Interview with Margaret “Maggie” K. Mott & Sally P. Simmonds of Kamgaard Norwegian Elkhounds, 2022 AKC Hound Group Honoree
The Norwegian Elkhound is an iconic Northern breed. What is it about the breed that has sustained your interest for so long?
We love this breed for its intelligence, uniqueness, independent yet loyal nature, adaptability, hardiness, and overall good health.
Breeding dogs requires the vision of an artist, the curiosity of a scientist, and the commitment of a philosopher. As a breeder, do you view yourself as an artist, a scientist or a philosopher? Maybe you’re a combination of all three?
We are definitely a combination of all three as well as students always looking for ways to improve our stock, and gamblers willing to take chances and try different approaches, and all of this is bundled up with a large dose of patience!
In dogs, selection is key. How do you select your sire and dam combinations? How do you select which puppies will appear in the show ring?
Our selection of breeding combinations is multi-faceted; a careful study of pedigrees, hands-on inspection of individual candidates, investigating similar breedings which have “clicked,” and generally knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the various individuals under consideration.
Regarding puppy selection, after an ongoing grading process which starts early on in the whelping box, puppies are kept for as long as it takes for us to feel confident about placing the individuals that are not retained here for our own program. After a half century-plus of developing and working with this bloodline we generally have a very good idea of which venue a puppy will be headed for, and which could be domestic or foreign (and not necessarily just for the Conformation ring) as many of our dogs excel in Agility, Obedience, FastCAT, Barn Hunt, etc. as well.
The Breed Standard is the preservation breeder’s most essential tool. What are your thoughts on the importance of breeding to the Standard and presenting the breed in the ring accordingly?
For us, there is no other way to go other than to breed to the Standard. Yet, we recognize that everyone has their own interpretation of it. We also feel very lucky to have a breed with a more or less universal Standard around the world which has allowed our exported and imported stock to contribute both at breeding and show levels. As for presentation of the breed in the ring according to the Standard, we have noted that there can be a bit of a disconnect here as we see too many dogs presented in a fashion which does not represent the Standard in the ways of movement or the directive to be shown in a natural state.
Today’s breeders have found themselves on the defensive from public criticism and from legislative proposals that would restrict breeding practices. In your opinion, what can preservation breeders do to counter the anti-purebred rhetoric that has taken hold in this country?
This is probably the hardest question of all! Beyond trying to educate the public at every chance about the value of owning a purebred dog and trying to change ill-founded perceptions, we need to be more observant of AKC alerts from their Legislative Action Center. Be proactive and either write or visit with your assembly representative when threatening legislative proposals are on the table.
Are you looking for a Norwegian Elkhound puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Norwegian Elkhound dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the friendly Norwegian Elkhound dog breed with articles and information in our Norwegian Elkhound Dog Breed Magazine.
Norwegian Elkhound Breed Magazine - Showsight