The history of the Black Norwegian Elkhound is the same as their predecessors, the Norwegian Elkhound, until the early 1800s. They are one of the oldest breeds in Scandanavia. It was believed that they were present at the age of the Vikings as their companions.

Black Norwegian Elkhound sitting on grass

It was in the early 1800s that breeders of Norwegian Elkhounds decided to produce a pure Black-coated variety.

It was not sure whether the Black Norwegian Elkhounds have always existed, or that the color suddenly appeared in the breed.

The breeders, however, continued the breed’s lines. They must have also crossed the black Elkhounds to the more common grey-colored dogs regularly until the 1900s.

This breed has been common around the inner regions of the Swedish borders. It was in the year 1901 that a standard for the breed has been created. In the early years of the breed’s recognition, many still prefer the grey-version.

The black Elkhounds were mostly used as working dogs rather than show dogs. There came a time that the population of the black elkhounds was overshadowed by their grey cousins.

Fortunately, a few dedicated breeders continued the line, and now, there is a stable number of Black Norwegian Elkhound pups registered at the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). But, the breed remains to be only known within Scandanavia.

Traits and Behavior

Black Norwegian Elkhounds behave almost identically to their grey counterparts. They are extremely loyal, friendly, and affectionate to their families. Most would greet a stranger but do tend to lick and jump at them.

Black Norwegian Elkhound running

Proper training should be done to correct this. They are also alert, bold and protective which makes them great watchdogs. However, due to their non-aggressive nature, they don’t make good guard dogs.

However, there are a few difference between the two’s temperaments. The Black Elkhounds are better and more determined at following a scent trail. They also have a higher hunting drive making them more aggressive towards non-canine animals, especially the smaller ones. They are also more demanding when it comes to activities, and would require higher amounts of exercise.

Black Norwegian Elkhound tongue out

This intelligent breed can be quite a challenge when it comes to training because of its independent nature. They were bred to work independently with humans; therefore they are not accustomed to working with us. But, it does not mean that they can’t be trained. This breed needs owners that are patient, firm, and dedicated.

Pet Care and Diseases

This high-energy dog needs vigorous exercise to stay healthy and happy. They require a minimum of 45 minutes of intense activity regularly.

Black Norwegian Elkhound sitting on hay

They also need a wide area to roam and run, and enclosing them in a tight space (like an apartment) is not good.

If not met, this breed tends to be bored and destructive. When exercising, it is important to keep the Black Elkhound from overheating which is very common due to their thick coat.

Despite their long and thick fur, this breed doesn’t require any special grooming maintenance. They just need regular brushing. However, this dog sheds a lot.

So, they aren’t ideal for people with lung and breathing problems. To remove the dead hair, a comb or a rubber glove may be used.

The Black Norwegian Elkhounds are generally strong and healthy. They can live up to 15 years. However, they do have genetic and hereditary problems that need to be identified immediately.

Having your dog checked by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and/or the Canine Eye Registration Foundation is important if you are thinking of breeding.

Other health problems include hip dysplasia, weight gain, and eye problems.


Black Norwegian Elkhounds are almost the same as the Grey Elkhounds. They have the same friendly spitz appearance and are considered to be wolf-like. Their stocky and muscular breed is covered with thick fur with long-tail curling over their backs.

Black Norwegian Elkhound close up

They are a medium to large breed with males being around 18.5 to 19.5 inches tall and weigh between 35 to 50 pounds, with the females are generally shorter and smaller. Black Elkhounds appear to be shorter than their grey cousins.

This breed, however, has a very obvious difference from their cousins. Instead of being grey, their coat is solid black with white patches on the chest and feet on some dogs. It tends to be shorter than the common grey elkhound.

This coat is made up of a double layer to protect them from the Scandanavian weather. The soft, dense and woolly undercoat is covered by coarse and straight hair.

General Information

The estimated life expectancy of this breed is 12-15 years. The average litter size is about 7-14 puppies. Other names for this breed include Norsk Elghund Sort, Norsk Elghund Black, Black Elkhound, and Norwegian Moose Dog (black).

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Black Norwegian Elkhounds. Click this link: http://www.neaa.net/