Swedish Elkhound Dog Breed Characteristics and Info

The Swedish Elkhound is a Spitz-type dog breed from Sweden and is popularly known as Jämthund in the country where it was named after the province of Jämtland.

The Swedish Elkhound is closely related to the Norwegian Elkhound and wolves. Originally used as hunting and sledding dogs, the Swedish Elkhound is said to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. It is a powerful, fearless, and intelligent dog breed that can also tolerate harsh weather conditions.

Nowadays, these dogs are used as guard dogs and home pets. Let’s explore more about this beautiful and attractive dog breed.

Swedish Elkhound Quick Profile

Breed NameSwedish Elkhound
Other NamesJämthund
Dog Breed TypePurebred
Dog Breed GroupSpitz
Height20 - 26 inches
Weight55 - 77 lbs
Life Expectancy11 to 14 years
Coat TypeHarsh outer coat, light under coat
ColorsLight or dark grey with light markings
Grooming NeedsDaily brushing
TemperamentCalm but dominative nature
Apartment LivingNo
Health concernsHip and elboy dysplasia, obesity, progressive retinal atroph, and skin allergies
Overall HealthGood
Intelligence levelGood
Energy LevelHigh
ActivityUp to 2 hours daily
Litter Size4 or 11 puppies


The Swedish Elkhound was bred and used to hunt elks, wolves, boars, and bears. They have existed for a long time in the Scandinavian countries, most probably, since 5000 BC. They can survive in severe weather conditions, which is why they were the favorite dogs of the Sami people who used to live in the Arctic region of the Scandinavian countries and Russia.

Interestingly, this dog breed is also closely related to some other Scandinavian dog breeds such as Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund, and Norwegian Elkhound, etc.

Breed Features

Independent and dominant: The Swedish Elkhound or Jämthund is an independent and dominant breed so it is not suitable for an inexperienced or first-time owner.

High-Energy dog: It is a very high-energy dog breed and you should not get one if you do not have time to exercise or walk it for at least 2 hours a day.

Needs space: This breed needs a lot of space and a house with a yard is suitable for them. You won’t be able to keep them in a small house or an apartment.

Best for single dog family: They are not good with other pets and/or dogs as they are hunters by nature and may try to hunt if there is any other pet home.

Temperament and behavior

With early-age training, they can be transformed into an ideal family dog that is always ready to please its family. They are highly intelligent, loving, and affectionate. However, it is recommended to not keep them with another canine or non-canine pet, or they may show dominant behavior.

When on a walk, keep them supervised, especially if other household pets are around.

Exercise & training

As the Swedish Elkhound is a high-energy dog, it needs lots of exercise and activities to burn its excessive energy. Along with that, mental stimulation activities are a must, or they may get bored and a bored dog is highly destructive.

It is recommended to start their training from an early age and reward-based training sessions would work like a charm. Forced training and harsh behavior during the training sessions may result in disaster.

Coat and grooming

They have a thick double coat- a long topcoat and a short and wooly undercoat. So, the best practice is to brush them every second day to avoid tangling and matting. They do not require to be bathed much often, so bathe them only if they do not look clean. In hot weather, regular grooming is highly recommended while they should be kept in a shaded room with enough cooling.

To avoid oral health issues, it is recommended to brush their teeth twice a week. Also, keep an eye on their ears to eliminate the possibility of a foreign object or any allergies. Similarly, keep an eye over their nails too, and clip them if they are big enough to create problems for you and the dog.

Common health-related issues

Overall, it is a healthy breed with fewer health issues but like other dogs, it is prone to several common diseases such as elbow and hip dysplasia, obesity, liver diseases, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), skin allergies, etc.

It is recommended to visit the vet at least once in six months and keep your dog up to date on vaccinations. Also, make sure you get a puppy from a reputable breeder and not a puppy mill or backyard breeder.

Litter size and cost

The average litter size of a Swedish Elkhound is 4 to 11 puppies. It is good to get a puppy from a reputable breeder to avoid health and behavior issues. If getting from a reputable breeder, a Swedish Elkhound puppy may cost you up to $1000 while the average yearly maintenance cost would be around $1500 which includes vet visits, grooming, supplies, food, and other important things.


The American Kennel Club does not recognize the Swedish Elkhound but the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized this breed in 2006.

Where to get a Swedish Elkhound Puppy?

If you are looking for Swedish Elkhound breeders, note that there are not many breeders of this breed in the US and you may hardly find one. Mentioned below are some of the Swedish Elkhound aka Jämthund breeders in the US.

Suitable names for Swedish Elkhounds

  • Viking
  • Alf
  • Bjorn
  • Enar
  • Bo
  • Gunther
  • Ingrid
  • Rinda

Final words:

So, the Swedish Elkhound is a remarkable and versatile breed with a rich history deeply intertwined with the Swedish hunting tradition. Known for its intelligence, loyalty, and friendly nature, this dog makes an excellent companion for active individuals or families. Whether in the field or at home, the Swedish Elkhound’s adaptability and keen instincts shine through.

Recommended read – German Shepherd Dog Breed Info