Dog Training

Karelian Bear Dog


Brave, Persistent, Loyal
Size: Medium
Height: 52-57 cm
Weight: 20-23 kg
Lifespan: 11-13 years
Coat: Shorthair
Colors: Black, Black and white
FCI Group: Spitz and primitive types

He loves to go hunting in the forests of Scandinavia with his human and track down moose or bears. Independently he roams the thicket, constantly looking for a scent. The Karelian Bear Dog also called Karjalankarhukoira or Björnhund knows what he wants. He is not a beginner dog. This active dog belongs in the hands of an experienced hunter.

Karelian Bear Dog
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The body size varies, depending on the sex, between 52 cm for females and 57 cm for males. The Karelian Bear Dog is a typical Spitz with a robust, strong build. From the front the head looks wedge-shaped. If you look at the head from the side, you will see that the bridge of the nose is straight and the stop is only slightly pronounced.

With its black nose, the hunting dog can sniff out and track the finest scents. The pointed, high-set ears stand erect, ready to pick up even the slightest sound of the game. With relatively small but expressive eyes, he looks at you attentively. On the chest, neck and shoulders you can clearly see the strong muscles. The Karelian Bear Dog carries its tail, like all Spitz, curled over its back.

You can recognize the breed, besides the body shape, by the coat pattern. The animals are black with white markings on the neck and chest. In addition, the paws and the tip of the tail are white. A fine white blaze from the forehead to the nose leather and a white ring around the neck are permitted. The colors should be clearly distinguished from each other. Black spots in the white areas are undesirable.

Originally, the Karelian Bear Dog existed in several color varieties. With the beginning of breeding, only black and white animals were used for reproduction.

The outer coat is short, dense, rough and smooth lying. On the neck, back and hind legs it is slightly longer. As an adaptation to the northern climate, the dogs have developed soft, dense undercoat.

Karelian bear dogs are strong in character and balanced. When hunting, they move silently through dense undergrowth and track down any game. These powerhouses are brave enough to take on bears and moose. They are never aggressive towards humans. Especially to "his" people the Karelian Bear Dog is always friendly and loyal. Towards strangers he is distrustful.

In the Scandinavian countries there is a working test for this breed.

Coat care:




Energy level:




Children suitable:

With supervision

The right food

This dog, which is constantly on the move, you must feed accordingly. He has a higher energy requirement than a normal family dog. Make sure that the food contains a lot of meat and little grain.

Now you could give your dog more normal food to meet his increased energy needs. Then he would eat more calories. True as far as it goes, but he would also get more of all the other ingredients. This can quickly lead to overdosing. Also, he would have to eat and, more importantly, digest a large amount of food. This puts unnecessary strain on the body.

Optimally, you feed a special food for performance dogs. This will give your four-legged friend the required amount of calories. All other ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals, are included as needed.

Another possibility is that you add special supplementary feeds to the normal feed. The medium-chain fatty acids they contain are highly digestible. This way, your dog absorbs more energy despite the same ration.

You should feed an adult Karelian Bear Dog once a day. Fresh water must be available all the time.

You can tell if your dog is at his ideal weight by looking at his flank. If the rear rib arches are visible, he has his ideal weight.

Overweight harms your four-legged friend just as it does a human being. Tendons and joints are heavily stressed and there are significant signs of wear.

Karelian bear dog care

The short coat needs little care. Only during the coat change you should brush it more often, so that you remove the loose hairs from the undercoat.

Your Karelian Bear Dog is an active, independent dog. You'll have a hard time convincing him to stay in his own yard. To follow a temptingly fragrant scent, he will jump a 2-meter fence with ease. In his homeland, it can happen that the stubborn dog disappears into the woods and only reappears days later. Of course, this is not possible in Germany.

This breed was bred to independently locate game over long distances and then bark at it. By barking, the game is irritated and remains on the spot. At the same time, the hunter is informed where the game is.

You must expect your dog to wander far, really far, away from you on walks. This can be dangerous if he crosses streets unsupervised. You must keep him consistently on a leash.

Due to his inbred barking behavior he is a good guard. Every strange person or other animals are immediately barked loudly.

The Karelian Bear Dog is constantly active and has a high urge to move. You should avoid keeping him indoors at all costs. Sure, he can go indoors, but he needs a lot of space in a yard or on a property. To really exercise him, give him a task. Ideal for the brave fighter is when he is used for hunting.

The Karelian Bear Dog is not suitable as a companion or family dog. Also a life in the city does not correspond to his nature. He needs extensive terrain to exercise himself physically.

He is often aggressive towards other dogs and tends to scuffle. If you want to train a Karelian Bear Dog, you need a lot of patience, even more experience and a strong hand.

Suitable accessories

The basic equipment includes, first of all, a food bowl and a water bowl.

Your dog needs a resting place where he can retreat. Whether your dog lives indoors or outdoors, the resting area must be equipped with a blanket or a basket. If your four-legged friend spends most of his time in the yard, it is essential that he has a place that is protected from the weather. A well-insulated hut will keep out the heat in summer and the cold in winter.

Walking includes a sturdy collar and leash. Use a strong leash. Do not put your Karelian Bear Dog on a flexi leash. You will end up being dragged along as an appendage to a charging dog.

For vet visits, etc., a transport cage for your car is recommended.
When it comes to toys, let your dog decide. Some prefer to chase throw toys, others prefer toys to chew or tug.

Karelian bear dog history

Origin & History

The breed originates from Finland, more precisely from the province of Karelia. The original landscape with the harsh climate shaped the strong, stocky physique of the animals. Village dogs of this type lived for a long time in the Finnish-Russian border region.

They accompanied people to hunt and guarded house and yard. Bravely, the dogs tracked down elk and even bears, in addition to smaller animals. They kept the animals busy with their barking until the hunter approached and came to the shot. In addition, the powerful dogs were harnessed in front of sleds when necessary or had to carry firewood.

The roots of the Karelian bear dog are probably on the western side of the Urals. He descended from dogs that lived in the taiga. From there he was brought centuries ago by Russian hunters to his present range. He is closely related to the European Laika dogs.

Finnish dog breeders became aware of this hunting dog only around 1920. The actual breeding began in 1936. In 1946 the first dog was registered in the pedigree book.

In 1949 the Karelian Bear Dog was recognized as a breed by the FCI. He is popular and appreciated in Scandinavia as a hunting dog.

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