Aspen Valley Kennels

Breed Registries:

Note: The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.

** — The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.




Males: 21 1/4 to 23 1/2 inches (54-60 cm); Ideal height is 57 cms.
Females: 19 1/4 to 21 1/4 inches (49-54 cm); Ideal height is 52 cms


Males: 25 - 28 kgs.
Females: 17 - 20 kgs.

A Bit of History:

The Karelian Bear Dog (Karjalankarhukoira) is native to Karelia in Northern Europe which was once part of Finland. The Komi dog is considered to be the origin of the breed. For centuries, the breed with its keen sense of smell, has been used to hunt large game including moose, elk and bear.

The breed nearly died out in his native Finland until, in the 1930s, the Finnish Kennel Club undertook to restore the breed. The Finnish Kennel Club first registered the breed in 1946 and, today in Finland, he is one of the most highly regarded and among the top ten most common breeds. The Canadian Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1979 and the United Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1996. The breed has not yet gained American Kennel Club recognition but is accepted for recording under the AKC Foundation Stock Service Program.

Breed Profile:

The Karelian Bear Dog is a medium-sized member of the Spitz family of dogs. He is an extremely resourceful, intelligent and courageous hunter, and a true working dog that requires outdoor exercise and is happiest with a hunter or outdoorsman. The breed is primarily a hunting dog but, in his native Finland, he is also seen participating in obedience trials, search and rescue as well as sled dog competitions.

His temperament is stable but reserved and he is very devoted to his master. Karelians trail their prey silently and usually work alone as they are known to be aggressive toward other dogs, especially in their own territory. The Karelian's fearlessness and strong hunting instinct mean that he will attack a bear or other large game without hesitation.

The Karelian has a straight, stiff and thick outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat that provides insulation. He is black with distinct white markings on the head, neck, chest, abdomen and legs.

Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Karelian Bear Dog puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Additional Health Resources:

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Breed Standards

Karelian Bear Dog

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Photo: Kodiak
Courtesy of Running Bear Kennels,

Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from

Additional Information

  • About the Breed — From the Finnish Spitz Club
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More