Bear Hunting Dogs: 10 Dog Breeds to Keep Bears at Bay

From ancient times, bear hunting dogs have been integral to hunting experiences. 

As hunters have come to rely more and more on technology and equipment, bear hunting dogs have become an increasingly important factor in successful bear hunts. 

While modern bear hunters may not use dogs as much as their predecessors, there are still many ways these dogs can benefit the overall hunt. 

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This blog post will explore the different breeds of bear hunting dogs, their characteristics, and how they can help you in your hunting endeavors, from tracking and locating bears to protecting them from potential attacks.

What Are Bear Hunting Dog Breeds Used For?

Bear-hunting dog breeds are used for a variety of reasons. These hound-type dogs are bred specifically for bear hunting and have been used for thousands of years as bear-hunting companions. 

The most popular breed is the Karelian Bear Dog, which is still used today in many regions to scare bears away from populated areas. 

Bear hunting with dogs has been a popular sport throughout Europe and North America since colonial times. 

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Still, its use has waned in recent decades due to the adoption of modern non-lethal methods that include deterrents, aversion conditioning, and traps. 

Dogs are also sometimes used to control rising bear populations in certain regions by providing a non-lethal method of removing problem bears from an area. 

As such, bear hunting dog breeds play an important role in managing local bear populations while providing hunters with a thrilling and rewarding experience.

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How to Pick a Bear Dog Pup

A bear dog pup is a unique and special breed that stands out for its distinctive combination of traits. 

These loyal, intelligent, friendly, and devoted dogs often come in various colors, sizes, and coat types, making it easy to pick one that perfectly suits your lifestyle. 

Here are what you need to keep in mind when choosing a bear dog pup to join your family.

1. Consider your lifestyle. 

When picking a bear dog pup, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and the type of dog best fits in. 

Bear dogs are generally high-energy, so if you’re looking for a pup that will be content lounging around the house or a couch potato, a bear dog likely isn’t the right choice. 

On the other hand, a bear dog pup will make an excellent companion if you’re a highly active person who likes to take long walks, runs, or hikes and do other outdoor activities.

2. Research breeds. 

Once you’ve determined your lifestyle and what type of dog will best suit you, it’s time to research the different bear dog breeds to find one that’s perfect for you. 

Bear dogs come in many different sizes, so it’s important to learn more about each breed to find one that will fit into your family.

3. Meet the pup. 

Once you’ve narrowed your selection of possible bear dog pups, it’s time to meet them in person. Make sure to spend quality time with each pup before making a final decision. 

Pay attention to their energy level, temperament, and other factors to determine if they’ll be a good match for your family.

4. Get to know the breeder. 

When choosing this type of dog, getting to know the breeder is important. 

Ask questions about the pup’s parents, health history, and feeding and grooming requirements. 

Make sure the breeder is reputable and can provide any necessary information or paperwork.

5. Be prepared. 

Finally, make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility of bringing a new pup into your life. 

These dogs require regular exercise, care, and attention, so be sure you’re ready to give them the love and attention they deserve.

Once you’ve followed all these steps, you’ll be ready to bring your bear dog pup home and start your journey of lifelong companionship!

11 Bear Hunting Dog Breeds (Dogs Bred To Hunt Bears)

A few breeds stand out as the best when it comes to bear hunting. 

Breeds such as the Karelian Bear Dog, Coonhound, and Doge Argentino have been bred for many years to hunt large game, including bears. 

The bark of these dogs is especially useful in bear hunting, and they are also great at treeing and tracking. 

Each breed has its characteristics and traits, which should be considered when choosing the right breed for your needs. 

Here are our top picks:

1. Caucasian Shepherd Dog

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a large, muscular dog originally bred to be a hunter. 

These breeds were used for hunting bears in the mountains of their native Caucasus region. 

These dogs are also ideal for hunting other large game and protecting livestock from predators. 

The dog would be released into the woods and tasked with finding the bear; upon discovery, they would hold them at bay until hunters arrived to kill the bear. 

This breed is also known for being fiercely loyal and protective of its owners. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is ideal for hunting these creatures, as they have been bred specifically for this purpose. 

Their size and strength make them more than capable of defending themselves against potentially dangerous animals. 

At the same time, their intelligence allows them to stay focused on their mission and find the bear quickly once released into the woods.

2. Rhodesian Ridgeback


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is one of the world’s best bear hunting dog breeds. 

This breed is known for its intelligence and strength, making them the perfect choice for hunting large game such as bears. 

They have a strong muscular body, with a distinctive ridge of fur along their back that gives them their name.

This breed was originally bred in South Africa by Boer farmers who needed a large, strong, and fearless dog to help them with their hunting. 

They needed a breed that could track, corner, and capture big game, so the Rhodesian Ridgeback was perfect for the job.

This breed is incredibly active and needs plenty of exercises to stay healthy and fit. 

They are incredibly loyal and affectionate towards their owners and make wonderful family pets and excellent guard dogs.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great choice if you are looking for a bear-hunting dog. They have the strength and size to tackle even the largest bears and the speed to outrun them. 

They also have a great sense of smell, which makes them perfect for tracking games.

They can make an excellent guard dog and a great family pet with the right training.

3. Karelian Bear Dog

This medium-sized breed is a strong, muscular, and hardworking breed that has been carefully bred for centuries for traditional bear hunting, where the dogs hunt in pairs

A Karelian Bear Dog from Finland is an intelligent, loyal, and courageous breed known for its courage and strength in the hunt.

Karelian Bear Dogs have a naturally-strong prey drive and are a powerful, tenacious breed that loves to hunt. 

With their strong drive, they can effectively hunt large and dangerous game, like bears, and are some of the best bear-hunting dog breeds out there. 

Karelian Bear Dogs have a unique look that distinguishes them from other hunting dogs. 

They have a thick, dense fur coat characterized by black and white color, which are usually arranged in a cross pattern. 

Karelian Bear Dogs have a proud, alert posture and muscular and stocky bodies.

Karelian Bear Dogs are an independent breed that requires a strong leader, but they are excellent working dogs that can be trained to work in a variety of settings. 

They make an excellent sled, guard, and search and rescue dogs. Karelian Bear Dogs are also excellent hunting dogs known for their courage and strength.

Karelian Bear Dogs have an average lifespan of 11 to 14 years and require an active lifestyle and a large yard for exercise. 

They need daily exercise, mental stimulation, a healthy diet, and plenty of love and attention from their owners. 

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4. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a breed that is widely known and loved by many people all over the world. 

This breed of dog has a long and distinguished history and is one of the most popular breeds of working and companion dogs.

The German Shepherd is a large, strong, muscular dog with a thick fur coat. 

They have noble-looking heads and are usually black and tan. German Shepherds have an alert and intelligent nature and are highly trainable, making them an ideal pet for many households.

The German Shepherd was originally bred for herding and guarding sheep but soon became a popular breed for guarding people and property. 

They are highly trainable and make great watchdogs and guard dogs.

They are still used for this purpose today, and their intelligence and agility make them an ideal choice for police and military work.

German Shepherds are highly protective, loyal, and devoted to their owners, especially when they are well-trained and socialized. 

They are also great hunting dogs and have even been used for hunting bears! 

They have excellent noses and can locate their prey quickly and accurately. As a result, they are often used to track other animals, such as rabbits and deer.

Overall, this wonderful breed is loyal, intelligent, and highly trainable. 

They make great companions and watchdogs and can also be used for hunting and tracking. 

5. Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is a large, white muscular breed from Argentina. 

It was developed to hunt big games, such as wild boar, bear, and puma. 

The Dogo Argentino is considered an extremely brave and loyal breed that is also intelligent and adaptable. It has a strong sense of smell and can pick up scents quickly. 

With its powerful jaws, it can take down even the largest prey with ease. 

The Dogo Argentino can be trained to become the perfect hunting companion or family pet. 

They are known for their courage, strength, and loyalty, making them an ideal choice for those who want a powerful and protective dog in their home.

6. Coonhound

The Coonhound is an iconic breed of dog and one of the best bear dogs in the world. 

There are different types of Coonhounds, such as Redbone, Bluetick, American English, and Treeing Walker,

The Coonhound is a strong, large dog bred for hunting big game like bears, deer, and bobcats. 

They’re also great at tracking and trailing animals, making them a great hunting choice. 

Coonhounds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and good nature. 

They can be quite vocal when they sense danger or something interesting nearby, but they’re generally very friendly with people and other animals. 

Coonhounds have powerful noses that help them pick up scents easily, and they are also very good at swimming. 

They’re an excellent choice for anyone who wants to take their outdoor adventures to the next level – whether chasing down a bear or exploring the wilderness with your pup.

7. Plott hound

The Plott hound dog breed is a type of hound known for being an excellent hunter. 

They were originally bred to hunt bears and are still used as such today. 

The Plott hound has a distinctive bark that can be heard from some distance away, making them ideal for locating predators. 

They are also great at running on the track, allowing them to follow their prey’s scent quickly. 

These hounds make excellent hunting companions due to their intelligence and ability to find the bear in any situation. 

The Plott hound is an interesting breed for anyone looking for an intelligent and loyal companion. 

Whether you’re hunting or just taking a walk with your pup, this breed will always be eager to please you and its environment. 

With their friendly attitude and willingness to work hard, it’s easy to see why this breed has been so popular with hunters over the years.

8. Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the strongest dog breeds in the world and was originally used to help hunt bears in Asia. 

They were specifically bred to be able to kill one of Asia’s most infamous black bear species due to their size, strength, and courage. 

As a large breed, the Tibetan Mastiff can stand up to three feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 160 pounds. 

Their coats are usually thick and long, with colors ranging from reddish-brown to black. 

The breed is known for its loyalty and intelligence, making it an ideal guard dog and a pet. 

The Tibetan Mastiff is also renowned for its protective instincts, which makes them a great choice for families who want a loyal guardian for their home. 

Although they are not suitable for novice owners due to their strength and size, they can become excellent companions for experienced dog owners with proper training.

9. German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a medium to large-sized dog that has been used for centuries as a hunting companion. 

It is an incredibly versatile breed and can be used for bear hunting or bird hunting, as well as various other types of game. 

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an intelligent and bold animal that enjoys being outdoors and active. They are loyal, caring dogs that form strong bonds with their owners. 

Due to their intelligence and athleticism, these dogs also make excellent companions for agility competitions, tracking events, obedience trials, and retrieving events. 

With proper exercise and training, the German Shorthaired Pointer is one of the most capable breeds in the sporting group.

10. American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is a breed of dog that was bred to hunt. It is part of the scent hound group and has an amazing sense of smell. 

The American Foxhound is a large and powerful dog with a waterproof coat that protects them from the elements. 

They are sweet-tempered and intelligent dogs that make loyal companions. 

They have been known to be great family pets, although their hunting instincts can get them into trouble if not properly trained. 

American Foxhounds need plenty of exercises, as they were bred for hard work in the field. 

They are also very social creatures and require regular interaction with other animals and people to stay happy and healthy. 

With proper training and care, these amazing dogs make wonderful additions to any family.

Related Questions

Can a Dog Fight Off a Bear?

Technically, no single dog can win a fight against a bear, but in some cases, dogs have been known to fight off bears when they are in a group

Bears are typically much larger and stronger than any individual dog, so the dogs must work together as a team to increase their chances of success. 

If the dogs can attack the bear simultaneously from multiple directions, they may be able to scare or confuse it enough that it will retreat before it has a chance to cause serious injury. 

This tactic has been observed in many different species of animals and has even been successful in certain cases involving canine-bear interactions. 

Although it is not recommended to put your pet at risk in this way, if you ever find yourself facing off with a bear and all you have is your four-legged friends by your side, there’s always the chance that they could come out on top.

What dog can kill a grizzly bear

Most dogs will die if they try to take on a grizzly bear alone, but in groups, certain breeds have been known to be successful in killing a grizzly. 

Kangals, Caucasian shepherds, cane Corso, and Tibetan Mastiffs are some of the few breeds that can take down a grizzly bear when working together. 

These powerful canine breeds are highly aggressive and territorial, characteristics that are essential for taking on such a formidable opponent. 

They’re also incredibly brave, loyal, and tenacious in protecting their families or territories from potential threats. 

When faced with a grizzly bear, these dogs will fight relentlessly until the bear is either dead or retreats. 

Although these breeds may not always succeed in killing the bear, they can at least give it enough of a scare that it decides retreating is its best option.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, bear hunting dogs are a great asset for any hunter who wants a successful and safe bear hunt. 

They are intelligent, loyal animals that make excellent companions and have the instinct to protect their owners. 

With their strong sense of smell, they can detect a bear’s presence before the hunter even has a chance to see it. 

As long as they are properly trained and cared for, bear hunting dogs can greatly add to any hunting party.


Humane Society on bear hounding 

Karelian Bear Dog – Wikipedia 

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