Norwegian Elkhounds are an ancient dog breed that, according to the AKC, were developed thousands of years ago as elk hunters, herders, guarders, and as shipmates for vikings. They’re known as strong, intelligent, fearless hunters, as well as loyal companions.
They do shed, quite a bit, though.
Norwegian Elkhounds have a thick double coat that sheds moderately throughout most of the year, but a couple times each year they shed a lot of fur. These “coat blowing” events typically occur during spring and fall and can last for up to a month.
So if you do adopt an Elkhound, you’ll be brushing and cleaning up lots of loose dog fur. There are some things you can do to reduce the shedding though, so it’s not all bad news.
Let’s discuss how much Elkhounds shed, what they’re like to groom, and how you can limit the molting, so you know what to expect before adopting!
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Norwegian Elkhound Shedding
Norwegian Elkhounds are a high shedding breed.
They’re not the largest dogs, but they molt a LOT. To the point they’re comparable to the heaviest shedders in dogdom, such as the Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow and Samoyed.
So if you are going to adopt an Elkhound, expect that you will be brushing quite often and that, even then, you will notice at least some hair floating around the home most times. Especially during shedding season.
Why do they shed so much fur?
Well, first of all, shedding is normal among most healthy dogs. The dog is simply molting their old fur as part of their natural growth cycle. Which is simply the normal process of their fur growing, falling out and being replenished by new fur. And the speed at which this takes place is largely dependent upon the breed and individual dog.
Note: In some cases, shedding can be caused by an underlying health issue, stress or poor diet for example. So if you have any concerns, it may be worth contacting a qualified veterinarian.
Another reason the shedding is more pronounced with an Elkhound is that they have such thick double coats that shed seasonally. A double coat simply means they have two layers of fur instead of just one, and seasonal shedding means that they shed (or molt) heavily during certain seasons.
For example, it is common for double-coated dogs to shed more heavily in spring since they no longer need their thicker winter coat for the coming summer months.
And when you combine the sheer woolliness of their coat with these heavy seasonal “coat blows,” you end up with bag full after bag full of silvery Elkhound fur drifting around the home during shedding season, and just hand fulls every other time!
Are they hypoallergenic?
Norwegian Elkhounds are not a hypoallergenic dog breed, because they shed heavily and their coat produces lots of dander. Which is pretty much the opposite of a hypoallergenic breed. So they’re not ideal for people with pet allergies.
Grooming Your Elkhound
Elkhounds are not very difficult to groom, but because they shed so much, you’re going to need to be brushing often if you want your home to be as fur-free as possible.
Elkhounds have a thick, weather-resistant double coat that is made up of a harsh outer coat that comes mostly in gray and black and a soft, dense undercoat that is often silver/gray in color.
This type of coat has served him well over the centuries, as it helps insulate him from both hot and cold weather. But it can also be time consuming to brush, especially during shedding season.
For general coat maintenance, brushing for a couple minutes each day or two is normally enough to maintain the coat and keep the dead fur at bay. And a slicker brush or pin brush is normally enough to get the job done.
During shedding season, however, you will need to brush every day. And a deshedding brush can make your life a lot easier, as these are designed to reach right down to the undercoat and remove as much of the dead fur, in the shortest amount of time, as possible.
Some even find that a deshedder in combination with an undercoat rake works well, but it’s really up to you. The important thing is that you brush thoroughly and regularly if you want to remove as much of the dead fur as possible.
Aside from brushing, there’s not much needed to maintain the Elkhounds coat other than the occasional bath. And like most dogs, his nails need to be trimmed throughout the year to make sure it’s not painful for him to walk and run around.
How Do You Stop the Shedding?
You can’t stop an Elkhound from shedding completely, but you can reduce excessive amounts of shedding and manage it so that you don’t have to spend as much time vacuuming.
Here are some of the main ways to manage shedding:
- Brushing: Daily brushing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to manage the shedding. Firstly, brushing removes the old, dead fur before it fills your home. And second, it can improve the condition of the coat because when you brush, you spread his natural skin oils.
- Bathing: Elkhounds only need occasional bathing, but bathing more often during shedding season can help remove even more of the dead fur, especially when combined with a thorough brushing session. It’s important not to bathe too often though, and to always use a good quality dog shampoo, otherwise you risk drying out his skin and hair, which can actually increase the shedding.
- Diet: Ensuring your dog’s diet is optimal can make a significant difference in the battle against shedding. A high quality dog food may help improve your dog’s overall health and the condition of his coat, which in turn can result in lower shedding. So it may be worth asking your vet about which food is best for your dog.
There’s no quick fix solution to shedding, but by ensuring your dog’s diet is optimal, and with a proper grooming regime, you can manage the problem and keep your home as free from dog fur as possible.
Related: Does Coconut Oil Reduce Shedding?
Elkhounds make excellent watchdogs, capable workers and loyal, friendly family companions. And while adopting one means putting up with dog hair in the home, it’s not difficult to manage. And I personally think that owning a dog as amazing as the Norwegian Elkhound more than makes up for it.
On the other hand, if you simply don’t want to deal with the fur, or if you have dog allergies, there are more suitable hounds. Like the Whippet, Saluki or Basenji for example.
Either way, I hope you found this article helpful!