The standard says: "Thick, hard, weather resisting and smooth lying; made up of soft, dense, woolly undercoat and coarse, straight covering hairs. Short and even on head, ears, and front of legs; longest on back of neck, buttocks and underside of tail. The coat is not altered by trimming, clipping or artificial treatment. Trimming of whiskers is optional. In the show ring, presentation in a natural, unaltered condition is essential."
In appearance, [the elkhound is] a typical northern dog of medium size and substance, square in profile, close-coupled and balanced in proportions. The head is broad with prick ears, and the tail is tightly curled and carried over the back. The distinctive gray coat is close and smooth-lying. Although the elkhound is indeed a peerless hunter of big game, it bears little resemblance to the dogs most people are used to thinking of as hunting dogs, like coonhounds, basset hounds, beagles, etc. The elkhound is a Nordic, or northern, breed resembling the Siberian husky and other spitz-type breeds. It has a double coat composed of a thick, soft undercoat and longer, coarse, flat-lying guard hairs. The guard hairs repel water and mud, and the undercoat insulates the dog from both heat and cold.
For the typical pet owner, this means the light silver undercoat sheds almost constantly (black will no longer be part of your wardrobe!). The double coat also means it's tough to bathe an elkhound. The guard hairs make it very difficult to get the dog wet for bathing, and the undercoat takes a long time to dry once you do get him wet. And you must get him dry. Bone dry. To the skin. If the undercoat remains damp, hot spots can develop and spread rapidly. (Hot spots are localized fungal skin infections, causing weeping sores, painful raw skin, itching and hair loss in a remarkably short time. Hot spots can develop in a matter of hours, not days.) On the up side, when clean, the elkhound has little or no "doggie odor," except when he is very hot or dirty and wet, and his coat is naturally water- and dirt-repellent. So, while your elkhound will shed all over your house, he won't smell it up!
The tail is tightly curled and held over the back to keep it from getting tangled in brush or weighed down with mud and ice and hindering the dog in his hunting duties. A close-coupled dog is much more agile and better able to avoid the horns, hooves, and/or claws it is bound to encounter during the hunt. And a close-coupled dog moves with a shorter, energy-saving gait that he can sustain over long periods of time.
Does an elkhound shed much? In a word, YES! Elkhounds shed undercoat in small amounts constantly. About twice a year, they shed copious amounts of undercoat, in large clumps and wisps. It gets everywhere. An elkhound is definitely not for meticulous housekeepers or those with pet allergies.