Black Norwegian Elkhound Temperament: Hardy, Alert, Confident

The Black Norwegian Elkhound Temperament makes this breed an excellent working dog and a loyal family pet.



The Black Norwegian Elkhound is closely related to the more common gray Norwegian Elkhound, but the black variety is smaller, darker, and easier to spot in the snow. Black Norwegian Elkhounds also have a reputation of being a bit more active and agile.

The Black Norwegian Elkhound is a fairly young breed that is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. These dogs are still rare outside the Nordic countries of Scandinavia.

In Scandinavia, Black Norwegian Elkhounds are prized for their abilities as hunters, herders and watchdogs.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most prevalent Black Norwegian Elkhound behaviors.

Black Norwegian Elkhound Temperament Traits and Personality

Below you will find a list of the most common Black Norwegian Elkhound traits.

Although there are many commonalities within specimens of the breed, it is important to remember that individual dogs will differ in certain ways from each other.

If you are thinking seriously about adding one of these unique dogs to your family, do as much research as you can to make sure that it will be a good fit for your lifestyle.

Bright and Engaged

The Black Norwegian Elkhound has a very active mind. This breed is highly intelligent and clever.

If you own a Black Norwegian Elkhound, you will need to provide him with outlets for his keen intellect.

If you do not provide enough constructive outlets, your Black Norwegian Elkhound will become bored and will try to create his own entertainment.

This could take the form of nuisance behaviors such as barking, howling, chewing, digging, or trying to escape from the yard.

To avoid this scenario, provide your Black Norwegian Elkhound with plenty of mental enrichment.

You can stock up on food puzzles, Kong toys, and other enrichment items at your local pet supply store.

Obedience training is another great way to keep your Black Norwegian Elkhound’s mind active.

Alert to Intruders

Black Norwegian Elkhounds are naturals when it comes to protecting the homestead. This is a job that they have been doing for generations.

They have excellent eyesight and hearing.

They will alert their owners any strange activity on the premises.

If you are looking for a superb watch dog, the Black Norwegian Elkhound will fit the bill!

Black Norwegian Elkhounds can be vocal, so they are probably not the best choice for apartment dwellers.

Hard Working

The Black Norwegian Elkhound is a robust working dog.

These dogs were bred to hunt in the dense forests of Scandinavia for hours on end.

If you plan to keep one as a house pet, you will need to provide him with an outlet for his working drive.

Daily Black Norwegian Elkhound exercise is a must for this breed.

Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to devote at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise every day.

If you work long hours, consider hiring a dog walker or bringing your dog to a doggie daycare during the day.

If your Black Norwegian Elkhound is craving a job, you can get involved with a canine sport such as agility, lure coursing, nosework, or rally obedience.

You could also look into local clubs for therapy work or search and rescue work.

Confident and Curious

The Black Norwegian Elkhound is a self-assured breed.

They tend to be bold and inquisitive. They are rarely shy or withdrawn.

Black Norwegian Elkhounds love to explore and investigate new things.

They also love to follow their nose!

For this reason, it is important to train them to come when called and always keep them on a leash unless they are in a secure yard.

Since Black Norwegian Elkhounds were bred for hunting, they have a high prey drive. If they see a squirrel or chipmunk, they might take off after it. This can be dangerous if they dash across a busy road.

Black Norwegian Temperament with Children and Other Pets

Black Norwegian Elkhounds can live peacefully with children and other pets.

As with most breeds, tolerance towards kids and pets differs between individual animals.

You can help promote good interactions by socializing your Black Norwegian Elkhound from a young age. If possible, bring your puppy to a puppy kindergarten class.

Use treats to help your Black Norwegian Elkhound form a positive association with children and other animals.

Always supervise interactions to make sure that everyone is getting along and staying safe.

If you have to leave them unsupervised, separate your Black Norwegian Elkhound into a separate room or a dog crate.

Due to their hunting instincts, use extreme caution if you are introducing a Black Norwegian Elkhound into a household with cats or other small critters.

Black Norwegian Elkhound History

The gray Norwegian Elkhound is one of the oldest European breeds still in existence.

However, the Black Norwegian Elkhounds is a much younger breed.

Scandinavian hunters modified the original Norwegian Elkhound breed to create an ideal hunting dog. As the name implies, these hounds were used to hunt elk and other large game.

The Black Norwegian Elkhound is said to have more energy and stamina than the original gray Norwegian Elkhound. The Black Norwegian Elkhound also has a darker coat so it can be easily seen in the snowy woods.

Black Norwegian Elkhound Size and Appearance

Black Norwegian Elkhounds are part of the Spitz family.

The average Black Norwegian Elkhound weight is between 35 and 45 lbs. Males are larger than females.

The average Black Norwegian Elkhound height is between 16 and 20 inches.

Black Norwegian Elkhound colors are very limited. The coat is either deep charcoal gray or jet black. A small amount of white on the feet or chest is permitted.

Black Norwegian Elkhounds have tightly curled tails that curl over their backs. They have erect ears, and an intelligent “fox-like” face.

They are compact, muscular dogs of a medium size.

Black Norwegian Elkhound Training

Norwegian Elkhounds are very smart, but some owners describe them as “head-strong.”

You will need to have patience and a good sense of humor to train this breed. Even if your dog is trained, he may still think for himself at times. Do not expect blind obedience from a Black Norwegian Elkhound.

The best method of training for this breed is positive reinforcement training.

Harsh corrections are not necessary or constructive.

If possible, sign up for an obedience class with a positive reinforcement trainer in your vicinity.

Obedience classes are a great way to bond with your new dog!

Always keep training sessions short, interesting and upbeat.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Black Norwegian Elkhound you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Black Norwegian Elkhound Grooming

Black Norwegian Elkhounds have very thick, double-coated fur to withstand cold climates.

Like most double-coated dogs, Black Norwegian Elkhounds need a lot of brushing and grooming.

Their undercoat sheds profusely twice per year. Daily brushing is a necessity, especially during shedding season.

If you suffer from allergies or you are not tolerant of dog fur, this is probably not the breed for you.

If you own a Black Norwegian Elkhound, be prepared for lots of vacuuming!

Staying Healthy: Black Norwegian Elkhound Health Issues

Although they are generally healthy dogs, there are certain disorders that are common in this breed.

Be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian so you can detect early warning signs:

Like all dogs, your Black Norwegian Elkhound should visit a veterinarian once per year.

Be sure to keep your Black Norwegian Elkhound current on vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention throughout their whole lives.

Talk with your vet about the benefits of spaying and neutering.

With good care, the Black Norwegian Elkhound lifespan is between 12 and 15 years.

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different for your Black Norwegian Elkhound. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 15 yrs+ without pain and suffering.

Black Norwegian Elkhound Rescue and Adoption

If you are ready to add a Black Norwegian Elkhound to your household, there are many ways to find the perfect pet for your family.

One option is to rescue a Black Norwegian Elkhound that needs a new home.

Black Norwegian Elkhounds enter rescue groups for many possible reasons:

  • Moving or eviction
  • Financial Crisis
  • Illness or death of owner
  • Divorce or separation

Dogs in rescue groups are generally wonderful dogs that will make excellent pets. Sometimes they are already trained and socialized.

The Norwegian Elkhound Association of America has a list of Norwegian Elkhound rescue groups.

You can also find a Black Norwegian Elkhound for adoption by searching Facebook or Google.

Additional adoption resources include Petfinder, Adoptapet and Getyourpet.com. These websites will even allow you to set notifications so you can receive an email when certain breeds become available for adoption in your area.

You can also visit your local animal shelter or humane society and let them know that you are interested in adopting a Black Norwegian Elkhound or a Black Norwegian Elkhound mix.

The staff at your local animal shelter may be able to keep your application on file and contact you when a Black Norwegian Elkhound, or a similar dog, becomes available for adoption.

Finding a Black Norwegian Elkhound for Sale from a Reputable Breeder

Other people will choose to purchase a Black Norwegian Elkhound puppy from a breeder. Make sure that you spend a lot of time finding a responsible breeder.

The Norwegian Elkhound Association of America offers a “find a dog” referral service on their website. This is a good place to start your search for a breeder.

However, the association clearly states that, “the NEAA referral list is not an endorsement or advertisement of any of the breeders on the list. Every potential puppy buyer should thoroughly investigate breeders and their puppies before committing to a purchase or adoption.”

Once you have narrowed down a list of potential Black Norwegian Elkhound breeders, you should spend some time asking them questions about their breeding practices, as well as discussing the health and temperament of their breeding dogs.

Ask to set up an appointment to visit the breeder in person. A good breeder will welcome your visit. They will want to meet you and ask you questions as well. Good breeders want to ensure that their puppies go to good homes.

A responsible breeder will also commit to taking their puppies back if things do not work out for any reason.

If the breeder will not allow you to visit the premises and/or does not ask you any questions, this is a bad sign. Keep looking for other options.

Whatever you do, never purchase Black Norwegian Elkhound puppies over the internet or from pet stores. You might inadvertently get a puppy from a puppy mill. Puppy mill puppies are often inbred and sick.

How much does a Black Norwegian Elkhound cost?

The price of a Black Norwegian Elkhound varies depending on the source. If you purchase a puppy from a breeder, the cost can be anywhere between $800 and $5000 depending on the breeder and the bloodline.

Some buyers will even travel to Scandinavia to purchase one of these dogs from a European breeder. If you go this route, you will also have to factor in the cost of traveling internationally with a puppy.

On the other hand, if you choose to adopt through a rescue group or shelter, the cost will be substantially lower.

The average adoption fee for a rescue dog is between $100 and $300. Most adopted dogs will come already spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Conclusion: Why the Black Norwegian Elkhound?

The Black Norwegian Elkhound temperament can make this breed an excellent pet for the right household.

Potential owners need to be prepared to handle a dog that is clever, alert, and strong-minded.

If you have the energy and stamina for this hardy breed, the Black Norwegian Elkhound might be the perfect dog for you.

Do as much research as you can to make sure that you can commit to one of these dogs for its whole life.