Karelian Bear Dog Personality And Information

The Karelian Bear Dog (KBD) or Karelsk Björnhund is a Spitz type hound originating from Finland. There in his homeland, where people call him Karjalankarhukoira, he has become a national treasure in recent years. KBD was developed from now extinct Karelian Bear Laika, just like the Russo-European Laika. These two breeds are actually the closest relatives and both belong to the Nordic Hunting Dogs group in the class of primitive dog breeds. So, what’s like this breed in general? It is a medium sized dog used for big-game hunting – moose, bear, wolf, wild boar, etc. The dog, as its main “job” demands, has a sturdy body, superb natural instincts, and he’s very resilient. Also, he is fearsome, instinctive, and loyal, which makes him an ideal companion for every hunter. Karelian Bear Dog life expectancy is around 10 and 12 years.

Karelsk Björnhund Close And Personal

Even though his size might fool you, be sure that this dog can and will confront a bear if hunter needs protection, hence such name. Actually, it is no wonder he’s capable of such brave feat, if we consider that some of the other main characteristics of Karelian Bear Dog are agility, intelligence, speed, determination, alertness, and persistence. You got the picture, he is a true powerhouse! However, his brave and fearsome nature has its other, not so pleasant side. He can be quite aggressive with other dogs, especially with those of the same sex. When you add that he is very territorial, that he will certainly defend yours, pardon, his property, the problem with neighboring dogs might be quite serious. Besides, KBD has a strong prey drive, so you can guess he is dangerous for cats and other small animals.

Karelian Bear Dog breed is a national treasure in Finland

Strong, agile, beautiful!

The temperament of individual Karelian Bear Dogs may vary. They need a lot of direction and work to be well mannered. This is the reason they are not as good family companions as they might seem. Don’t get me wrong, they like to be in the company and will respect all members of the household, but they usually get attached to their primary owner and submit to him/her only. When it comes to kids, these dogs can be nice and playful, but won’t tolerate any mistreatment. Some children tend to be rude and nasty with their dogs, which can be a real problem in this case. It is advisable that you look after your kids while they’re playing with this buddy. Also, it is recommended to not raise two Karelian Bear Dogs simultaneously since they will bond each other and ignore the owner.

The Karelian Bear Dog is also a very territorial and protective dog, who is quite suspicious and reserved with strangers. No wonder this is an excellent watchdog and guarding dog. However, you have to be aware that KBD can be aggressive towards them and won’t hesitate to confront them if they try to enter your property. This is why it is important that you put a proper warning on your front gate. These dogs are known as silent hunters – they track down an animal till the moment they spot it. Then, they keep it at bay with fast moves and loud barking. However, this doesn’t mean that they are usually quite dogs. On the contrary, they tend to bark as much as other dogs, especially, if there’s anything suspicious going on nearby. Fortunately, they are not prone to excessive barking, except in some rare cases.

The Karelian Bear Dog is highly energetic, so the daily exercises are necessary in order to be sure he won’t do some nasty things out of pure boredom. Now, imagine his energy and strength combined with his high intelligence and independence. Of course, it is more than obvious that this buddy demands an experienced dog owner to handle him properly. And, even if you have experience working with other dogs, be warned, he will definitely test you to the limits! However, when you finally get along with this incredible dog, you’ll have a dedicated friend and tireless working machine. He will definitely make you happy for so many reasons, and I’m sure you will be one very proud owner. Now, let us take a look at his main physical characteristics.

Physical Characteristics Of A Karelian Bear Dog Breed

The Karelian Bear Dog is a fierce and sturdy breed in every way. His strong and compact body is covered with medium-length double coat, which has a longer, stiff outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. The main KBD color is black, which can be lone (a copper tint) or in a combination with white motives on stomach, chest, legs, top of tail, neck and head. Some dogs can have black speckles on white, but that is considered a fault. They shed a lot, especially in the spring and fall, so the regular grooming is a must. KBD has a wedge-shaped, but slightly rounded head with triangular, erect ears, black nose and medium-length muzzle with strong jaws. Karelsk Björnhund has the yellowish, almond-shaped eyes with a look of a true smart-ass, which he actually is :)

The Karelian Bear Dog‘s body composition is quite reminiscent of other Nordic Spitz breeds. The back is straight and firm. He is a bit longer than he is tall in shoulders. Similar to other primitive dogs, the KBD’s tail is long and curved in a circle atop his back. The fur on it is a bit longer as well as on the buttocks, stomach and hind legs. Speaking of legs, the front legs are strong and straight, while the hind are slightly angled back and positioned wide. They are perfectly mobile and well adapted for a fast, impulsive movement if necessary. The chest is wide and deep, giving him strong composure. When you closely examine all of his physical characteristics, it is quite obvious why Karjalankarhukoira is such a strong and agile creature. Now, let’s check some abilities, which makes this breed so special.

Karelian Bear Dog Size And Weight

Male
– Height between 21 and 24 inches (54–60 cm)
– Weight between 45 and 52 pounds (20,5–23,5 kg)
Female
– Height between 19 and 22 inches (49–55 cm)
– Weight between 44 and 50,5 pounds (20–23 kg)

KBD can be successfully used in the hunt on big game

Fighting a bear? No problem :)

Highly Intelligent Working Dog

The Karelian Dog is a multipurpose working dog. Apart from being a great and robust hound, he can equally well be used for guarding or even herding if trained the right way. No matter which task you choose for your KBD, know that he will be happier while working than lying. That is in his nature, otherwise he gets bored and nasty. He possesses this working habit primarily thanks to his incredible intelligence. He will sit down, look you in the eyes, and hear all you have to say about the mission you have for him. The moment you finish with the instructions, he will immediately start accomplishing his duty. Another of his qualities in this case is his persistence. He won’t stop at any cost until the job is done! No wonder he will fight a bear if need be. So, you see, Karelsk Björnhund is simply a wonderful breed!

Karjalankarhukoira’s Incredible Athleticism

The Karelian Bear Dog agility is just outstanding! I’m sure you’ll scratch your head in awe after you see what this buddy is capable of doing. You will witness all sorts of weird and unexpected movements and direction changes. KBD can easily jump very high out of calm, lazy stance. So, yeah, I warned you, don’t let that scare you :) He can even climb a tree if he thinks is necessary. On top of that he possesses incredible quickness. Literally, nothing can escape this extremely athletic fur ball. As you can see by the main characteristics of Karelian Bear Dog, this is a fearsome breed with a huge heart. Yeah, the price of this dog is quite large in the USA (more than 1.000$), but if you decide to buy one, be sure that, with the proper training and socialization, you will have the best possible dog in so many ways.

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11 thoughts on “Karelian Bear Dog Personality And Information

  1. Alicia

    Karelians actually are not great family dogs and aren’t recommended for homes with children. This is because of the high prey drive. And they aren’t rare barkers, they’ll bark just like any other dog, they’re silent hunters because they won’t bark until their prey is in a good position for the hunter to get.

    Reply
    • PrimitiveDogs Team

      I agree with the majority of your comment, but the temperament of individual dogs may vary. Also, with that “rarely bark”, I wanted to say that these dogs aren’t prone to excessive barking. But, the good thing about working on an website is that I can correct things done wrong :) Honestly, I don’t have my own Karelian Bear Dog and the text was written upon the experiences of other people. If you are an owner, your opinion is certainly very welcome and I would greatly appreciate if you share it with us all! And will gladly include it in this post. Best regards!

      Reply
      • Alicia

        It would be good to include that the temperament may vary, I’m actually saving up to get a Karelian, and have been researching and talking to owners. Generally they are not good family dogs because they have a high prey drive and need a lot of direction. I just want to make sure no one gets one and thinks they can just have a house pet like a golden retriever. This is a highly intelligent breed who needs a job to do or they will become destructive and/or aggressive. Which is really unfortunate because they then end up in shelters. :/ They generally bond with one person, which is why is highly recommended to not raise two of them together because they will bond with each other and not the owner. Those were the only issues I had though, everything else is 100% spot on! :)

        Reply
        • Primitivedogs Team Post author

          Thank you so much for your contribution! I will gladly include your kind suggestions in this post, I’m actually already working on it :) Just need some time to write it the best possible way to smoothly tie into the whole post….. Thank you once more for your contribution, it is greatly appreciated! :)

          Reply
  2. Patrick Dom

    I own a Karelian, pure bred, looks very similar to one in picture fighting bear. Mostly black, white chest, white paws. He is an awesome family dog and incredibly friendly on the trail with other people, including little kids. In fact, he just adores little kids. He is not so friendly with other male dogs, as Karelians are ALPHA animals. Takes a long time to train them to behave with other dogs on the trail. I live in Colorado, and he has chased bears out of our yard and in the wilderness. They are truly unbelievably athletic and quick, and remind me of a professional running back in their ability to weave and fake and feint. Truly beautiful and magnificent creatures, but very stubborn and like to escape and run the neighborhood, even when exercised. They are hunting dogs and hunting is always on their mind. Hardly ever bark, mostly only when there is a bear in the yard. If you get one you should be an experienced dog owner who is able to be alpha by leadership abilities, not by force. They do not respect negative reinforcement and only respond to positive reinforcement. They do not follow commands, unless there is something in it for them or they have been well trained. You need to treat them with respect and they will respect you. You have to work to get the bond and to keep the bond. It is like having a partnership. More wolfish and not so much doggie. In fact, other dogs on the trail will sometimes react to him as if he is a wild animal. Anyway, a dog you will admire for his beauty, strength, agility and intelligence, but not one that will be very submissive. Kind of like owning a wolf in that sense. Probably not a breed for most owners.

    Reply
    • Primitivedogs Team Post author

      Thank you for your contribution, very interesting read. Honestly, I am amazed by Karelian Bear Dog, reminds me of a mixed dog I had when still a boy. Hope one day I’ll be able to have one of my own because this is simply incredible breed! And I really envy you :)

      Reply
    • PrimitiveDogs Team

      Thank you for your contribution, very interesting read. Honestly, I am amazed by Karelian Bear Dog, reminds me of a mixed dog I had when still a boy. Hope one day I’ll be able to have one of my own because this is simply incredible breed! And I really envy you :)

      Reply
  3. Li-an

    I have two KBDs (for my work in silviculture), and I would not recommend them for family pets. They are lovely and smart but very food dominant. And the prey drive is strong. I have seen the female snatch swallows in flight, she is that fast, her timing is that good. You HAVE to be the boss with these dogs and they do want a strong alpha. They love to understand what it is you want. But they are so primitive. If you don’t keep up the training they will ignore you. But they sure do love to understand you.

    I find in my work, the male is lazy and will hang around at the truck while the female is constantly with me. Others I know say the same of their KBDs so if you just want a hunting companion get a male, but if you want serious hardcore bear dog get a female.

    Reply
  4. LAWD

    I have two KBDs (for my work in silviculture), and I would not recommend them for family pets. They are lovely and smart but very food dominant. And the prey drive is strong. I have seen the female snatch swallows in flight, she is that fast, her timing is that good. You HAVE to be the boss with these dogs and they do want a strong alpha. They love to understand what it is you want. But they are so primitive. If you don’t keep up the training they will ignore you. But they sure do love to understand you.

    I find in my work, the male is lazy and will hang around at the truck while the female is constantly with me. Others I know say the same of their KBDs so if you just want a hunting companion get a male, but if you want serious hardcore bear dog get a female.

    Reply
    • PrimitiveDogs Team

      Hm, just the way I imagined these dogs would be like to own…Except the part about females and males. Something like Lions, females are workers, males are just protectors. Quite amusing!

      Reply
  5. Han

    I rescued a 3 year old KBD from Arkansas in September. She was badly abused and is generally scared of strange adults. But she LOVES kids and our 8 month old niece. We weren’t expecting that and makes us feel better for when we start our own family. She’s mostly indifferent to our 2 cats and occasionally gives and receives head rubs from one of them. She’s super bonded to me. We live in New England and we go out for daily 3 mile walks. We had our first snowfall this AM and while she hated it at first, but then it was hard to get her back inside once she started enjoying it. We are lucky enough to live a quarter of a mile from a walking preserve, so we get some great exercise in considering we don’t hunt. We have not trained her, but she came with basic house manners and has never wet in the house. She sits and comes. We visit my aunt’s horse farm and she goes over the lower jumps with ease, so I made some in our backyard and she enjoys hopping over them. There’s a local, positive-reinforcement training facility nearby with drop-in agility classes so I plan on getting her into those. She’s very bright. She’s fed twice a day, home cooked in AM and Nulo in PM. She does very well at the dog park with both humans and other dogs, but she’s relatively timid when people come into the house. She does better if she’s out in the front yard to meet and greet. She certainly has a lot of KBD characteristics in her demeanor, but isn’t too destructive when she’s bored and she’s awesome with kids.

    Reply

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