|Image from akc.org|
This is a tenacious hunter with quick reflexes and fearless nature. The breed earned its name from its ability to hunt and protect against bears. It's primarily used as a hunting breed, but also for search and rescue, and for obedience trials.
Although not commonly seen in the US, the breed has been used for non lethal bear control by the Washington department of fish and wildlife. The department's webpage says, "Just as a Border Collie has an instinct for moving sheep, out of each litter some Karelian Bear Dogs enter the world with an instinct for handling bears safely."
They are popular in their home country; according to the AKC the breed is one of the top 10 most common dogs in Finland today.
The Karelian Bear prefers to be outside, and needs plenty of space to run. This is an intelligent and independent working breed, which means they also get bored easily and need mental stimulation.
They generally love people and children, but must be socialized at an early age to enjoy the company of other types of dogs. Their extremely social nature make them prone to separation anxiety. They want to be with their human, not alone.