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10 Scandinavian Dog Breeds (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

Scandinavia is a stretch of land in northern Europe whose borders are contentious. It is made up of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden though some people argue that Iceland and Finland should also be included for geological reasons. Despite the contention, the area has produced some of the most amazing dog breeds in the world.

Scandinavian dogs are tough and resilient. They have been bred to survive extreme weather and rough terrain conditions. Many breeds have been herding and hunting wild game in the jagged terrains and snowy slopes for hundreds of years.

Scandinavian dogs are brave, loyal, and nimble. Although they are family-friendly, not all family situations are suitable for these gorgeous canines.

This overview will satisfy your curiosity and help you understand these incredible Scandinavian breeds. Let’s dig deeper.

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1. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound_Piqsels   
Image Credit: Piqsels

The Norwegian Elkhound is the go-to dog if what you are looking for is a guard dog. The Elkhound is also a good tracker when hunting big game.

It descended from an ancient spitz breed that helped in hunting, grazing, and guarding. Expect this dog to alert you with sharp, loud barks if it notices something odd. The Elkhound may look tough, but don’t be fooled—this is one friendly canine.


2. Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund originated from remote Norwegian Islands, where they were specially bred for hunting small birds, such as puffins. This explains their name; “Lund” means bird, and “hund” means dog in Norwegian. These canines can easily traverse rugged terrains and cliff sides thanks to their six-toed paws.

If you are planning to adopt one, you must love the game of fetch. Also, be prepared to fence your yard and install a sandpit because the Lundehund loves digging.


3. Hamilton Hound

The Hamilton Hound is the brainchild of Count Adolf Hamilton, the founder of the Swedish Kennel Club. These nimble, affectionate, and high-energy pups can melt anyone’s heart owing to their sweet nature.

They are remarkable hunting dogs and have a soft spot for anyone who shows them affection. City life is not for them; they prefer rural settings where they can keep children company. Don’t worry about daily grooming because they have a smooth coat and don’t shed regularly.


4. Greenland Dog

greenland dogs_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Greenland Dog is a large breed with a reserved personality. Originally bred for pulling sleds, they are good labor dogs with impeccable hunting capabilities. Boisterous, energetic, loyal, and friendly are just a few descriptions of this dog, but training is necessary to make them great companions. You can get them in black, white, grey, and spotted white colors.


5. Norwegian Buhund

This fun-loving breed is a great family dog that you can even trust with toddlers. But it is also a high-energy canine that must be worn down with exercise to prevent destructive behavior. However, the Norwegian Buhund needs early training for proper socialization.


6. Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog_Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock

All hail the Viking Icelandic Sheepdog! Did you know that it is the only native Icelandic breed that exists today? Icelandic Sheepdogs have a lot of stamina and were first bred to herd cattle in hostile terrains. Their resilience is probably what endeared them most to the Vikings.

Today, they excel as hunting dogs. You can expect an Icelandic to be agile, extremely athletic, and to perform well in obedience competitions.


7. Finnish Lapphund

Finnish-Lapphund_Scandphoto, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Scandphoto, Shutterstock

The medium-sized furry dog is very popular in Finland. The Lapphund is hardy and was traditionally bred to herd reindeer. This breed is highly intelligent, keen, faithful, and courageous and comes with a calm demeanor. This makes them excellent companions. Enthusiasts can get them in a variety of sable, red, black, wolf sable, and white colors.


8. Swedish Vallhund

The Swedish cow dog is a driver and herder of cows. This medium-sized pooch comes with a thick double-coat to stay warm in cold climates. These dogs are energetic, intelligent, brave, watchful, and friendly. There are lots of colors to choose from. You can get blue, grey, yellow, and mahogany-colored puppies.


9. The Broholmer

The Broholmer is a native to Denmark. It has been in existence for hundreds of years, earning its place as a guard dog in large, affluent, Danish estates. These furry canines do well in hunting and farm environments all over the world. Unfortunately, they faced extinction some years ago and are quite rare today, even after the intervention of enthusiasts.


10.The Karelian Bear

karelian bear dog_A-P L_Pixabay
Image Credit: A-P L, Pixabay

The Karelian bear enjoys big game hunting. Ensure they are properly socialized and trained from an early age because they are highly territorial and will not tolerate intruders.

Loyalty to its human family members is one of its most endearing traits despite not getting along with other pets. The Karelian Bear needs at least an hour of exercise or work daily to contain their high energy. Like the Broholmer, they almost faced extinction at some point.

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Final Thoughts

Scandinavian dogs are generally working dogs. They thrive in herding or hunting and aren’t scared of any terrain. If you are planning to adopt one, be sure you can keep them busy and active.

Being resilient breeds, they are fearless, courageous, faithful, and largely territorial. In some cases, visitors to your home should call ahead.


Featured Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.