Karelian Bear Dog Breed Info

The Karelian Bear Dog is used for hunting well-fortified games such as bears and elk. The dog is sent out alone by the hunter to track down and confront the game.

When the dog has caught the game, it barks so that the hunter can follow. These character traits make this breed a dog that is by no means suitable for beginners.

Karelian Bear Dog – fearless hunter


These dogs’ coats require little grooming. During the coat change, loose hair can be removed from the undercoat with a special steel comb.


Slightly longer than it is tall, this sturdy dog ​​has a conical head with a slight stop and a straight bridge of the nose. The dark and small eyes look lively. The ears are erect, triangular, and of medium size. The coat consists of straight, hard top hair over a dense, soft undercoat. The coat color is black with white markings on the head, neck, chest, and paws. The medium-length tail is carried in a bow over the back.


Very affectionate to “his family” and close friends of the house, dominant but at the same time sensitive, independent, intelligent and smart, unselfish, “sense of humor”, full of energy. The bear dog is not exactly social towards other dogs.


Bear dogs need an owner to show them where to go. They have to be brought up very consistently and with a firm hand, but lovingly. The dogs are not suitable for people without experience.


Compared to other dogs, Karelian Bear Dogs are very dominant and will not avoid a fight. However, they are attentive to humans, gentle, and very affectionate – which does not exactly make them suitable watchdogs.

Desired and undesired visitors are still announced – but that’s about it. Good acquaintances of the family are greeted enthusiastically, towards strangers they are somewhat more reserved, sometimes even dismissive.

Karelian Bear Dogs can be kept well with other pets, but do need to be watched.


This breed can be kept in an outdoor kennel but also adapts well indoors. One should make sure that the bear dog can properly “stretch its paws” at least once a day.

If you have the dog well under control (and can hold it), you can let it run alongside the bike. If the dog gets too little exercise, it starts to get bored. Then there is the danger that he will exhaust himself on the furniture. A garden should be well fenced if necessary because the dogs like to hunt independently.


Like all other polar dogs, Karelian bear dogs do not spread the typical “dog smell” and can be kept in good condition with relatively little effort.


This dog has been living in the area around Lake Ladoga for centuries. Russians as well as Finns mainly use it for bear, elk, and wild boar hunting. The preservation and progeny of this breed was only possible thanks to a long and precise breeding selection with fewer surviving specimens. In 1935 this breed was officially recognized by the Finnish Kennel Club and in 1946 by the FCI. Outside of their homeland, only very few breeders know this breed.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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