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Elkhound Types

Elkhounds Norwegian / Swedish - Elghund / Jamthund

Norwegian Elkhounds

It's fairly common when discussing Elkhounds, especially in Canada or North America that most people immediately think "Norwegian Elkhound", they don't normally recognize the other type, the "Swedish Elkhound". The Elkhound has been in the Northern regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and throughout the Scandinavian regions for centuries.

Rico Swedish Elkhound Male Jamthund

What has occurred through a natural selection process over the centuries is the dogs were selected for traits that would allow them to be better suited to the terrain and situations they were encountering. Keep in mind these dogs were used as guardians, companions, but most importantly as a hunting dog from very early times. Hunting is what truly determined the traits that lead to the distinct types.

In the Northern regions of Sweden and Norway, the terrain is heavily treed, there would be more snow, more bogs as well and the dogs tended to be selected for extra height and extra length. An inch or two both ways means a considerable amount when dealing with deep snow and having to continually clear deadfall trees and underbrush. This was the early beginnings of the Swedish Elkhound selection.

Rico - Male Jamthund shown to left and directly below - Kamia Kennels has a litter planned with Rico and Kalia summer 2016

Swedish Elkhounds or Jamthund

Rico Swedish Elkhound Male JamthundThe Swedish Elkhounds - known as the Norrland or Jamthund are the taller and longer Elkhounds, they are predominately from the Northern regions of Sweden and Northern Norway and have developed into a beautiful dog, displaying all the qualities required to survive and excel in this environment.

The Coastal and Southern regions of the harsh Norway coast gave way to the requirements of agility, requiring a very stable stout dog, a dog that was comfortable on a rock ledge or heavy brush. They needed tremendous lung capacity to run and stay on the course until they were able to bay the Moose and keep them at bay until the hunter finished the job. Keeping a bull Moose at bay in timber and rough terrain requires a very powerful close coupled dog. The Norwegian Elkhounds are the shorter, broader, close coupled type, also known as the Elghund or Grahund.

Grey Elkhounds Genetically The Same

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 Elkhounds.

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.

Norwegian and Swedish Elkhounds Mountain Hiking

It should be noted that in Sweden there are two types of Grey Elkhounds, formally known as the Grahund, identical to the Norwegian Elkhound, 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 ( Swedish Elkhound) 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. Unless of course we refer distinctly to one of the Swedish Elkhounds.

Swedish Elkhound Litter Planned

Beth and Rico Swedish Elkhound Male

We currently have a litter planned for the young Swedish pair, Rico and Kalia. They are both stunning young dogs and will produce some outstanding Swedish Elkhound pups.

Rico is shown at the left with his handler, Beth. Rico is a full Jamthund, his ancestors entered into the registration program and he is what is referred to as a "Jamthund". The big Jamthunds like Rico are as you most likely know are the National Dog of Sweden. They have been used for centuries in all Scandanavian regions, all the way through the Siberian areas as well.

This is going to be an outstanding litter as Kalia is an old Swedish lineage, her ancestors did not enter the Jamthund program, she is based from the Norrland dogs, same as Takoda. She is a big girl, will mature out around 60 plus pounds and combined with Rico who is 77 will have some serious snow trekking hunting dog pups.

Beth and Russ have an awesome young male Jamthund and we are excited about this upcoming litter.

Click the image to find details on the litter.


Norwegian Elkhound Females - Kamp and her daughters Tuva and Tekla

Norwegian Elkhound Females - Kamp, Tekla and Tuva

We have some outstanding Norwegian Elkhound females at Kamia Kennels. Kamp is shown here with two of her daugthers on either side. These are Norwegian Elkhound females who will be having litters, Kamp this summer, and Tekla and Tuva in the near future. You would not find better Norwegian Elkhounds anywhere than these girls. No doubt about that. Contact us about the upcoming litters.