The Hällefors Elkhound: Everything You Need to Know

The Hällefors Elkhound is a Swedish medium-sized spitz-type of dog with a personality described as energetic, courageous, and persistent.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the history, traits, temperament, and health of the remarkable Hällefors Elkhound.

History and Origin of the Hällefors Elkhound

The Swedish Roots of the Breed

The Hällefors Elkhound is a relatively new breed developed in the late 1930s. The exact birthplace is mysterious, with some claiming it was Hällefors and others saying that the despite the name, the breed originated in a village called Fredriksberg. 

The breed is believed to be a descendant of the old Viking dogs and was primarily used to hunt deer. The Hällefors Elkhound is a hardy and versatile dog bred to withstand the harsh Scandinavian climate.

Development and Recognition as a Distinct Breed

By the early 20th century, Swedish breeders began to focus on standardizing the Hällefors Elkhound. The breed was developed to have a keen sense of smell, excellent tracking abilities, and the stamina to keep up with deer during long hunts.

The Swedish Kennel Club recognized the Hällefors Elkhound as a breed in 2000, and today, the breed is also recognized in Norway and Finland. Despite that, it is still a relatively rare breed outside of Scandinavia.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Size and Weight

The Hällefors Elkhound is a strong and sturdy breed with a muscular build and an average weight of 66 pounds. Males stand between 22 and 25 inches tall, and females between 20 and 24 inches tall at the shoulders. 

Coat and Color

The Hällefors Elkhound has a thick, harsh, and dense double coat that is weather-resistant. The outer coat is straight and coarse, while the undercoat is soft and dense. The breed’s coat is typically yellow, with or without a black mask. 

Distinctive Features

The Hällefors Elkhound has a wedge-shaped head with upright ears and a black nose. The curled tail sits over the back, which is a common trait among spitz-type breeds.

Another notable feature of the Hällefors Elkhound is its keen sense of smell. Breed members are excellent at tracking scents, which is why they are so well-suited to hunting and can easily follow scent trails.

Personality and Temperament

The Hällefors Elkhound is naturally curious and enjoys exploring its surroundings. As a hunting breed, the Hällefors Elkhound is highly energetic and requires regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Breed members are intelligent and independent but also loyal to their owners. They are known for their strong prey drive and may not be suitable for households with small pets.

General Disposition

The Hällefors Elkhound has an independent nature. It is not a clingy dog and can be left alone for a few hours without getting anxious. It is also adaptable and can adjust to new environments easily.

The breed is suitable for various living situations – from small apartments to large houses, as long as it is provided with enough physical and mental stimulation. 

Interaction with Children and Other Pets

One of the most endearing traits of the Hällefors Elkhound is their patience and gentle nature with children. Breed members are great playmates and will happily entertain children for hours.

Hällefors Elkhounds can learn to behave around other pets, especially if raised together. However, breed members have a high prey drive, so it’s important to socialize them and supervise them when interacting with smaller animals.

Intelligence and Trainability

Hällefors Elkhounds are a highly intelligent breed that thrives on mental stimulation. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.

However, it can be stubborn at times, so consistency is key. Breed members excel in activities such as obedience, agility, and tracking, which are great ways of engaging their bodies and minds. 

Health and Lifespan

The Hällefors Elkhound is a generally healthy breed, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. It’s important to be aware of these issues so that you can provide the best care for your furry friend.

Common Health Issues

Some of the health issues common in the Hällefors Elkhound include: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joint and causes pain and mobility issues
  • Eye Problems: Cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are particularly frequent in the breed
  • Ear Infections: The breed’s long and floppy ears can trap moisture and dirt, triggering infections 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventative care is key to keeping your Hällefors Elkhound healthy. Providing daily exercise and a healthy diet prevent weight gain and other obesity-related health issues.

It’s also important to groom your dog, as its thick coat is prone to tangling. Regular checkups with a vet help catch any potential health issues early on, allowing for prompt treatment.

Expected Lifespan

The Hällefors Elkhound has a relatively long lifespan of around 12 to 15 years. With proper care and attention, they can live long, healthy lives and bring joy to their families for many years.


Overall, the Hällefors Elkhound is a versatile and loyal breed that excels in the field and at home. It makes a great hunting companion and a loving family pet.

If you’re considering adding a Hällefors Elkhound to your family, research the breed and ensure to provide it with the best care possible to ensure a long and happy life together.

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