European climate activists and nature enthusiasts are trying to reintroduce predators into our forests. Wolves are currently on everyone’s lips. The bears are somewhat less numerous in the press.
Various species of bears were decimated, if not eradicated, by our ancestors across the Eurasian continent and, of course, elsewhere.
Today we tell you which dog breeds have helped them, and with a wink, you should take a look when, in addition to the wolf population, the bear population is also increasing here!
German bear dog
Its impressive size and majestic appearance may have been of help to the Germans when they conquered our present homeland. It is also believed to have influenced the Italian Molossian species because the Romans took it to Italy.
He is not inherently aggressive but stands protective and loyal at his owner’s side.
What does a Germanic Bear Dog look like?
The Germanic Bear Dog is, as its name suggests, a large dog. He is a very large, extremely strong dog of the Molosser type. Depending on the breed and the crossbred dog breeds, the dogs give a different picture in terms of their appearance and, above all, their nature. The first breeders’ association Germanic Bear Dogs writes in the standard it designed:
The Germanic bear dog is declared as a camp protection dog, so it is the guardian and protector of its ‘pack’. Today it is his family and those around him. Dealing with children and pets corresponds to this innate behavior. He is very alert but not a barker. His protective instinct is rather defensive and reserved, constantly observing his surroundings. In the event of a threat, he reacts quickly and appropriately.
Different coat types and colors are allowed. In terms of fur, practically all variants are allowed: stick hair short to long, medium-length, and long fur.
How big is a Germanic Bear Dog?
A height at the withers of 70 to 85 centimeters is required for males and 65 to 80 for females. The weight required for males is 50 to 85 and for females 35 to 70 kilograms, which means a very wide range.
How old does a Germanic Bear Dog get?
No reliable information can be given about the life expectancy of the Germanic bear dog, as there is a lack of reliable information. She will likely be between 10 and 12 years old, which is perfectly fine for a dog of this size.
What are the characteristics of a Germanic Bear Dog?
The Germanic bear dog does not give a uniform picture in terms of its nature. A crossbreed that is largely based on St. Bernards will also inherit their stoic, friendly nature and extremely high stimulus threshold with a certain probability. However, if archaic herd protection dogs such as Kangal or Caucasian Ovcharka have been crossed, as several breeders state, the picture can look quite different. The inheritance of a defensive herd protection dog that is accustomed to lonely, wild and wide areas and takes possession of them will easily break through. That would make it practically impossible for a normal dog lover to keep them in densely populated Germany. Which creature is in the “Germanic Bear Dog” pack can only be represented and calculated to a limited extent. That depends very much on the breeder. That can be an incalculable risk with such a strong dog. There are a number of large dog breeds, think of the Newfoundland, St. Bernard, Leonberger or Mastiff, which have been carefully bred for many generations and have a very predictable, gentle nature with an extremely high stimulus threshold. Here you would be on the safe side as far as the essence is concerned. Even when buying a puppy, you should assume that such dogs will remain manageable as adult giants in our latitudes. A Germanic Bear Dog is definitely not a dog for a beginner, no matter which variant you take. He always needs a very experienced master and mistress with a lot of dog sense and a large property.
Where does the Germanic Bear Dog originally come from?
As far as is known, he originated around 1990 from matings of Saint Bernards with an unspecified white shepherd dog. The result is very large, very strong dogs that are reminiscent of a large Leonberger. These dogs are said to be the “rebirth” of a Germanic bear dog at the time of the migration of peoples. This legend gives the dogs an atmospheric ambience, but has no real or historical value. The Germans, like the other peoples of Central Europe before and alongside them, actually bred dogs. These had a high social status, which is evidenced by numerous dog graves or common graves of humans and dogs from prehistoric times. Dogs are also attested in several of the written laws of the late Germanic tribes. The Lex Bajuvariorum, which was written between the 6th and 8th centuries, devotes a whole of 22 paragraphs specifically to the dog. No fewer than eleven dog breeds and their tasks are described here in detail. A bear dog is not among them, not even in other sources. In 1995, the “First Breeders Association Germanic Bear Dogs e.V.” formed around the first breeder Carsten Kieback from Brandenburg. founded, who drafted a standard for these dogs. The association declares that neither Kuvasz, Kangal, Caucasian, Leonberger or Newfoundland have been bred and should not be bred today. However, it remains unclear what exactly the “white shepherd dog” is or was. The community of breeders of the Germanic bear dog is extremely fragmented today. Basically, everyone crosses at their own discretion. It is therefore no wonder that the Germanic Bear Dog is neither recognized by the Association for German Dogs (VDH) nor by the international Fédération Cynologique Internationale or one of its affiliated associations.
How Much Grooming Does a Germanic Bear Dog Need?
A Germanic Bear Dog should be absolutely easy to care for. It can also be kept outside.
Are there breed-specific diseases in the Germanic Bear Dog?
Nothing is known about breed-specific diseases, simply because there is a lack of reliable information.
What food is best for a German Shepherd Dog?
The Germanic Bear Dog has no special dietary requirements. Surely he will like to take fresh meat and regularly gnaw his bone.
Is a Germanic Bear Dog right for me?
The Germanic Bear Dog is undemanding in its keeping. However, he is not a dog that just walks a few laps around the block. It should not be kept in a large city or even in a more densely populated region. A large, securely fenced garden should be a must. There such dogs feel quite well. They like to live outside. They’re not couch potatoes. They are also not classic family dogs. Against the background of inconsistent breeding and the associated risks in terms of character, a Germanic bear dog generally does not belong in the hands of a physically or mentally weak or inexperienced person. There will certainly also be individual Germanic Bear Dogs that have a fantastic nature that makes them easy to lead and makes friends for every dog lover. In any case, you have to consider that the Germanic Bear Dog and some possibly crossed breeds are on the lists of supposedly dangerous dogs. But that varies from place to place. You should definitely find out more about this before making a purchase. The Germanic Bear Dog needs consistent training from puppy on. Even experienced dog owners should work with them consciously and always act with the necessary respect for the potential strength of these large dogs. When in doubt, the other end of the leash is always stronger.
He is less of a hunter, but an excellent protector of his herds, confronting anyone who approaches his entrusted animals. Between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, he was also often used as a guard dog for the house and yard.
As an alpha animal, he treats you as an equal and only reluctantly accepts orders. After all, he knows his function and carries it out independently!
The protection of the herd and the guarding of the house and yard are deeply anchored in the nature of this livestock guardian dog. In combination with its imposing size and enormous strength, this protective instinct can become dangerous. The Caucasian Ovcharka, therefore, belongs exclusively in the hands of experienced dog specialists.
This imposing pedigree dog from the Caucasus is certainly not lacking in self-confidence. After all, the Caucasian Ovcharka, also known as the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Russian Bear Dog or Caucasian Mountain Dog, gets along wonderfully on its own. Originally from the former USSR, he is used to living outside with his herd for days on end, guarding and protecting them on his own. Cold, wind or rain can’t harm him and the independent and strong Caucasian doesn’t even shy away from a fight with wolves or bears that are after the herd.
Confident and independent
No wonder that this pedigree dog finds it difficult to subordinate itself. Even as a family dog, he retains his independence and lets his people feel again and again that he doesn’t really need him. Unlike Collies, Labradors or Boxers, who by nature have a pronounced “will to please”, they don’t have to please their humans. The training of this autonomous four-legged friend requires a corresponding amount of consistency, empathy, time and patience. It almost goes without saying that such a dog only belongs in the hands of very experienced dog owners.
A livestock guard dog as a family dog?
However, with expert guidance and species-appropriate care, he will develop into an incredibly loyal partner and reliable watchdog. If he is integrated into the family from the start and given a fixed role that corresponds to his nature, the imposing bear dog will present itself as very balanced, affectionate and sensitive, without ever being too intrusive. He even gets along very well with the children of the family – with early socialization and consistent guidance. The dominant Caucasian does not get along well with other dogs or cats.
Education of the Caucasian
As calm and loving as the Caucasian shepherd dog is within the family, he is suspicious and dismissive of strangers. Anyone who invades his territory without being asked will be dealing with an extremely fearless and combative guard dog who puts the protection of his family above all else. The innate territorial awareness and the natural protective drive of this breed should never be underestimated and does not require additional support, for example in the form of protection dog training. This can have uncontrollable consequences for the massive Caucasian. To ensure that the dog does not pose a danger to neighbors and strangers, a secure and stable fencing of the property is essential. In addition, in many cases companion dog training can be beneficial for harmonious coexistence between humans and Caucasians.
Just the sight of the bear-like guard dog is probably enough of a deterrent for most burglars. A full-grown male with a shoulder height of up to 70 cm can easily weigh 75 kg or more. Bitches, who are generally a bit smaller and lighter than their male counterparts, are also impressive with a size of 68 to 72 cm and a weight of between 45 and 60 kg.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs have existed for more than 600 years
The Caucasian Ovcharka is a very old breed of dog that has been shown to have helped shepherds protect their flock for more than 600 years. Since time immemorial, he has reliably and fearlessly guarded and defended herds and shepherds from four-legged predators such as wolves and bears and from two-legged thieves. The imposing Caucasians also found their way to the former GDR and other Eastern Bloc countries as military watchdogs in the mid-20th century. From there they eventually spread to other European countries and America. The first breed standard was created under the leadership of Russia. In 1984, the FCI officially recognized the Caucasian Shepherd Dog as a dog breed.
Are you ready for the Caucasian Ovcharka?
Are you ready to build a fence around your property that is at least two meters high? Do you want to seal yourself off from your neighbors? And would you like to be woken up at night by a loud, powerful barking because a person or even just a hedgehog has passed your property? If you cannot answer these questions with an unequivocal “yes”, you should probably refrain from buying a Caucasian Shepherd Dog. It may sound like an exaggeration, but the fact is, this pedigree dog is not a dog that a dog lover should just take into their home. It takes a lot of courage, know-how and strength of character to own and train this impressive canine personality.
No matter how cute and cuddly the Caucasian puppy looks, it will soon grow to an impressive size and be stronger than you. Neighbors or friends will not just drop in on you in the future, because even well-socialized and well-educated Caucasians remain suspicious of strangers for the rest of their lives. He doesn’t like to be touched and should therefore never be petted by your friends. The Caucasian is not a dog that will easily fit into your life and that you can easily take with you everywhere. You must be willing to change your life for your dog. Only those who fully embrace their nature as livestock guardian dogs, allow them the freedom and tasks that their nature demands and treat them with loving consistency and sovereignty will enjoy this dog for many years and gain a reliable partner at their side.
Karelian Bear Dog
His muscular, almost square-looking physique is predestined for use in the far north. He could be found as a fighter from Sweden to Finland and deep into Russia.
In addition to bears, he still pursues elks, wild boars, lynxes, and wolves persistently and independently.
This Finnish hunter is a dog valued primarily in Scandinavia for connoisseurs who live best in the country and want a very independent companion at their side. In the following, we introduce you to the original breed from the far north.
Compact nature boy
This four-legged friend bears a close resemblance to its relative, the Russian Laika dogs. With a height at the withers of up to 60 cm, males weigh around 28 kg. Bitches are slightly smaller and should weigh a maximum of 20 kg. The Karelian Bear Dog has a strong body and an overall compact, dynamic build. It has medium-sized, erect ears on its head and carries a tail curled over its back. The icing on the cake is usually a white tip. Otherwise the color of the dense fur is usually black with white markings. The rough top coat lies closely over a dense undercoat that shines through slightly brownish.
This dog loves the open spaces of the woods and his independence – a combination that combines his attitude with some challenges, because he will take every opportunity to roam free. Since this four-legged friend acts very independently during the hunt and is supposed to hunt game alone, he is otherwise a self-confident companion who likes to take command when the opportunity arises. He is considered courageous and always ready to defend his loved ones. Contacts with other dogs can be problematic without extensive socialization, because some Karelians show aggressiveness when meeting conspecifics. However, other owners report the great balance of their dogs and praise their social compatibility. The fact is that numerous Karelians also work together as hunting helpers – so with good character and socialization this should not be a problem. They are excellent watchdogs, reliably alerting intruders. Despite all the corners and lovable edges, the Karelians also have their softer sides: They are not aggressive towards people, like to be cuddled at home and love being scratched by their caregivers.
Is a Karelian Bear Dog right for me?
Karelian Bear Dogs belong in the hands of experienced enthusiasts – preferably in the hands of hunters. Alternatively, they require plenty of exercise and work in the fresh air. Only then is it even possible to keep it as a family dog. Dog experience should be available in any case. You should also be aware from the outset that this four-legged friend can only be trained to a limited extent. He is not one of those dogs that subordinate himself – you should respect this as a dog owner, but still be able to steer his strength in controlled channels. The Karelian is by no means suitable for a city apartment. Ideally, you can offer him an escape-proof garden in addition to the daily run in the woods and fields, but be careful: the freedom-loving bear dog is considered an escape artist and can jump up to two meters high. This four-legged friend likes to make friends with children, but it is best if they are older and have learned to treat animals with respect. Cats in the same household are not necessarily a good idea, let alone rabbits or other small animals. The Norse hunter will always see them as potential prey. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and there may even be friendships between Karelians and cats who have been socialized at an early age – but you will not be able to get a guarantee before you move in. So you should bring a lot of time, space and experience if you want to let this proud dog live with you. The Karelian is a four-legged friend for connoisseurs who should not be chosen as a new roommate because of their rustic appearance. If you’re not looking for a real head of character, you won’t find much joy in this animal roommate. Of course, before moving in, it is also important to calculate the one-time (purchase from the breeder, basic equipment, travel expenses) and regular expenses (food, veterinarian, dog tax, and insurance).
This dog breed from western Siberia gets along just as well with its fur in the freezing cold winters as it does in the extremely hot but short summers. He supported his owners in hunting big game, mainly elk, but also wolves and bears!
According to the instincts of the Laika, who is said to have its own breed in every Siberian village, he proves to be loyal and affectionate.
Temperament and essence
The Laika is a thoroughbred hunting dog. He has a pronounced game sharpness, defends the prey, is alert, but not man-sharp. The characteristics that recommend him as a hunting dog and allow him to survive under the harsh living conditions of Siberia do not make it easy to keep him as a companion and family dog in densely populated Germany. The reputable breeder therefore expressly attaches importance to a good socialization of the puppies from the breeder. However, a Laika only belongs in experienced dog hands. As a thoroughbred hunter, he has a high level of initiative and wants to work independently and persistently. It takes a lot of experience, consistency and patience to lead this independent head. Otherwise, given the right opportunity, he would follow his thoughts and instincts and hunt on his own.
He needs a master or mistress who spends a lot of time with him and who can and wants to enable a lot of exercises. Worth it. Laiki are truly great dogs: Highly intelligent, docile and seemingly limitless in their ability to perform. You have to merge very closely with this dog. He then follows his master or mistress without words or arguments. It is a fantastic natural experience to roam the landscape with this wide-awake dog. It is ideal if you can lead him hunting. While not a dedicated guard dog, the Laika is quite willing to effectively defend its family. He is uninterested to dominant towards other dogs; he seems to feel that in an emergency he is vastly superior to most domestic dogs with his rustic body control and sharp senses. A non-show bred true Laika embodies a glorious piece of northern wilderness.
They impress with their loyalty to their owner and their willingness to fight, even if they do not challenge him. In fact, he was more of a guard dog than a hunter, but he faced the threat of bears for many centuries.
Even today they are considered self-confident and rather unsuitable for beginners, but affectionate if raised within a family.
The proud and beautiful Akita Inu with its large, powerful build is a natural monument in its native Japan. Originally bred as a hunting dog, today it is only suitable to a limited extent as a companion dog. Because of its willfulness, this pedigree dog only belongs in the hands of experienced dog owners.
Appearance: What does an Akita Inu look like?
The Akita Inu belongs to the Spitz group, which is more commonly associated with small dogs. But this Japanese pedigree dog is a very impressive exception, not least because of its size.
With a height of up to 70 centimeters at the withers, the Akita Inu is undoubtedly a large dog. He has a muscular and strong physique. His broad forehead with a furrow and the characteristic triangular pricked ears also exude dignity and vigilance. Also typical is the tightly curled tail that the Akita carries on its back.
Temperament: Independent, idiosyncratic, in need of rest
The Akita likes things to be quiet and manageable. This Japanese pedigree dog does not like a visit to the overcrowded dog park or a family reunion with a lot of hustle and bustle.
Although an Akita definitely needs his family around him, his master or mistress is usually enough company for him. He is usually patient and loving towards the children of his own family. Wild playing with visiting children, on the other hand, is not tolerated well by the dog, which needs rest. In order to avoid unpleasant encounters, you should not leave an Akita unsupervised with the children or visitors.
He doesn’t need contact with strangers or animals, but he does need close family ties. Because left to their own devices, the independent dog likes to find their own ways and employment opportunities.
While he exudes a dignified calm indoors, he is particularly prone to poaching and hunting outdoors. It definitely takes a lot of skill, empathy and know-how to keep the headstrong dog under control.
Healthy and strong pedigree dogs as the primary breeding goal
The preservation of the original, pure breed is also the focus of today’s breeders. This applies not only in Japan, but also in many European countries. In close cooperation with scientists and researchers, they try to preserve the characteristics of the original Akitas and at the same time avoid genetic defects or undesirable characteristics in the breeding animals.
The goal of breeding healthy and socially acceptable pedigree dogs can only be achieved through strict breeding requirements and a lot of commitment on the part of the breeder. Reputable breeders do not accept animals that are overbred and susceptible to illness and consequently exclude the affected dogs from breeding.
The West Siberian Laika
The word “Laika” can be translated as “Wauwau”. Because it derives from the Russian word for “bark”. The dogs of this breed are actually not barkers at all.
Laiki (the plural) bark primarily when they are hunting: sometimes when they are on the trail of game, often when they see it, but almost always when they catch it. This is intentional because the Laika breeds are supposed to track and capture game, namely large game such as moose, wolves, and bears so that the hunter can kill it.
Laiki have only been specifically bred since the middle of the 20th century. Before that, suitability for hunting in harsh climatic conditions determined the selection. This resulted in an extremely robust, 51 to 62-cm-high dog with a thick coat. A conspicuous feature, as with many “original dogs”, is the curled tail carried high.
There are many different types of Laiki – every village has its own breed, as they say in Russia. Only three are recognized by the FCI: the Russian-European, the East Siberian, and the West Siberian Laika.
One of six Laika types, three of which are recognized by the FCI. Originates in Western and Central Siberia and the Urals. We distinguish two types, the Mansitype and the Hantytype. The Mansitype is lighter built and taller than the Hantytype.
Hunting dog for all kinds of game. In Russia mainly on fur animals and in Scandinavia mainly on large game such as moose, wild boar and bear, but also on feathered game. When hunting, the dog independently searches a large area, indicates where the game is by barking and keeps it in place until the hunter arrives and can dock. This typical way of hunting cannot and should not be practiced in the Netherlands. A versatile dog that, if you are not able to hunt with him, can be used in various dog sports such as detective work, sweat work and rescue work.
Open, gentle and sensitive and very affectionate. Loyal to family and pack but with a strong personality. Shouldn’t be fearful. Needs human companionship. Males very social towards females but more dominant towards males. A dog that is not difficult to train, provided it is treated consistently and fairly. A harsh approach should be avoided. A dog to work with and who needs a lot of exercise and mental challenge. If he doesn’t get that, behavioral problems can arise.
Still mainly bred as a hunting dog, so as a working breed. Few known health problems.
Dog of medium size but strong and compact build. The length of the body, from forechest to the hindquarters, is slightly longer than the height at the shoulders. There is a clear difference between male and female. The head is clearly longer than it is wide. The muscles are well developed. Strong bones, more in males than in bitches. The difference between the sexes should be clearly discernible.
Head: Triangular shaped, slender head, in proportion to the size of the dog.
Eyes : Not large, oval shaped, set fairly deep with an intense and intelligent expression. The color is dark brown or brown matching the color of the coat.
Ears: Ears erect, set high, V-shape with points, mobile.
Teeth: scissors teeth
Body : Strong and firm, sloping slightly from shoulders to base of tail.
Limbs: Forelegs: Straight, parallel. Hind legs: Muscular, strong with good angulations.
Feet: forefeet: oval; rear: oval, slightly smaller than front.
Tail: Strongly curled, carried over back or hips. It can hit the heel completely straight, or 1-2cm shorter
Coat: Outer coat is dense, harsh and straight. Undercoat is well developed, soft, much and woolly. The fur on the head, ears and limbs is shorter.
Color: gray with reddish-brown, red with reddish-brown, grey, red, fawn and reddish-brown in all shades. Pure white or multi-coloured eg white with plates of one of the aforementioned colours.
Height at the withers: Males 55 to 62 centimeters, Females 51 to 28 centimeters
Not suitable for people who cannot or do not want to spend enough time with their dog. Because of the great passion for hunting, not suitable for people who always want to let their dogs run free everywhere or who demand unconditional obedience.
At least twice a year a period of strong moulting during which the dog loses the undercoat.
What breed of dog is called a bear dog?
The Karelian Bear Dog is a medium-sized spitz with a dense coat, but his standards are closer to that of non-spitz dogs such as the Samoyed and Siberian Husky, though the similarities end there. Bred to hunt large, aggressive game by himself, his build reflects his duties.
What dog breed is closest to a bear?
Tibetan Mastiffs were originally bred to protect sheep from wolves and (you guessed it) bears in the Himalayan Mountains, so perhaps it’s not surprising that they’re so bear-like themselves!
Which dog has the strongest jaw?
Kangal. With an almost unbelievable bite force of 734 psi, the Kangal doubtless has the strongest jaws in the world. Bred in Turkey to bring down larger animals preying on sheep and other livestock, these pups are masters at neutralizing danger!
What is the best dog to hunt bears?
The best bear-hunting dog breeds include the Karelian Bear Dog, Plott Hound, Coonhound, and Foxhound, as well as large game hunters such as the Dogo Argentino or Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Is bear hunting with dogs ethical?
In 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB-1221, a bill championed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), that made hunting bears and bobcats with hounds illegal.
Will my dog attract bears?
Will a dog attract or detract bears? The short answer is, yes. A dog can smell a bear and alert you well in advance that something’s there, which could in turn divert a potential encounter. And a barking dog can discourage a bear from investigating a campsite.
Will a dog scare a grizzly bear?
You see, grizzly bears are the one animal in the United States that will not be swayed, cowed, or bullied by an aggressive, barking, or defensive dog—regardless of the dog’s size or breed. An aggressive-acting dog can ward away just about any other animal, except for a grizzly bear.
Why are bears so afraid of dogs?
Bears are afraid of dogs for multiple reasons. Dog barks reach a higher decibel of sound than humans and are also extremely similar to wolves, another top bear predator. Bears also associate dogs with humans, who are evolutionary threats to bears. It’s important to keep your dog leashed near bears.
Why are black bears afraid of dogs?
Bears usually run from a dog because most bears have learned to associate dogs with people. However, a dog off-leash may chase and harass the bear causing the bear to get angry and chase the dog. When dogs get scared they may run to their owner.
Can my dog outrun a bear?
A dog cannot outrun a bear. Dogs can run at a speed of 31 miles per hour, whereas bears can run at a speed of 35 miles per hour. Even though bears run faster than dogs, dogs can still protect you from them.
What dog can scare a bear away?
Karelian bear dogs are a new, non-lethal tool for wildlife agencies concerned with ursine visitors getting too comfortable around humans.