When it comes to working dog breeds, Norway seems to have it all.
Today, many Norwegian dog breeds are mostly family dogs; others are still primarily used for their hunting abilities and are rarely found inside their home.
In this article, we’ll talk a little bit more about these working breeds of dog, learning about their history, interesting facts, temperament, characteristics, and related questions about the breed.
Let’s not waste another minute:
1. Halden Hound
Highlights: Loving, Affectionate, Non-aggressive
The Halden Hound was named after their place of origin in Halden in South-Eastern Norway.
A relatively new breed of dog, the Halden Hound wasn’t recognized until approximately 100 years ago.
A type of scent hound, the breed has an excellent nose that is commonly used for hunting small game like the hare.
While the exact origins of the breed are unknown, many believe that they are a mixture of English and Swedish Hounds, combined with other Swedish dog breeds and hounds throughout Europe.
Others believe that they may also have some Beagle in their genetics.
The breed was not officially recognized by any organizations until 2006 when the UKC welcomed them into the scent hound grouping.
The Halden Hound is often described as a loyal and gentle breed of dog that does well in a family home or environment.
This breed tends to bond very closely with members of the family and may experience separation anxiety in their absence.
With that being said, although the Hound loves to be around its family, it also can be quite independent.
Their independent streak can be attributed to their long history of hunting solo.
The breed is considered to be cautious and alert and will alert their family members when strangers are near.
Having said that, the breed is considered to be extremely non-aggressive and therefore is not a good choice for a guard dog.
|Breed type:||Scent Hound|
|Suitable for:||All family types|
|Color:||White with patches of black, and tan shadings on legs and head|
|Grooming:||Weekly brushing required|
|Daily exercise:||Daily outdoor walks, runs, or play|
|Diet:||2-3 cups of high-quality dog food per day|
|Known health issues:||Hip dysplasia, ear infections|
1. What does training look like for the Halden Hound?
Because the Halden Hound can have their independent streak, training can sometimes be difficult.
For this reason, the Haldon Hound does best with experienced owners. They require strong, confident, firm, and consistent training.
At the same time, trainers must be patient and approach training in a positive and reinforcing way.
The Halden Hound does best when learning with motivation and praise. Keep activities varied so that they don’t lose interest.
2. Is the Halden Hound good with other pets?
The Halden Hound tends to be a solo hunter, so it may have difficulty getting along with other small and large dog breeds, especially those of the same sex.
With that being said, early socialization can help to prevent aggression towards other dogs and can leave your Halden Hound to get along fine with others.
In terms of smaller non-canine pets, the Halden Hound may revert to their natural hunting instincts. As such, supervision is always required.
3. Is the Halden Hound suitable for apartment living?
No. This is a very active breed of dog that requires a great deal of outdoor land. They require at least two 45 minute walks each day, as well as plenty of playtimes and off-leash time.
When left alone indoors for long periods, this breed can become bored, destructive, and hyper. They require a yard.
2. Hygen Hound
Highlights: Good Guard dog, Affectionate, Athletic
The name of the Hygen Hound was actually established by the man who created them – Hans Fredrik Hygen.
The breed was established in the mid-1800s in an attempt to create a breed that could withstand the harsh weather conditions of Scandinavian winters and hunt at the same time.
To do so, Mr. Hygen bred several different Scandinavian hounds with one another. More specifically, the Hygen Hounds are documented to be a mixture of Basset hounds, English pointers, Scandinavian hounds, bloodhounds, Beagles, and Holsteiner hounds.
The result was a breed that has superior scent capabilities along with the ability to both track and retrieve prey.
The current population of the Hygen Hound is small in Norway and almost non-existent outside of the country.
Still, the breed was officially recognized by the UKC in 2006 as part of the scent hound grouping.
The Hygen Hound is an extremely athletic breed of dog that is both lively and energetic.
They require a great deal of exercise and love having a job to do. Having said that, though the Hygen Hound loves regular activity, they can also be calm in the home after they are physically satisfied.
The breed is very affectionate and faithful to family members but may be wary around strangers.
The Hygen Hound is known to be possessive and territorial and may become aggressive if a stranger approaches them without warning.
For this reason, the Hygen Hound can make an excellent guard dog, but can also be difficult to handle when guests are around.
To prevent aggression towards strangers, early socialization is required.
The Hygen Hound may also become very possessive of things like their food and their toys, so early training is a necessity to prevent aggression in certain situations.
|Breed type:||Scent Hound|
|Suitable for:||Experienced owners|
|Color:||Red, brown, any color combination|
|Grooming:||Regular brushing required.|
|Daily exercise:||Long walks, sports, or outdoor games|
|Diet:||High-quality dog food. Working dog formula|
|Known health issues:||Hip dysplasia, allergies, bloat|
1. Is the Hygen Hound suitable for families with children?
If the Hygen Hound is raised with children from an early age, the outcomes can be good. With that being said, the Hound does have a tendency to be territorial over things like their food and toys, so it is important to train children to keep their distance and how to handle the dog appropriately.
2. Can I walk my Hygen Hound off-leash?
This is not recommended. The Hygen Hound has a strong prey drive and will not think twice about chasing after smaller animals like cats, rabbits, or birds. This, combined with the fact that the Hygen Hound can be territorial towards their owners, does not make them a good candidate for roaming off-leash.
3. Is the Hygen Hound easy to train?
Yes. Hygen Hound is extremely eager to learn and is very intelligent. They learn best from someone that they trust, as well as from someone that utilizes positive training methods.
When learning to hunt, training isn’t necessary as this behavior comes naturally to the Hygen Hound.
3. Norwegian Buhund
Highlights: Friendly, independent, good therapy breed
The Norwegian Buhund origins date back to when they sailed the seas and raided Europe with their Viking owners some 1200 years ago.
They were originally used in Norway as a farming and herding breed, used for herding cattle, pigs, reindeer, and small livestock.
At the time when the Buhund was most popular, every farm in Norway had one and they were kept in the barn at night and in the pasture during the day.
Sadly, as foreign competitor breeds arrived in Norway, the population of the Buhund rapidly declined.
But with efforts by the NKC to re-establish the breed, it didn’t take long for the Buhund to regain popularity and by the 1920s, the Buhund was entered into many shows alongside goat and sheep shows.
To date, the Norwegian Kennel Club registers approximately 100-150 Buhunds per year, which is still pretty small in comparison to other breeds.
The Norwegian Buhund is a confident, affectionate, family-friendly dog that loves to be around their owners. With that being said, the breed is also independent enough to stay home for periods throughout the day while their owners are at work.
The breed gets along well with cats, dogs, and children, but like other breeds does best when socialized from a young age.
The Norwegian Buhund is an extremely active breed of dog that requires plenty of physical stimulation throughout the day. They enjoy walking, hiking, fetching, and playing games like flying discs.
The breed is very athletic and tends to do well in sports like agility training. The breed is also commonly used as a therapy animal and is often found helping out in nursing homes and children’s hospitals.
|Breed type:||Herding Group|
|Suitable for:||All family types|
|Color:||Black or wheaten. May have black mask or white markings.|
|Daily exercise:||Need at least one hour of exercise 2 times per day.|
|Diet:||High quality dog food.|
|Known health issues:||Hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s disease, *cataracts|
1. Does the Norwegian Buhund bark a lot?
Yes. When it comes to dog breeds, the Norwegian Buhund tends to be on the noisier side.
While this makes them an excellent watchdog, it can also become an annoyance if not dealt with promptly. To prevent excessive barking, start training young.
2. Is the Norwegian Buhund destructive?
For the most part, no.
With that being said, the Buhund does require a great deal of exercise and stimulation.
If they are not provided with an adequate amount of exercise and play throughout the day, they may become bored and destructive.
If you are leaving them home alone throughout the day for work, make sure you provide them with plenty of toys and exercise them well when you get home.
A good walk or run in the morning will also help to tame destructive behaviors in your absence.
3. How is the Norwegian Buhund affected by the weather?
Because the Norwegian Buhund is used to the harsh weather conditions of Norway, they tend to do very well in the cold.
With that being said, they are less tolerant of the heat and should be outside in limited durations during the summer months.
4. Black Norwegian Elkhound
Highlights: Loyal, affectionate with family members, therapy dog
The Black Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient breed of dog whose origins date back to 4000-5000 BC. The breed was originally developed to track and hunt moose and bear, but was also used for different varieties of game as well.
In the early 1900’s the popularity of the Black Norwegian Elkhound faded as the popularity of the Grey Elkhound set in. The Black Elkhounds were no longer welcomed into show rings and by the mid-1950s, the breed was nearing extinction.
Luckily, efforts to re-establish the breed were made and the population in Norway is now considered to be stable. To date, there are between 90-150 Black Elkhound puppies registered by the NKC annually.
The Norwegian Elkhound is an excellent family dog and a loyal companion. They tend to form close bonds with family members and are relatively tolerant of strangers.
With that being said, the Black Norwegian Elkhound can be very territorial so they can be suspicious of strangers. Early socialization will help to prevent aggressive behavior.
In terms of children, the Black Norwegian Elkhound tends to be tolerant but does require close supervision. They do best in homes without children or in homes where children have been taught to respect the space of the breed properly.
Due to their territorial nature, the Black Norwegian Elkhound does not do well with other dogs and may become aggressive towards them. Smaller pets are at high risk of being attacked due to the strong hunting instinct of the breed.
|Suitable for:||Single pet families, singles, individuals with disabilities|
|Daily exercise:||regular activity like walking, hiking, and off leash running|
|Diet:||1 cup of high-quality dog food|
|Known health issues:||Hip and elbow dysplasia, obesity|
1. Do Black Norwegian Elkhounds like to swim?
The Norwegian Elkhound has a thick double coat of fur that can become very heavy when wet. This can make swimming difficult.
Furthermore, the Norwegian Elkhound nordic dog breed and is accustomed to Arctic weather.
They would not be found swimming in their natural environment. Though they can be trained to swim, they do not have a natural tendency to enjoy it.
2. How can I ensure that my Norwegian Elkhound doesn’t become obese?
As mentioned above, Norwegian Elkhounds can be prone to obesity.
You can reduce their risk by feeding them appropriate portions of food each day and by placing them on a high-quality diet that matches their needs.
Regular exercise and an active lifestyle can also help to reduce the risk of obesity. If you are concerned, you can speak to your veterinarian about an appropriate diet plan.
3. Do Norwegian Elkhounds smell?
No. The Norwegian Elkhound is a naturally clean breed of dog and their coats are resistant to dirt and water.
In return, they don’t attract a lot of odors. For this reason, bathing is only required occasionally.
5. Norwegian Elkhound Grey
Highlights: Loyal, Independent, Good guard dogs
The Grey Norwegian Elkhound is currently the most popular Elkhound breed in our Norwegian dog breeds list.
The standard of the breed was set in 1905 and they are currently a member of the Norwegian Kennel Club.
The history of the breed is thought to date back to 4000-5000 BC when they would travel with their Viking Masters.
They have long been used for hunting large game like moose and bear.
Today the Norwegian Kennel Club registers over 1000 Grey Elkhounds each year, which is is a stark increase from the 30 puppies registered in the 1920s.
In addition to being a very popular breed in Norway, they are also very popular in the United States, where they have adapted to the family lifestyle instead of the hunting lifestyle.
Much like the Black Norwegian Elkhound, the Grey Elkhound is considered to be a very loyal and reliable companion.
Though they tend to bond closely with members of their family, the breed is naturally suspicious towards strangers. They are also very territorial, which leads them to be excellent guard dogs.
The Grey Norwegian Elkhound is energetic and independent, both of which are necessary traits for hunting large prey.
Unfortunately, this independence can make training difficult and the breed requires a strong, experienced owner who can establish themselves as the leader.
In terms of children, the Norwegian Elkhound will tolerate them, but children need to be taught to respect their space.
They do best in homes without children, or in homes with children who will not bother the dog.
In terms of other animals and pets, the Norwegian Elkhound is likely to mistake them as prey. They do best in homes without other pets.
|Suitable for:||Single pet families, experienced owners|
|Daily exercise:||regular activity like walking, hiking, and off leash running|
|Diet:||2-2.5 cups of high-quality dog food per day|
|Known health issues:||Hip and elbow dysplasia, Fanconi Syndrome|
1. What is a blowout?
Dogs like the Grey Norwegian Elkhound that have double coats of fur are subject to seasonal blowouts.
This means that they will “blow” (or shed) their coat during the changing of the seasons. This helps them to regulate their body temperatures based on which season they are in.
When a Grey Norwegian Elkhound has a blowout, fur will typically come out in clusters or clumps.
For new owners, the amount of fur loss can be alarming, but rest assured that it is completely normal.
Daily brushing with a good brush will help to keep down on fur loss inside of the home.
2. Are Norwegian Elkhounds aggressive?
In general, Norwegian Elkhounds are not considered to be an aggressive breed.
With that being said, because they are lone hunters, they may display some aggression towards other dogs, especially those of the same gender.
Aggression may also be displayed towards other animals, both large or small, due to their natural hunting instincts.
Supervision should always be used when the Norwegian Elkhound is around other animals.
3. How often do you need to bathe the Grey Norwegian Elkhound?
The Grey Norwegian Elkhound is a natural odor-free dog, so bathing is not required on a regular basis.
Two to three baths per year will be sufficient to keep this breed clean and smelling fresh.
6. The Norwegian Hound
Highlights: Excellent hunting capabilities, independent
Also referred to as the Norwegian Dunker hound, the Norwegian Hound was named after its creator – Wilhelm Conrad Dunker.
The breed is relatively new and was not established until the first half of the 19th century.
During this time, Mr. Dunker wanted to develop a breed of scenthound that could withstand the harsh weather conditions of the homeland.
To do so, he developed the “The Special Club for Norwegian Hare Hounds” in 1902 and used it as a breeding base.
Here he started crossing Russian Harlequin Hounds with other breeds to create the Norwegian Hound.
While the Norwegian Hound quickly gained popularity, the need for the Norwegian Hound quickly died during WWII and populations dropped drastically.
It was not until 1987 that the breed regained the attention of breeding committees who requested permission to re-establish the breed by cross-breeding them with others.
The Norwegian Kennel Club denied this request at first, but then changed their mind two years later.
Today the Norwegian Kennel Club registers approximately 130-180 Norwegian Hounds each year. Compared to other breeds, this number is still low.
Because the Norwegian Hound is still primarily used for hunting, little is known about its personality and temperament in a home or family setting.
With that being said, the breed is known to be tolerant to both strangers and handlers.
The Norwegian Hound is typically considered to be non-aggressive, and when properly trained, can even be considered friendly.
The breed typically hunts in packs and therefore does well with other dogs. In fact, the Norwegian Hound prefers the company of another dog to living alone.
In terms of non-canine animals, the Norwegian Hound is known to have a strong prey drive and may be considered less tolerant.
|Suitable for:||Hunters, Experienced owners|
|Color:||Black or blue marbled with pale fawn/white colorings|
|Daily exercise:||45-60 minutes of intense exercise required each day|
|Diet:||2-2.5 cups of high quality dog food per day. Active formula suggested|
|Known health issues:||Obesity, Ear infections, Demodectic mange, eye problems|
1. Is the Norwegian Hound easy to train?
It depends on what you are training them for. If you are training them for hunting then no, the Norwegian Hound is not difficult to train.
In fact, their hunting instincts are very natural and very little training is required for hunting.
In other areas of training, the Norwegian Hound can be more difficult. This breed is extremely stubborn and independent which can make training a challenge.
In some cases, the breed is even defined as disobedient. They do best when handled by experienced trainers, but even then can still pose a difficulty.
2. Can I walk my Norwegian Hound off-leash?
Unless you are using them for hunting purposes, the Norwegian Hound should always be kept on a leash.
Not only does this breed have strong prey instincts, but it also has the tendency to follow any scent trail that it picks up.
When trained for the hunt, they are likely to ignore any calls from their owner. In return, they are likely to stray off and not return even when called.
3. Are Norwegian Hounds suitable for apartment life?
Not only do Norwegian Hounds require plenty of room to roam, but they are also considered to be a very vocal breed.
When kept in close quarters, this breed could cause noise complaints. Inadequate exercise could also lead to excessive barking and destructive behaviors.
7. The Norwegian Lundehund
Highlights: Happy-go-lucky, Independent, Alert
The Norwegian Lundehund is an ancient breed of dog with origins that date back to 400 years ago.
While the exact history of the Lundehund is unknown, it is known that this breed was commonly used for hunting seabirds along the Norwegian Coast.
For local coastal communities, Norwegian Lundehunds have long played an important role in hunting and retrieving puffins.
The meat of these birds was commonly eaten, and the feathers were further used for creating pillows and blankets.
In the 1850s, new methods of catching puffin were invented (i.e. nets) and the need for the Lundehund was drastically reduced.
As a result, the population faced a decline. The population was only maintained on more isolated islands such as that of Vaeroy.
In the early to mid-1900s, efforts were made in south-eastern Norway by a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Christie to re-establish and populate the breed.
Though the population on Vaeroy was wiped out by WWII, the dogs that were rescued by the Christies were enough to re-establish the population once again.
After the population of Lundehunds was once again hit by canine distemper, the couple decided to involve additional breeders and the attempt to re-establish the population for the third time was successful.
The Norwegian Lundehund breed is alert, energetic, and protective. Though they are not naturally aggressive towards people, they do tend to be somewhat wary of strangers.
For this reason, they can make good alert dogs. With that being said, if they are not socialized at a young age, the Lundehund can have the tendency to become extremely shy and aloof.
The breed tends to be outgoing with members of their family, but may not tolerate toddler behaviors well. For this reason, supervision is required with young children.
This breed has a tendency to collect and hide toys and other objects, so don’t be surprised if you find bones hidden in every nook and crevice of your home.
They do not do well when kept outdoors and need to be included as part of the family.
The breed can be trained with positive reinforcement, but also tend to be independent thinkers with a stubborn streak. Plenty of patience is required for training.
|Suitable for:||All family types|
|Color:||Brown with white markings|
|Daily exercise:||30-60 minutes of exercise required daily.|
|Activity levels:||Medium - High|
|Diet:||High-quality dog food required.|
|Known health issues:||Patellar luxation, eye disorders|
1. Do Norwegian Lundehunds have six toes?
Yes. The Norwegian Lundehund has four toes that point forward and two that point inward.
Their native land in Norway is full of steep peaks and slippery rocks, and this extra toe helps to provide them with better grip and traction. They are also beneficial when burrowing into a Puffin nest.
2. What is Lundehund Syndrome?
Lundehund Syndrome is a condition that affects most Lundehunds to some degree. This condition affects the intestinal system and involves a variety of different stomach and intestinal diseases.
When inflicted by the condition, the breed may not be able to absorb nutrients properly, which can result in protein deficiencies.
If you own a Lundehund, be sure to speak to your veterinarian about preventative measures, or measures that you can take to manage the condition.
3. Why does my Lundehund wiggle its ears?
The Lundehund has adopted a variety of unique characteristics that make them perfect for Puffin hunting. One of those characteristics is the ability to close his ears when entering into a deep burrow.
Not only does this help the breed to navigate their way, but it also protects their ears from dirt and water.
When it comes to dogs, Norway is known for its many different types of hunting dogs. With that being said, hunting isn’t the only ability that these amazing breeds hold.
Many Norwegian dog breeds also make excellent therapy companions for sick children, disabled individuals, and the elderly.
They have also been used as search and rescue dogs and yes, family companions.
If you’re thinking about getting a Norwegian Breed of dog, take a look at their characteristics above to learn more as to whether or not they are a good match for you.