The Norwegian Elkhound in History:
The origins of the Norwegian Elkhound (Norsk Elghund in his native Norway) are interwoven with the folklore and legends of Norse Mythology. His long history of service to man has centered on his use as companion, guardian and hunter. 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.
Excavation of Viking grave sites in southwestern Norway has yielded the skeletons of dogs structurally similar to the modern elkhound. These skeletons have been dated to the period 4000 to 5000 B.C. During the time of the vikings, the elkhound sailed and fought at the side of his master. In the event his owner was killed in battle, the elkhound was sacrificed to enter Valhalla with the warrior.
Early elkhounds were used for a variety of farm purposes including guarding other animals from the threat of wolves and bear. As the threat imposed by predatory animals decreased, the elkhound was adapted to his more familiar function as a hunter.
The first Norwegian Elkhound was registered in the United States in 1913. By 1935, the breed had grown to the point that fanciers formed the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America which developed the breed standard and was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1936.
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