should be 50% (I, perhaps, like a little more – 52%) of the dog’s height. Please, please note that the ribcage does not hang down below the elbows. Both should meet in the same spot; heavy-bodied and/or short-legged dogs cannot make it as hunters. In Norway, there is a great deal of woods, under- brush, water, and fallen trees, all of which hamper the speed and progress of the shorter-legged, heavy-bodied, would-be hunters. The rear should have moderate angulation, providing the ability to leap and spin—avoiding antlers and hooves.
Temperament: He is bold, energetic, and will sure let you know when UPS has arrived at your door. The Elkhound hunts far ahead of the hunter and must make his own decisions about how he will proceed. For this reason, as an independent thinker, he is not the “star” of the performance world. He is far from stupid and he learns quickly. But in training class and subsequent competitions, his gen- eral feeling is, “Been there, done that, my dear owner. So how dumb are you for needing to do this over and over?” Some comply out of love of the partnership and some just love the energy they get to expend, but all Elkhounds are smart, sensitive to their people, loyal, and happy. If asked to advise breeders and judges as to the paramount infor- mation on which to base their selections, I would list the following: Above all, select the athlete who possesses a good headpiece for scenting ability, small ears that won’t freeze, arch of neck, and excel- lent layback with good return of upper arm, length of leg, hard level topline, long rib and short coupling, and high-set tail with ample rear angulation. His appearance must say, “I am the dog who can, despite harsh elements, long distance, and rough terrain, follow and contain the game.” Judges, please keep in mind when judging the Hound Group that the Elkhound looks like no other dog in his Group. When consider- ing your placements; evaluate your Elkhound on how well he fits his standard as a sound, energetic athlete. An extensive familiarity with this breed will, hopefully, have you considering them equally with the other more popular/safer breeds.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2021 | 241
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