Karelian Bear Dog/Karjalankarhukoira

A Brave Finnish Hunter

From the cold wilderness of Finland comes the Björnhunden, a breed that is deeply rooted in its country's history and culture. The bear dog, more formally known as the Karelian bear dog, is a spitz type and a skilled hunting and working breed, primarily used to hunt everything from small game to larger predators such as bears and lynx. Its fearless nature, speed and endurance make it an unbeatable hunter.


The bear dog's origins can be traced back to Karelia, a region that is today shared between Finland and Russia. The breed was developed by the local hunters and farmers who needed a dog that could hunt and protect them from predators. This led to a dog with a strong survival instinct and the ability to hunt in the harshest climatic conditions.

Traits and temperament

The bear dog is known for its brave and persistent temperament. They are fearless and independent, but also very loyal to their family. They are awake and alert, always ready to protect their home and family. Despite their tough exterior, they are known to be loving and devoted pets, but they can be reserved around strangers.


The bear dog is a medium-sized breed, with males measuring between 54 and 60 cm and bitches between 49 and 55 cm. They weigh on average between 20 and 25 kg.

Appearance and coat

The bear dog's coat is double, with a dense undercoat and a rough topcoat that protects them from the cold climate. The coat is usually black, sometimes with white markings.

How much fur does a bear dog shed?

Like many other spitz breeds, the Björnhunden sheds quite a lot, especially during the shedding seasons in spring and autumn. Regular brushing is necessary to manage shedding and keep the coat healthy and clean.

Is Björnhund family friendly?

Despite their brave and independent temperament, Bear Dogs can be very family friendly. They are loyal and loving to their family, and can get along well with children. However, they can be reserved towards strangers, and early and continued socialization is crucial.

How much exercise does a bear dog require?

As an active and energetic breed, the Björnhunden requires a lot of exercise. Daily long walks, play and mental stimulation are necessary to keep them happy and healthy.

Procurement of a bear dog

Acquiring a Björnhund requires time, commitment and understanding of the breed's needs. Potential owners should be ready to give them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and be prepared to handle a dog that can be reserved around strangers. A Bearhound can be a wonderful companion for the right family, but they are not the right breed for everyone.