Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (FSS: Working); CKC (Working); FCI (Spitz and Primitive); UKC (Northern)


Medium to Large. Weight: Males 55–61.5 lbs; Females 37.5–44 lbs Height: Males 21.25–23.5 inches; Females 19.25–21.25 inches


Dense and medium in length.


Black, may be Brownish or dull; White markings

Life Span:

10 to 12 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

According to owners, the Karelian Bear Dog emits only very little "dog smell".

Karelian Bear Dog Overview

Named for the area of Karelia that separates Russia and Finland, the Karelian Bear Dog is a dog developed to hunt game big and small, such as squirrels, moose and bears as well as guard the home. They are a strong and fearless breed, bred tough to survive harsh conditions. The breed has become one of the most popular breeds in Finland.


Karelian Bear Dog Characteristics

The Karelian Bear Dog features a similar appearance to other Spitz-type breeds, with a thick double coat, curled tail and upright ears. The dog is large and powerful looking, but maintains an almost innocent cuteness due to his black and white coat coloration.


Karelian Bear Dog Temperament

Strong, Self-confident, Fearless and Independent are the four major words that describe the Karelian. If not with an equally confident owner, the breed may quickly take over as head of household. However, with the right owners, he is loving and affectionate. With any outsiders, including other people and dogs, the Karelian can become aggressive and territorial, due to his watchdog instincts.

Peruvian Inca Orchid


Karelian Bear Dog Care

The average life span of the Karelian is 10 to 12 years, typical for dogs of this size. There are no reported breed health concerns, however regular veterinary and preventive care are key for keeping the Karelian Bear Dog healthy and long-lived.


Karelian Bear Dog Coat

The coat of the Karelian Bear Dog sheds seasonally and should be brushed out with a deshedding or other metal brush to remove dead hairs stuck under the outer coat. This will also help speed up the shedding process and reduce the amount of “furballs” found throughout the environment. A notable feature of the Karelian’s coat is that it features very little “dog smell” according to owners.


Karelian Bear Dog Training

Firm, motivational training will help keep the independent Karelian focused on learning. Energetic training sessions that hold his attention and show the owner’s dedication will keep him captivated and make training easier.


Karelian Bear Dog Activity

Exercise is key in this very active breed, and important to preventing them from becoming overweight. Secure fencing is needed when off leash, as he is apt to go hunting or get distracted if a scent crosses his path. Large amounts of exercise in combination with training will help keep the Karelian occupied and less destructive.

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