The Karelian Bear Dog: A Finnish National Treasure

21 May, 2020
The Karelian Bear Dog, though it comes from a cold climate, has a very warm nature. It's affectionate, friendly, patient, and docile, making it the perfect pet for families with small children. 

The Karelian Bear Dog, also known as the Karjalankarhukoira or the Karelsk Björnhund, is a Finnish hunting dog. While it may not be a very well-known dog breed, it’s very characteristic of Nordic countriesToday, we want to tell you all about these beautiful and endearing animals.

Discover the Karelian Bear Dog of Finland

Origin and history

These dogs originate from Finland and, while some own them as pets, most choose to use them as hunting dogs. They possess several qualities that make them the perfect canine for the job. For example, they stand out for their agility, tenacity, and developed senses of sight and smell. What’s more, they have a great capacity for adapting to extreme temperatures, be they hot or cold.

Experts believe the Karelian Bear Dog to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the region. Its name originates from the fact that people didn’t want the animal to be known only as Finnish, since part of Karelia belonged to Russia when the breed appeared.

The physical characteristics of the Karelian Bear Dog

The physical characteristic that stands out most in these animals is its black fur with white spots in different areas of the body. This fur is semi-long and very abundant. Underneath this layer, the dogs have another inner layer that’s very soft and thick and protects them from cold temperatures.

These dogs are medium-sized, measuring some 21 to 24 inches at the withers, and have a strong and robust appearance. Their ears stand upright and have both straight and rounded parts. Their tails are medium and curls in the shape of a ring over their backs. On rare occasions, their tails possess the white spots that are so characteristic of the breed’s coat.

Their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs, but all four legs are straight and strong. Their muscular build makes them the ideal animal for hunting and other tasks that have to do with country life. And they’re especially suited to working in low temperatures.

The eyes of the Karelian Bear Dog are brown with a bit of a greenish hue. They’re very round and never deep-set. There’s a white line that runs from the top of the dog’s head down to its muzzle and then to the lower jaw and towards the neck.

The nature and temperament in the Karelian Bear Dog

This is a very agile, active, tenacious, and brave canine breed. Thanks to these characteristics and its developed senses of sight and smell, the Karelian Bear Dog is an excellent guard dog.

Karelians are very affectionate and friendly as well as patient and docile. Therefore, they’re great around children. However, they can be a bit stubborn and, therefore, require obedience training–professional training, if possible. This, along with proper socialization from the puppy stage makes these animals the perfect family pet.

Care and health

Karelian Bear Dogs are incredibly strong animals. In fact, they’re not prone to suffering any general health problems or cognitive diseases.

Their robustness gives them great resistance to fatigue. Therefore, they were used for the hard task of hunting under extreme environmental conditions. This includes freezing cold temperatures and a lot of snow.

Given their physical resistance and the fact that they’re very active, Karelians need plenty of daily exercise. What’s more, their coats require daily care and brushing in order to eliminate dead cells and allow for skin renewal.

Despite their great strength, it’s important to hydrate their noses and the pads of their feet if they live in cold regions with snow. These are the most delicate areas of a dog’s body.

The Karelian Bear Dog may not be a well-known dog, but its calm and kind nature makes it the perfect companion. So, how about making a Karelian your next family pet?