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Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog, also known as Karelsk Björnhund, Karjalankarhukoira or Karelischer Barenhund is a hard working dog with excellent bear hunting abilities. These medium sized dogs used to be owned by Russian and Finnish peasants in earlier times.

The breed originated in Finland and closely resembles Russo-European Laika dog breed. These dogs are particularly popular among big game hunters in Finland.

Apart from bears, these dogs are good at hunting other animals like wild boar, moose, hare and other large and aggressive animals. Karelian Bear Dog breed is believed to have descended from ancient spitz-type hunting dogs.

Physical Appearance

The hardy Karelian Bear Dog breed is characterized by a robust and muscular body that is slightly longer than tall. The small eyes that are mostly brown in color bear a bright and intelligent expression. The small ears are slightly rounded at tips and carried erect. The lips tend to be thin and tightly closed. The long tail remains curled over the back.

Color: These dogs are black and white in color. The white markings may be present on the head, chest, abdomen, neck and legs.
Height: The average height of Karelian Bear Dog breed is about 19 to 23 inches.
Weight: Both male as well as female Karelian Bear Dogs are generally 44 to 50 pounds in weight.

Health Problems

These dogs are relatively healthy as compared other breed dogs. Therefore, there are no known genetic health issues in these dogs. However, in terms of living conditions, they usually prefer cooler climates.

Life Expectancy: The average Karelian Bear Dog life expectancy is considered to be 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: 5 to 9 puppies

Grooming Requirements

Karelian Bear Dog grooming requires at least weekly brushing and combing of the short and straight hair coat to remove loose hair. The weather resistant outer is harsh in texture whereas the undercoat is soft and dense. Comb the average shedding hair coat with a metal comb to maintain it in perfect condition when during shedding times.

Other grooming activities include tasks like trimming the toenails, cleaning the eyes, checking and cleaning the ears to avoid infection, brushing the teeth and other such activities. Bathe your beloved doggy only when necessary so as to retain the weather resistant texture of the hair coat.


Karelian Bear Dog temperament is intelligent, loyal, affectionate, sensitive, protective, brave, energetic and independent. These dogs are usually good with kids but tend to be unfriendly and cold towards strangers. As for other pets in the house, the socially dominant Karelian Bear Dogs usually do not get along well with other pets, unless introduced and socialized properly.

These dogs require proper training and socialization otherwise they tend to become authoritative. They usually do not respond well to harsh training methods and thus need to be trained with firm and consistent approach. Apart from being good household pet, a Karelian Bear Dog is also considered as an excellent watchdog.

Key Points

These energetic dogs require a lot of space and a great of physical exercise to remain physically fit. Therefore, they need to be taken for long brisk walks on a daily basis for at least one hour per day. Lack of adequate physical and mental stimulation can give rise to destructive behaviors.

Moreover, as these dogs do not like to be confined to one area, they need to be kept outside in a kennel. So, they generally do not do too well in restricted and sedentary apartment situation. They tend to do best in acreage or farm where they get plenty of opportunity to run freely.

The breed is mostly considered suitable for assertive and confident experienced dog owners. Casual dog owns are likely to find it difficult to handle a typical forceful and determined Karelian Bear Dog, especially when the dog has not been trained extensively.