Karelian Bear Dog.jpg
Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Finland
Weight Males: 55-62 pounds. Females: 37-44 pounds.
Height Males: 21-24 inches. Females: 19-22 inches.
Other Name(s) Carelina Bear Dog, Karjalankarhukoira
Breed Type Pure
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Karelian Bear Dog

Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Finland
Weight Males: 55-62 pounds. Females: 37-44 pounds.
Height Males: 21-24 inches. Females: 19-22 inches.
Other Name(s) Carelina Bear Dog, Karjalankarhukoira
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The territory of Karelia, located in Northern Europe, spans parts of Russia and Finland. Throughout this land, as well as surrounding Northeastern Europe, ancient spitz-like hunting dogs have been found since the Neolithic period. It is believed that these ancient dogs were the modern-day ancestors of today’s Laika dogs and the Karelian bear dogs.

Like the Laikas, the Karelian bear dog is a hunting Nordic spitz type. He is used to hunt a variety of game, ranging from moose to squirrel, but most commonly elk and bear. When hunting larger animals, the dogs would be paired up and released, once a bear or other large and dangerous animal was cornered, the dogs would bark and lunge ferociously, distracting the animal and allowing the hunter to dispatch the quarry.

Although the dog comes from an ancient lineage, the standard was not formalized and set until the 1940s. While he is still considered fairly rare today, his incredible skills have been utilized for bear control throughout many places outside of his native Finland, including areas of the United States that include Yosemite and Glacier National Park.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat long mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, forming a triangular, or wedge-shape when viewed from the front. The topskull is moderately broad with the widest point located just between the ears. It is approximately equal in length and width. In profile, it is slightly arched. The median furrow is slightly visible. The superciliary arches are slightly developed. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size and oval to almond in shape, may be obliquely set, and brown to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well fitted and well pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set fairly high on the skull, and well above the level of the eyes. They are firmly erect with slightly rounded tips. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad, yet lean. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight and level. It tapers slightly from the broad base toward the nose, forming a wedge-shape, and is slightly pointed. Upper and lower jaws are well developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well pigmented and black. The nostrils are well opened.
Neck: Solid, muscular, athletic, powerful, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined nor heavy and cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed without being excessively pronounced.
Body: Solid, muscular, athletic, powerful, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined nor heavy and cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. Dense hair covers the sides and middle of toes.
Tail: Set somewhat high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, in a moderate curl with the tip touching the body to either side or the back. It should never be held tucked against the abdomen. In repose, it appears moderately long, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. A natural bobbed tail is equally permissible, with preference given to neither tail type.
Movement: Powerful, smooth, flowing gait with graceful movements, the movement is energetic, effortless, and efficient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Karelian bear dog is a true hunting dog with a strong desire to track and apprehend game. When allowed to work out his natural talents, instincts, and drives, he is a devoted companion. However, experienced KBD handlers understand that these dogs are intelligent, independent thinkers. They are known to be aloof toward strangers and are known to be aggressive towards other dogs, especially those of the same sex. For this reason, KBDs are recommended for experienced working homes that will allow them to explore and enjoy their natural instincts.
Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
Click Here to View Full Standard

Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds

Proportions: Slightly off-square to somewhat rectangular in proportions, with the length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being equal to the height at the withers. The ideal body-height-to-length ratio is approximately 1:1 to 5:4. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together and clean, yet strong and robust in structure and sturdy in bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat long mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, forming a triangular, or wedge-shape when viewed from the front. The topskull is moderately broad with the widest point located just between the ears. It is approximately equal in length and width. In profile, it is slightly arched. The median furrow is slightly visible. The superciliary arches are slightly developed. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Keen, intent.
Stop: The stop is somewhat long and gradually sloped, rather than pronounced.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 3:2, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad, yet lean. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight and level. It tapers slightly from the broad base toward the nose, forming a wedge-shape, and is slightly pointed. Upper and lower jaws are well developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are well pigmented, clean, and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws
Nose: The nose is well pigmented and black. The nostrils are well opened.
Cheeks: The zygomatic arches are well developed and cheeks are smoothly, yet powerfully, muscled.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level or scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size and oval to almond in shape, may be obliquely set, and brown to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well fitted and well pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set fairly high on the skull, and well above the level of the eyes. They are firmly erect with slightly rounded tips. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.

Body and Tail

General Description: Solid, muscular, athletic, powerful, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined nor heavy and cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Solid, muscular, athletic, powerful, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined nor heavy and cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed without being excessively pronounced.
Topline: Straight and level from well-defined withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, short, and flat and level or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Broad, fairly long, and gently sloped.
Underline: Moderate tuck-up present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set somewhat high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, in a moderate curl with the tip touching the body to either side or the back. It should never be held tucked against the abdomen. In repose, it appears moderately long, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. A natural bobbed tail is equally permissible, with preference given to neither tail type.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are long and approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The distance from the withers to the brisket may be equal to, or just less than, the distance from the elbows to the ground.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of sturdy bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are long, equal in length, strong, of sturdy bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. Dense hair covers the sides and middle of toes.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Dense, protective, weather-resistant double coat. Outer coat is harsh, medium-short, smooth, and stand-offish to semi-standoffish. It is shorter on the face, forehead, and lower limbs, while being denser, harsher, and somewhat longer on the cheeks, neck, shoulders, chest (forming a ruff), body, back of the upper limbs, and tail (giving a somewhat brushed appearance). The toes are protected by a thick growth of hair. The undercoat is soft, dense, and supportive.
Coat Color or Pattern: Black or brownish black, all with or without clear, well-defined Irish piebald markings (white markings on the head, neck, chest, and limbs.)

Movement

Powerful, smooth, flowing gait with graceful movements, the movement is energetic, effortless, and efficient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Karelian bear dog is a true hunting dog with a strong desire to track and apprehend game. When allowed to work out his natural talents, instincts, and drives, he is a devoted companion. However, experienced KBD handlers understand that these dogs are intelligent, independent thinkers. They are known to be aloof toward strangers and are known to be aggressive towards other dogs, especially those of the same sex. For this reason, KBDs are recommended for experienced working homes that will allow them to explore and enjoy their natural instincts. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.