Lucky for us, there is a Karelian Bear Dog (KBD) breeder near North Bay (in Restoule actually) Ontario. We had been watching their website http://www.grawpawsbeardogs.com for a couple years and when we saw they had a second 2009 litter in December 09, we took a chance and managed to get the last available pup of the litter. The breeder, Anna is of Finnish descent and works hard to promote the breed. We drove to North Bay for the puppy in early February 2010. Niko is shown in the banner on the top of the page. Niko is on the left with 2 of his siblings (Raija & Risto)!
Tuire being a proud Finn is very happy to have an opportunity to contribute to (and raise) an important aspect of her culture. Tuire’s father was born in Karelia. In addition she once had a dog that was part KBD and mainly pug. She still tells stories about “Nellie”. A picture of Nellie is on the right. Nellie was quite a mix but you can clearly see a bit of KBD in her.
I really like the strengths of the KBD, they are very intelligent, possess a good sense of humour, like the outdoor, are good with people, and are very protective. The dogs are the Goldilocks of dogs, not too big and not too small. And yes they use them to hunt bears. I haven’t seen any bears in Ottawa or Navan, but a lot of wildlife seems to pass through my back yard.
Niko has his own email address firstname.lastname@example.org and he personally responds to all emails. Niko is also thinking about applying for an AMEX card. We just are not sure how much we should make his salary, as his profession of "Bear Hunter" is not in demand in the Ottawa Carleton region at the moment.
Here is a list of things we have learned about Niko (and probably most KBDs)
1) This dog is fearless. No matter what the situation, he wants to go back to investigate. The biggest meanest loudest dog will bark, growl right in his face and Niko will wobble his head and quietly put his paw on their face. Neighbours have commented they have never seen another dog approach their dog like this. They and their dogs are usually stunned.
2)When bored he likes to dig. Huge holes, so you can only see his bum when he is in them. When I fill them in with a shovel, he attacks the shovel and jumps on me.
3) He is FAST. You think he is somewhere and you look the other way for a second and he's through the gate in front of you.
4) He loves to play with everyone. He likes to pick his own games and toys though. He only plays by his rules.
5) He loves to ride in a car. He seems to really like long trips. He never complains.
6) He doesn't eat much but he loves his treats, bones, raw meat
7) He loves to wrestle, the rougher the better.
8) He is so curious. If he catches a glimpse of a room/area/dog he's never been to, he remembers and next chance to investigate it he goes for it. He watches everything you do.
9) He likes to groom my hair, ears and toes. If I have athletes foot, he likes it better.
10) He can be extremely stubborn, but in the end he will give in (we think).
11) He hides in the cool basement during the summer heat. We have yet to hit a temperature to cold for him to want to go outdoors. Not sure if we ever will.
KBD's are a handful, but well worth it!!
Bear Dog Links: