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Karelian Bear Dog

Group: Non Sporting (Group 7)
Club: Non Sporting Dog Club of Victoria Inc (Group 7)
Contact: Mrs Paula Semmel
Phone: 9387 6918

Brief History

The Komi dog, also called the dog of Zyrians, is considered to be the origin of this breed and 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 barked at big game. Then it was agreed that the name for the breed would be Karelian Bear Dog. The first standard was established in 1945 and the first dogs were registered in 1946. Today the breed is common in Finland.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 12 to 14 years.


He is an eager hunter; very independent, yet works co-operatively to find game, marking it by barking. The senses, especially of smell, are sharp, thus the breed is suitable for big game hunting. This dog has a very good sense of direction. He is balanced, courageous and persistent, with a highly developed spirit for game. He is very self-confident, may be territorial towards other males but never aggressive towards people. Slightly reserved.

General Breed Description

Medium sized spitz with dense coat. Robust conformation with a strong build. Colour is 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.

Coat and Care requirements

Hair: Outer coat harsh and straight. On the neck, back and backside of the upper thighs longer than elsewhere. Undercoat soft and dense. Skin: Tight overall without wrinkles. Regular brushing and occasional bathing is required.


Height: Males 54 to 60cms, Females 49 to 55cms.   

Weight: Males 25 to 28kgs, Females 17 to 20kgs.


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders in is recommended you enquire about breed health and what health testing the breeder does. The Karelian Bear Dog is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Hip Dysplasia


He is more suitable to a larger property. Has a high hunting instinct and this must be considered for any owner.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:  

Registered Breeders

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