Chondrodysplasia (dwarfism)

A dwarf Norwegian Elkhound (Photo Saija Nieminen).

The Norwegian Elkhound is affected with hereditary chondrodysplasia (dwarfism). The condition is caused by a generalized disturbance in the endochondral ossification of long bones, a process where bone tissue is formed within cartilage [1]. Norwegian Elkhounds have what is called disproportionate dwarfism, which means that the limbs are abnormally short but the torso is of normal size. Our studies have revealed that dwarfism is inherited through a single autosomal recessive gene. According to the recessive inheritance model, Norwegian Elkhounds affected with chondrodysplasia inherit the mutated gene from both parents. The gene mutation was discovered in short-legged elkhounds by comparing their genome with that of normal height elkhounds. The association between the gene mutation and dwarfism was confirmed by screening 160 randomly chosen Norwegian Elkhounds with normal height. 20 percent of the dogs in this control group were found to be carriers of the mutated gene. Even though the gene mutation has now been identified, blood samples of Norwegian Elkhounds with chondodysplasia are still very welcome.


Further information on chondodysplasia research: Kaisa Kyöstilä (kaisa.kyostila(at)


[1] Bingel and Sande. Chondrodysplasia in the Norwegian Elkhound. The American Journal of Pathology 1982; 107(2): 219-229



A gene test for the screening of Norwegian Elkhounds can be ordered from Genoscoper Ltd (