Jamthund – Swedens Bear Dog

The Swedish Elkhound is a very ancient breed believed to have existed in 1000s. Ancestors of this breed are speculated to be the dogs kept by the Stone Age people. Jamtland, a province in the northwestern part of Sweden is the place of origin of this breed. During the later part of the last Ice Age, the Jamtland people have developed the Swedish Elkhound, a breed of dog with an outstanding stature. Thus, the dog also gained the name Jamthund.

The Swedish Elkhound is a spitz type breed with a wolf-like appearance. The rectangular shaped body is covered with smooth and close lying light to dark coat. This thick double coat is made more impressive by cream or light gray markings on the cheeks, sides of muzzle, chest, belly and legs. The scimitar shaped tail that is tightly curled over the back enhances the dog’s striking appearance

As the name suggests, the breed was primarily used to hunt elk. Strong, courageous and energetic are apt descriptions for the Swedish Elkhound. This breed was specifically developed to be a working dog. The goal of the breeding program is to developed a healthy, tall, big dog . The dog has to have remarkable ability to adapt to the densely forested areas, to have the ability to climb steep rocky ledges and to easily negotiate deep snow when trailing a prey. Indeed, the Swedish Elkhound, the breed that was developed is a remarkable hunter of elk, moose, lynx, bear and other game. Jamthund, the other name of the breed means bear dog in the local dialect.

The Swedish Elkhound is a versatile breed. Primarily developed to be a hunter, the dog has adapted well to its environment so that it was given other duties as well. A Jamthund is also a herding dog, a utility dog, a guard dog and a sled dog . Due to the bravery and intelligence, this dog was used as an army dog and was named as the national dog of the Swedish Marine. The Swedish Air Force has chosen this breed to be their official service canine as well.

A Swedish Elkhound is a bold and aggressive hunter but the dog is noted to have a stoic demeanor. The dog possesses the stable and calm temperament, the affection and the friendly nature of an outstanding companion dog. The affection for the whole family, the tolerance and the gentleness shown to the children are qualities that make a Swedish Elkhound breed an ideal family companion.

Learn more about the Swedish Elkhound breed at Sarah’s Dogs.