Showsight Presents the Norwegian Elkhound

NORWEGIAN ELKHOUNDS: 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 prospective breeder or judge can obtain a copy of this stan- dard, read and study it. He or she can then proceed to follow either of these two ultra-important paths, feeling he possess the knowledge needed and is fortified with enough knowledge to produce excellent results. The sport of dogs requires suc- cessful breeders or judges possessing an intrinsic (go-with-your-gut) confi- dence based on knowledge and expe- rience that can only be attained with constant learning/studying. I have always felt if you produced a wonder- ful litter when first starting out that luck had befallen that breeder. As to judges, initial assignments are usu- ally followed by a few reflections on, “Woulda, coulda, shoulda.” The qual- ity breeders and judges get their feet under them and ultimately 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 not mentioned in the wording of the stan- dard. I would like to expand on the inti- mate characteristics of the Elkhound that years of experience provided me. Often little known factoids stick in a person’s mind and lend themselves to greater interest in that breed.

moose and his dog since his two legs leave him in the moose’s and dog’s dust quite early in the hunt. The hunter must listen for his dog/dogs 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? 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 musculature. Leg strength, the ability to leap and twist

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The grey dog is very difficult to see in the woods. The underbody and underside of tail are light silver and help provide the hunter (or the distressed owner of an escapee) to get a sighting of their dog. The silver underside is vital to coat color and in the woods. Imagine the courage of a 50-pound dog trailing and holding an antlered and sharp-hooved giant of an angry animal many times taller and weighing 1200-1500 lbs. After trail- ing 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

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018 • 405

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