Bear hunting dogs are used for traditional hunting but also modern bear control. Bear hunting with dogs can be dangerous, but with the right training, the best bear-hunting dog can be a valuable asset in tracking the bear. Here are some of the best bear-hunting dogs you need to know about.
Hunting bears has been a longstanding tradition and a rite of passage for many hunters. It’s equally exciting and challenging, and the right breed of hunting dog can make all the difference.
Bear Hunting Dog Breed
1. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a formidable breed that originated in the Caucasus Mountains as a guardian and flock protector.
Their large, rugged build and fearless temperament also make them well-suited for hunting aggressive large game like bears. Weighing over 100 pounds at maturity, these muscular dogs have the strength and stamina to keep up with bears over rough terrain.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs have highly developed senses to track prey and are persistent when on a trail. They are bold and courageous when facing bears, using their imposing presence and loud bark to confront and distract bears until hunters arrive.
Their thick double-coat protects them from cold and brush while tracking. Intelligent and confident, they work well independently to locate and corner bears.
Originally used to hunt bears in the Caucasus Mountains, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog continues to be prized by hunters for its physical power, tracking skills, courageous spirit, and willingness to challenge dangerous big game like bears. Their hunting abilities make them ideal partners on bear hunts.
2. Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamutes are another excellent bear-hunting dog breed. They were initially bred as work dogs in Alaska and are known for their strength, loyalty, and endurance.
These dogs have a thick coat and a robust build, which allows them to survive in harsh winter climates. They are known for their intelligence, independence, courage, and loyalty.
3. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiffs have been used as bear hunting dogs for centuries. They are a large, powerful breed with a thick coat that protects them from the cold and from bear claws. They are also known for their courage and loyalty.
These dogs are not typically used to track and tree bears, as they are not sight hounds. Instead, traditional bear hounds for hunting, they are used to bay at bears and harass them until they leave the area. Tibetan Mastiffs can also be used to protect hunters from bear attacks.
4. Chongqing Dog
The Chongqing Dog is an ancient Chinese mastiff breed that originated in Chongqing, China. Historically utilized for hunting and guarding, this muscular dog is known for its bravery, strength, and loyalty.
As a descendant of the Tugou hunting and guard dogs, the Chongqing Dog possesses keen instincts and an incredible sense of smell that aid it in tracking prey.
Its large stature, powerful build, and boundless energy equip it well for pursuing large, dangerous game like bears over long distances and difficult terrain.
The Chongqing Dog has a tenacious spirit and will bravely confront aggressive bears and other animals when needed. Its loud, resonant bark allows hunters to follow along from a distance when the dog is hot on a trail. While protective and courageous,
Chongqing Dogs are also intelligent and obedient, heeding commands even in the midst of an intense hunt.
Prized today as bold guardians, these dogs have retained the superb hunting attributes of their Tugou forebears. For all these reasons, the Chongqing Dog remains well-suited for hunting pursuits, particularly those involving large, fierce quarry like bears.
5. Karelian Bear Dog
The Karelian Bear Dog is a Finnish breed that has been used for centuries to hunt large game like bears. Optimally suited for tracking, hunting, and facing off with aggressive bears, these medium-sized dogs have a nimble, sturdy build and tireless work ethic.
Karelian Bear Dogs have a keen sense of smell to detect faint bear trails and are persistent trackers, capable of pursuing bears through difficult terrain and frigid waters.
They are intelligent and courageous when confronting bears, aggressively baying and barking to distract the bear until the hunter arrives.
Their vocal nature also helps hunters follow them from a distance when tracking. Agile, fast, and unafraid of close encounters with bears, the Karelian Bear Dog will brave heavy brush, icy temperatures, or confrontations to get the job done.
Originally used by Finnish aristocracy for bear hunting, this breed is now prized by hunters worldwide for its physical skills and bravery.
For these reasons, the Karelian Bear Dog is one of the most skilled breeds when it comes to the dangerous work of bear hunting.
6. Plott hound
The Plott Hound is a medium-sized hunting dog breed that originated in North Carolina.
They were bred to hunt bears and wild boar. They are known for their intelligence, courage, and endurance.
Plott Hounds have a muscular build and a short, glossy coat. They are loyal, energetic, and make great family pets.
Coonhounds come in several breeds, but the Black and Tan Coonhound are the most common.
This breed was originally bred specifically to track raccoons, but they also make great bear-hunting dogs.
They have a strong sense of smell and an energetic disposition, which makes them perfect for tracking large game too. Coonhounds are loyal, intelligent and make great pets.
8. American Foxhound
The American Foxhound is a dog breed developed in the United States specifically for fox hunting. This medium-sized hound has a muscular build and a keen sense of smell, making it well-suited for tracking prey.
In the 19th century, American Foxhounds began being used for bear and fox hunting. Their incredible stamina, ability to track over difficult terrain, and loud, baying voices that allow hunters to follow them from afar are assets in bear hunting.
During a bear hunt, American Foxhounds are used to track the bear and pursue it until it climbs a tree or takes refuge. The dogs’ baying alerts the hunters as to where the bear is located.
While controversial today, bear hunting with hounds has a long tradition in North America. The American Foxhound’s tracking abilities were essential to locating and treeing bears before hunters moved in. This versatile of dogs brought many hound breeds and continues to be one of the most popular breeds used for hunting large quarry.
The Bloodhound is one of the best dog breeds for bear hunting due to its exceptional sense of smell and tracking ability. Bloodhounds have the keenest sense of smell of any dog, being able to pick up and follow even the faintest scent trail left by a bear.
Their loose, wrinkled skin helps trap scents around their face and neck. Additionally, Bloodhounds are relentless when on a trail, able to track prey even across running water or through dense vegetation. Their stamina allows them to continue tracking over long distances and rough terrain.
During a bear hunt, Bloodhounds can be used to find fresh bear tracks and then pursue the bear, baying to let hunters know when they’ve treed their quarry.
Their focus and determination when following a scent make them ideal for keeping bears on the move. Even if a bear tries to confuse its trail, a Bloodhound will use its incredible nose to stay on the bear’s path.
For their scenting ability and trail tenacity, Bloodhounds remain a top hunting dog breed for tracking bears.
10. German Wirehaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer is an ideal hunting companion when pursuing bear. This medium-sized, versatile gun dog breed combines many traits that make it well-suited to bear hunting.
German Wirehaired Pointers have a superb sense of smell allowing them to track bear scent over long distances and through dense cover.
They have boundless energy and will relentlessly work and quest when on a trail.
Their weather-resistant, wiry coat protects them when tracking bears through brush, brambles, and cold water.
German Wirehaired Pointers are also courageous and tenacious when confronting dangerous game like bears.
Their natural protectiveness and loyalty make them willing to pursue large, aggressive bears. When they encounter a bear, they will aggressively bay and bark to alert and hold the bear at bay while the hunter approaches.
Even if a bear tries to flee, these athletic hunting dogs have the stamina to keep up with it over rough terrain. The German Wirehaired Pointer is an all breed standard an excellent option for hunters wanting a bold, hardworking dog capable of tracking and confronting bears. Their versatile hunting abilities and protective nature make these dogs bred them ideal bear-hunting companions.
11. Dogo Argentino
Developed in Argentina for big-game hunting, the Dogo Argentino is well-suited for pursuing bears. This large, muscular breed has tremendous stamina and athleticism, allowing it to chase bears over long distances and on rough terrain.
The Dogo Argentino’s white coat provides protection from cold water and thick underbrush while tracking.
Its highly developed sense of smell can detect bear scent even days later. The Dogo Argentino is also a courageous and tenacious breed that will confront a bear without hesitation.
It will aggressively pursue, hold, and harass a bear until the hunter arrives. With powerful jaws and a strong bite, the Dogo Argentino is capable of restraining even a large, angry bear.
The breed’s loud bark makes it easy for hunters to follow when hot on a bear’s trail.
For these reasons, the Dogo Argentino’s speed, tracking ability, aggressiveness, and courage make it an excellent hunting dog for taking on bears. Its physical and mental traits uniquely qualify this breed sturdy dog for the dangerous task of bear hunting.
12. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed well-suited for bear hunting due to its combination of traits. Developed in southern Africa, this muscular dog has excellent endurance and athleticism, capable of running down bears over long distances.
Its tough feet allow it to run through rough terrain.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an intensely protective nature and will confront dangerous game ferociously, harrying and distracting bears until hunters can keep up.
Their loud, baying bark enables hunters to locate them from afar when on a bear’s trail.
A Rhodesian Ridgeback’s keen sense of smell picks up even old scent trails left by bears.
This athletic, energetic breed also has the intelligence to use its tracking instincts and athleticism when chasing bears.
Even in cold water or thick brush, a Rhodesian Ridgeback will persevere in tracking its quarry. For all these reasons, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has proven itself throughout history as an exceptional hunting companion when the game is bear.
Its stamina, courage, and determination make it ideally suited for the rigors of bear hunting.
The Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a Russian breed renowned for its courage and hunting skills, including the ability to hunt bears.
Developed by Russian aristocracy, the graceful yet athletic Borzoi was bred to have the speed, strength, and fearlessness required to confront a bear.
Weighing up to 105 pounds, Borzoi possesses the power to harass and intimidate bears until the hunter arrives.
They are persistent hunters that can traverse difficult terrain and cold climates while tracking. With their incredibly keen eyesight and sense of smell, Borzoi can pick up faint bear trails and follow them for long distances.
These intelligent hounds are independent thinkers, using their initiative to separate a bear from its pack and chase it up a tree.
Their loud voices allow hunters to locate them from afar when on a bear’s trail. Obedient but with a strong hunting drive, Borzoi will bravely face any bear and pursue it relentlessly. For these qualities, the courageous yet graceful Borzoi remains an exceptional bear hunting companion today.
Hunting bears is not only exciting but requires the right gear, tools, and the right breed of bear hunting dog breeds too. The other bear hunting dog breeds that we mentioned above are some of the best bear-hunting dogs out there.
However, remember that every dog is different, and some breeds may be more suited for hunting than others. Regardless of the breed, give your dog plenty of training, proper socialization beforehand, and love because a well-rounded hunting dog is effective, loyal, and a great companion. Happy hunting!