|Other names||Swedish Elkhound|
|Notes||Canis lupus familiaris|
|Domestic 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 breed falls under the mitochondrial DNA sub-clade referred to as d1 that is only found in northern Scandinavia. It is the result of a female wolf-male dog hybridization that occurred post-domestication. Subclade d1 originated 480-3,000 years ago and is found in all Sami-related breeds: Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund, Lapponian Herder, Jamthund, Norwegian Elkhound and Hällefors Elkhound. The maternal wolf sequence that contributed to these breeds has not been matched across Eurasia and its branch on the phylogenetic tree is rooted in the same sequence as the 33,000 year-old Altai dog (not a direct ancestor).
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 57–65 centimetres (22–26 in), weighing 30–35 kilograms (66–77 lb). Females are usually between 52–60 centimetres (20–24 in), weighing 25–30 kilograms (55–66 lb).
The Jämthund should be distinguished from the Norwegian 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. 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.
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