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Jämthund Info, Care and Characteristics

Jämthund Info, Care and Characteristics

The Jämthund is a special and rare breed popularly known as the Swedish Elkhound or Moosehound. They were named after a province in Sweden called Jämtland, the breed’s place of origin. 

They got recognized in 1946 by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. In 2006, they got official recognition by the United Kennel Club due to the incessant activism of Aksel Lindstrom.

Jämthund Care

The Jämthund is a clean-cut sturdy, energetic, and incredibly smart breed under the Spitz family. They are active and lively and therefore need constant mental and physical exercises. Training them can be complex for first time dog owners.



The Jämthund is a versatile working dog breed. They are sturdy physically, intelligent, and also gentle and protective of their pack. They make an excellent watchdog.

Out of all the claims gathered from the locals in Jämtland, there is a possibility that the breed already existed after the last ice age. 

According to them, the Jämthund were used as working and hunting dogs back in the day. They pull sleds, hunt moose, and are also used to shove off bears and lynxes. That is how sturdy and tough they are.

The locals of Jämthund call them “bear dogs” and “moose hounds” because of their ability to confront them and never back down. They are a really tough, all-around breed.

The best characteristic of this breed is their level of affection towards their family. They are never considered to be aloof around people. They thrive well within a community.

They are also very playful and an excited barker at times. 

They can be very vocal too especially when they think someone in their pack or family is in danger or being threatened. It is rooted from their guard dog instinct.


Size / Weight

The Jämthund breed can weigh up to 77 lbs. The males usually range from 66-77 lbs, while the females can weigh from 55-66 lbs. In terms of size, the females stand around 22 to 24 inches and males stand around 24-26 inches. The Jämthund is considered as a large-sized breed.


Life Expectancy

The Jämthund has a lifespan of 12 to 13 years.



The grooming need for this breed is moderate. The Jämthund is a double-coated breed and brushing their fur regularly is necessary. 

To avoid hair knots, do it at least thrice a week or daily if you can using a slicker brush for the undercoat and finish the top coat with a bristle brush. 

They shed moderately and brushing can help a lot during their shedding season. Do not shave their coat for it can harm them.

Do not forget to always clean their eyes and ears, but do not overdo it. Keeping them clean helps prevent ear and eye infections. Since they are a playful, active breed, they are prone to those kinds of diseases.

Do not bathe them for several times within 3 months because their weather-resistant coat can be badly affected. It will dry out from frequent bathing and therefore could no longer serve its purpose. 

Brush their teeth regularly too to prevent periodontal diseases. 

If grooming your dog is a hard feat for you, you can always call for a professional pet grooming service in your area. Sometimes, the service includes pet walking too. 



The Jämthund is not hypoallergenic. 

If you or a family member of yours have allergies and completely avoiding the dog is deemed impossible, it is best to manage well their fur and dander.

Behavior wise, the Jämthund can be a little sensitive when there are frequent stranger visits and they are more likely to bark a lot. They struggle a lot with new people around that they barely know. 

But in general, they are not an aggressive breed. This behavior is rooted from their guard dog capabilities.

It is safe to say that owning a Jämthund as a first time dog parent can come with a steep learning curve.

Although they usually fit well in a household environment, training of the Jämthund is not for a newbie owner either. They need owners with a wide range of experience in terms of handing dogs with stronger personalities. 


Other pets

In general, the Jämthund is a friendly and sociable dog. But when it comes to other animals, they need an ample time to socialize with them first under close supervision.

The Jämthund can still become anxious around other animals so it is best to consider proper socialization and training which usually could take time. It is easier if they start to live with the other pets in the household too as a puppy. 

They are wired to hunt so take it slow when you introduce them to other animals.


The Jämthund, just like other dogs, need excellent quality and balanced food to consume. Elkhounds benefit more from raw diet and meat protein. 

It is important to understand that if your dog is an active breed, they need to consume more healthy fat-based energy and not from carbohydrates. They need more protein. They can eat fresh chicken, lamb, beef, and more. 

Do not feed them grains. A lot of processed dog food come from wheat and corn. 

The Jämthund is an ancient breed and starch is not consumed as their diet. This can be applied to all breeds that existed 60 to 70 years ago, they do not need the grains. 

They need more protein-based food.

More especially, do not choose dry food with cheap fillers. This may cause them gastric problems.



The Jämthund needs a sufficient amount of exercise. If they are unable to exhaust their energy on a daily basis, they may act out like chewing household objects and furniture, barking and whining, and destroy things.

To avoid a rambunctious behavior, the Jämthund needs at least an hour a day of proper exercise. It is enough for them not to get bored throughout the day. 

Indoor mental games, long walks, and free roaming can greatly help too.

Give them constant training like puzzles and agility obstacle challenges.

Remember, the Jämthund is not aggressive, but all dogs when bored can be very rowdy.



To support the well-being of your Jämthund by making sure they get proper sleep, your dog can greatly benefit from a thick mattress with orthopedic aid as their beds. It will help relieve them from back and joints tensions.


Collar & Lead

The best collar for Jämthund is the harness-type. But, make sure to remove the harness when they are done with the training or when they come home from a long walk. 

Since they have a dense coat volume, you should not let them wear it for a long period of time because it can rub their fur away and damage their skin. 


Training a Jämthund

The Jämthund is not for novice dog owners. They have a strong personality and can throw you off of your leadership role if you are not firm enough and consistent. 

This breed can decipher their owner’s insecurities especially during the training. They will eventually learn to take over. It can be very complex for first time dog owners. 

However, being a neophyte dog owner does not mean you cannot own a Jämthund. You can always call for professional help so long as you are willing to learn too.

The first step to dog training is to get their attention. Captivate them to take interest and especially, no disturbing factors around. 

The Jämthund in general is so easy to train when you have already overcome the connection process and getting the attention. 

They follow their alpha leader 85% of the time. Their obedience level is extremely high given their nature as a working dog.

Obedience training may only take them 5-10 repetitions. That is how intelligent they are. 

Reward system is also highly advised.



 They are considered to be a dog-wolf hybrid according to the evidence in their genetic make up which can only be found in Northern Scandinavia. 

What makes the breed extremely rare is the lineage finding that they have a maternal wolf DNA sequence that can also be found in their indirect ancestor – a 33,000 year-old dog called Altai.

The Jämthund breed is under the Spitz family. They are comparable to the Norwegian Elkhound breed with only slight differences in appearance and characteristics.

They almost got extinct in the 1940s because only several people back then were willing to go far to preserve the breed. 

Fortunately though, there are still breeders of Jämthund today, but extremely rare.

The Jämthund is one of the three known European Elkhounds. This dog breed has a strong hunting instinct and has a dominant behavior, but they are also extremely affectionate especially when it comes to pleasing their pack and family.


Buying a Jämthund (Costs)

The Jämthund puppy from a breeder ranges from $500 to $1000.

Adoption may cost from $300 to $400. Vaccination and registration documents are already included.


Paperwork, Insurance

Owning a Jämthund requires permanent registration, adoption or purchase records from the breeder, veterinary records and vaccination records.

A rabies vaccination certificate is a requirement for all dogs.

It is also a mandate for those who will bring dogs from another country to the US alongside proof of ownership, health records, and registration documents. These papers must be in English.


Health / Vaccinations

The Jämthund is known for its overall good health as a sturdy breed, but they have a degenerative condition that affects their eyesight as they grow older. It is called the Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

In 2010, a study showed that this disease is hereditary so that the older Jämthunds could no longer hunt. It is important for in-breeding dogs to be screened for PRA.

Of all the positive things about the breed, this is the saddest part. Their photoreceptor cells decline over the years. 

In a study conducted to ten Jämthunds, nine of them have PRA.

The breed is also prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, skin allergies, and obesity.

A Jämthund puppy must have anti-rabies vaccination, which is a requirement for all dog owners. 

Dogs also need to be vaccinated for canine parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and more. 


FAQ’s about the dog breed Jämthund


Are kids safe around Jämthunds?

Yes. They are actually one of the most affectionate Spitz-type breed. 

They are not aggressive to humans and love to be around them. The Jämthund is an ideal pet and a perfect guard dog. 

But like all dogs, they must socialize with them more frequently at first under close supervision to lessen their anxiety too and also to control other possible unwanted scenarios.

In general, they are not aggressive. They are incredibly friendly, sociable, and they work well within a community as their history dictates.


Is the dog breed Jämthund apartment-friendly?

Yes, they can live in an apartment, but as a working dog with great levels of energy, they will be happier to live in a house with a larger yard.

They need a lot of outdoor space for exercise and agility training.


Do Jämthunds bark a lot at night?

It depends. If the Jämthund is not properly exhausting its high energy levels on a daily basis, then they can be very finicky at night time. 

Boredom is usually the reason. But, if they still bark a lot at night even after you have given them at least 90 minutes exercise for the day, it means that they are on guard, on alert, or in pain so it is better to check them out.


The Jämthund is indeed a fascinating breed that anyone could have.

They work well within a household environment, they are sweet and affectionate around all age groups, they guard and protect the family, they are physically powerful, independent and industrious, and they are incredibly intelligent too.

A Jämthund will surely be a wonderful addition to any household.