Labs vs. Other Dog Breeds

Labrador Retriever vs. Norwegian Elkhound

Jane Davis

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Hey there, dog lovers! Today, we’re diving into the delightful world of two fantastic dog breeds: the Labrador Retriever and the Norwegian Elkhound.

Having spent plenty of quality time with both breeds, let’s break down their key features, personalities, and how they measure up in various aspects of pet ownership.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever, often referred to simply as “Lab,” is America’s darling for a reason.

These medium-to-large dogs are friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions. They stand about 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder, weigh between 55 to 80 pounds, and boast a dense, hard coat in yellow, black, or chocolate.

Labs are known for their wide heads, kind eyes, and that ever-wagging ‘otter tail.’ They’re social butterflies and thrive on being part of the family.

Labs are energetic, and intelligent, and excel in various activities, including agility, obedience, and, of course, fetching.

read.. how to Labs compare to other dog breeds?

Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a proud and robust spitz type, flaunting a lush silver-gray coat and a dignified yet friendly demeanor. These short-bodied dogs stand at around 20 inches tall and weigh between 48 to 55 pounds.

Their deep chests, sturdy legs, and muscular thighs hint at their working heritage. Elkhounds are known for their keen intelligence, making them excellent watchdogs.

Norwegian Grey Elkhound sitting in the snow

While they may not steal the show in obedience trials, they are quick learners and possess a clean and responsive nature.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and compare these two wonderful breeds feature by feature.

Comparison Table

FeatureLabrador RetrieverNorwegian Elkhound
TemperamentFriendly, outgoing, and affectionate. Bonds easily with the whole family.Reserved initially, loyal, and protective once introduced.
TrainabilityHighly trainable, excels in obedience, and quick to learn.Quick learners but can display some independence in training.
SizeMedium to large; 21.5-24.5 inches (M) and 55-80 pounds (M).Medium; 20.5 inches (M), 19.5 inches (F), and 48-55 pounds (M).
Lifespan10-12 years12-15 years
Exercise NeedsEnergetic, requires daily exercise and enjoys various activities.Active, benefits from regular exercise, particularly in agility trials.
GroomingDense double coat that sheds. Occasional baths, nail trimming, and teeth brushing needed.Lush coat that sheds seasonally. Regular brushing is essential.
Family FriendlinessExcellent choice for families, great with kids and other pets.Good family dogs but may be more reserved.
IntelligenceHighly intelligent and eager to please. Excels in various activities.Intelligent but can be independent in their thinking.
Watchdog AbilitySocial and friendly, not natural watchdogs.Trustworthy watchdogs due to their protective nature.
Energy LevelHigh energy, enthusiastic athlete.Active but slightly calmer compared to Labs.

Temperament and Compatibility

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are renowned for their affectionate and friendly nature. They seamlessly become part of the family, bonding with everyone. They’re great with kids and other pets and easily socialize with neighbors.

Their high energy levels mean they’re always up for playtime, but they can be a bit hyper if not exercised adequately.

Labs are intelligent and respond well to early training and socialization. They’re loyal and devoted, always eager to please.

Norwegian Elkhound: Elkhounds are more reserved initially, but once introduced, they make steadfast companions.

Their intelligence and independent streak can sometimes make obedience training a bit of a challenge.

read.. Labrador Retriever vs. Black and Tan Coonhound

Closeup shot of an adult Norwegian Grey Elkhound service dog in a green field

However, they’re known for their sensitivity and cleanliness, making them great housemates.

While they may not be as outgoing as Labs, they are loyal to their owners and possess a strong protective instinct.

Verdict: Both breeds are excellent companions, but Labs may win the family-friendly category due to their outgoing nature. Elkhounds are better suited for those who appreciate a more reserved, watchful companion.


Labrador Retriever: Labs are highly trainable due to their intelligence and eagerness to please. They excel in obedience training and thrive in activities like agility and retrieving.

Norwegian Elkhound: Elkhounds are quick learners but can display some independence, especially after repetitive training. They may not shine in obedience, but their natural intelligence is evident in other areas, such as herding.

Norwegian Elk Hound on a leash

Verdict: Labs have a slight edge in trainability, making them an excellent choice for first-time dog owners. Elkhounds may require a bit more patience but can still be trained effectively.

Size and Lifespan

Labrador Retriever: Labs are medium-to-large dogs, standing 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weighing 55 to 80 pounds. They have a lifespan of 10-12 years.

Norwegian Elkhound: Elkhounds are slightly smaller, with males standing at 20.5 inches and females at 19.5 inches, weighing 55 pounds and 48 pounds, respectively. They have a longer lifespan of 12-15 years.

Verdict: Elkhounds win in the longevity category, offering more years of companionship. However, Lab lovers may appreciate their bigger size.

Exercise Needs

Labrador Retriever: Labs are energetic athletes that require daily exercise. They love activities like swimming and fetching and excel in various dog sports.

Norwegian Elkhound: Elkhounds are also active dogs that benefit from regular exercise, but they may not need as much as Labs. Their endurance and agility shine in activities like agility trials.

Norwegian Elkhound gray lying on the grass

Verdict: Labs are perfect for active families, while Elkhounds can be a great choice for those who prefer a slightly calmer companion.


Labrador Retriever: Labs have a dense, water-repellent double coat that sheds. Occasional baths and regular nail trimming and teeth brushing are essential.

Norwegian Elkhound: Elkhounds have a lush silver-gray coat that sheds seasonally. They require regular brushing to keep their coat healthy and clean.

Norwegian Elkhound Dog, Mother with Puppies suckling

Verdict: Grooming needs are relatively similar for both breeds, with Labs having a slight edge in the shedding department.


In the battle of Labrador Retriever vs. Norwegian Elkhound, there’s no clear winner; it ultimately depends on your lifestyle and preferences.

Labs are outgoing, friendly, and excellent family pets, but they require a lot of exercise.

On the other hand, Elkhounds are reserved, intelligent, and great for those who appreciate a more independent companion.

Consider your activity level, training commitment, and the type of bond you seek with your furry friend. Both breeds have their unique charms and can be incredible additions to your family.

The Labrador Retriever may be your go-to if you want an enthusiastic, active, and loving companion, while the Norwegian Elkhound is the choice for those who appreciate a dignified, intelligent, and protective partner.


Jane Davis

Hi, my name is Jane Davis, and I love dogs. I own a labrador retriever named Max. When I was growing up, we always had dogs at our house. They provide us with such unconditional love and companionship, and I can't imagine my life without one by my side.

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