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Elkhound Types

Elkhounds Norwegian / Swedish - Elghund / Jämthund

Norwegian Elkhounds - Swedish Elkhounds - Jämthunds

IAina and Rico Swedish Elkhounds Jamthund Dogst'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". Both Elkhounds have been in the Northern regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and throughout the Scandinavian regions for centuries. The Swedish Elkhound is now more formally known as the Jämthund dog.

I am fortunate to be the only breeder of these magnificent Jämthund dogs in North America. I will do my best to share the background and the history of these great Elkhounds with you.

We are very excited to be finally having a litter in a few months time from Aina and Rico, this will be the very first litter of full Jämthunds in Canada. I am shown to the left with Rico and Aina on a winter hike in early 2018 up above our kennel.

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.Aina Swedish Elkhound Jamthund

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 and Aina shown to the right - Kamia Kennels has a litter planned with Rico and Aina both Jamthunds

Rico Male Jamthund & Merv

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 Finland, 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.

Jamthund Puppies Kamia KennelsThe young Jamthund puppies shown to the left, in amongst them is our brand new female addition to our Jamthund lineage. Our young female was born overseas March 13th, 2016 and I traveled over and got Aina, she is here now. She is from ancient pure hunting Jamthunds, recognized the world over as some of the most serious hunting Jamthunds available. We are so very excited to have this opportunity to extend the great breed of Jamthunds in Canada and North America over the next years.


Jamthund Show in Joensuu FinlandWell I had a spectacular time over in Finland at the end of May 2016. I was able to attend the International Dog Show at Joensuu while I was there to pick up our new Jamthund, Aina. ( Lots more to come on Aina, she is a beauty), but for now just a little bit about the great show, and of course truly awesome Jamthunds I saw. Joensuu Dog Show

There were some truly great Jamthunds at the show, I was so happy to be able to attend and witness such a collection of great dogs. Neat thing was right beside the Jamthunds, or Swedish Elkhound ring, was the Norwegian Elkhounds. So I was able to get a chance to see both types side by side in all the splendor that only a great Finnish show can accomplish.

I have been busy with Aina, she is a superior working Swedish Elkhound. I have been working her in the mountains with Takoda, our Premier sire. Aina is a very dominant young female, I have my hands full, as do our other dogs of course. We have all ancient lineage Elkhounds so she fits right in.

Aina - Jamthund Female In CanadaThe photo to the left is young Aina, she is now in Canada and is out with me and Takoda in the fall of 2016 on a high mountain hike. As you can see she is filling in very well. This is a big female and she can cover some ground. Her and Takoda are two of the very best in the world in this terrain and I have been very pleased with her. The land here is a bit more mountainous than her native Karielian region of Northern Finland, but the trees and lakes, rivers, they are very similar to her.

She is from great bear hunting dogs, and as we have a ton of bears on these trails, she will be showing some of the others her skills when they cross paths, no doubt. She is a stunning Jamthund pup, these are ancient dogs, I have a photo from December of her and Rico, they had a nice time together when Rico was up for a week with me. Aina is the only Jamthund female in Canada.

Aina and Rico- Jamthund Female In CanadaClick for more on the litter, the pup, and the Jamthund History...





Aina and Rico- Jamthund Female In CanadaAina and Rico January 2018 - Aina 62 pounds - Rico 82 pounds

Aina just coming two years old and Rico about two and half years old.




Grey Elkhounds Genetically The Same - Swedish Elkhound Aina and Norwegian Elkhound Kamp

Aina Swedish Elkhound and Kamp Norwegian Elkhound

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.



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 daughters on either side. These are Norwegian Elkhound females who will be having litters, 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.

You can view a lot more about our Norwegian Elkhound Dogs here.



Norwegian Elkhound Females Kamp Tuva and TeklaThe Norwegian Elkhounds we have are the old lineages. They are stout working dogs. We have some of the best lines in North America based on true instinctive traits, with nothing bred out. Our girls like these three, Kamp and her daughters Tuva and Tekla are a perfect representation of what the breed was designed for.  These are the big Norway girls, Kamp is always at 60 pounds, her daughters are not far behind her. These two girls, Tuva and Tekla are not quite two years old in this image, February 21, 2016.

These girls can hike remote regions all day. Keep in mind they are all off-leash. I can travel a thousand miles with these girls and rarely would I have to say a word to them. They are full ranging Elkhounds, bred to watch out for the handler. These girls are powerful, we are hiking in extreme conditions, it's deep snow getting up here, we are around the 4900 foot elevation, and it's work to hike up here. I have snowshoes on but they rarely follow my trail, instead make their own. They are the perfect dog for a family wanting a companion dog for any adventure. They are just as easy going around home as they are in the mountains. These are a very versatile breed. In my opinion, the Norwegian Elkhound is the very best family Dog!

Jamthund VS Norwegian Elkhound

Elkhounds Hiking Off LeashI recently put up a terrific article about the instinctive traits of the Elkhounds especially out hiking in winter in the mountains. It's an awesome article with some really stunning photos of 6 of my Elkhounds. This article highlights the instinctive ability to range around the handler in remote conditions and is probably the best article currently available about the traits and skills of this ancient breed.

By all means, check out Offleash Hiking Dogs!

I have recently put up another article on Telka and Tuva, it has some awesome photos, check out these Norwegian Elkhound Females.


Swedish Elkhound Female Jamthund Hiking Off LeashI have recently updated the photo gallery and page for Aina. I have recent images now from early 2018 on it, and will be putting some more up right away again. I have some more new ones from the hikes with Rico recently.

Aina is skilled in off leash remote hiking and loves to hike and travel the remote regions with me. I am very proud of her abilities and skill level in the wilderness. She was a bit of a handful to train though as she has a very strong hunt drive.

You can learn more about her here: Aina Jämthund Female

Jamthund VS Norwegian Elkhound FemalesI recently took this photo on the 14th of March 2018 - it shows you the Jamthund VS the Norwegian Elkhound for size and type side by side. This is Aina and Kai, both due to whelping in the coming weeks.

Aina as she is much larger and much longer doesn't show her belly to the same degree as Kai does due to her smaller more compact body style. These two females of course are the perfect representations of each type of Elkhound as both are "Breed Standard" to perfection.

Aina was mated to the Jamthund Male Rico and Kai was mated to the Norwegian Elkhound Male Pretty Boy Leif. You could go anywhere in the world and not find two better litters coming. We are super excited.