Is a Norwegian Elkhound a good first dog?

Picture this: A fluffy, sleek, and majestic dog standing guard in your backyard. It’s nose twitching, alert to every movement, even as it stands as still as a statue. Your quizzical look triggers a wagging tail while its lively eyes brim with intelligence and charm. Meet the Norwegian Elkhound – a breed that traces its illustrious lineage back to the time of Vikings, almost 6000 years old!

Now, you might wonder if this ancient, thrill-loving breed makes a good first dog for someone with little or no experience in handling dogs? We’re going to delve into that question – and by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea if a Norwegian Elkhound is the perfect furry companion for your home!

Contrary to what the name might suggest, the Norwegian Elkhound isn’t typically used to hunt elk. In fact, it gathers and tracks moose—elk is a British term for moose! This loyal high-energy fluff ball has long been praised for its prowess in tracking and hunting, attributes that make it an excellent guard dog, and a captivating companion for adventurers.

Right off the bat, here’s what you need to be prepared for: the Elkhounds are known for their independence. The spirit that makes them great hunters and trackers, also means they’re not a breed that will follow commands blindly. For a first-time dog owner, the Elkhound can be challenging at times. They are friendly but willful, smart yet stubborn, strong but sensitive.

But don’t worry, it’s not all uphill with the Elkhounds. Sure, they have a mind of their own, but they also have a deep desire to please their owners. They respond best to consistent leadership that’s both firm and calm, mixed with positive reinforcement. Treats and praise work well, but for more stubborn behavior, a stern voice or gentle correction is often necessary.

Importantly, Norwegian Elkhounds are not naturally aggressive, but they possess a high prey drive because of their hunting history – which means they may not be the best fit if you already have small pets in your household.

These dogs are active and do best in families who mirror that energy level. They love walks, games, and generally being included in family activities. Your Norwegian Elkhound might just be the perfect motivation you need to become more active and embrace the outdoors – imagine those refreshing morning walks or invigorating afternoon runs!

Before you rush off to get this fluffy addition to your family, there are other factors to consider like space. The Elkhound is a medium-sized dog, but they move around a lot. A house with a yard, or at least a nearby park, is ideal. Apartments can work, but be prepared for regular walks and plenty of play sessions to keep your Elkhound in good health and spirits.

Speaking of health, the Norwegian Elkhound tends to have a fairly clean bill. But like all dogs, they can have some health issues such as hip dysplasia, prone to obesity, and some eye problems. As long as they are monitored for weight gain and have regular check-ups, you can keep these issues at bay.

The last key element to consider is grooming. The Elkhound’s majestic double-coat does need care. Once or twice a week brushings are recommended to keep their coats healthy. They are also known for their heavy shedding, especially seasonally.

Having a Norwegian Elkhound as your first dog can indeed be a challenge, but when approached with patience, consistency, and an active lifestyle, it can ultimately be a rewarding experience. They are intelligent, loyal, energetic, and at the end of the day, they love to cuddle with their humans.

So, is a Norwegian Elkhound a good first dog? The answer is yes…with a few conditions. If you’re ready to be firm but fair, have the time and energy for regular walks and play, and don’t mind a little fur around your home, then congratulations! The Norwegian Elkhound might just be the perfect first dog for you. These incredible canines are not only captivating to look at but, with the right environment and care, can easily become a treasured and loving companion.

Remember, the journey with a new dog, especially a first dog, can feel a bit like walking in uncharted territory. But rest assured, with an adventurous spirit (just like your Elkhound), some patience, and a whole lot of love, it’s a terrain you will come to know and enjoy. Welcome to the delightful world of dog ownership!