The Norwegian elkhound is one of the wolfy-looking dogs from which the shepherd dogs of middle Europe have been evolved, and is probably a more dependable dog than any of them, having been bred for the specific uses of hunting big game, and left free of the refinements and stultifications demanded by the more effete market, which is largely dependent on the whims of wealth and caprice.
The elkhound, in short, looks like a small, stocky, wide-faced German shepherd dog, standing about 22 inches instead of 26 or 27, but wearing the same strong, rough working coat of grizzled buff and brown, or wolf colors. He is a rare dog in the United States, but in northern Europe plays an important part in the life of the people of the mountainous and wooded country.
He is used to some extent as a carrying and draft animal, but is unsurpassed in the rough and tumble of the hunt for such big game as bear, wolves and elk (the "moose" of northern Europe), and is so keen of nose and so tractable that he can easily be trained to the more subtle arts of hunting the capercailzie and black grouse. The only one the artist ever saw was the single specimen shown in the Westminster show of 1918, and no dog in the whole show made him more envious of his owner. For what Mark Twain characterized as "the purposes of a dog" this strong, friendly, and primitive-looking animal seemed a most perfect creature. He was alert, bright, and self-reliant, but willing to extend a reserved welcome to a new acquaintance.