Swedish White Elkhound

Elkhounds are used to hunt elk two ways, either as a løshund or as a bandhund. Whether to use a løshund or a bandhund, depends on the terrain of the land, if there are wolfs (who can find and kill the dog) or if there are many sheeps in the huntingarea.


If an Elkhound is trained as a løshund, the dog will find the elk on his own, either by open scent, or by tracking it down. This is called free-ranging.
When the dog has detected the scent, he reports back to the hunter and then takes off into the woods. The Swedish White Elkhound is known to be very cooperative and to hold close contact to the hunter.

The dog tracks the elk silently and reports back periodically. When the dog sights the elk, he approaches silently; and when he has gotten close enough to stand the elk, he begins to bark. The dog must be able to hold the elk at bay, and distract it from the approach of the hunter.

The elk, using his massive wrack of antlers and sharp hooves as a lethal weapon, will sometimes lunge at the dog. This is where the dog's boldness, courage, and intelligence are essential.

On those occasions where the elk will break into a run, the dog follows along silently. He never barks while the elk is on the run, for this would only keep the animal moving and no Elkhound or hunter could possibly keep up with a fast moving elk. If the dog tracks silently, the elk eventually will come to a stop once again.

With a good dog, the hunter can always tell what is happening up ahead. If the dog should fall silent, the hunter knows that the elk is on the run and the hunter will wait until he once again hears the barking and the hunter will move in that direction.

When the dog has found the elg, he barks and keeps the elg at bay for as long as it takes for the hunter to get in a position for the kill.


When an Elkhound is used as a bandhund, he is placed on a 5 to 7 meter lead, and does his hunting by scent or tracking to locate the elk. The dog will instinctively use the wind when trying to locate the elk, always leading the hunter up against the wind. By doing this, the dog can scent the elk without the elk being able to scent or hear the dog and hunter.
When the dog finds fresh elktracks his pace quickens and he works with intensity to locate the animal. The dog has to be absolutely quite at all times during tracking. The dog will indicate to the hunter that the elk is close, by either standing up on his hind legs and sniffing the air, dropping his tail from the curled position, or raising the hackles on his back. Once the hunter encounters the elg, the elkhound is commanded to sit or lie down, so as to be out of the line of fire between the hunter and the elg. The dog must be able to react calmly to shots from the hunter's rifle.

Show Champion

To become a Show Champion in Norway, a dog must:
  1. Win three Certificates in Winners Class at dog shows from three different judges.
  1. Earn one first prize in a hunting field trial.
Also, prior to being eligible just to compete in conformation dog shows, the dog must have been in a hunting trial and have obtained a first, second or third place hunting prize.

The dog can compete in shows, and even obtain a certificate with just a third place win at a hunting trial, but in order to finish his championship and obtain an officially recognized show champion title, the dog must have won a first prize at a hunting trial.

Hunting Champion

To become a Hunting Champion in Norway, a dog must:
  1. Obtain three first prizes from three different hunting trials. One of the trials must be a two day event, meaning the dog must attend both days and obtain a first prize on one of those two days at this two day trial, and also must obtain a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prize on the other day.
  1. Win two first prizes based on conformation quality at a dog show

Formal registration of purebred dogs was begun by the Swedish Kennel Club in 1993 and the Norwegian Kennel Club in 1995. Svenska Vita Älghundklubben (The Swedish White Elkhound Club) was established in 1986.