Long, dry, relatively broad. Slightly domed skull. Pronounced stop. Straight nose bridge. Tightly closed lips.
Set on high. Relatively small. Carried erect. Pointed tips.
Slightly oval and fairly small. Dark brown color.
Compact, sturdy, and dry. Long, strong neck without dewlap. Broad chest. Powerful loin. Belly slightly tucked up.
Set high. Moderate length. Thick and strong. Carried curled over the back.
Long and hard with dark tips. Short and smooth on the head and front of the legs. Longer on the neck, chest, tail, and back of the
legs. Shorter, soft, lighter (preferably white) undercoat.
From dark to light gray. Light gray or cream on the muzzle, cheeks, and throat is typical.
Dog: 58 to 63 cm Bitch: 53 to 58 cm
Approx. 30 kg
This ancient breed hunts elk and bear, pulls sledges, and guards livestock. Its type fixed in 1953, the breed is rare outside
This hardy, courageous, bold dog is stable and calm. He is friendly and gentle with children, making him a good pet. He is also a good
guard dog. The Swedish Elkhound is slightly dominant with other dogs.
The Swedish Elkhound is not suited to life in the city. He needs a lot of room to run and considerable exercise. Daily brushing and combing
Herder, utility dog: army dog, sled dog, hunting dog: elk, bear, small game (marten, ermine, etc.), pet.
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Physical Characteristics - General Canine Information
Many dogs, such as the American Water Spaniel, have had their natural hunting instincts suppressed or altered to suit human needs. Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and
behavior than any other domestic animal. Within the range of extremes, dogs generally share attributes with their wild ancestors, the wolves. Dogs are predators and scavengers, possessing sharp teeth
and strong jaws for attacking, holding, and tearing their food. Although selective breeding has changed the appearance of many breeds, all dogs retain basic traits from their distant ancestors. Like
many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wristbones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing. Compared to the
bone structure of the human foot, dogs technically walk on their toes.
Like most mammals, dogs are dichromats and have color vision equivalent to red-green color blindness in humans.
Different breeds of dogs have different eye shapes and dimensions,
and they also have different retina configurations. Dogs with long noses have a "visual streak" which runs across the width of the retina and gives them a very wide field of excellent vision, while
those with short noses have an "area centralis" - a central patch with up to three times the density of nerve endings as the visual streak — giving them detailed sight much more like a human's.
Some breeds, particularly the sighthounds, have a field of vision up to 270° (compared to 180° for humans), although broad-headed breeds with short noses have a much narrower field of vision, as low
Dogs detect sounds as low as the 16 to 20 Hz frequency range (compared to 20 to 70 Hz for humans) and above 45 kHz (compared to 13 to 20 kHz for humans), and in addition have a
degree of ear mobility that helps them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound. Eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate and raise or lower a dog's ear.
Additionally, a dog can identify a sound's location much faster than a human can, as well as hear sounds up to four times the distance that humans are able to. Those with more natural ear shapes, like those of wild canids like the fox,
generally hear better than those with the floppier ears of many domesticated species.
Scent hounds, especially the Bloodhound, are iconic for their keen sense of smell. Dogs have nearly 220 million smell-sensitive cells over an area about the size of a pocket handkerchief
(compared to 5 million over an area the size of a postage stamp for humans). Some breeds have been selectively bred for excellence in detecting scents, even compared to their canine brethren.
What information a dog actually detects when he is scenting is not perfectly understood; although once a matter of debate, it now seems to be well established that dogs can distinguish two different types
of scents when trailing, an air scent from some person or thing that has recently passed by, as well as a ground scent that remains detectable for a much longer period. The characteristics and behavior
of these two types of scent trail would seem, after some thought, to be quite different, the air scent being intermittent but perhaps less obscured by competing scents, whereas the ground scent would
be relatively permanent with respect to careful and repetitive search by the dog, but would seem to be much more contaminated with other scents.
In any event, it is established by
those who train tracking dogs that it is impossible to teach the dog how to track any better than it does naturally; the object instead is to motivate it properly, and teach it to maintain focus on a single track and ignore
any others that might otherwise seem of greater interest to an untrained dog. An intensive search for a scent, for instance searching a ship for contraband, can actually be very fatiguing for a dog,
and the dog must be motivated to continue this hard work for a long period of time.
The meaning of "intelligence" in general, not only in reference to dogs, is hard to define. Some tests measure problem-solving abilities and others test the ability to learn in comparison to others of
the same age. Defining it for dogs is just as difficult. It is likely that dogs do not have the ability to premeditate an action to solve a problem.
Coat Color: Domestic dogs often display the remnants of counter-shading, a common natural camouflage pattern. The general theory of countershading is that an animal that is lit from above will
appear lighter on its upper half and darker on its lower half where it will usually be in its own shade. This is a pattern that predators can learn to watch for. A countershaded animal will have dark
coloring on its upper surfaces and light coloring below. This reduces the general visibility of the animal. One reminder of this pattern is that many breeds will have the occasional "blaze", stripe, or
"star" of white fur on their chest or undersides.
Sprint Metabolism: Dogs can generate large amounts of energy for a short period of time. A dog's heart and lungs are oversized relative to its body and its normal everyday needs. A dog also has
relatively more red blood cells than a human. Most of the time the dog will keep the extra red blood cells stored in its spleen. When the animal enters into a situation where its full metabolism is
required, such as play, catching game, or fighting other dogs, the extra cells are released into the bloodstream.
The "oversized" heart and lungs will now be running at full capacity, and the animal
will have an enhanced ability to engage in aerobic activity. This activity will produce internal heating. Dogs, being covered in fur, are limited in their ability to cool down. After a short time the
animal must either cease its athletic activity or risk harming itself from overheating. One can easily observe this pattern of intense activity followed by rest periods in puppies. During the rest phase
the spleen collects red blood cells and the animal may pant to cool down.
Behavior and Intelligence: Many dogs can be trained to skillfully perform tasks not natural to canines, such as in this dog agility competition.Dogs are valued for their intelligence. This
intelligence is expressed differently with different breeds and individuals, however. For example, Border Collies are noted for their ability to learn commands, while other breeds may not be so
motivated towards obedience, but instead show their cleverness in devising ways to steal food or escape from a yard. Being highly adaptable animals themselves, dogs have learned to do many jobs as
required by humans over the generations.
Dogs are employed in various roles across the globe, proving invaluable assets in areas such as search-and-rescue; law enforcement (including attack dogs,
sniffer dogs and tracking dogs); guards for livestock, people or property; herding; Arctic exploration sled-pullers; guiding the blind and acting as a pair of ears for the deaf; assisting with hunting,
and a great many other roles which they may be trained to assume. Most dogs rarely have to deal with complex tasks and are unlikely to learn relatively complicated activities (such as opening doors)
unaided. Some dogs (such as guide dogs for the visually impaired) are specially trained to recognize and avoid dangerous situations.
For example, the ability to learn quickly could be a sign of intelligence. Conversely it could be interpreted
as a sign of a desire to please. In contrast, some dogs who do not learn very quickly may have other talents. An example is breeds that are not particularly interested in pleasing their owners, such
as Siberian Huskies. Huskies are often fascinated with the myriad of possibilities for escaping from yards, catching small animals, and often figuring out on their own numerous inventive ways of
Assistance dogs are also required to be obedient at all times. This means they must learn a tremendous number of commands, understand how to act in a large variety of situations,
and recognize threats to their human companion, some of which they might never before have encountered.
Many owners of livestock guardian breeds believe that breeds like the Great Pyrenees or
the Kuvasz are not easily trained because their stubborn nature prevents them from seeing the point of such commands as "sit" or "down". Hounds may also suffer from this type of ranking. These dogs
are bred to have more of a "pack" mentality with other dogs and less reliance on a master's direct commands. While they may not have the same kind of intelligence as a Border Collie, they were not
bred to learn and obey commands quickly, but to think for themselves while trailing game.
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