The Norwegian Elkhound is one of the oldest inhabitants of Scandinavia. In common with other northern breeds, the elkhound is believed to descend from the Torvmosehund (swamp dog). It is believed that the swamp dog first appeared in Denmark and was domesticated for use as a hunter of small and large game.. Long before he became the companion of the Vikings in both sport and conquest, the Elkhound, in much the same form as today, roamed Norway.
Archaeological evidence from Scandinavia suggests that the Norwegian Elkhound was domesticated during the late Stone Age, roughly 6000 years ago. Four skeletons found in Norway date the breed in the stone age period. These skeletons reach back from 4,000 to 5,000 B.C. From that time to the present, the breedís development has been virtually unaltered by man.
The people of Scandinavia have employed the Elkhound as a herder, guardian and hunter for thousands of years. A skilled scenthound, the Norwegian Elkhound has hunted various types of big game, but it was most commonly used to hunt moose and derives his name from that occupation. . The Elkhound name in Norwegian is Elghund which translates to Moose Dog. Elg= moose. Hund = dog in Norsk. Therefore, they are a Moosedog and in the translation to English, it became Elkhound. The dogs were also used in hunting Elk and bears. In America he has been used as a retriever hunting upland game birds. He has excelled as a farm dog in working live stock , both in America and in Norway when he herded reindeer.
Despite the Norwegian Elkhoundís millennia of domestication and service, it was not considered as a show breed until 1877. Around this time, the dog was introduced to England and the United States, where it was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. The Norwegian Elkhound is a breed of average popularity in the United States today, and is considerably more popular in its native Scandinavia. Though most often seen as a pet, the Elkhound is still used by many moose hunters.
In the United States, where hunting moose is not allowed with dogs, hunters have seen elkhounds work well on raccoon or squirrels.