Photo – Wikipedia (PD)
The dignified and independent Norwegian Elkhound is a popular hunting companion in its country of origin, Norway. This dog is from the Spitz family and it looks just like the typical Spitz: fox-like face, raised ears, curled tail and lots of fur that is always a combination of gray, white and black. Their thick, double coat is an effective guard against cold weather. They can withstand living outdoors in cold climates but Elkhounds prefer to be with their family indoors. This hunting dog is favored for its stamina and agility. A Norwegian Elkhound can crow up to 20 inches at the withers and has an average life span of 12 to 15 years. 
These dogs are happiest when they are playing outside when it is cold. Since they were bred to hunt tirelessly all day, they need to be given plenty of exercise – a long walk or jog will suffice. When provided enough exercise, Elkhounds become well-adjusted family pets but they can become destructive when their exercise requirements are not met. Due to their strong prey drive, they need to be kept on-leash or within a fenced area at all times to prevent them from chasing after small animals.  
The breed is believed to date back several thousand years and were used by the Vikings to guard property and hunt game. Elkhounds would track down a prey and hold it at bay by barking until the hunter would arrive. These hardy dogs excelled in hunting even in snow, rugged landscapes or thick forests. They were virtually unknown until they were exhibited for the first time in a dog show by the Norwegian Hunters Association in 1877. Not long after that, a breed standard was made. Today, Elkhounds are still being used as hunting companions in Scandinavia.