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Elkhound Growth and Maturity



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Elkhounds will grow at a fairly good rate, easily reaching close to mature size in 12 months, however they will continue to grow and fill out for another full year or so.

 

Takoda appears here, sitting by the door and the boots in late December 2007 - he is about 8 weeks old in this photo.

It's nice to see a comparison with something similar in the background, so we keep the boots the same, and the same location, and rug to give you a visual before and after, in as close to the same position as possible. Takoda doesn't stay still for long so taking the photo now is considerably harder today, than when this photo of the little guy was taken.

Elkhounds are almost constantly moving, it's not often that we can get them to sit for a photo and actually stay there to get a good shot, they are moving their head, looking at something, getting up to see what's with the camera, it's hard to get a nice clean photo with them in the same area, so as to compare.

Takoda appears here, sitting by the door and the boots in late November 2008, not quite a year later, and yes, we have moved the boots between shots, if I didn't put that info in I might have a broom mark on the backside from Marlene.

This gives you a pretty good idea of the growth pattern for a pup that you might get, Takoda here is about 58 lbs, he has more to grow and more weight to put on, however it definitely outlines what you can expect. He was barely as long as a boot laying down in the first picture in December 2007, now his foreleg is that long. None of the pups will likely get to the same height or length of Takoda, they will be in between the height and length of Mia and Tadoka, closer to the 49 - 50 lbs, and 20 - 22 inches. Given that Takoda is from the Swedish strain, and Mia the Norwegian, leaves you with the best of both, very similar to what the old breeders in Scandinavia have done for centuries. Maximum vigor and lifespan follows this combination as well, thus the reason these dogs are such an ancient breed.

This photo will give you another view of the growth patterns of these dogs, and a comparison as we have Takoda by the fireplace in December 2007

Takoda again in the photo is about 8 weeks old. He is a terrific little guy to photograph at this size, he sits nice, looks at you, intent on what your doing, and comfortable to stay put for a few minutes, before he goes exploring.

I always suggest getting a pup in the winter time, that way, you can play with them outside in the snow, they get some terrific exercise, and my personal favorite reason, you can catch them in the deep snow, easier to train them to do some simple command training, and they are tired when they come in, if you like to have them around you for a while, they stay put and don't do to much wandering and mischief.

The entire first year though, keep plenty of things for them to chew, they will go through all kinds of stuff, be sure you put your good shoes up, Takoda loves the laces, especially the ends, chews them off every pair he can get a hold of. Real beef bones are very good after a short while, the PH in their mouth requires that new bone to clean, you will have very clean teeth on your pup if the closer to raw you can feed, and real beef or bison bones for them to chew, preferably with some meat left on. Throw these outside and they will gnaw away from all angles really keeping the youth teeth clean and strong.

In my personal opinion he is a magnificent young male, bright, strong, fast, agile, although Mia is more agile, and on a straight away burst is faster, Takoda needs a few leaps to reach stride.

Takoda is quickly becoming a very true personal protection dog, with tremendous watching and guarding traits. He has no qualms whatsoever about letting anyone who comes by the back yard know they should not be there. No one has any doubt he is on guard, he moves fast, back and forth, he has a very nice bark, it's deep, it's loud, and he likes to use it. When someone is approaching his territory, he is quite something to see, head up, tail curled, moving back and forth, nobody wants to step into his space uninvited I can assure you. These dogs make for some truly great watch dogs, they are very vigilant, territorial, a dominant dog, not prone to accepting strangers easily, in fact its hard to get them to accept fully people outside the family unit. With the family unit though they are just a pleasure to have around, they are very companionable, they want to be part of the family, they like to be involved and can be a terrific family addition.

Takoda appears here sitting by the fireplace at just over 1 year of age, November 22, 2008.

Your dog will really begin to eat at around that 10 -12 months of age, they are now developing serious muscle, they are moving more body weight around, and they are fully reaching to grow to full potential. This is the time to truly feed high quality feed and as much as he requires, you'll be able to feel the rib, some cover should be over it, but not letting any fat develop at any stage. He will begin to fully stretch out the skeletal structure now, building up the bone mass at this time, adding incredible muscle strength through out. Playing with a young male at this stage, perhaps in a game of tug a war really shows you have strong they are getting. Takoda likes to wrestle around at this size, and when he runs into you or pushes, you can really feel the strength they are developing. When we used to try to keep the ball away from Mia, at around a year or so of age she would pile right into the back of your legs to slow you down so she could grab it and she was solid muscle. At two years of age she had no fat and was all muscle, Takoda now is reaching that area where he will now fill out completely over the next year.

Takoda appears here in the snow, December 28th, 2008 at 14 months. He now weighs 65 lbs. It's hard to believe he has pups larger than he was last December 28th, 2007.

Exercise and workouts, running, playing, walks etc. are now crucial, as you increase the feed to develop the dog to full potential you need to remember the feed will increase the energy they will have, and that they will need to expend. At 1 year of age you can truly begin to teach them some things as well, however don't try to teach at the start of the exercise, take them out for some good old fashioned work first, get them to burn off some excess energy, then in the last half of the session work on training, comprehension levels and attention willl be much better. If you try to get a young male full of energy to do an extended stay at the start of a session good luck, better to get a good tug of war game going, and fast walking session, then do the extended stay training.

Takoda has been putting on some lean muscle this winter running in the deep snow, we have had more snow that usual, almost to the top of my boots, we also had a particularly cold winter, he stayed out all winter, and for a 4 week stretch there it was always 30 below at night and lots of night even colder, we had a fair bit of straw in the shop where he could sleep out of the wind, and for the most part pretty comfortable, they have a very good warm coat. He would wake me up early and come in and sit by me while I had a coffee in the morning, Mia was still inside the shop. Takoda is now 72lbs as of the 29th of January, 2009 - 15 months old.

He has been very busy lately watching over Tora, our new female pup we held back from the last litter. She is keeping him running and playing and busy all around. Takoda has basically had the job of watching over the pups this last litter, right from weaning and he was constantly having to ward off a group of pups tackling him.

Now that it's just Tora he has it a bit easier, but now she is getting pretty big, he has to be always on guard as she will take any bones, any spare food he might have in a blink of an eye, he has been really good with her all through it.

One thing for sure when there are pups around, Male Elkhounds especially Takoda, take guarding and watching to a new level, stray dogs begin to feel mighty uncomfortable by the time they get within eyesight our our place as he makes it very well known this is not a good place to be wandering around, we have a real good fence around our property or some stray dogs might not have had such a good day. He has been filling out this summer, his height and length are pretty well set, but he is still packing on some muscle, still no fat on him, his ribs are easy to feel, yet give him a good push on the shoulders and he doesn't even move, he looks at me as if to say, what's that little tap.

Him and I have a great time now, he is a bit calmer, and also Tora runs off some of his energy so it makes my time a bit more relaxed, I don't have to play him out first, which is a tall order with his energy. He is also now very receptive to training, catching on much easier to what I want him to do.

Takoda Male Elkhound appears here at 22 months, August of 2009

Takoda is exactly the same depth from the top of his shoulders to the bottom of his brisket, as his brisket is to the ground. Even though he is much taller than Mia, he retains all the breed ideals, just in larger proportions. He has tremendous chest and lung capacity, he is exactly as long as he is tall and his speed right now is very fast, even though Mia is super fast in a straight burst, in any stretch of ground Takoda can overtake and run away from her anytime with his length and power. Another few months of putting on some muscle and he should be nearing his weight that he will maintain for a good many years. He has a couple months until he is Two, but he might keep muscling up for a few months after that I am inclined to think.

Takoda is a magnificent male Elkhound coming into his prime, he is very close to 3 years old in the photo, a terrific dog to be around. He is very attentive to me, he listens exceptionally well, he is a true old world protection dog, this is a truly fearless dog. He is very strong at this stage when he hits the end of his harness when he is working I have to be paying attention. I am walking around at 240 lbs and when he pulls I know it.

Takoda and I in the Fall of 2010, late September in Kanaskis Country, South West of Calgary

My wife and daughter can still handle Takoda, he is so well mannered with us and so well behaved, but just the same for them he is a full handful, he is only slightly less weight than Ashten or Marlene.

This is an air scent breed, so walking in the foothills area and mountain regions with him is very exciting, he is fully alert, he is moving fast, he is excited, he wants to go and he is always catching a new scent.

Elkhounds are a perfect dog for anyone who hikes and walks in this area. I know from years of hunting and hiking that there is always the possibility of running into a situation you don't want to encounter, a bear, cougar, etc. and I would not want any other dog than an Elkhound in that situation. I would trust my life to Takoda anytime. He is one of those dogs that immediately comes between me and danger, anything he thinks is out of line he immediately is out, hair starts to rise, he muscles up, it's something to see, a big male, not even remotely worried about anything, fully alert and on guard. These dogs have been used for centuries as protection dogs, they have had fear bred out of them thousands of years ago, they do not back down from bears, cougars, wolves, you name it, they stay to protect, and if they means engage, they engage, and would fight to the death if it came to it.

These dogs, like other Northern Spitz dogs such as the Karelian bear dog, and others are not the dogs you read about that you should leave home when hiking, these dogs do not run between your legs and get you in serious trouble, they do the exact opposite, they get you out of danger, alerting you first and foremost that danger is present, you then need to pay attention to your dog, and get aware. Your elkhound will know long before you that there is danger, pay attention to your Elkhound.

At 3 years of age, and a breeding male, Takoda is a dominant dog, yet he has matured into a very well balanced Male. He travels well with Marlene and I, however he is not a socialite, he accepts no strangers period.

Takoda has a perfect set of teeth, he has a jaw strength that is unbelievable. He has eaten raw from day one. He gets fresh bones all the time and we always try to select cuts that have the bone attached. He gets a very wide selection, from Beef, Elk, Pork, lots of different fish, he is a good eater, never been fussy a day in his life. What I give him, he eats. He likes berries, apples, carrots, but his all time favourite is when I buy a nice T-Bone for the barbeque, I always cut the bone out for him first, he thinks, man this is the life. We only buy steaks with the bone, then cut the bone out before cooking so all the dogs really like the barbeque season.

Every person should have the opportunity to have a dog like Takoda.

Every person should have the opportunity to have a dog like Takoda. A dog that truly likes you, wants to please, wants to be around you, attentive, a dog that listens, yet has a mind of his own, has his own space. If there is one thing about Takoda that he passes to his pups, it's that part of his personality, the desire to please, the attentive behaviour, the companionship. He is much more prone to "checking in with me", than say Mia. Takoda can be off leash along with Mia and I , Takoda is much better at keeping in contact. Elkhounds are all good at communication, but Takoda is simply outstanding. I can be almost too far away for me to see him, he can see me fine, but it's at the far end of where I can see him. When he "checks in", I will see him drop his ears to signal me, he is looking right at me, letting me know he knows where I am and and now I know he knows. It's a simple thing, but the ability to communicate across a field or a meadow makes working with you dog so much easier. I have had the pleasure of witnessing this trait in his pups, both Tora and Mela I have worked with in the field and they both have the characteristic communicating style of Takoda. They both have the personality of being a dominate type, yet so good with me. They want to stay in touch while out working.

If you want to see Takoda in an outdoor environment, take a look at the video's in the Training Section, under Come Here, you'll see exactly what I mean when I talk about communication and the personality, the ability to work with you, and the desire to please. You can view it here under Dog Training Come Here and Loose Leash Training

Takoda is shown here at 4 years of age, he has beside him one of his big boys, Jaegar, a young male at 10 months of age. Takoda at 4 is as strong as he could be, he runs little to no fat, this picture is taken in December, he has had a month or two to gain back what he normally loses through breeding season. He is running at 70 lbs here, and Jaegar is almost the same, maybe a pound or two less. Both these boys are in tremendous shape here.

Takoda and Jaegar picture taken late December 2011 - Takoda 4 and Jaegar 10 months

Takoda is still an inch or so taller, but Jaegar is every bit as wide, and will mature out thicker and heavier than Takoda. A big agile male like these boys make a great hiking companion, a protector, a watch dog, all round working dog. Either of these two can carry packs, both pull hard if we have the harness on, if you have cross country ski's and you want one of these to give you a pull to help out, they love that type of thing. View more on Jaegar.

These dogs prefer raw and love bones to chew and eat, Takoda has been fed raw pretty much from day one, a few days he might get a meal of Orijen if we are traveling or something, but for the most part raw. A big male is pretty easy to feed, not much work to that, you can throw out the bone, meat, all in one, they can chomp through that in no time, it's really healthy for them.

Takoda has never had his nails clipped, we don't believe you would ever have to clip an Elkhound, unless of course your not walking and working them enough, they should be able to wear them down, dig holes, and run them off. You need to allow your dog to dig, this is an instinctive behaviour, and it serves many a purpose, especially when it comes to claws and relaxation for your dog, it's like a form of stress release for these big guys. And hiding a bone for a rainy day, well, every dog wants to do that.

Takoda has never been touched by anyone outside the four of us and our Vet, and he don't like the vet touching him, make no mistake, he doesn't accept strangers, and to him, if your not one of us, your a stranger. Everyone is a stranger to Takoda. Jaegar on the other side of the coin has been fully socialized, and is an urban Elkhound, he meets and greets all kinds of people, goes all over the place, airports, cab, stores, you name it, Jaegar can mingle and he is extremely well mannered. Takoda is well mannered, probably better than Jaegar, but his manners only extend to us, as that is what we wished, and what we asked him for, Takoda is probably more respectful than many many dogs, listens better, pays more attention, but he is fully capable of operating on his own, making his own decisions and runs a very tight ship in his area of operation, no doubt about that, Jaegar gets to find that out every day, no monkey business around him. If your acting goofy around Takoda, odds are high you'll be on your back looking up, wondering just how rough this is going to be. Dogs like Takoda they don't like any lip curl from other dogs, that must be where that saying, don't give me any lip came from, an old breeder must have witnessed one of Takoda's lineage back a couple thousand years tuning in a young male and passed the saying on I think.

 

Takoda and I head out to the high country March of 2012, we had a great day just exploring the mountains, there are no other people in the winter where we go so it's pretty quiet and nice for us. There are no bears to worry about, not that I worry about them anyway with him along, but he can relax a bit as well, although he doesn't, he is working just the same. He is scouting full time, making sure there is nothing that will come near me that might be considered a threat. It's a real treat hiking in remote regions with an Elkhound, especially a bear hunting lineage like Takoda, he is a machine this guy.

In this photo he is scouting a ravine we were crossing, I was heading up the hill and he had been all around already, just making this a safe crossing.

It's neat in the winter, I get to see him work way more, in the summer of course with all the grass, leaves and so forth, small brush and ground cover, I can't see him after he goes 20 feet, but in the winter I can see him quite a ways off.

This gives me some better chance to communicate visually better as well with him, he is constantly staying in touch, checking in as I call it, and in the winter I get to see this better. He doesn't need to be in a clearing as such.

You can read more on this aspect in my Dog Loose Leash Training Section.

Takoda is pretty consistent with his weight, never gets over conditioned though, and here he is light as he has just had 3 full weeks of females cycling, first Kamp, then GÆDA, then Tora, and we didn't allow him access to any, however he still is a freak show anyway. A big male, he will lose around 10 lbs of weight during a heat cycle, let alone three in a row. He frets and won't sleep, doesn't eat, basically all that occupies his time and mind is how to get in there. And noise, good gracious, some weird sounds a lovesick male can make.

He is calm today, cycles are over, we are out on a great hike in the mountains. He is a great boy to hike with, he loves to be out, he is a full working dog, so never stops patrol. I run him off leash in regions where I know he won't encounter people or dogs, he doesn't like other dogs much, nor people. People have a tendency to approach anyone, Takoda, he doesn't allow that, and dogs, well they sometimes are just dumb dogs, he clues them in fast.

Takoda sits here, a mature Elkhound Male, January 6th, 2013.

On steep climbs I hook him up to me, I use a long nylon lead, he knows commands well, "Pull" he understands, and up some mountain climbs he hears that a lot from me. I utilize his big power, and don't forget to train your dog to "Not Pull", because if he is tied to you on a snowy steep slope and decides to head down, well your going with him, so he is very smart, he knows, I holler "DON'T PULL" he doesn't. His lineage is smart, he is very smart, all his pups are smart. Nice to have in lineage.

He stays pretty much 70 lbs, up or down of course with breeding, but he will stay in this range now his life. Takoda is the taller long cast type so has the big stride, the big reach in his jump. He can really cover the ground. He wants to catch another dog, Elkhound, or not, he catches them. Very few breeds outside of the full runners will be as fast as him. At full stride, angry, heading after something he is 15' in stride. Two three seconds covers 300 feet.

This is a good boy, he is our most personable nature to me, to the pack. His recall is the best. He excels in all areas. Exceptionally smart, all instincts right on the edge of his fur. There are few dogs of this calibre left in North America. Few anywhere in fact. It's a great thing he is prolific and a strong breeder, as his pups are for the most part all better than him, which is doing something outstanding to be sure. The goal of course of our program.

At six years of age he is in his prime, this is taken on November 11, 2013 at our new home, up in the trails behind the house. He is in the best shape he has ever been in. Hard as can be, zero fat, all lean muscle, and he weighs the most he has been. He really is taking to this country, it's tougher hiking, constantly up and over stuff, there are pretty much uphill trails in any direction so it's a workout each and every day. He has a much bigger patrol area now as well. Takoda has the best coat of all our dogs, by far. He has the Black / Silver combination which is in my opinion the very nicest in color. The black tips are much longer, they run down the body much further, and it's a consistent color pattern.

Takoda is the fastest dog we have.

This is the fastest dog we have, although Jaegar is right with him, but in terms of pure covering ground Takoda can leave them all behind. None of the others can stay with him. He has the deepest chest of all the dogs, the stamina comes from the deep chest the big lungs and the lean muscle fibres. He eats a lot, but stays lean, his coat is closer as well so always looks leaner as well.

The weight of the dog always tells the tale. Muscle always weighs more than fat. The Elkhounds should stay somewhat lean, but not require huge amounts of food to maintain, Takoda of course is at the upper limit of size, yet remains easy enough to keep conditioned, and stays very agile at this body condition level. High end food sources of course make life easy, he has never hardly had anything other than raw. He has the cleanest teeth you could imagine, however if your close enough to see his teeth, you have problems. He does not like strangers. That part of his nature has remained constant also, the same as his condition.

Elkhounds are very territorial, so once they understand the "Territory" they are good.

His ranging skills are still the best of all the dogs, however he did give me a cross country trek the first week here, he had not sorted out where our property quit and the Crown land begins, who could blame him, pure forest either way, anyway, something caught his attention big time, and he went to move it out, and kept moving it for miles. Takoda Male ElkhoundI had to go get Jaegar back at home to track him down, yikes, I wish I was in as good a condition as him, of course I had to run as fast as I could, which is a far stretch slower than him, or Jaegar. But we found him, and him and I have had time to learn the boundary areas, so it's no concern much anymore.

Elkhounds are very territorial, so once they understand the "Territory" they are good. And Takoda of course brings a very high level of "Territorial Instinct" forward from the old Northern region dogs, so no worries about him watching his territory.

At this age you need to just have a fun time with your Elkhound now for many years. They can still learn tons of new skills, but quite frankly, for me, all the skills I utilize him for are in place, he knows all my style and commands, my looks, my arm movements and gestures, I don't have to say much to him at this stage we can have a fun time without much verbal exchange, pretty much all visual at this stage.

As far as personable goes, that remains the best of all. He still lives each and every day to spend time with me, never in his life has he every ignored me, ever. That is an outstanding trait, above all else.

Takoda sits here in early February 2014 with Kai and Tora.

Takoda sits here in early February 2014 with Kai, his granddaughter on the right, and Tora his daughter directly behind him. Farthest away is Mia, the mother of Tora, and Grandmother of Kai. You can see in the photo the deep black coat he carries. The Swedish lines have a much longer dark black guard hair, and a Silver undercoat. A very striking color pattern. He is an amazing male to train the young female with. Takoda is by far the best at communication and he has such a great personality towards the young pups it's a pleasure to use him to train.

Jaegar doesn't have the patience or the ability to train as well, he is too rough and tumble with the pups, Takoda is much better with them, they learn way quicker from Takoda. At the end of the day the range of ability of Takoda is greater as well, his skill set is much wider, so Kai is able to gain valuable training in all areas from him. Tora of course is a clone of Takoda, she thinks and acts exactly like him, he trained her first. Takoda, Tora and Kai are the most protective of all the dogs of me. Kai carries with her all of the instincts of Takoda. She is a fearless rascal.

This is a strong healthy lineage. Kai will be the first breeding granddaughter of Takoda. He has lot's of granddaughters and many more coming but Kai will be the first granddaughter to carry forward. Not 100% sure if I can explain it exactly, but there is no doubt in my mind he knows exactly what role Kai plays and he seems to be able to share his time with her without any issue. She in turn follows his every move, models what he does, and of course it's no secret where Takoda goes and does, so goes Tora, so for Kai, it's a natural.

Takoda sits here 28th of November 2014. 7 Years old now. His growth has not changed for years really, he is as solid as he ever was. This is an alert male, still sound and as he has his latest litter of 4 on the ground at the time of writing this, he is a solid breeding male. And this time there are two big blacks in the litter, this time a Male, and a Female. Go figure.

He eats the same amount he always does, it's raw, and it's a fair bit. He eats the most of all the dogs of course. Jaegar eats the same amount, but Jaegar is an easy keeper so has a bit more flesh and is a bit heavier. Not as tall by only a very small margin.

Takoda sits here 28th of November 2014. 7 Years old now.

7 years and has NEVER ignored me. Can you believe that? Find another breed, another dog anywhere that the owner can honestly say that. I doubt you'll come across that. That one trait, that personable nature to the handler has above all been truly a gift.

This is a big fast rascal, he still plays with all the younger and older dogs like a pup. He is always game for a "Catch Me If You Can Game". Burns around just like he did when he was a little guy. Pounds on his front feet, has done that since day one. Funny to still see it. A key genetic trait of Takoda is he can bring out the best in color of all the dogs. No matter which female he is mated to, his color structure is very strong, so it pulls ahead on the females. His teeth are white and shiny, clean as can be. Takoda never has any odour or plague or anything. A raw fed dog, especially one who gets the big bones, never has any issues that way, and he has none. Two big Turkey Drumsticks for breakfast, gone before you can pick up the pail you took them out of. Supper, same thing, and a piece of fish if it's cold out.

He likes all raw, never been fussy a day in his life. Fish, Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Wild Game, doesn't matter, although it is funny if I give him a Pork Hock, he doesn't just dive into that, he will pack that around for a while. Funny to watch. No one wants to try to take his food, so he can pack anything around. Another thing, he has never, and I mean never bothered anyone about their food ration, he eats his, and never bothers anyone.

7 Years - I couldn't find a fault if I tried. Phenomenal Dog All In All!

Takoda 8 Years Old Elkhound Male

Takoda sits here on an extreme winter hike with me in February of 2016.  Here is a big fella at over 8 years of age climbing heavy powder snow to 5000 feet like it's a walk in the park. These are extreme hiking dogs, and Takoda is a machine. You will never in your life probably ever see a dog with more respect for the handler than Takoda has for me. Take a good look at that photo, that my friends, that is an Elkhound!

Takoda 9 Years Old Elkhound Male With Son Ripley Takoda sits here Mid January 2017 with his latest son Ripley. A magnificent young son he sired when he was recently mated with Tekla. Takoda is over 9 years of age in this photo, Ripley is 9 weeks old. The true health and virility of some dogs is sometimes in this day and age, hard to tell. Not so with Takoda.

Takoda lives in a lifestyle as close to the old ways as we can possibly give him. He thrives in this environment like no other. To be still siring 10 pups in a litter over 9 years of age is a testament to his stamina and his overall health.

Take a good look at young Ripley, what a fantastic young Elkhound Male. Truly an outstanding young hiking and hunting machine. Takoda is working with me this winter of 2017 to train young Ripley and 4 other pups from that litter going through the Desna training program. He is a flawless trainer.

To see young Ripley beside him, a flawless example of what Elkhounds should be, so many years from the little photo of Takoda up above is very cool. These two my friends, These are Elkhounds!