Pet Advisor Blog

Karelian Bear – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Large
Weight: 44 - 50 pounds
Height: 19 - 23 inches
Longevity: 12
Bark Tendency: Medium
Aggression: High
Compatibility to other pets: Medium

Adopt a Karelian Bear, Dog Breed Guide


The Karelian Bear is a Nordic dog breed that is strong enough to tackle a bear, brave enough to intimidate and put down intruders but is also very loyal and faithful family dogs. Sounds perfect? The Karelian Bear Dog is all that, especially if they are trained properly.

Official Name

Karelian Bear Dog
Other Name:
Karelsk Bjornhund
Karelischer Barenhund


Date – Estimated as 2,000 years old
Country – Finland
Family / Group – Northern, Nordic

Recognized By

American Pet Registry, Inc.
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
Canadian Kennel Club
National Kennel Club


These are dogs that are native to Finland and used by the early Finnish settlers as hunting big game animals such as bears and elks. The Karelian Bear Dog is believed to have been descendants of the indigenous northern European dog breeds that were found in the area once known as Karelia. This dog breed’s ancestors are very tough big-game hunters. So tough and strong they are that they can tackle bears. The modern Karelian Bear Dog inherited those traits and shows impressive hunting abilities not just of bears, but with wolves and the lynx. The Russo-European Laika is their closest relative still existing today. After the Second World War, extinction seemed imminent. But the Finnish Kennel Club started the breed’s revival and restoration. Today the Karelian Bear Dogs are gaining numbers and used in security programs for private suburbs to deter bears from intruding the residential area.


They are not suited as house pets. Karelian Bear dogs are medium-sized animals that will be aggressive to other dogs, animals, and intruders.

Bred For

In Finland, they are used mostly for elk and is the favored dog of native big-game hunters. Today some are used to protect developed suburban areas from intruding bears.


The Karelian Bear Dog is not recommended for apartment life. It should have ample space so it can run. Make sure your yard is well-fenced so your Karelian Bear Dog does not take off on a hunting adventure.


The all-weather coat is easy to care for, requiring little attention. Like other Arctic dog breeds, Karelian Bear Dogs does not emit doggie odor. They are large dogs that shed averagely.


They are dogs that can be trained well. But the key to having them properly trained is a consistent and firm trainer who can be affected by these dogs while being dominant.


This is a fairly healthy breed.


The Karelian Bear Dogs are very active by nature. It should be exercised regularly even for a brief time. Taking them on brisk walks every day for one hour will be sufficient.