General Information

Dog NameKarelian Bear Dog
Other NamesKarjalankarhukoira
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypeSpitz
Breed ForHunting game
Country of OriginFinland

Physical And Size

Min Life Span11
Max Life Span13
Min Ideal Weight for male19
Max Ideal Weight for male22
Min Ideal Weight for female19
Max Ideal Weight for male22


Intelligent Rank
Affection Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability


TemperamentLoyal, Courageous, Energetic
Prey DriveYes
Fighting DogNo


Stranger FriendlyLow
Child FriendlyMedium
Cat FriendlyLow
Dog FriendlyLow
Office FriendlyLow
Apartment FriendlyLow
Senior Citizens FriendlyLow
Service DogLow
Search and Rescue DogLow
Biting PotentialMedium
Country of OriginFinland
Nicknames and Other NamesKarjalankarhukoira
Karelsk Björnhund
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupWorking Dog
Spitz Dogs
Bred ForHunting variety of animals
Recognized ByAKC, UKC, CKC, FCI
Life Span11-13 years
Ideal Weight44-49 pounds (male and female)
Ideal Height19-23.5 inches (male and female)
Fur TypeStraight, soft, thick undercoat
Common ColorsBlack
MarkingsWhite markings
AvailabilityModerately available
Suitable for ApartmentsNot suitable
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToFinnish Spitz

The Finnish Dog, Karelian Bear dog is Spitz-type dog with fluffy coats and curled tail. These breeds were originally bred to hunt wild boar, moose and wild bears.

Karelian Bear dogs, also known as Karjalankarhukoira are extremely loyal to their family. However, there are certain things you should know about their temperament, origin and why they were bred for.

History And Origin

Karelian Bear dog dates back to the Neolithic times thousand of years back. They were developed to hunt wild and big animals, who helped the first human settlers to survive by hunting.

The Karelian dogs are considered among the rarest breed but are still used to hunt elk and other wild animals in Scandinavia. Two Karelian Bear dogs will easily break down a giant bear.

The American Kennel Club does not fully recognizes the breed but are included in AKC Foundation Stock Service which helps to keep records of the breed’s linage.

Are Karelian Bear Dog Child Friendly?

Karelian Bear dogs are fairly good with children especially with those from its own family. They are highly energetic which makes playing fun for both dog and child. However, they should be kept an eye since they may loose self-control and become intense rough players.

Karelian Bear Dog Love Playing With Children.
Karelian Bear Dog Playing With Children. Image Source- karelianbeardogsnj.

The bear dogs are not really fond of new kids. They may not bark or scare the children but will remain suspicious until they aren’t introduced properly. They must not be the best dogs for children who are inexperienced and very young.

Behavior, Temperament And Personality

Karelian Bear Dogs are intelligent, energetic and intense with natural aggression and hunting instincts. Socialization should begin in an early age to avoid unacceptable behaviors like stubbornness and aggression.

Karelian is best for their families but dangerous to strangers. They will not allow any visitors in the house until and unless you make them sure that they are safe. These breeds are very protective towards their family and territory and will not even think twice before knocking any other animals.

Documentary on Karelian Bear Dog. Must Watch!

The Karelian Bear dogs are not always eager to sit between the pack. They will sometime become independent and think on their own but prefer staying with their master. They are likely to develop separation anxiety when left alone. Remember, alone dog means you will have a job waiting for you! If you know what I mean!

Training Your Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian were bred for hunting, which clearly means that they have enough stamina to spare. The breed needs at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise and running time in a fenced yard.

Karelian Bear Dog Training Session.
Training Karelian Bear Dog. Image Source- Missoulian.

Karjalankarhukoira is intelligent which makes training hard. They may become stubborn and independent at times and even more if they sense any lack of leadership.

Karelian Bear Dog tend to be aggressive towards other dogs which makes them the need for great socialization period. This breed should be sent to obedience classes and puppy kindergarten to socialize properly with other breeds to train them properly.

Fun Facts About Karelian Bear Dog

  • In the United States, the Karelian Bear Dogs are used at Yosemite and Glacier National Parks as well as in the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to control Bears.
  • In Finland, the Karelian is spelled as ‘Carelian’ and is called Karjalankarhukoira in Finnish.

Health Problems

General HealthHealthy
Common Health IssuesBaldness, Hip Dysplasia,
Dry Skin, Skin Irritation,
Pituitary Dwarfism, ental Problems, Obesity
Vaccination RequiredRabies, Canine Distemper,
Canine Parvovirus, Kennel Cough,
Canine Coronavirus, Canine Parainfluenza,
SheddingModerate Shedder
DroolingLow Drooler
GroomingAdvance Grooming Require
Weight Gain PotentialLow to Average
Separation AnxietyHigh Chance
AllergiesSkin Allergies
Diets and SupplementsProtein: 27%
Fat: 10%

Karelian Bear dogs are fairly healthy breed. However, minor issues like eye infections, hip dysplasia, and dental problems may occur. It is important to buy a Karelian from a reputable breed to avoid health issues. The average life span of Karelian Bear dog is 10-12 years.

What Is The Cost Of The Karelian Bear Puppies?

The cost of the Karelian Bear dog’s Puppy costs is anywhere between $1,000 – $2,000. The price varies depending on the quality of the breeders as well as the puppies.

Adorable Karelian Bear Dog Puppies
Karelian Bear Dog Puppies. Image Source- Rockin’ Jc Ranch

The Karelian Bear dog will give birth to an average of 4-8 puppies at a time.

Height And Weight

The Karelian reaches up to 19-23 inches. The average weight of the Karelian Bear dog is 45-50 pounds.

Color Patterns

The Karelian Bear Dog are found in three colors.

  • Black
  • White and Black
  • Black and Tan

Breeds Similar To Karelian Bear Dog

To sum up, confident, alert and brave are the words to describe a Karelian Bear dog. Raise them with proper care and affection and you will always have your back with your Karelian Bear dogs.

Visit Doglime For More Breed Information and their behavior and trainability.