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Karelian Bear Dog

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Physical Characteristics

Breed Group:

Working group.


Approximately 55.2 pounds (25 kg).


Approximately 20.5-22.4 inches (52-57 cm).


Karelian Bear Dogs have black coats, typically with a chestnut undercoat that makes the overcoat appear slightly more brown than black. White markings on the head, chest, legs, and belly are common.


This breed has a soft, dense undercoat and a stiff outer coat of harsh hair that is longer on the neck and back.



Karelian Bear Dogs are very brave and hardy animals with the ability to hunt for hours without any direction from their masters. Although they have a latent aggressiveness, these dogs make very loyal companions and are very gentle with children and family members.

Country of Origin:



Originating in Karelia, a northern European region stretching from Russia's St Petersburg to Finland, the Karelian Bear Dog was originally used for hunting elk. In later years, this breed also became popular for hunting bear and other types of large game. The Karelian Bear Dog gained official recognition from the FCI in 1946.


This breed was named for Karelia, its region of origin. Alternative names for this breed include Karjalankarhukoira, Karelischer Barenhund, and Karelsk Björnhund.


While they have a stable temperament, Karelian Bear Dogs have an independent streak and tend to be somewhat antisocial. These dogs take time to warm up to strangers and tend to exhibit aggressiveness toward other dogs. However, Karelian Bear Dogs are people-oriented dogs that love playing with children and spending time with their family members.



Firm training is absolutely necessary for this breed. Also, Karelian Bear Dogs should never be trained to attack due to their latent aggressiveness.


These dogs are very active, energetic animals that require plenty of space and exercise.


Karelian Bear Dogs should never be confined indoors. They require significant daily exercise and plenty of room where they can run around and work off their energy. While these dogs can be gentle and friendly companions, they absolutely must receive firm training from an experienced handler in order to prevent aggressiveness. Karelian Bear Dogs require daily brushing.


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