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A photo of a Jämthund
Other names Swedish Elkhound
Country of origin Sweden
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Jämthund, also called the Swedish Elkhound/Moosehound, is a breed of dog of the Spitz type that are found in Northern Europe. The Jämthund is eponymous to Jämtland, a province in the middle of Sweden. The dog is described as having a wolf-like appearance.


The dog should have a loosely curled tail that hangs on the back and is not too thin or too tightly curled; when relaxed the tail should hang straight down. This breed has erect ears with a wide space in between them, a medium to long muzzle, and a double coat of various shades of agouti. The eyes are brown. The size of the male is usually between 57 and 65 centimetres (roughly 22 to 26 inches), weighing 30 to 35 kilograms (66 to 77 pounds). Females are usually between 52 to 60 centimetres (20 to 24 inches), weighing 25 to 30 kilograms (55 to 66 pounds).

The Jämthund should be distinguished from the Norwegian grey elkhound. The Norwegian elkhound is much shorter and stockier than the Jämthund, and its tail shape is very different. It also has a black mask on the muzzle, whereas the Jämthund has a white muzzle, white cheeks and typical wolf markings.


Although calm and affectionate with its family, the Swedish Elkhound can be dominant with other dogs and has a strong prey drive. A truly all-around canine, it can go from a hunting trip and back to the family hearth with great aplomb. It takes things in stride and does not get ruffled easily, making it a steady partner in the field or at home.

The Swedish Elkhound is a happy learner who loves to please its owner.


As with most breeds developed for hunting, the Swedish Elkhound requires a lot of regular exercise to stay fit, both physically and mentally. It quickly becomes bored if kept indoors for too long and can become destructive.


Regular brushing is necessary to keep the dense undercoat from matting. Bathing should not be done too often because it tends to dry out the weather-resistant coat.


The Jämthund received official recognition as a breed in 1946, due to intensive work by Aksel Lindström and others. Before that, the Jämthund and the Norwegian Elkhound were seen as the same breed.

Despite this short history of official breed recognition, it is often claimed that Jämthunds have been raised by the locals in Jämtland since the end of the last ice age.[citation needed] They are used for moose hunting and sled pulling. In the local dialect, it used to be referred to as bear dog. It is one of very few dogs that will not back off from a bear.


  • Klütsch CFC, Seppälä EH, Lohi H, Fall T, Hedhammar Å, Uhlén M, Savolainen P (2010) Regional occurrence, high frequency but low diversity of mitochondrial DNA haplogroup d1 suggests a recent dog-wolf hybridization in Scandinavia. Animal Genetics, online early.[clarification needed]]]