Rather unknown in France, the Karelian bear dog is a Finnish dog that knows how to seduce by its good head and its independent character. Originally a hunting dog, he will find his place in your family, if you offer him enough exercise. It is the friend of the sportsmen par excellence!
The origins of the Karelian Bear Dog
Of Nordic origin, the bear dog comes from Karelia, a region of Finland located in the north of the country, on the border with Russia. Of the Spitz family, it is an ancient breed of hunting dogs discovered in the era of the Vikings. Their breeding only began in 1935 when their purity was confirmed by the Finnish Kennel Club, which gave them their current name for political reasons. At that time, Karelia belonged to Finland and Russia. The Finns did not want to appropriate the breed, but the Russians decided to recognize only breeds coming exclusively from Russia and chose to recognize another breed, the Karelian Laika, the perfect twin of the Karelian Bear Dog.
The first specimens were registered in the stud book in 1946. The Karelian bear dog was used to hunt small furry animals, such as squirrels or martens, but also larger animals like wolves, moose or bears. It has also contributed to the regulation of the bear population in the American national parks.
The character of the Karelian Bear Dog
The Karelian bear dog has only one master. Ultra faithful, it may be exclusive with its master, to the point of becoming anxious in case of separation, but it remains a companion for the whole family, it supports well the children when rules are well set up. The cohabitation with other dogs and/or animals is not advised. Its ancient hunting instincts make the bear dog an independent animal, ready to fight for its territory. It is very intelligent and a very good guardian. His eyesight is excellent and his sense of smell highly developed. When he hunts, he gives voice to warn his master. It is not aggressive towards humans, but it can kill another animal if it feels in danger or hungry.
It is a dog breed that needs a lot of exercise, made to work. This character trait can slow down a possible future master who would like to make a show animal out of it, which should be avoided at all costs. The Karelian Bear Dog is demanding, he will need mental and physical stimulation, and it will be necessary to propose him many activities.
The physique of the Karelian Bear Dog
The Karelian bear dog can be reminiscent of a panda, with its black and white colors and its bushy fur. The hair is stiff and thick, with a soft, fine and dense undercoat. Its tail is black with white tip, and forms a full arc that falls on the back or on the side. Its head is broad, rather conical in shape, with a marked stop and slightly tapered muzzle. Its eyes are of medium size, dark brown and oval. The ears are erect, pointed and inserted high. The jaws are strong with a perfect scissor bite.
He does not shed much. It is enough to brush it regularly to maintain its coat. Its body is longer than high, and robust. Its legs are straight, strong and powerful. The males measure between 54 and 60 cm at the withers for a weight between 25 and 28 kg, and the females measure between 49 and 55 cm for a weight of 17 to 22 kg. Its life expectancy is about 12 years.
The Karelian in everyday life at home
The Karelian bear dog is a very pleasant companion, if you take good care of it. It is an animal that requires a lot of stimulation. We have said it before, but it is a dog of one owner. He will of course get along perfectly with all the members of the family, including the children to whom you will have taken care to impose rules as for their behavior with the dog.
He will not like to live in an apartment where he might make damages by boredom. He needs a house with a garden, but that will not be enough for him. It is one thing to let off steam in the garden, but the Karelian bear dog needs several long walks a day. He is a sportsman, you have to be aware of that. His primitive hunting instinct pushes him to move a lot, he needs exercise to be happy. Idleness can create a state of anxiety in him and make him do mischief in your home. He will appreciate leisure activities such as canicross, agility, etc.. It will release his energy and socialize him, he needs it to be at ease in all environments.
The Karelian bear dog is not suitable for the elderly, nor for sedentary people. And cats are not his friends.
When it comes to food, he will need kibble for active dogs that perfectly meets his energy needs.
What you must remember! The Karelian bear dog is a hunter, he needs a lot of space and movement. It cannot live in an apartment and must have daily physical activities. It is an animal with an independent character that guards its territory well. It does not appreciate the company of other animals. It is however an endearing companion who will bring you much joy and affection throughout his life with you.