Lundehund And Elghund – The Dogs Of The Norwegian Vikings

The Norwegian Lundehund and Elghund are two breeds of dogs which originated in Norway and can actually be quite proud of once accompanying the Norwegian Vikings on through their maritime voyages, just like the other sea faring pet choice of the Norsemen, namely the Norwegian forest cats.

Photograph depicting an adult Norwegian Elghund. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Norsk Lundehund (literally meaning ‘Puffin hound’) is a fairly unique dog breed which has the following characteristics:

  • six toes on each foot;
  • prick ears that fold closed, forward, or backward at will;
  • tenacious hunters;
  • loyal to their owners;
  • quite agile;
  • very talented climber.

The Norwegian Lundehund originates from the Lofoten Islands, one of the northernmost archipelagos of Norway, scouted the wild Norwegian coasts for hundreds of years in search of puffins, from the earliest stages of the Viking Age up until the 16th/17th century.

The Norsk Elghund (literally meaning ‘Moose/elk hound’) is another Spitz-type (i.e. long dog with thick white fur and pointed ears) breed popular in Norway, being also considered the national dog of this Nordic country. In Viking times, this dog breed served as hunter, herder, defender, and guardian.

Photograph depicting a junior Norwegian Elghund. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Some of these elkhounds were actually inhumed along with their owners in Viking Age burial mounds. They are actually thought to have originated in Norway as early as 5,000 B.C. Just like the Lundehund, they make excellent family pets and family members. If you are looking for a cute addition to your family, you can also look for teacup puppies at foufoupuppies. They have the best puppies with outstanding health records. The Norsk Elghund boasts of the following characteristics:

  • skilled moose hunters;
  • loud barkers;
  • excellent watchdogs;
  • devoted;
  • friendly;
  • confident.

Both dog breeds have a standard life expectancy ranging from 12 to maximum 15 years and are perfectly suitable as family pets.

Documentation sources and external links:

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6 Responses to Lundehund And Elghund – The Dogs Of The Norwegian Vikings

  1. Ashley says:

    Norwegian Elkhound is the National dog of Norway, and the Swedish Elkhound is National dog of Sweden. These dogs are very different, as the Swedish version looks more like a wolf, as it is taller, has the wolf colors, longer legs, bigger, etc. It also holds it’s big curly tail sideways, instead of on it’s back.

    • Berit Seal says:

      Think the swedish version is called a
      «Jämthund» and the norwegian elk hound is called «gråhund» in Sweden. In both countries there is an all black elkhound as well.
      I’ve had both kinds. Lovely disposition!!!

  2. Don Valich says:

    The Norwegian Elkhound as a breed is no more than 125 years old originated from the grälhunds in Sweden, which have a strong close genetic relation to Lapponian herders of the Sámi people, all originating in NW Russia. We now know that the Norwegian Elkhound is a Northern Europian breed, 98% genetically identical to the Swedish Jämthund and both originated in Norrland (Jämtland and Ångermanland along the Baltic). The Lundehund came from the same stock but developed a genetic mutation that was “selectively bred” during the 16th century. The first known written account dates back to 1591. This idea that elghunds are 5.000 years old, or the Dog of the Vikings is a myth. Fossil accounts are of dogs of similar size, not breed. If anything, the Buhund was here long before either the Lundehund or elghund and “may” have been carried along on some Viking ships. All have “ancestral origins” dating back thousands of years. However, genetic studies show DNA mutations that occurred “at most 480-3,000 years ago” from admixture with a female wolf. But this “hybridization” is found in all Sami-related dogs and so most probably occurred in Russia.. .

    • Victor Rouă says:

      Thank you very much for your comment, time, and readership on The Dockyards! This is a very interesting comment and a very challenging and new perspective on this breed for me. But they were also used by the Norsemen during the Viking Age as were Norwegian forest cats (all the more that they are that old as a breed). All the best!

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