Karelian Bear Dog



The Komi dog, also called the dog of Zyrians, is considered to be the origin of the breed. However, the basic stock dogs originated from the Lagoda’s Karelia, Olonets and Russian Karelia, where they were used for all different types of game hunting. The breeding was started in 1936 with the goal to create a sturdy dog which barks at big game. Then it was agreed that the name of the breed is Karelian Bear Dog. The first standard was established in 1945. The first dogs were registered in 1946. Today the breed is common in Finland. 1.

General Appearance

Medium sized spitz breed with dense, profuse coat. Robust conformation with strong built.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The length of the body is only slightly longer than the height at the withers. The depth of the body is about the half of the height at the withers. The ratio between muzzle and skull is approximately 2 : 3. The length of the skull is about the same as its breadth and depth.

Skin is tight overall without wrinkles.
The outer coat is harsh and straight. On the neck, back and backside of the upper thighs longer than elsewhere. Undercoat is soft and dense.
Colour: 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.

Eyes are rather small, slightly oval. Brown of different shades. The expression is alert and fiery.

Ears are erect, set rather high, medium sized with slightly rounded tips.

Tail is set high, of medium length, curved over the back, the tip of the tail touching the body on either side or the back. A natural bobtail is permitted and is of equal value to a natural long tail. 1.


Males: 54–60 cm, females 49–55 cm.
Ideal height: males 57 cm and females 52 cm.
Weight: Ideal weight males 25– 28 kg and females 17–20 kg. 1.


Eager hunter; very independent, yet works co-operatively to game, marking game by barking. The senses, especially of smell, are sharp, thus the breed is suitable for big game hunting. 1.

Very good sense of direction. Balanced, courageous and persistent. Highly developed spirit for game. Very self-confident, may be territorial towards other males, but never aggressive towards people. Slightly reserved. 1.


Your Karelian is playful, friendly and outgoing. Meaning, if you want a Karelian Bear dog then waking up early in the morning and regular evening walks will be your part of the daily routine. They are happy breed when they spend enough time playing and hunting. 2.

To sum up, the native dogs of Finland, Karelian Bear Dogs can be good family dogs if properly raised and trained. The behaviour depends upon how you raise them. Treat your dog with lots of affection and you will receive the same back to you. 2.

As the Karelian Bear Dog is energetic, very independent and a natural hunter, they can be difficult to train, so early socialisation and obedience training is essential. 


1. FCI Standard No 48

2. Doglime


In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about the Karelian Bear Dog you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your state controlling body for purebred dogs and they will be able to give you more information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Karelian Bear Dog and its needs and whether this breed would indeed suit your lifestyle.