|Country of origin||Finland|
The dog should be in excellent physical condition. Males stand 54 to 60 cm (22 to 24 inches) at the withers, while females stand significantly shorter at 49 to 55 cm (19 to 22 inches).
The breed has a striking coat of straight, stiff guard hairs and a fine, soft, but thick undercoat. There should be no curl in the hair at all. The colour must be black with white markings. Often the jet black hair is slightly tinted with brownish highlights on the ends giving it an iridescent quality. Preferably the color percentage is around 70% black and 30% white. The bushy tail curls in a circle over the back in a ring and has a white tip. It falls gently onto the dog's back or to one side. Purebred KBD do not have a sickle-shaped tail. It must curve into a circle.
According to archeological records, dogs very similar to the modern Russo-European Laika_(dog_breed) and the Karelian Bear Dog existed in northeastern Europe and Scandinavia since Neolithic times. The breed standard for Karelians and Laikas today calls for a black-and-white marked dog, but originally the breed included individuals with coats of wolf gray of various shades, red coats like the standard spitz, and black-and-tan specimens as well.
The Karelian Bear Dog was used mainly for hunting small fur-bearing animals, such as squirrels and marten. Like the Norwegian Elkhound, the Karelian Bear Dog was also used in hunting moose, lynx, wolf and, as its name would suggest, hunting the Eurasian brown bear (a bear species as large and aggressive as the American Grizzly). In hunting bear, at least a pair of Bear Dogs would be used to harry the animal, barking loudly, in order to distract the bear while the human hunter came in for the kill. Karelian Bear Dogs are being used today for bear control at Yosemite and Glacier National Parks and in Alaska in the United States
They are often naturally aggressive towards other dogs. They have been bred to be very independent as bear dogs should be able to hunt for hours at a time without any contact with its master.
Proper socialization and training is necessary due to their disposition.
They must always hunt only with their master.
They are silent but tenacious hunters and alert only when they have the prey at bay. They will keep it there by barking in a very high, fast bark and running back and forth or around the animal until the master comes and kills it. They have been known to hold an animal at bay a very long time. If a bear tries to leave, the dog will nip at it on the backside and aggravate it to keep it from running away.
They are very loyal to their master and love their people. For this reason, they must be around them. They love to play but should be watched for around small children because of their size and bear-killing abilities. It is very unusual for a KBD to bite a human but they will kill another animal if they feel threatened. If two or more live together, there is a hierarchy in the pack much like wolves. One will be the alpha dog, or leader, and the others will usually defer to him or her.
This is not a dog that can be tied to a lead outside, kept in an apartment, or never worked with. They are very social, outside hunting dogs and they need plenty of space to run free and get lots of exercise. If they get bored, they will dig up the yard or try to get out to go hunting. These traits tend to prevent the breed from becoming popular companion dogs.
They are very territorial and will alert their master to the presence of any strangers or other animals nearby that they do not know.