These are the seven native dog breeds of Norway – and we’re in love with all of them

Grey Norwegian ElkhoundPhoto: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

Norway has seven national dog breeds. Four are spitz types: the Lundehund, Buhund, Black Norwegian Elkhound, and Grey Norwegian Elkhound. Three are scent hounds: the Norwegian Hound, Halden Hound, and Hygen Hound.

The Lundehund, Black Norwegian Elkhound, and Grey Norwegian Elkhound are used for hunting. The Buhund is used for herding, hunting, and as a watchdog. The Norwegian Dunker, Halden Hound, and Hygen Hound have been primarily used for hare hunting. All these Norwegian breeds – except the Grey Elkhound – are already considered endangered.

Continue reading to find out more about Norway’s seven native dog breeds.

1. Halden Hound

The product of crossing foxhounds from England, beagles, and local Norwegian scent hounds from the latter half of the 19th century in Halden. The Halden Hounds are powerful and strong. These dogs are an ideal combination of a great hunting dog and a friendly family dog; notably distinguished by having tranquil moods, a friendly and open nature, and particularly for being sociable and trusting. From their instinctive desire to hunt, they are also easy to train, and in fact, many have done well on hunting trials. 

2. Hygen Hound

A result of the selective breeding work from local scent hounds in Ringerike and Romerike from the first half of the 19th century onwards. The Hygen Hound has a lot in common with the Dunker, both in origin and characteristics. While the Dunker is supposed to be longer, the Hygen Hound is usually shorter. They are remarkable scent hounds and are easily trained. They show hunting attributes even at the early stages of their life. As a family dog, they are naturally calm and nice to have around the house.

Photo: Seth Abramczyk / Unsplash

3. Norwegian Buhund

A direct descendant of the dogs of Norway’s first settlers, it is said that remains of similar spitz types have been found during some of the oldest archaeological excavations. Traditionally, Buhunds were present on a number of farms in many areas of Norway. They often lived in the barn; originally as shepherd dogs – for sheep and cattle, even reindeer and pigs, and were sent out with the herds that grazed during the day. The Buhunds have now been gradually used in other ways, such as hunting, because of their quick ability to learn. These dogs are also prominently obedient and agile. They need a lot of movement and activation due to their energetic nature, but they make for a gentle, loyal, and pleasant family dog.

4. Black Norwegian Elkhound

An ancient breed that has evolved from local spitz dogs between the borders of Norway and Sweden, and has existed as a distinct breed since the middle of the 19th century. Although the smallest of the Elkhound family, they are fearless and determined, a trait that is highly valued in close animal contact and in the hunt for bears or moose. The Black Elkhounds are calm, affectionate, and strongly attached to the family. As these dogs are mostly used as a guide for hunting and love to be active, they make for great hiking and hunting companion during walks in the woods.

5. Grey Norwegian Elkhound

The Grey Norwegian Elkhound is a high-status big game dog used for moose and even bear hunting. Its ancestors can be traced back several thousands of years. They are the largest of the Elkhound family and most acclaimed as exceptionally versatile and cooperative. The Grey Elkhounds are not only expert hunters; they are also easy-going and faithful. In recent years, they have established themselves as family dogs. Most Grey Norwegian Elkhounds can be found in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the United States.

Photo: Florian Weichelt / Unsplash

6. Norwegian ‘Dunker’ Hound

A product of crossing various scent hounds during the first half of the 19th century. One noticeable attribute of the Dunker is their droplet greyish color and bluish-white glass eyes. They have a well-rounded nature and are hardy and robust. They are also trainable and sociable, with an excellent temperament. The Norwegian Hound is also a considerably impressive scent hound – they’re very cooperative while they lead during hunts in the woods. Recently, hunters have highlighted the dogs’ striking strong paws. 

7. Norwegian Lundehund

An ancient breed that was used for hunting seabirds over much of Norway’s coasts, as puffins have been a significant part of the Norwegian coastal livelihood. Lundehunds have been mentioned in written sources that are over 400 years old. Their anatomical features make them particularly compelling for conservation work. The Lundehunds have unparalleled mobility and flexibility, which is functional in retrieving tasks. These puffin hunters can enter into narrow rock passages and rugged stone cliffs to detect nests and catch live birds. Their outer ears can be folded, the forelegs can be stretched straight out to the side, while the head can bend behind its back.

Source: #Norway Today, #NorwayTodayTravel

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