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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Karelian Bear Dog


Karelian Bear Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Other Breed Classes
  • Affiliations
  • CKC, UKC
  • Height
  • 19" - 23"
  • Weight
  • 44-50 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Black / White
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Hunting heritage
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors
    • Tendency to bite

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Karjalankarhukoira, Karelsk Bjornhund, KBD


This breed originated in Turkey.

Date Of Origin

The Karelian Bear dog came about in the 1800's.


The Karelian bear dog is believed to be descended from indigenous northern European dogs and was developed to hunt bear and elk, working alone rather that in packs. It is closely related to the Russo-European Laika. It is bred to harass the prey. It was nearly extinct after WW II, but the Finnish Kennel Club worked to restore the breed. Recently, the Karelian bear dog has been used in programs designed to deter bears from entering suburbs.


The Karelian bear dog is large and sturdy, slightly longer than it is tall. It has a large, triangular shaped head and its muzzle is short and thick. It has a large, black nose and small, brown eyes. The prick ears are medium sized and triangular. The tail is a natural bob or long and carried loosely over the back. It is double coated with harsh, medium length, straight hair that is longest at the neck, back, and rump. The coat is black and white.


The Karelian bear dog has a pronounced prey drive. It is fearless with large game and has an excellent nose. It is even tempered with people, even children, but often aggressive with other dogs. It will roam.


Originally an elk hunter, the KBD was bred to a more robust size so that it could be used for bear hunting. It will put a bear to flight or attack it with great pugnacity.

Health Concerns

none known

Additional Information

The Karelian requires an experienced, active owner in a rural home.
This breed will shed frequently. Daily brushing and regular professional grooming will reduce this inconvenience.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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