Genetically the two types are from the same background or gene pool.
The Canine Studies Institute in Aurora, Ohio a few years back, presented
some very interesting results of studies they had done on the genetic
map of all dogs. They were able to determine that all dogs originate
from the base of 10 progenitor breeds. They were able to establish that
all Northern or Spitz type dogs are descendants of the Elkhound with
much history dating back at least 4000 years.
When the early breeders were going to first establish a breed
standard a group got together some time in the time frame of 1877 - 1888
and established a breed standard. They referenced a young grey Elkhound
" Gamle Bamse Gram", named following the owner, Consul Jens Gram, a
noted hunter with quality dogs. The Young dog established the standards
for the newly formed Norwegian Kennel Club and registrations began
somewhere in the year 1895.
It was well known at that time that there were distinct types, even
the Black Elkhound was recognized from the early formation of the Klubs,
with the Norse Dryehund Klub formation in 1899 and the first show in
1900 late that fall with separate entries for the Grey and the Black
The Grey Elkhounds were not individually recognized by Kennel Clubs
or Associations for many years, with the United Kennel Club only
recognizing the Swedish Elkhound as a distinct breed in 2006. It had
been determined and thought of as a separate breed in other Kennel Clubs
and Associations dating from 1937 - 1946, although individual families
with long histories of these dogs all think of the Grey Elkhounds as the
same, with the distinct qualities as the separation. The Swedish Kennel
Club and The Norwegian Kennel Club did not come to an agreement on
distinct breeds for years. From early 1900's until the 1937-1946 period
all were considered the same. Only in 1946 did the Swedish Kennel Club
acknowledge that the taller longer Elkhound would be recognized as the
Jamthund, named for the Jamtland region in Sweden.
It should be noted that in Sweden there are two types of Grey
Elkhounds, formally known as the Grahund, identical to the Norwegian, a
shorter muscular dog, and the Norrland, a taller , longer Grey from the
Northern regions where it had the advantages of length and height to
cope with the deeper snow. The Norrland or taller dog is what eventually
became recognized as the Jamthund and has almost identical markings
although it can have some white on the chest area between the front
legs, and the lower muzzle can be lighter.
The shorter Grey is now universally recognized as the Norwegian
Elkhound, this is what most in North America are familiar with as the
taller longer type is rare in Canada and the USA. In Sweden, the taller
version is definitely the most popular, with the Swedish Elkhound or as
it's more commonly known as Jamthund being the National Dog of Sweden.
The National Dog of Norway, is of course the Norwegian Elkhound.
Here in Canada the Elkhound is recognized as one by the Canadian
Kennel Club, no matter the type and referred to as the Norwegian
Elkhound. So, for the most part on this site and referencing our dogs,
we will normally take the same position and refer to them as Norwegian
Elkhounds, although we are well aware there are types.