1) Grey Norwegian Elkhound
The Black Norwegian Elkhound is related to the ancient Grey Norwegian Elkhound, which is present in Norway since the ancient times. At some point in 1800s, a black line of Norwegian Elkhound emerged, but the breed standard was only recognizing the grey variety. Both breeds are bred for the same purpose, they have almost identical temperament and appearance. The major differences between them are, of course, the color and the fact, that the Black Norwegian Elkhound is slightly smaller than the Grey Norwegian Elkhound. Some people also say, that the Black Elkhounds are little bit more stubborn and independent than the Grey Elkhounds.
2) Almost extinct
The Black Norwegian Elkhounds were pretty popular in 1800s, but in 1900s, they were neglected, as the Scandinavian hunters preffered the bigger Grey Elkhound. This brought the Black Norwegian Elkhound on the verge of extinction in the first half of the 20th century. Luckily, since the 1950s, several dedicated breeders began their efforts to preserve the breed and a stable population has now been established in Norway, and the Norwegian kennel club registers around 150 new puppies each year.
The one and only purpose and utilization of the Black Norwegian Elkhound always was hunting. Even though they are relatively smaller dogs, or better to say medium sized dog, they are used in hunting even large game, such as moose, deer or bear. Thanks to their amazing sense of smell, they are just amazing at tracking the game. Because of their strong prey drive, they are absolutely passionate about the hunt. Next to hunting, they can also make good companions for active people and thanks to their alert personality, they are also okay watchdogs.
I mentioned that Black Norwegian Elkhounds can make good companions for active people, an of course they can! They are very energetic, playful, fun to be around dogs with affectionate and loyal personality. They will enjoy long walks or hikes outdoors, especially in colder environments. The Black Elkhound creates very strong bond with its family, even with the kids, and they can make good playful partners for the kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with very young child unsupervised. These dogs are alert and can be territorial, which is why they are quite suspicious with strangers and you must socialize the dog properly during the puppyhood. The Black Elkhound can live with other dogs in the household, but other pets might be problematic due to their high prey drive.
5) Coat and color
The Black Norwegian Elkhound has, well obviously, black coat. It is a slightly longer shiny coat and they can have white markings on chest and toes. It is a dense doublecoat which is protecting the dog from harsh cold climate.
You already know, that the Black Elkhound is slightly smaller than the Grey Elkhound, but what is the actual size of this breed? According to the official breed standard, the height is between 43-49 cm, which is 17-19 inch and weight between 16-20 kg, which is 35-44 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
Even though the coat is slightly longer and very dense, it is quite easy to take care of. These dogs do shed some deal of fur all year long, so you should be prepared for that. You can minimize it a little bit by regular frequent brushing, which will remove all the dead and loose hair. No other grooming is required, that is all you should do with the coat. Of course, just like with any other dog breed, you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
This is a very active breed that demands a lot of exercise and they demand some kind of a job in their life. They are very agile, endurant and they will love to do any physical and mental exercise you will provide them with. It can be long walks, hikes, jogs, vigorous playtime, fun training sessions, puzzle toys.. They can be even train for sledding or any kind of a dog sport, that will keep them occupied, like tracking trials, agility or rally. Without enough exercise, they might develop problematic behaviour, like excessive barking.
The breed is officially recognized by number of smaller kennel clubs. Of course it is recognized in Scandinavia, where its population is highest, but it is also recognized by the FCI for example. It is still considered as a rare breed, which can be mainly found in Norway and its neighboring Scandinavian countries. You would be very very lucky to find them outside Scandinavia.
The Black Norwegian Elkhound is pretty healthy and hardy dog breed with average lifespan between 12-15 years. Of course, just like any other breed, they can suffer from some health issues, such as some eye problems like glaucoma, joint problems like hip dysplasia, urogenital conditions, different allergies and infections.