Norwegian elkhound, breed of compact hound whose origins in Norway go back more than 5,000 years. It stands about 19 in. (48.3 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 40 and 50 lb (18.1–22.7 kg). Its thick, close-lying, gray coat is composed of a soft, woolly undercoat and a coarse outercoat. The elkhound was used by the Vikings as a herder of flocks and hunter of such game as elk, bears, mountain lions, and lynx. Still used to hunt elk today, it locates its quarry by scent and then leads the hunter to it. In the United States it is kept as a pet and watchdog. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.