Welcome to Norwegian Elkhounds Global Forum. This is the place where you can share your news and views, post pictures, start discussions, ask questions and generally keep up to date with things going on in the Norwegian Elkhound world. The Forum is open to all who have a great love and affection for the Norwegian Elkhound breed. It has no affiliation or connections with the Norwegian Elkhound Club of Great Britain


RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:13 pm
by Littlejack • 1 Post

All very interesting Ness, quite a fair bit of research there. Pity that most of today's membership appear to have very little interest in the history of the breed. Sad times.

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:02 am
by Dotty2 | 33 Posts

As you say a very interesting read, maybe todays owners would like to know more but may find the availability of such books limited, I've been lucky as I've been gifted many good early books & journals by older members & have read cover to cover, but they are scarce now, could I suggest a few choice articules regularly printed in the journal & news letter, so they can reach a bigger audience, as Ness is doing here?

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:39 am
by Vanhalla | 154 Posts

As a young elkhound obsessive, I often used to wander amongst the stands at shows, usually on my own. There were so many interesting sculptures, paintings, books and dog-related paraphernalia on offer. At one show, I don’t remember where, I made the acquaintance of Clifford “Doggie” Hubbard. His fascinating stand, awash with canine literature, shone like a beacon, drawing the young bibliophile towards it. I don’t remember everything that we talked about, but I do remember that he said that he had had a bookshop in Buxton (I once worked in a bookshop in the town too), and this is borne out by his biography on the Our Dogs website:

Many of you will likewise recall him. It was on that stand that I first saw a copy of Lady Kitty Ritson’s book on our breed – he obviously had more than one copy in stock, as two are now part of the Hubbard Collection at the National Library of Wales.

So this is the subject of my gift to you on the eighth day of Christmas – not Lady Kitty’s book, but one by Clifford L.B. Hubbard that I rescued when a library in which I used to work closed one of its stores (I was told that I could take whatever I could carry, and staggered up the road with three carrier bags full – there was a significant collection of dog books in the store, many in their first edition, and I could weep when I think of the loss of those that I could not save, choosing to take mainly those that referred to elkhounds). The book is “Dogs in Britain: a description of all native breeds and most foreign breeds in Britain”, published in 1948. It is, perhaps, notable to us because of several controversial comments in the description of THE ELKHOUND. It should, however, be remembered that the standard of the time was not exactly the same as that of today.

“Scandinavia has several types of Spitz which are used in hunting elk and they differ from each other in several ways. The type adopted in Britain and the United States is the Graa Dyrehund or Grey Elk Dog, and all references in British cynological works to Elkhounds appertain only to this type. The country of origin is generally given by British writers as Norway, and it is true that many importations of stock are made from Norway, but the author was advised by the Svenska Kennelklubben (Swedish Kennel Club) that the elkhound is “also bred in Norway, but has its origin from Sweden”, and is regarded as a “native dog”. In Sweden it is called the Gråhund.
The elkhound is one of the oldest of Scandinavian breeds and, like the Finnish and Lapland dogs, is used for many purposes. Elk, bears and birds are hunted equally well by the Elkhound, which points, flushes and even retrieves small game, and not only holds at bay bears and elk but often attacks them.
It was introduced into Britain during the 1870’s and although it did not flourish immediately (any ‘new’ foreign breed takes at last ten years before it becomes generally accepted in Britain), by 1923 it had progressed sufficiently for the British Elkhound Society to be formed and it is now well established. The breed is not unlike the Keeshond in many respects, and should prove fashionable eventually.
The head is broad, and flat across the top, with well-developed temporal muscles; the eyes are round and dark brown; ears set high, triangular, wide at the base and tapering sharply to a point, erect and usually leaning forward (Elkhound ears are extremely mobile); the muzzle is of moderate length and tapers laterally to a blunt black nose; the jaws are strong with teeth even and lips closed.
The body is compact, and short in couplings (that is, the distance from the last rib to the hindquarters), the back being fairly wide, straight and short (a long back will rob the Elkhound of the ability to gallop tirelessly, which is a breed characteristic); the chest is wide and moderately deep and the loins well-muscled and only sufficiently drawn up to give symmetrical balance to the whole; the legs are firm, straight and well-boned with compact oval feet; the tail is set high and tightly curled over the back (the standard states ‘not carried on either side’), but most Spitzes wear their tails to one side or another and the point is not so materially important as to warrant penalising dogs which do not in that one respect conform to the official ideal.
The abundant coat of the Elkhound is short-to-medium in length, short on the head, ears and fronts of legs and longest on the chest, throat, backs of the legs and the tail. In texture, it is rather coarse, thick and weather resisting. The colour is grey varying from light to dark with black tips to the outer coat, lighter on the chest, belly, legs and the underside of the tail. Variations from shades of grey are undesirable and very dark Elkhounds are penalised in British show rings (it should be borne in mind that the type bred in Britain is the Grey Elk Dog or Graa Dyrehund and that the black dogs are quite a separate variety confined to Norway and Swedish Lappland, called Sorte Dyrehund).
Height is generally about 20-21 inches for dogs and 18-19 inches for bitches, and weights are approximately 50 pounds for dogs and 43 pounds for bitches.”

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:14 pm
by Bluesmate | 62 Posts

This reminded me of our early visits to Norway and the shows in the late eighties, from memory!!!. There was a large man showing the most beautiful of bitches, called Sonja, the two were tottaly in tune with each other and he was constantly whispering 'Sonja, Sonja' to her whilst he was in the ring. They won constantly every where we went for a couple of years and then we saw them no more which was most upsetting as we looked for them as soon as we got to the shows.

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:11 am
by Vanhalla | 154 Posts

A little late tonight, as we had guests for dinner, but better late than never. Tonight I have a pictorial feast for you.

As Wendy will remember, I bought this and another book about hunting from a stall at the fair in the centre of Elverum a couple of years ago. This book is about tracking wounded elk. I won't translate the text word-for-word, but paraphrase as best I can.

Close-up of the cover image.

In this image, a detailed record of the course of events is written.

Taking it easy and listening to the local hunters until the tracking event begins. The leader of the hunt plans and manages the tracking.

The tracking group consists of a tracking dog, a handler and a marksman. It is an advantage if the tracking dog can also act as a løshund and get the elk to stand.

It’s an advantage to release the dog when you see the elk, so that the dog fixes on the right animal.

When the injured elk is flushed, it often goes in a loop, surveys its own track and then goes away in time.

The marksman holds back and only goes forward after a sign from the dog handler.

The dog is often very close to the wounded elk when it brings it to bay. This increases the risk of an accidental shooting [of the dog].

There may be a healthy animal close to the trail. The dog can go over to it, so that one risks shooting the wrong animal.

The suffering is over after successful tracking. This is how it should always be for an animal wounded by shooting after a normal hunt. For an animal injured by a traffic accident after dark it is often much more difficult.

A healthy elk near the accident site makes the tracking more difficult.

Now the wounded wild creature is fallen, it is important to take the best care of the meat.

Three examples of tracks developed by a wounded elk.

I think this is fairly self-explanatory – the tracks of a healthy elk, a wounded elk and a three-legged hopping elk!

Tracking training starts as soon as the puppy is trained to walk on the lead.

The dog who has found the wild creature “reigns”, whilst the other dog is kept on the lead.

Conditioning on a gravel road, close to water, to drink and to cool warm paws. Varying speeds.

And that's all for tonight (yawn!) More tomorrow, or should I say today.....

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:48 pm
by Vanhalla | 154 Posts

In my Boxing Day post, I made mention of an article describing the anticipation at the prospect of the formation of the first national club for the breed, the British Elkhound Society. This year, of course, has seen the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Club, which eventually became today’s Norwegian Elkhound Club of Great Britain. So it seems fitting on the last day of this significant year for the Club, to share some articles relating to its formation.

In an article dated May 18th 1923, this appeared: “In the ‘Club Notices’ column of this issue will be found Colonel Scovell’s report of the successful inaugural meeting of the British Elkhound Club, over which the Lady Dorothy Wood presided. In what a practical manner the Club has been founded will be learned from that report , and the Norwegian and British fancies will mutually benefit by the newly launched society working hand-in-hand with the Norsk Dyrehund Klub. The membership of the new body is already within one or two of a total of fifty, and so what has long been looked on as one of the smallest of fancies is now represented by one of the largest of specialist clubs. Enthusiasm, too, - can enjoy a further satisfying meal in the record entry of Elkhounds which paraded before Mr. Theo. Marples at Richmond this week.”

In the Kennel Gazette of June 1923, the following appeared “A well-attended meeting of Elkhound owners was held at 88 Eaton Square, the residence of Lady Dorothy Wood, on Wednesday May 9th.
Lady Dorothy Wood presided, and amongst those present were Mrs Powell, Mrs Soames, Mrs Lombe, Mrs McCalmont, Col. P.L. Reid, Lady Kitty Vincent, Commander R.F. Eyre, R.N., Mr S.E Pridham, Mr and Mrs Stuart-Thomson, Miss Eyre, Mrs Borton, Miss Ledward and Col. Scovell, who is acting in a temporary capacity as Honorary Secretary.
Col. Scovell stated that between 40 and 50 owners had come forward and intimated their willingness to support the formation of a Society to safeguard the interests and future of the Elkhound Breed, including besides those present at the meeting, Lord Alington, Lady Henry Bentinck, Capt. C.B. Blacker, Mrs Arthur Clough, Mrs Allix Farmer, Baroness de Forest, Capt. F. Foljambe, Mrs Gordon Dill, Mr W. Hally, Mrs C.J. Hirst, Hon Mrs I.B. Kitson, Lady Dorothy Meynell, Hon Mrs Harold Nicholson, Mr J. Slater, Mrs Bertram Tatham, Mrs L.E. Waterhouse, Lady Phyllis Windsor-Clive, and others.
After he had outlined some of the difficulties which owners and breeders of Elkhounds were faced with to-day, a discussion took place on points of procedure, finance, importation of new blood from Norway, co-operation with the Norsk Dyrehund Klub, the desirability of issuing a comprehensive handbook for 1923, and other matters.
Finally, a resolution, moved by Mrs G. Powell and seconded by Mrs McCalmont, was passed unanimously, that, subject to the sanction of the Kennel Club, an Elkhound Society be formed forthwith.
It was further agreed to appoint a provisional Committee, consisting of Lady Dorothy Wood, Mrs George Powell,, Miss Eyre, Lady Kitty Vincent and Col. Scovell, to draft a Constitution and Rules for submission to the Kennel Club and to carry through all details of organisation subject to ratification by a General Meeting to be held later in the current year.”

The new committee wasted no time in moving on a number of tasks. Another cutting states that “The sub-committee of the British Elkhound Society entrusted wit the drawing up of a standard of points for the breed are to be cordially complimented on the result of their deliberation, copies of which Colonel Scovell has sent to all the Club members for their comment or criticism. The draft standard has been so obviously compiled on a practical knowledge of the Elkhound that criticism will be difficult even by the most critical.”

The popularity of the new Club must have been a relief, as Foreign Dog Fancies stated that “The enthusiasm which prompted the promoters of the Elkhound Club to energetic effort has borne fruit, for within a fortnight Colonel Scovell has enrolled nearly 40 members! And I should think that the two-score total is quite 50 percent better than the prophecies of even the most optimistic!”

And another cutting “ The first general meeting of the members of the British Elkhound Society will be held in one of the rooms at Caxton Hall, Westminster, on the 12th of next month. There are eleven nominations for eight places on the Committee. There is, however, only one nomination for President, (Lady Dorothy Wood) and only one for Vice-President (Commander R.F. Eyre, R.N.), and the members of the B.E.S have been wise in that unanimity. Colonel Scovell will be glad to hear from those members who cannot be present at this meeting and who may desire to bring some matter before it.”

Finally, Foreign Dog Fancies reported “The first yearbook of the British Elkhound Society has just been issued, but I regret to see that it contains only a list of office-bearers and judges, the rules and the standards, the membership list and a balance sheet. A secretarial report may not be a necessity, although it is usual in such publications, but my biggest disappointment is in the omission of an epitomised history of the last year. The inauguration of the society, its registration at the Kennel Club and other historic experiences of 1923, would have been a resume which all interested in Elkhounds would have cherished. The society was singularly fortunate in receiving nearly £80 in donations during last year, and had it not been for hose, the balance would have been on the wrong side. The ordinary subscriptions amounted to £55 odd, whilst the balance in hand is only £50….. For no organisation have I warmer wishes than I have for the Elkhound Society, but, candidly, if any other fancy club had anything like the same outlay on inauguration, its first year would have been its last….”

Despite these critical comments by Mr Hally, himself a member of the Society, it soon flourished. What is striking is the similarity of some of the concerns for the members of the Society, and the Club as it stands today. Though perhaps we are in somewhat safer hands, it might be said, because of the skills and experience of our Treasurer and Honorary Editor!

Wishing all readers a very happy New Year, and may 2014 see yet another successful year for both the Club and its members.

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:13 am
by Vanhalla | 154 Posts

I thought that for this penultimate evening, I would turn my attention to a more recent acquisition, Robert W. Cole’s’ An eye for a dog: illustrated guide to judging purebred dogs’, published in 2004. This book seeks to illustrate the sometimes subtle differences between individuals that judges’ perceive when looking at dogs in the showring. These illustrations were also published several years ago in the dog press, but I thought that those who might not have seen them would find them interesting. The illustrations of the Norwegian Elkhound appear in a chapter devoted to discussing how the author refined his depiction of the ideal in response to feedback. If you can get hold of a copy of the book, it contains a lot of information about type, balance, movement, etc., in a range of breeds, and it really is good fun to test your own powers of observation by comparing the differences in the illustrations.

“The Norwegian Elkhound
Much of the quality of the drawings are dependent on the availability of published technical information that goes beyond the wording in a breed Standard and input from knowledgeable breeders. Some breeders, like Karen B. Elvin of Sangrud Norwegian Elkhound fame, have the exceptional ability of being able to graphically suggest improvements with a red pen as opposed to well-intended but vague wording. The end result is often very satisfactory, as in the case of the Norwegian Elkhound. This happy relationship between breeder and illustrator reveals some of the detail that is involved in depicting type.
My original drawing of Dog A closely resembles a real-life Elkhound champion. It was suggested by Elvin that there were several ways that this dog could be improved. To improve on Elkhound champion A, the following modifications to Dog B were made: 1) The muzzle is now the same length as skull; 2) the eye is enlarged slightly and moved up higher in skull, the stop defined in part by the eyebrows; 3) he has tight lips (Elkhounds do not have flews); 4) the gray body is now darkest on the saddle and the tip of the tail is black and protrudes to one side (the bone of the tail actually kinks at the end and cannot be unrolled); 5) the angle of the croup now complements (follows) pelvis slope (sacrum was incorrectly depicted as horizontal); and 6) the distinctive lighter color harness mark (a band of longer guard hairs from shoulder to elbow) is now a little further back.”

Tomorrow, we will return to Olav Campbell’s book for our final instalment, and his comments on the dogs that he found on two trips to the UK.

Last edited Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:15 am | Scroll up


RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:54 am
by Vanhalla | 154 Posts

For this final offering, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas (well, not quite, but very nearly), I return again to the writings of Olav Campbell. A section of his book is devoted to the Elkhound in England, and I will summarise his thoughts.

Herr Campbell judged Elkhounds at Bath Championship Show in 1969. He reminded the reader that the Elkhound should be “of relatively light build, very tough, and with plenty of ground clearance.” At Bath, he found the dogs, almost without exception, to be”too large and heavy, with loose muscles and too little ground clearance.” However, he was very impressed by the quality of his Best of Breed, describing him as “a beautifully built dog, very well up on his legs, with firm muscles and excellent movement.” That dog was Nalle of the Holm (later made up to a champion), bred and owned by the famous breeder Mr W.F Holmes.

In 1971, he judged the Club show, and there saw more Elkhounds of good type. Again, he noted that some of the bitches were quite short in the leg.

In 1973, he visited Crufts, and was not impressed by the entry. “Never have I seen such variety of type, combined with heaviness.” There were four photos illustrating his point, but I will not publish them here for the sake of their owners' sensibilities.

But the main thing that I wished to share with you, was a much happier visit which he made to Crufts more than ten years later. In 1984, he wrote “…what I saw from ringside was a pleasing sight to an old Elghunder. Many of the Elkhounds were of excellent type and build, with plenty of air, and good movement. I would have liked to have tested them in action with moose in the woods.”

Herr Campbell illustrated his point with four photos. All of these dogs were known to me personally, and one was a very dear canine friend. They were:

Ch Svenson Thor aka "Sexy Saxon", then owned by Mr B. Purcell, but later owned by Brian and Linda Middleton. A lovely boy.

Hyelea Sliepher (sometimes spelled Sliephir), owned and bred by Olive Barritt (and not as given in the caption)

Ch Ravenstone Skoa of Danelaw - the dearly loved and missed "Skoay" - owned by Phil and Marilyn Wragg. Here very young, she took some time to mature into the beautiful bitch that she eventually was.

Barlestone Jori, owned by Mrs Giroli.

I would urge you to look at these dogs and compare them with what we have in the ring today. Are the dogs of today of the type of which Herr Campbell would be proud, or have we lost dogs of this type from today’s show ring and replaced them with dogs that are again too heavy, too short in the leg and too quick to mature (at least two of these dogs were very slow maturers, still competing at the highest level in old age)?

And so I leave you, with the hope that you have enjoyed this little journey into the past with which I have tried to entertain you during the festive season. These twelve articles, each one different in some way from the rest, represent the history of our breed I hope that you have found something new that you have not seen before in these articles.

Last edited Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:56 am | Scroll up


RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:16 pm
by Bluesmate | 62 Posts

Thanks Ness, I, and I am sure all of us that read your works fully appreciate the time and effort you have given us. Thanks again and a happy new year.

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:09 pm
by kamgaard | 49 Posts

Thanks Ness for all your work in preparing this series of excellent articles. There are some wonderful old photos here along with great educational reading. I DO appreciate it!

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:12 am
by Brainless64 | 130 Posts

Here, Here!!!

So nice that in a Forum format with titles for posts things cna be found for future reference. The weakness in some Social media sites.

Barbara and the Grey Curly tails.

Last edited Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:12 am | Scroll up


RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:54 am
by mrsmalenibo | 16 Posts

Fantastic Ness. A really interesting read.

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:21 am
by newkilt | 13 Posts

Great stuff Ness, and good to know it can be easily found here, will enjoy re-reading and chowing it over again.

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RE: 12 days of Christmas (a little bit early).....

in MAIN POST AREA * ELKHOUND BLOGS & BRAGS Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:04 pm
by elenelk • 3 Posts

Thanks so much Ness, really enjoyed them all and will come back with more time to enjoy again.

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