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Breed Guide: Best Bear Hunting Dogs of 2024

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bear hunting dog breedsAre you looking for the best bear hunting dogs? If so, then look no further.

The Plott hound is well-known for its grit and determination when it comes to chasing bears. Walker Coonhounds are also a top choice due to their scent tracking capabilities and endurance in terrain that would tire out most other breeds.

Karelian Bear Dogs have been used by hunters for centuries due to their agility, strength, intelligence, and fearlessness when faced with large predators such as bears.

In this article, we will be exploring these three breeds’ characteristics along with some of the best kennels specializing in bear hunting dogs.

We’ll also discuss basic gear needed by your hound on a hunt, as well as other great options like the Alaskan Malamute or Caucasian Shepherd Dog, which may fit into certain scenarios better than others depending upon your needs!

Key Takeaways

  • Plott hounds, Walker/Treeing hounds, Redticks/Coonhounds are popular bear hunting dog breeds known for their scent tracking abilities, vocalization skills, and speed and stamina when chasing bears.
  • Karelian bear dogs have been used for centuries to identify and track bear scents, making them valuable in bear hunting.
  • Pocahontas Plott Kennels, Plott Ridge Kennels, and Olson Plotts are well-known breeders of Plotts, Walkers, and Karelian bear dogs for bear hunting purposes.
  • Caucasian Shepherds, Tibetan Mastiffs, Chinese bear hunting dogs, Alaskan Malamutes, and Karelian bear dogs are some of the breeds used as guard dogs or for hunting bears.

Best Bear Hunting Dog Breeds

Best Bear Hunting Dog Breeds
If you’re looking for the best bear hunting dog breeds, Plott, Walker (Treeing Walker), English Coonhound (Redtick), and Karelian Bear Dog are the top contenders. These breeds have a long history of being used to track and tree bears with their unique qualities such as tracking ability, strength, and loyalty.

Knowing which breed is right for your hunt is essential to ensure a successful experience.


You’ll need grit, stamina, confidence, and tracking prowess to hunt bears effectively – all traits the Plott hound is known for. This breed is most recognized for bear hunting due to its tenaciousness and drive.

They are active dogs with tight feet and square heads that eagerly follow scent trails.

To start their training, you should begin working on raccoons or small game at 4-6 months old so they can develop tracking skills early on. When it comes to bear hunting, laws vary by state, but many use them as a humane solution when dealing with nuisance animals or poaching issues.

These hounds will scare away bears without harming them while also providing protection of wildlife in some states like Alaska, where polar bear hunts are still legal in certain areas despite being illegal elsewhere around the world.

Plott Hounds have proved time and again why they make great protectors – loyal, brave canine companions who won’t back down from any challenge!

Walker (Treeing Walker)

You can rely on Walkers (Treeing Walker) to vocalize and hunt bears quickly, as they were bred for speed and treeing.

For example, Kemp Walkers trained a pup to track down an elusive black bear in the Appalachian Mountains.

They are strong-willed with high drive; their tracking ability is vital when hazing bears away from populated areas or hunting them legally in cold weather conditions.

While not as popularly recognized as Plott hounds, these loyal breeds are just as tenacious – needing early socialization and proper training before being taken into the field.

With grit, determination, and reliable tracking skills, Walker/Treeing Hounds make trustworthy companions for any bear hunter!

English Coonhound (Redtick)

The English Coonhound, also known as the Redtick, is renowned for its strong nose and treeing ability. It’s an excellent choice to hunt bear due to its tenacity and speed in tracking down prey.

The breed is easily trained, with a bold personality that can handle harsh conditions such as cold weather or dense brush. They are great at detecting bear habits like fear of humans or diet preferences, which comes in handy when it comes to protecting bears from poachers or relocating nuisance animals safely without harm.

With their thick coats, they are well-suited for various habitats and highly recommended by professional hunters who want a reliable partner on their adventures!

Karelian Bear Dog

Experience the courageous, determined nature of these loyal companions as they bravely hunt large game. Karelian Bear Dogs have been used for centuries to track and identify bear scent before following until finding their prey.

They are strong-willed yet agile with a high drive and protective instinct, making them one of the best breeds for bear hounding. Their excellent scenting abilities make them ideal for chasing bears humanely without harming them or other animals in the process.

Recently, the Karelian Bear Dog has also been trained to detect poaching and protect wildlife from danger.

The Best Bear Dog Kennels

The Best Bear Dog Kennels
If you’re looking for the best bear dog kennels, look no further than Pocahontas Plott Kennels, Plott Ridge Kennels, Olson Plott Hounds, Kemp Walkers, and Penny’s English Coonhounds. These top-notch breeders offer a wide range of breeds that are specifically bred for hunting bears – from Plotts to Walkers/Treeing Walkers to Redticks and Karelian Bear Dogs.

With their extensive experience in breeding these animals as well as providing quality care for them throughout their lifetime, they can provide you with the perfect bear hunting companion.

Pocahontas Plott Kennels

Pocahontas Plott Kennels offers a wide selection of some of the most tenacious and driven bear hunting dog breeds around. Their Karelian Bear Dogs are bred for centuries to hunt large game, including bears – known for their courage, loyalty, and determination.

The Alaskan Malamute is powerful and strong, while the Tibetan Mastiff has been used as protection against predators.

For hazing or bear tracking purposes, Dogo Argentinos are suitable due to their size, while Caucasian Shepherd Dogs have recently been trained in this capacity too.

Plott Ridge Kennels

Plott Ridge Kennels offers a wide selection of bear hunting dog breeds, ensuring you get the perfect pup for your needs – and don’t worry about running into any unpleasant surprises!

Plott hounds are renowned for their grit, stamina, and tracking abilities.

Karelian Bear Dogs have high drive with strong-willed personalities that make them great at baying and holding bears.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks boast courage, strength, and loyalty, while Dogo Argentinos are known to be excellent guard dogs built for chasing down big game like polar bears.

These canines specialize in bear hazing and poaching prevention, as well as guarding wildlife habitats.

All these breeds come together to provide an effective tool against nuisance or dangerous bears without causing harm, providing a humane solution!

Olson Plott Hounds

Olson Plott Hounds are renowned for their strength and courage, making them ideal companions for bear hunting. They abide by strict breeding standards to ensure the quality of their bloodline is maintained.

Their temperaments range from loyal and friendly to brave and protective, which can be further refined through training methods tailored towards bear hunting activities.

Additionally, they require special gear such as a tracking collar or harness with a leash when going into the field on hunts.

Kemp Walkers

Kemp Walkers are known for their speed and vocalization when tracking, making them an ideal choice for hunters looking to pursue bears. They have a strong nose, good tracking skills, and treeing ability, which are important breeding traits.

When bear proofing, it is important to consider safety precautions such as avoiding cubs or trespassing in illegal states.

The breed can also be used more humanely. They have been trained to scare off bears without harm by barking at them from a safe distance before retreating back home.

Penny’s English Coonhounds

Penny’s English Coonhounds are renowned for their strong noses, impressive speed, and treeing ability, making them an ideal choice for bear hunting. They have the capability to track and trail bears with ease while also being able to identify a bear scent from far away.

Additionally, these dogs can be trained to tree or flush bears when necessary in order for hunters to successfully locate their prey. Their tenacity allows them to withstand harsh conditions such as cold weather and thick brush that may be encountered during hunts.

On top of this, they possess the bravery needed when it comes time to bay or hold on to a bear until the hunter is ready, which makes them perfect for poaching activities by alerting authorities if need be!

Finally, Penny’s English Coonhound is equipped with all the abilities required to track down bears through scents, even in dense vegetation, as well as having enough nerve to bay and hold onto one until it’s too late.

How to Pick a Bear Dog Pup

How to Pick a Bear Dog Pup
Picking the right bear dog pup can be an overwhelming experience. To help you make your decision, here are four key tips:

  1. Look for a pup with active and bold characteristics that has tight feet, a square head, and is eager to follow scent trails. These qualities will indicate their potential as excellent working dogs in tough terrain.
  2. Ensure you understand the breed traits of whichever breed you choose. Research how they may react when hunting bears or other animals so that both owner and animal remain safe during hunts.
  3. Familiarize yourself with hunt regulations, such as licenses required for bear hunting in certain states, and any local restrictions on the use of firearms or tracking methods like hounding dogs used to chase bears away from populated areas near national parks or private properties without harm to either party involved.
  4. Finally, get advice from experienced trainers about training techniques, which vary by age. Puppies should start learning tracking on raccoons at 4-6 months old, while adult dogs require more advanced instruction in order to perform well out in the field where safety is paramount.

What to Expect From a Young Bear Dog

What to Expect From a Young Bear Dog
When selecting a bear dog pup, you can expect it to have active and bold qualities, along with tight feet, a square head, and an eagerness to follow scent trails. To ensure success in the hunt, you must harness its drive by training on small game like raccoons starting at 4-6 months old.

Socializing should start early as well. Exposing your pup to different environments will help them handle stormy weather or unfamiliar terrain better when chasing bears. The breed also needs courage and tenacity – traits that come from being driven rather than bred alone.

Characteristic Plott Walker/Treeing Walker Redtick/English Coonhound Karelian Bear Dog
Grit High Medium Low Low
Stamina High High Medium High
Stong Willed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tracking Ability Excellent Good Strong Nose High Drive

Basic Gear for a Bear Hunting Hound

Basic Gear for a Bear Hunting Hound
Equipping your hunting hound with the proper gear can make all the difference in a successful bear hunt. The type of gear you select should be appropriate for both breed characteristics and training basics.

Good quality collars, leashes, harnesses, and tracking systems are essential for safety purposes as well as to maintain good hunting ethics while on the trail.

Additionally, proper nutrition is important to keep your dog healthy during long days of searching for bears. Make sure to have food that is high-calorie but low fat so it won’t slow down their performance or upset their stomachs after eating quickly between stops along their search path.

Be sure also to carry water bowls when it’s hot outside – hydration is key during strenuous activities like bear hunting!

Finally, don’t forget items such as first aid kits specific to dogs since they are prone to accidents just like humans out in nature!

With this basic selection of Gear Selection, Training Basics, Hunting Ethics, Dog Nutrition & Breed Characteristics, you’ll be ready to take on any challenging terrain without worrying about how prepared your trusty companion will hold.

Other Bear Hunting Dog Breeds

Other Bear Hunting Dog Breeds
If you’re looking for another bear hunting dog breed, consider the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Alaskan Malamute, Tibetan Mastiff, or Chinese Bear Hunting Dogs. These breeds are known for their loyalty and courage in protecting livestock from predators and have been used to hunt bears for centuries.

The large size of these dogs ensures strength and endurance while they search tirelessly through tough conditions like cold temperatures and thick brush.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is renowned for its loyalty and courage, making it an ideal companion when facing a bear. It has been used for centuries to protect livestock from predators and, more recently, trained to hunt bears as well.

This massive breed can weigh up to 175 lbs with a thick coat that provides insulation against the cold weather conditions they often face during hunting trips. Its humane uses include scaring away problem bears without any harm inflicted in steps of identification, tracking, barking, and then retreating – much more preferable than euthanizing or relocating nuisance animals.

The versatile breed can also detect poaching activity while protecting wildlife habitats from illegal activities like bear hounding, which has sparked legal concerns due to its potential harms on cubs and non-target species alike.

Alaskan Malamute

You’ll need a strong, loyal companion with thick fur for bear hunting – look no further than the Alaskan Malamute. Bred in Alaska to hunt and haul, they are large and powerful dogs weighing 100-150 lbs.

Their dense coat provides insulation against cold temperatures when chasing polar bears. Trained as guard dogs centuries ago, these canines have a loyalty that withstands tough training methods, making them ideal for guard duty or even family pets if properly trained early on in life.

Native to the Arctic North America region since ancient times, their breed history is full of strength and courage, ensuring your success on your next bear hunting trip!

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is a powerful breed, renowned for centuries for its strength and loyalty when hunting large game. Their thick coats provide excellent insulation against cold conditions, and they have been used in bear protection and guard duty.

Though not as agile or fast as other breeds, these dogs make up for it with their keen tracking ability and intimidating size. They can tower over two feet tall at the shoulder! Comparable to polar bears in weight, though smaller overall, this breed is well-known across Asia despite its rarity elsewhere.

Their fearless nature makes them ideal guardians of property while being loyal companions to those close to them.

Chinese Bear Hunting Dogs

Discover daring Chinese canines bred for bear hunting, with their muscular muzzles and courageous characters. The Tibetan Mastiff is a large breed used to guard livestock from predators in centuries past; it now hunts bears too.

Alaskan Malamutes were bred for hauling and hunting, even polar bears! Karelian Bear Dogs date back to Neolithic times and are medium-sized – fearless yet affectionate – adept at tracking large game like bears.

With humane uses such as bear hazing without harm, these dogs also detect poaching and protect wildlife better than euthanizing or relocating nuisance animals. They make excellent guardians of nature’s wonders, keeping us safe from danger while preserving the species we treasure most.

What Are Bear Hunting Dog Breeds Used For?

What Are Bear Hunting Dog Breeds Used For
You may be wondering which breeds are used for bear hunting and what makes them uniquely suited to the task. Plott Hounds, Coonhounds, American Foxhounds, Bloodhounds, and German Shorthaired Pointers have all been used on successful hunts.

But which breed is best when it comes to bear hunting? Karelian Bear Dogs are renowned for their courage and loyalty, but they remain quite rare in the United States.

Plott Hound

Experience the Plott Hound’s grit, stamina, and tracking confidence for a successful bear hunt. This breed is renowned for its courage and tenacity in the face of danger. It can track bears with ease thanks to their strong nose.

Their speed and treeing ability make them especially suited for bear hunting compared to other breeds like Blueticks or Redbones.

With proper training, they can be driven by humans on a hunt while still being bold enough to stand up against wild animals when necessary.

The Plott Hound is also known among hunters as one of the best choices due to its active nature.


You’ll love the coonhound’s strong nose and treeing ability, perfect for tracking down your quarry. With their speed and stamina, coonhounds are ideal for bear hazing or protection from poaching. They can detect scents from far away and track them with ease. Their boldness is necessary to follow a bear in difficult terrain – even through thick brush! Coonhounds have also been known to be brave enough to stand up against bears when needed.

They make excellent guard dogs as well as hunting companions due to their loyalty and protective nature.

American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is a robust breed with frequent loud barking, resembling the sound of thunder. This energetic hunting hound has a friendly temperament and boundless endurance, requiring plenty of exercise.

With origins tracing back to colonial America, when it was bred by statesman George Washington, the Foxhound remains an athletic breed that requires lots of daily activity and stimulation. Foxhounds are not low-maintenance pets but make excellent hunting companions when properly trained and exercised.


Bloodhounds are renowned for their superb scenting abilities, aided by their floppy ears. They have hunting traits that include courage, strength, and loyalty. They can be used to track bears or detect bear poaching and protect wildlife in a humane way through bear hazing without causing harm to the animal.

Their strong sense of smell is suited for tracking bears over long distances as well as identifying scents quickly during a hunt, making them an ideal candidate for bear protection in the wild. Bloodhounds make excellent guard dogs due to their determination and intelligence when it comes to problem-solving tasks, such as picking up on specific smells or following prey across terrain with ease.

With these attributes combined, they provide hunters with an invaluable asset that ensures successful yet safe hunts while protecting nature from potential poachers at the same time.

German Shorthaired Pointer

You’re sure to be impressed by the German Shorthaired Pointer’s versatile hunting abilities, perfect for chasing down bear-sized game. This breed is known for its strong tracking skills and excellent breeding traits.

It has a lean body, short coat, and pointed ears. Health concerns are minimal as this pup has an average lifespan of 12 years.

Ethically speaking, it can help protect bears from poachers while still respecting their behavior due to canine genetics that allow them to recognize when they should stop pursuing their quarry.

What is the Best Bear Hunting Dog?

Among the most recognized bear hunting breeds, Karelian Bear Dogs are known for their high drive and strong will. They have a natural instinct to hunt bears through blind tracking, scent trailing, or even bear baiting.

These powerful dogs require breed selection with care. They must be brave, relentless, and able to withstand harsh conditions like cold weather and heavy brush. Their strength lies in their ability to detect poaching situations as well as protect wildlife from any danger posed by dangerous animals such as bears.

They can also be used safely in bear hounding scenarios without causing harm or stress to the animal itself.

Are Karelian Bear Dogs Rare?

You’ll be surprised to learn that the Karelian Bear Dog, used for centuries to hunt large game including bears, is a rare breed in the United States. With breeding challenges and limited legal status, only over 1,000 are registered yearly in Finland – less than 2% of total registrations! Its unique baying techniques allow problem bears to be humanely scared away with minimal stress or harm caused.

Used also for poaching prevention and environmental protection, it’s an invaluable asset when it comes to bear hunting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are bear hunting dogs aggressive?

No, bear hunting dogs are not inherently aggressive. They are bred for their courage and boldness in order to successfully hunt bears. With proper training and socialization, they can be loyal companions who understand boundaries while protecting their families.

Bear hunting is not legal in all states. Some have banned the activity, citing concerns about animal welfare and safety for the animals involved. Others allow bear hunting under certain conditions to protect populations of endangered species or manage nuisance bears.

How long does it take to train a bear hunting dog?

Training a bear hunting dog typically takes months of dedication and hard work. It requires patience, drive, and skill to teach your pup the proper tracking techniques. You’ll need an active puppy with tight feet that’s eager to follow scent trails in order for them to become a successful hunter.

Are bear hunting dogs expensive to own?

Owning a bear hunting dog can be expensive, but their loyalty, courage, and strength make it worth it. Their versatile tracking skills provide power and understanding to your hunt – making them the perfect companion for true adventure seekers.

How often should bear hunting dogs be exercised?

Exercising bear hunting dogs regularly is essential for their health and well-being. Aim to take them on at least one long walk or jog each day and supplement with short play sessions throughout the day.


To wrap up, it’s time to crown the best bear hunting dog breed for 2023. Without a doubt, the Karelian Bear Dog takes the crown. This ancient breed has been used for centuries to hunt large game, and its combination of fearlessness and loyalty make it the perfect companion for bear hunting.

Not only are these dogs loyal and brave, but they can be trained to safely scare away problem bears, sparing them from the stress of hounding and potential harm.

So, if you’re looking for a dedicated hunting partner, the Karelian Bear Dog is the way to go!

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.