The Norwegian Elkhound's Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: Norway Original purpose: hunting large animals Name: from hunting elk. Historical notes: For many years, the breed was considered one of the oldest dog breeds, going back more than five thousand years. Recent DNA analysis reveals, however, that this breed is actually a recent construction. These dogs were only bred to resemble an older form. The Norwegian elkhound breed was first shown officially in 1877. The Norwegian Elkhound is today the national dog breed of Norway.