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12 Facts About the Karelian Bear Dog

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Is the Karelian Bear Dog the Right Breed for You?

Have you ever seen a Karelian Bear Dog? They are quite a sight! These dogs are incredibly agile and have an air of proud independence about them. If you’re interested in learning more about these animals, keep reading. You’ll find 12 facts about the Karelian Bear Dog that will amaze you.


1) The Karelian Bear Dog is an old breed, developed in the Middle Ages during the period when hunting with dogs was becoming common in Europe.

2) This breed has been around since at least 1407 AD when it was mentioned in a Swedish text about hunting, though there are some who contend that they were developed much earlier than that.

3) It is closely related to the other Scandinavian dog breeds, the Swedish Elkhound and Finnish Spitz. While these dogs look different than the Karelian Bear Dog, they are still closely related. They share ancestry with the now-extinct Komi dog.

4) The breed was very popular in Finland during the mid-20th century, but fell out of favor when hunting with dogs was outlawed in that country. Today, while uncommon in the United States, they are one of the top 10 dog breeds in Finland.

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5) The Karelian Bear Dog is used in the United States in many wildlife agencies states for bear control. The Wind River Bear Institute uses KBD’s to train bears to stay away from human-populated areas.

6) Though they are skilled hunters, the breed’s gentle nature makes them excellent family dogs as well. They are typically sensitive to human vocal tones and are very good at understanding the “feelings” behind the words.

7) The Karelian Bear Dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service which means their numbers are very small and they are considered a developing breed in the U.S. They were allowed to start competing in AKC events in 2008.

8) The Karelian Bear Dog called Karjalankarhukoira in Finland is most similar in personality and temperament to dog breeds such as the Alaskan Klee Kai, Mountain Cur and the Treeing Walker Coonhound.

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9) The Karelian Bear Dog is bred for hunting moose, elk and bear. Their skills are so refined that they have been able to hunt these powerful beasts successfully by themselves instead of being assisted by several hunters on horseback as was done in the past when they were used more widely.

10) In official AKC running competitions, the Karelian Bear Dog ran an average speed of 22.9 mph. The fasted speed recorded was 27.64 mph. These dogs have some wheels!

11) According to FCI Breed standard, the KBD’s coat may be “Black, may be dull or with nuances of brown. Most individuals have clearly defined white markings on the head, neck, chest, belly and the legs.”

12) Karelian Bear Dogs are an energetic, athletic breed who love to work. They were bred to be hunting dogs and may be aggressive toward other animals. Proper socialization at an early age can help with this trait.

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