AKC Group: Working
In northern Europe there used to be an area known as Karelia where tough, big-game hunting canines roamed. The Karelian Bear Dog resembles the Russo-European Laika. Modern Karelians can be traced back to 40 dogs saved after World War II. Karelians are used to hunt buck, wild boar and moose. He is fearless and frequently fights wolves and bears (therefore he makes a great protector).
Size: 20 to 25 inches tall; 40 to 65 pounds
Color: Black and tan; solid black, gray, silver or red.
Life span: 12 to 15 years
Sensitive, independent, intelligent and energetic, the Karelian is a persistent, powerful dog. Very loyal, a Karelian does best with a more experienced, confident owner. Karelians may try to dominate other dogs and refuse to back down from any fight. They are affectionate towards people and will announce every guest’s arrival. A known guest to your Karelian will get an enthusiastic greeting. A stranger will not. Protective to the end, literally, of his life. A Karelian may do well with any other household pet especially when socialized properly. Despite their gigantic size, a Karelian has a small appetite. Training needs to be done with respect, but authority. Obedience and on-going socialization are the keys with a Karelian. He does not respond to harsh or heavy-handed tactics. Firmness, fairness and consistency is key.
Small ears are cocked and point slightly outwards. They are lined with dense fur to reduce frostbite. (They did come from northern Europe.) Their coat is short, straight, stiff and weather resistant. The undercoat is soft and dense. The thighs are covered in thick hair. A Karelian should be black with white markings on the head, neck, chest, abdomen and legs. The tail is long and curls over the back. Use a metal comb when your Karelian is shedding to remove the undercoat.