Karelian Bear Dog
Do you have the lifestyle and assertive personality to work with the Karelian Bear Dog? Does the uniqueness of this breed intrigue you? If yes, we highly recommend you learn as much as you can about this breed, and make sure your lifestyle will meet their needs.
Country of Origin for the Karelian Bear Dog
I know, not a typical breed you would expect to see in my series, but as I get further into the world of purebreds, this particular breed really peaked my interest. Just like their name, it is pretty easy to figure out the job of the Karelian Bear Dog. But, it isn't just bear these dogs hunt, they also hunt elk and other large game. Karelia, a northern area of Europe had many big-game hunting dogs, the Karelian Bear Dog came with the some of the first settlers to Finland over a thousand years ago.
This is a very old breed, and rare breed. The breed almost became extinct after World War II. Enthusiast of the this breed were determined to save the Karelian Bear Dog, and modern Karelian Bear Dogs can be traced back to the original 40 Karelian Bear Dog's that were found and saved after WWII.
How The Karelian Bear Dog is Helping National Parks
Making headlines in the news, working with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Karelian Bear Dog is being used to control the bears at Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and many others.
The Karelian is used to help bring out a bear's natural fear towards humans, called "hard releases." This technique is using the dog's instinctively natural state of barking and lunging to chase after the bear nipping at their behind. This technique frightens the bears enough to not want to come back to those areas where the bear was trapped.
This method is often used to help control bears in suburban areas as well.
Karelian Bear Dog is NOT Recommended as a Household Pet
This purebred is not one that is recommended for a family pet. The Karelian Bear Dog was bred to have a very tenacious personality. They are intelligent, independent, extremely active, and physically powerful.
They are known to be loyal, social, and can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. They have a natural and strong work ethic. If not given a proper job, they will cause havoc such as, barking excessively, digging to escape, and climbing over fences with ease.
Karelian Bear Dog's require lots of socialization and positive training, but even with that, this breed can be strong-headed and will not respond to a family that lacks a strong leadership role. Passive personalities need not apply for this breed.
This breed is very protective over their family, and will kindly alert of visitors, but is not aggressive. They will do everything in their power to protect their family if the need arises.
Grooming is minimal for this breed, only requiring to be combed out during the shedding season. They typically do not have a strong doggy odor either.
Dog to Dog Aggression is Common Amongst this Breed
Dog to dog aggression issues are very common with the Karelian Bear Dog. If they feel threatened by another animal (especially another dog), they will not hesitate to kill.
Even with proper socialization at a young age, the Karelian Bear Dog might not accept other dogs very well.
Although the Karelian Bear Dog works very well alone, if paired with another Karelian Bear Dog, they will happily run off to hunt together. When hunting bear, they are often used in pairs. They work together cornering, and forcing the bear to climb a tree.
Don't even think about Doggy Daycare for the Karelian Bear Dog. It just isn't an option to consider.
City Living? Absolutely NOT!
City living is out of the question for this breed. Even with a fenced in-yard, there is no guarantee the Karelian will remain confined. When bored, they will find a way to escape.
This is a high energy breed, which will require exercise, and proper stimulation (mentally and physically) at least 5 times a day for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. A walk, although perfect for many other breeds, is not enough for the Karelian Bear Dog.
Running along a bicycle, jogging partner, and hiking are all exercises that the Karelian Bear Dog will enjoy several times throughout the day.
A Great Hunting Dog, Just Not Meant for the Average Family
The Karelian Bear Dog is a healthy breed overall, with a lifespan of 10-12 years.
Known for their fantastic hunting skills, the breed, in general, just doesn't look good on paper as a pet for the average family. They require extensive exercise, extra socialization, and positive training techniques. A Karelian Bear Dog is truly happy when doing what they were bred for, hunting big game.
I do not recommend this breed for a family, however, if you choose to want a Karelian Bear Dog, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe