Home Dogs Swedish Elkhound Dog breed – Origin, Characteristic, Personality, Care

Swedish Elkhound Dog breed – Origin, Characteristic, Personality, Care

The Swedish Elkhound, also known as the Jamthund or the Swedish Moosehound, is believed to be one of Sweden’s oldest native dog breeds.

This dog breed has an appearance similar to its ancestors, wolves.

Although Swedish Elkhound dogs are often kept as family pets today, they were originally kept as hunting and guard dogs.

Swedish Elkhound dog origin

The Swedish Elkhound is believed to be one of the most ancient dog breeds. As their name suggests, they originate in Sweden from a central region known as “Jamtland.” Jamtland is famous for having particularly harsh weather conditions. So, only the most hardworking dogs could survive in ancient times. Tracing the exact origins of the Swedish Elkhound is practically impossible.

The original purpose of the Swedish Elkhound was as a hunting dog. They are used to hunt bears, wolves, and elk. This breed has evolved to become extremely strong and brave to hunt such fearsome creatures successfully. While primarily used as hunters, locals also keep them as pets, guard dogs, and even sled dogs. This versatility and ability to survive in such a harsh climate is undoubtedly what has led to the local popularity of the Swedish Elkhound.

The Swedish Elkhound looks very similar to the Norwegian Elkhound. It was not until 1946 that the Swedish Elkhound was recognized as a breed in its own right. In Sweden, the Swedish Elkhound is legendary for its ability to catch bears with apparent bravery. Today, the Swedish Elkhound occurs in many countries with harsh winter conditions, such as Canada and Russia.

Swedish Elkhound Dog.
Swedish Elkhound Dog.

Although migratory, Swedish Elkhound dogs only leave their homeland in small numbers, and it is still very rare to find the breed outside of Sweden. Although often kept as a working dog, they are often seen as family pets. The UKC finally accepted the Swedish Elkhound as an official breed in 2006.

Appearance characteristics of Swedish Elkhound dogs

The Swedish Elkhound is closely related to the wolf breed. When viewed from a distance, you will easily confuse them with wolves. Their body is rectangular, and their trunk is longer than they are tall. Their overall body shape is healthy and agile. Their heads should be long and wide. With a wide snout and erect triangular ears widely spaced on their skull. They have oval dark brown eyes. Their characteristic tail must curl naturally over the body and have thick fur.

These Swedish Elkhound dogs are medium-sized. Adult male Swedish Elkhounds often have a slightly better appearance than females. Height ranges from 57 – 65 cm for males and 52 – 60 cm for females. Weight from 30 – 35 kg for males and 25 – 30 kg for females

This Swedish Elkhound breed has a relatively thick, double-coated coat. Their luxurious double coat is extremely thick and weather-resistant, especially in heavy snow. The outer coat is hard and long and able to endure and endure harsh conditions. The inner coat is short, soft, and downy. Their coat colors include white, cream, black, and shades of gray, although their overall coat is mostly dark.

Personality characteristics of the Swedish Elkhound dog

Because of their ability to hunt wolves and bears, the Swedish Elkhound is courageous and daring. Even though it has undisputed power, they do not tend to be aggressive towards humans. They are often very affectionate with their owner’s family members. They are known to be calm and gentle with children. Swedish Elkhound dogs are good guard dogs because they are always vigilant and protect those they love.

The Swedish Elkhound has the nature of a hunting dog. Therefore, they are not friendly with other animals kept in the house. In particular, they become aggressive towards uninvited guests who come to their territory. You should adopt and socialize with them from a young age. And you need always to control them when letting them go to public places.

How to take care of Swedish Elkhound dogs

Like any dog, caring for a Swedish Elkhound requires attention to their well-being, including nutrition, exercise, grooming, and healthcare. Here are some essential guidelines for caring for a Swedish Elkhound:


Provide high-quality dog food for their age, size, and activity level.

Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on the dog food packaging, and adjust portions as needed to maintain a healthy weight.

Divide their daily food into two or more meals to prevent overeating or digestive issues.


Swedish Elkhounds are an active breed with high energy levels. They require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily. This can include brisk walks, runs, or off-leash playtime in a securely fenced area.

Mental stimulation is equally important. Engage them in puzzle toys, obedience training, or scent-based activities.


Swedish Elkhounds have a double coat that requires regular grooming.

Brush their coat a few times weekly to prevent matting and reduce shedding. More frequent brushing may be needed during shedding seasons.

Trim their nails as needed and clean their ears regularly to prevent infections.

Bathe them when necessary, but not too frequently, as it can strip their coat of natural oils.


Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian for vaccinations, dental care, and overall health assessment.

Discuss a preventive healthcare plan with your vet, including flea and tick prevention, heartworm medication, and routine blood work.

Be aware of common health issues in the breed, such as hip dysplasia and eye problems, and work with your vet to monitor and manage these concerns.


Begin socialization early by exposing your Swedish Elkhound to various people, animals, and environments to ensure they become well-adjusted adults.

Training and obedience classes can help reinforce positive behaviors and improve their manners.

Ensure your Swedish Elkhound is safely contained within a secure fence or leash outdoors, as they have a strong prey drive and may chase small animals.

Be cautious with them around small pets and children, as they can be reserved or cautious around strangers.

Love and Attention

Spend quality time with your dog. Swedish Elkhounds are known for their loyalty and affection towards their families.

Provide mental stimulation through interactive toys and puzzles.

Offer plenty of positive reinforcement and praise for good behavior.

Provide a safe and comfortable living environment for your Swedish Elkhound.

Make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.

Ensure they have a quiet and comfortable place to rest and sleep.

Remember that every dog is an individual, and the specific care requirements may vary from one Swedish Elkhound to another. Regular communication with your veterinarian and a commitment to meeting your dog’s physical and emotional needs are essential for their well-being and happiness.

Health problems of Swedish Elkhound dogs

These sun bears have an average lifespan of 11 – 14 years old. However, their life cycle can be prolonged if you take care of them properly.

Although the Swedish Elkhound is recognized as having good overall health, it may be easier to grow and have certain health benefits than other dog breeds. However, this dog breed often encounters many diseases, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, skin allergies, obesity, etc. Therefore, you should take them for regular health checks as prescribed by your doctor. Let them always maintain stable health.

Swedish Elkhound price

The price of a Swedish Elkhound puppy can vary widely depending on several factors, including the dog’s pedigree, the reputation of the breeder, the dog’s age, and the region or country where you are purchasing the puppy. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $2,500 or more for a Swedish Elkhound puppy from a reputable breeder.

Swedish Elkhound puppies.
Swedish Elkhound puppies.

It’s important to note that while it may be tempting to look for a lower-priced Swedish Elkhound puppy, it’s crucial to prioritize working with a reputable breeder who focuses on the health and well-being of the dogs. Reputable breeders typically invest in health testing, socialization, and proper puppy care. This can lead to a higher initial cost but save you money on potential vet bills and behavioral issues in the long run.

Always do thorough research and choose a breeder who follows ethical breeding practices and provides a loving and healthy environment for their dogs. Additionally, consider adopting a Swedish Elkhound from a rescue organization if you are open to providing a forever home to a needy dog. Adoption fees for rescue dogs are typically lower than purchasing from a breeder, and you may provide a home to a needy dog.

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