About Breed


A typical northern spitz-like breed, the Norwegian Elkhound is a square-proportioned, close-coupled dog, with substantial bone, broad head, pricked ears, and a tightly curled tail. This dog is constructed for agility and endurance rather than speed. The Elkhound has a thick, smooth-lying coat consisting of straight outer hairs and a wooly undercoat. This combination presents the best protection against cold and snow.

The Elkhound is an unusual hound because its roots lie in the spitz breeds, which the breed still closely resembles. The placement in the Hound Group reflects partly the misinterpretation of the original “hund” name as “hound,” but mostly because the breed is functionally a scenthound. Historically this dog used tracking abilities to hunt moose and other large game.

The Elkhound has served as a hunter, guardian, herder, and defender at least since the time of the Vikings. In a land of subzero temperatures, deep snow, thick forests, and rugged mountains, only the hardiest of breeds could evolve to perform the variety of jobs at which the Elkhound excels. Although the breed had been carefully bred for centuries, only since the late 1800s were pedigrees kept. The breed has been exhibited in Scandinavian dog shows since that time and was brought to England and America shortly thereafter.

The breed gained the American public’s attention when President Hoover was given an Elkhound as a gift from Norway in appreciation for his help in World War I. The AKC recognized the breed around 1930, and the Elkhound has enjoyed moderate popularity since then.


About the Author


Ms. Trotter of Carmel, CA registered her first litter of Vin-Melca Norwegian Elkhounds with the American Kennel Club in 1951 and her most recent litter this year. Her breeding program has produced both the Top Sire and Dam in the breed s history as well as the breed s top winners. Vin-Melca Elkhounds have won 11 Hound group firsts at Westminster, all owner-handled.

When Ch. Vin-Melca s Vagabond became Top Dog All Breeds in 1970, he was the first amateur-handled dog to achieve that honor. Pat handled her own dogs to Top Ten All Breed status on 10 different occasions while holding down a full-time teaching job. Her Elkhounds were regular winners of Top Hound honors and Quaker Oats Awards for dogs with the most group wins within a year.

Names such as Vagabond, Howdy Rowdy, Nimbus, Smuggler, Calista, Marketta, Silver Shadow, Top O The Mark, and more recently Duffy are amongst the legendary hounds produced by this family. Thirty-eight Vin-Melca Elkhounds have accumulated all-breed Best in Show honors to date. Today s dogs represent untold generations descending from that 1951 litter. Personal honors include the Purina ProPlan® Hall of Fame, two Fido awards as Dog Woman of the Year and AKC s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Trotter is approved to judge all breeds. This is her fourth Westminster assignment.

The most comprehensive dog book of our time. Who but Pat Craige, winner of 10 Hound Groups at the Westminster show, could write the definitive dog book that explores every facet of breeding and exhibiting top winning Pure Bred Dogs. This is an extraordinary book that defies categorization. It is unique in the depth that treats each topic and the insights gained from many years at the top of the Dog Game. Over 250 photos in color and black and white.

  • About Breed in General

  • Elkhound in action