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Norwegian Elkhounds are ancient dogs developed thousands of years ago. They are intelligent, fearless hunters, strong, friendly, energetic, and loyal companions, among other remarkable traits. But one part of dog ownership that is worth knowing beforehand is shedding levels and frequency. For those who love their house spotless at all times, a heavy shedder may not be the breed for you.
The same is true for severe allergy sufferers. While pet allergies are generally not serious, they can sometimes trigger anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening. With that in mind, let’s find out the Norwegian Elkhound shedding so you can decide whether or not it’s the right canine for you and your family.
Do Norwegian Elkhounds shed? This breed sheds like all dogs with fur. In fact, Norwegian Elkhounds have thick double coats that shed quite a bit throughout most of the year. And come spring and fall, they shed more to prepare for seasonal changes. Keep in mind that even dogs of the same breed will shed differently depending on their health, diet, environment, and several other factors.
If you decide to adopt a Norwegian Elkhound, expect to brush and clean up a lot of furs. But it’s not all bad news. You can do a few simple things to keep the shedding to an absolute minimum, so your house is not full of fur, such as regular grooming and providing a proper diet.
Norwegian Elkhounds make excellent watchdogs, loyal and friendly companions, and capable workers. I think owning this amazing dog more than makes up for its shedding. Stay with me as I take you through when do Norwegian Elkhounds shed, how much they shed, and how to manage and minimize the shedding.
How Much Do Norwegian Elkhounds Shed?
These dogs shed a lot to the point that they are comparable to some of the heaviest shedders in the dogdom, such as the Samoyeds and Chow Chows. Even with regular brushing, you can still expect to find some hairs floating around the home, especially during seasonal shedding.
Why do Norwegian Elkhounds Shed so much? First off, they have thick double coats that consist of two layers of fur instead of just one, meaning they have more hair to shed in the first place. Secondly, double-coated dogs go through the blowing of coat season when they shed their entire undercoat to grow something better suited for the upcoming season.
For example, it’s not uncommon for your Elkhound to shed heavily in spring to replace the thick coat for winter with a lighter one for the coming summer months.
Why Do Norwegian Elkhounds Shed?
For starters, shedding is a normal occurrence amongst all healthy dogs. These animals go through a natural hair growth cycle that involves fur growing, falling out, and being replenished by new fur. In short, your Norwegian Elkhound is only shedding to get rid of old, dead hairs and replace them with new, healthy fur.
The only difference in canine shedding is the speed at which a particular breed and individual dog takes to go through the cycle. Heavy shedders go through the process fast, while low shedders take longer to reach the shedding stage.
As mentioned earlier, the Norwegian Elkhound experiences seasonal shedding due to light and temperature changes.
Apart from these two natural forms of shedding, your pup could also be shedding due to an underlying problem. Learn more about this under ‘unhealthy shedding.’
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
When do Norwegian Elkhounds shed? Expect shedding all year round when living with this pooch. Most of the year, they don’t shed much, but they will blow their entire undercoat twice a year and shed like crazy. For starters, in fall, they shed to grow thick fur that can help keep them warm in winter. But they no longer need the heavy jacket in springtime, so they shed it all off to grow something lighter that can help keep them warm in hot summer weather.
This dog’s soft topcoat and thick woolly undercoat give him extra defense against harsh climates. So, while it may be irritating to have to deal with hair all over your house, it’s an important process for your beloved furry friend.
What appears like a lot of shedding is normal for the Norwegian Elkhound, especially in spring and fall. But it can also be a sign of an underlying health issue. Common causes of unhealthy shedding include:
- Poor diet
- Stress and anxiety
- Hormonal imbalances
- Bacterial or fungal infection
- Parasitic infection
- Self-caused trauma from licking
- Pregnancy for bitches
- Immune condition
- Reaction to certain medication, etc.
The Norwegian Elkhound is already a heavy shedder, so it can be difficult to tell whether their shedding is typical or unhealthy. First, you need to understand your pup’s shedding. That way, you can quickly tell when something is amiss.
Secondly, unhealthy shedding is usually companied by other symptoms such as open sores, bald spots, matted fur, dull fur, dry skin, and lumps.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to take your pet to the vet, who will run a few tests to determine the cause and also offer solutions.
What Type of Coat Does a Norwegian Elkhound Have?
Norwegian Elkhounds have fluffy double-layered coats designed to keep them warm in the harshest cold weather. The undercoat is soft, dense, and wooly, while the outercoat is coarse, straight, and medium-length.
Together they act as insulation, helping the dog maintain its body temperature in hot or cold weather. The hair is shorter and even on the ears, head, and front of the legs. But it is longer on the back of the neck, buttocks, and underside of the tail.
The outercoat is what sheds every day, while the undercoat is shed entirely during seasonal shedding. Some owners choose to trim their dogs to reduce shedding but be careful not to touch the undercoat. Take your pooch to a professional groomer to only trim the topcoat. You’ll still deal with the profuse shedding in spring and fall.
How to Manage and Reduce Norwegian Elkhounds Shedding?
You can’t stop an Elkhound from shedding as it’s a natural process that helps maintain their significant coat and keep them comfortable throughout different seasons. Vets advise against shaving to reduce shedding, which could completely damage the dog’s undercoat.
On the bright side, you can do a few simple things to keep shedding to an absolute minimum so your home is not covered with fur. It all comes down to proper grooming and providing a proper diet, among other things.
Norwegian Elkhounds Grooming
Brushing is one of the most effective ways of minimizing shedding. It lets you capture loose hairs trapped within the coat, thus minimizing how much ends up on your furniture and floors. Brushing also helps to distribute the skin’s natural oils evenly, thus encouraging the growth of healthy fur that only sheds healthily.
Brushing a couple times a week is usually enough to maintain the coat and keep loose hair at bay. But you may need to brush daily during seasonal shedding to keep up with the increased shedding.
Using the right tool is also vital to ensuring an effective grooming session. A slicker brush or pin brush can get the job done. But a de-shedding tool will make your life a lot easier, especially during the heavy shedding seasons. This tool is designed to get down to the undercoat and remove as much of the loose, dead fur.
Norwegian Elkhounds Diet
Ensuring your pet’s diet is optimal can also help with shedding. There’s no special diet needed to maintain a healthy coat. All you need is to provide high-quality dog food with all the essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Omega 3 and 6 are also known to support skin and fur health, thus minimizing unhealthy shedding.
Always factor in the canine’s age, health, level of activity, and weight, when deciding the best food. Pregnant bitches may also need a special diet to fulfill their increased diet needs. It’s worth asking your vet about what food is best for your Norwegian Elkhound, including the right amounts and frequency of feedings.
Norwegian Elkhounds’ harsh coats keep odors away, making them relatively clean dogs that do not need bathing every so often. But occasional baths are essential for minimizing shedding. Like brushing, bathing washes away loose, dead hairs before they get a chance to drop out and spread all over the house. Avoid overbathing and use good-quality dog shampoo. Otherwise, you risk drying out your dog’s skin and fur, which causes excessive shedding.
As mentioned earlier, dogs need a proper diet to help minimize shedding. But if they are not getting enough nutrients from their current diet, supplements are the way to go. Many different shedding supplements are on the market, including omega fatty acids supplements, vitamins, etc. It would be best to talk with your vet so they can recommend the right supplement for your pooch.
Are Norwegian Elkhounds Hypoallergenic?
With canine allergies being so common, hypoallergenic dogs are increasing in popularity. Other animal enthusiasts are going hypoallergenic for the lack of fur or minimal shedding.
The truth is no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. A common misconception is that fur causes allergies. While some people might be affected by dog fur, canine allergies are often triggered by a protein found in the animal’s saliva, urine, and dander.
All these elements attach to the hair, and the protein-causing allergen is released into the environment during shedding. For this reason, low shedders are believed to be more allergy-friendly than their heavy-shedding counterparts because they produce fewer allergens.
Unfortunately for Norwegian Elkhounds owners, this breed is not hypoallergenic because it sheds heavily and produces a lot of dander. This is the opposite of a hypoallergenic canine, so they are not ideal for people with pet allergies.
You can minimize the number of allergens it produces through regular grooming and providing a proper diet. You can also reduce allergens in your environment by regularly vacuuming your house and investing in a HEPA air filter to capture allergens in the air.
Those with severe allergens are better off without the Norwegian Elkhound. It would be best to consider allergy-friendly breeds like the Poodle, Maltese, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Basenji, Afghan Hound, Schnauzer, etc.