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 more about these working dog breeds, 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 breed’s exact origins are unknown, many believe 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.
Any organizations did not officially recognize the breed until 2006 when the UKC welcomed them into the scent hound grouping.
The Halden Hound is often described as a loyal and gentle dog that does well in a family home or environment.
This breed tends to bond very closely with family members and may experience separation anxiety in their absence.
That said, although the Hound loves to be around its family, it can also be quite independent.
Their independent streak can be attributed to their long history of hunting solo.
The breed is cautious and alert and will alert its 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.
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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 positively and positively reinforcingly.
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.
That said, early socialization can help prevent aggression towards other dogs and 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 very active breed of dog requires a great deal of outdoor land. They require at least two 45-minute walks each day and plenty of playtimes and off-leash time.
This breed can become bored, destructive, and hyper when left alone indoors for long periods. They require a yard.
2. Hygen Hound
Highlights: Good Guard dog, Affectionate, Athletic
The name of the Hygen Hound was established by the man who created them – Hans Fredrik Hygen.
The breed was established in the mid-1800s to create a breed that could withstand the harsh weather conditions of Scandinavian winters and hunt simultaneously.
To do so, Mr. Hygen bred several different Scandinavian hounds with one another. The Hygen Hounds are a mixture of Basset hounds, English pointers, Scandinavian bloodhounds, Beagles, and Holsteiner hounds.
The result was a breed with superior scent capabilities and the ability to 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 group.
The Hygen Hound is an extremely athletic 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 toward strangers, early socialization is required.
The Hygen Hound may also become very possessive of things like their food and toys, so early training is necessary to prevent aggression in certain situations.[table id=82 /]
1. Is the Hygen Hound suitable for families with children?
The outcomes can be good if the Hygen Hound is raised with children from an early age. 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 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 for herding cattle, pigs, reindeer, and small livestock.
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.
The Norwegian Kennel Club registers approximately 100-150 Buhunds per year, which is still pretty small compared to other breeds.
The Norwegian Buhund is a confident, affectionate, family-friendly dog that loves to be around its owners. The breed is also independent enough to stay home 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.[table id=83 /]
1. Does the Norwegian Buhund bark a lot?
Yes. Regarding dog breeds, the Norwegian Buhund tends to be noisier.
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.
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2. Is the Norwegian Buhund destructive?
For the most part, no.
That being said, the Buhund requires much exercise and stimulation.
They may become bored and destructive if they are not provided with adequate exercise and play throughout the day.
If you are leaving them home alone for work throughout the day, ensure you provide them with plenty of toys and exercise them well when you get home.
A good morning walk or run will also help 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.
They are less tolerant of the heat and should be outside for 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 from 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 1900s, the Black Norwegian Elkhound’s popularity faded as the Grey Elkhound’s popularity 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 Norway’s population is now considered stable. There are 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.
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.[table id=84 /]
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 is a nordic dog breed 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 consult your veterinarian about an appropriate diet plan.
3. Do Norwegian Elkhounds smell?
No. The Norwegian Elkhound is a naturally clean dog breed; its 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 breed’s standard was set in 1905, and they are currently a member of the Norwegian Kennel Club.
The breed’s history 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, 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 a very loyal and reliable companion.
Though they tend to bond closely with family members, 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, 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 with or without children who will not bother the dog.
Regarding other animals and pets, the Norwegian Elkhound will likely mistake them as prey. They do best in homes without other pets.[table id=85 /]
1. What is a blowout?
Dogs like the Grey Norwegian Elkhound with double fur coats are subject to seasonal blowouts.
This means they will “blow” (or shed) their coat during the changing 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.
That said, because they are lone hunters, they may display 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 regularly.
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.
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 initially denied this request but changed its mind two years later.
Today the Norwegian Kennel Club registers approximately 130-180 Norwegian Hounds. 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 of both strangers and handlers.
The Norwegian Hound is typically considered non-aggressive and, when properly trained, can even be considered friendly.
The breed typically hunts in packs and therefore does well with other dogs. 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.[table id=86 /]
1. Is the Norwegian Hound easy to train?
It depends on what you are training them for. If you are training them for hunting, the Norwegian Hound is not difficult to train.
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 challenge training.
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. 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.
Norwegian Lundehunds have long played an important role in hunting and retrieving puffins for local coastal communities.
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 Vaeroy.
In the early to mid-1900s, a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Christie made efforts in south-eastern Norway to re-establish and populate the breed.
Though WWII wiped out the population on Vaeroy, the dogs that the Christies rescued 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 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 family members 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.[table id=87 /]
When it comes to dogs, Norway is known for its many different types of hunting dogs. That said, hunting isn’t the only ability 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 family companions.
If you’re thinking about getting a Norwegian Breed of dog, look at the characteristics above to learn more about whether or not they are a good match for you.
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