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Karelian Bear Dog

As published in Canadian Dogs Annual
Karelian Bear Dog
19-23.5” (48-60 cm) 37.5-61.5 (17-28 kg) Distinct white markings on thick, black outer coat. Soft insulating undercoat.
Photo courtesy of Viking Hunter Kennels

Named for his ability to hunt and provide protection from bears, the Karelian Bear Dog is bold enough to go after large game such as elk, moose and wolves, and tough enough to withstand the harsh northern climates from whence he came. Thought to be descended from northern Spitz breeds, the Karelian Bear Dog thrived for generations in Karelia, a region presently encompassed by Finland and Russia, where isolation kept its genes pure. The arrival of World War II almost destroyed the breed, but fortunately, a group of Fin and Russian supporters took steps to bring it back. The Finnish Kennel Club recognized the Karelian Bear Dog in 1946, and today it’s one of their most popular breeds.


Courageous and athletic, the Karelian Bear Dog’s connection with his “person” is affectionate and unfailing, and for this reason he is beloved by many hunters. The dog’s affection does not extend to other pets, though. Intelligent, independent and possessing acute instincts, the Karelian Bear Dog needs exercise and space that an urban environment cannot offer. He respects a fair, intuitive relationship with those accustomed to, and confident with, his breed.

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Karelian Bear Dog Breeders