Dog Breeds

Karelian bear dog

The Karelian bear dog is a great helper of the hunter, whose task was to sniff the animals (mainly a bear, elk or wolf), catch up with her, corner him and bail out to inform the human partner in hunting that he is holding the hunting object in place. Karelczyk is a beautiful, effective dog with an independent but interesting character, which is definitely not suitable for a home mascot.


If someone is looking for a blindly staring dog that does not show its own initiative and constantly expects guidance from a human, then a Karelian bear dog should not be his choice. The animal, which was supposed to corner the bear or elk on its own, keep it in place and call the hunter with a loud bark, had to develop courage, sharpness and independence.

It is a balanced and rather reserved dog. The bond that connects him with a person is very strong, but this dog does not feel the need for constant and intrusive expression of his feelings. He can be very cordial, but without emotional exhibitionism. Karelczyk has a great need to keep his own space in which no one will bother him.

Karelian bear dog. Skills

Perfect sense of smell and perseverance – these qualities make Karelian a good hunting dog. Some owners play agility with their dogs – and no wonder. After all, they are famous for the strength of the jump, which, however, can be a bit of a problem – to overdo a two-meter fence is easy for them …

Karelians can be escape champions. With their enormous strength, they are very agile dogs, relatively lightweight. This makes it easier for them to work on the hunt, but it is also useful when overcoming various obstacles.

Karelian bear dog

Training and education

The Karelian bear dog is not a training one. With his intelligence and independence, he is often able to test the guide. Maybe the limits set for him have widened? Or maybe today just a man can be a little manipulative? Therefore, iron consistency and keeping cold blood will be useful to us when working with a dog of this breed. However, the educator’s hardness does not mean using physical violence. Upon contact with her, the Karelian will either close within himself or actively respond to the threat. Raising a Karelian as an aggressor is not a good idea, because this dog can be really dangerous – it can launch an attack when it deems it appropriate. Therefore, it is necessary to suppress aggression towards other dogs in the bud, which sometimes happens in a breed.

The main thing is to take care of careful socialization and absolutely do not refuse the dog to human company. Keeping your dog locked permanently will definitely cause unsolvable problems.

Who is this race for?

The ideal owner of a Karelian bear dog is either a hunter or a person who plans to use his dog’s excellent abilities in practice. What does it mean? It is good if the future owner of the Karelian wants to do some kind of olfactory work with his pet, go on long trips or run. Karelian is not a dog for a family member who dreams of resting on a warm sofa after a long work in the office. In such conditions, the dog will get bored and frustrated, it can cause damage. A Karelian bear dog loves movement in the bosom of nature, therefore locking him in an elegant apartment in the center of a large city means harming him.

The breed requires a patient, preferably an experienced guide who can not get on his head and can predict various non-standard ideas of his dog. Karelczyk is not your typical companion dog and you should respect that. Even if its undeniable beauty attracts an increasing number of people interested in it.

It is also not a dog suitable for a nanny for children. Although he usually gets along well with our little ones, at some point he will set a line for them and will not agree on everything. Therefore, his contacts with children should only take place under the supervision of adults – also to make them react when the children over-bother the dog.

Lovers of manicured gardens should part with the dream of having a Karelian bear dog, because one of his favorite pastimes is digging quite deep pits. Something incompatible with the vision of a juicy green manicured lawn …

Karelian bear dog. Advantages and disadvantages

Karelian bear dog – what is it like? Learn its pros and cons!


  • independent
  • stubborn
  • sometimes unpleasant towards others, foreign dogs
  • you have to put a lot of effort into learning to recall it


  • intelligent
  • has excellent terrain orientation
  • has an excellent sense of smell
  • is known for its great strength and endurance
  • resistant to adverse weather conditions


The breed is generally healthy. Scientists pay attention to the so-called endocrine diseases, mainly pituitary dwarfism.

Karelian bear dog


Karelian bear dogs are prone to fussing while eating and do not require exaggerated feeding procedures. They live well on solid food from the middle price range. There are also no contraindications to feeding them with dog’s food or cooked food. However, if our dog works, especially in winter he should get high-energy food for utility dogs.


Karelian coat is not complicated in care. It only requires occasional combing. However, during the molting period, it is good to regularly comb the dog with a metal comb.

Karelian bear dog


This dog is great for all sniffing disciplines. That is why it is worth getting him used to wearing braces put on before tracking sessions from a young age.


Although this breed is old, its first official model was not created until 1945. Hunters with the Karelians hunted from the land called Karelia, located in the north of the European continent, between the White Sea and Finland.

However, for official cynology, the race was discovered by the Finns. They encountered a larger population of these dogs during the migration of Russians fleeing the Bolsheviks to Finland. The fugitives took their utility dogs with them, and the hunting qualities of these animals were able to appreciate their – asylum – neighbors who became interested in breeding, registering Karelians as a separate breed in their Kennel Club as early as 1935.

Karelian bear dog

It is these neighbors that the breed owes to their survival during the Soviet-Finnish war of the 1940s (the so-called winter war). As a result of actions on the front of World War II, Karelians actually became extinct. It is estimated that only about fifty individuals remained on the ruins and ruins of the land through which warfare was transfused. Practical Finns began intensive reconstruction of the breed and took up formal activities, as a result of which the first Karelian bear dogs were officially registered in the FCI in 1946. And so the world recognized the existence of the race.


Karelian bear dog – group V FCI, section 2, reference number 48

  • Country of origin: Finland
  • Size: dogs – 57 cm, bitches – 52 cm
  • Weight: dogs – 25-28 kg, bitches – 17-20 kg
  • Coat: hard, straight, on the back, neck and thighs slightly longer; very dense and soft undercoat
  • Color: black (sometimes with a slightly brown shade); clear white markings on the neck and head
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Weather resistance: high

Interesting facts

The Karelian bear dog is used in the US National Parks of Yosemite and Glacier (Montana) by the Department of Hunting and Fisheries to keep the bear population within safe limits. The remains of Karelians were found in the vikings’ graves in what is now Denmark and the Isle of Man.

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