Tahltan Bear Dog, also known as Chien d’ours de Tahltan or just Tahltan, was a hunting breed of dogs that is unfortunately extinct now. Though they were small-sized, they helped hunters in hunting animals like bears, large cats, elks, beavers, and porcupines. They were also widely used as watchdogs.

The Tahltan Bear Dog’ used to have a fox-like body along with with a tapered snout, thick paws, a fluffy and medium-sized tail. They were comparatively smaller than other hunting breeds and their owners often used to carry them in pouches. They had an average-sized head and straight pointed ears.

Origin & History

The Tahltan bear dogs were originated in the Pacific Northwest territories Canada where they were raised by the native Tahltan Indians. They descended from the lines of Pariah and Spitz breeds and were always centralize in the cold regions of Southern Yukon and British Columbia.

Bred and raised for hunting all kinds of animals, especially bears, the Tahltan dogs used to confuse or surround the animals until the hunters came close enough to strike them. Though they were small in terms of size, they were very vicious when in a pack. Eating small types of birds, fish, and meat was their usual diet and they thrived in such extreme cold.

How Did Tahltan Bear Dog Become Extinct?

When European explorers entered and started residing in the regions of Southern Yukon and British Columbia, they brought different kinds of other dogs for hunting games. As the flow of the explorers and their dogs started increasing, the numbers of the Tahltan bear dogs gradually started decreasing.

Two Tahltan Bear Dogs with sergeant John Blakiston Gray.
Picture Courtesy: BC Archives

And as the Tahltan dogs’ number declined, breeders stopped breeding them as they were getting replaced by other dog breeds. Though there haven’t been records of any living dogs of the breed past 1970, few people claim that a group of breeding specialists’ effort has helped this breed survive till now. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) has already revoked its recognition of this breed declaring it to be extinct.

Temperament, Behavior, & Personality

The Tahltan Bear Dogs used to have very courageous, kind, and affectionate temperature. They were brave enough to face and scare a bear although they were small in size. They protected their owner’s house and their livestock while herding.

Apart from being a vicious hunting dog, Tahltan bear dogs were really kind and friendly with other smaller pet animals and humans. They were so attached to their owners that they would even share the bed with them. They would even adjust in a small tent if they were with their loved ones.

Was Tahltan Bear Dog Child-Friendly?

As the Tahltan dogs were used for hunting, they weren’t usually considered good for families with children. Though they were considered playful, they weren’t suited well for kids as they might show up their primitive hunting skills during play. And keeping the breed’s small size aside, it still was a vicious hunting dog. Therefore, these dogs probably weren’t much child-friendly.

Tahltan Bear Dogs were known for being vicious hunters.
Image Source: EasyPetMD


  • Tahltan Bear Dog was one of the smallest and lightest dog breeds as their height and body mass used to be somewhere that of Chihuahua‘s.
  • It was also known as Tahltan or Chien d’ours de Tahltan .
  • They couldn’t adapt in hot regions well as they were centralized in the remote and mountainous areas of the Southern Yukon and British Columbia.
  • The Tahltan Bear Dogs were reported to be extinct from the 60s.


The Canadian dog breed was found in the following colors:

  • Black Fur with White Markings
  • Solid Grey
  • Black, White & Grey mixed


Height: The height of the Tahltan Bear Dog ranged between 12 and 15 inches (30-38 cm).

Weight: The Tahltan Bear Dog used to weigh between 8 and 20 pounds (4 to 9 kg).

Breed Similar to Tahltan Bear Dog

Visit Doglime for more information about extinct dog breeds.