Top 23 Dog Breeds for Hunting Bears (With Pictures)


Certain dog breeds are bred mainly for hunting purposes and especially for hunting bears. These dogs are usually strong, brave, intelligent, and tenacious.

Bear hunting is no small task and requires enough energy to be done. In addition, tracking down these wild beasts requires being alert to scents and running long distances. Therefore dog breeds for hunting bears need to be sensitive, athletic, active, and muscular.

You must bear in mind that not all dog breeds are used for hunting bears. Hence, in this article, we have carefully put together a good list of dog breeds for hunting bears.

You may also like to read about the Most Dangerous Breeds Of Dogs To Humans.

List of Dog Breeds for Hunting Bears.

Bear hunting dogs are dogs that can hunt large game such as bears. They are usually large, powerful, and fearless breeds that can track, pursue, and distract bears until human hunters reach them. Some examples of these breeds are the Karelian bear dog, the American foxhound, and the Dogo Argentino. Here is a list of the top 23 bear hunting dog breeds.

#1. Karelian Bear Dog:

Karelian Bear Dog is one of the best dog breeds for hunting bears

The number one dog breed for hunting bears on our list is the Karelian Bear Dog. This dog will always make the top dog used for hunting bears because they are good at what they do.

For centuries now, this dog has been used to protect livestock and humans from bear attacks. Furthermore, this dog employs different tactics to hunt down bears. Some of its tactics include barking and chasing.

Basically, these dogs are not really large, they are medium-sized. Nevertheless, they are known for their agility, determination, and bravery. Apart from being great bear hunters, they also make great pets.

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#2. Caucasian Shepherd Dog:

Caucasian Shepherd dogs can protect your environs from bears

Among the dog breeds for hunting, bears are the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. Basically, these dogs are known for being fearless. They do really well in protecting sheep and other livestock from predators.

Because of their fearlessness, these dogs also make good bear hunters. This dog breed for hunting bears is large, powerful, and strong-willed. Additionally, these dogs make very good home defenders as they can be very hostile to strangers.

If trained properly the qualities of this dog could be used to save lives. In the hunting field, you can count on the loyalty of a Caucasian Shepherd. This makes them one of the awesome dog breeds for hunting bears.

#3. Alaskan Malamute:

Alaskan Malamute dog breeds are awesome bear hunters

The next dog on our list of dog breeds for hunting bears is the Alaskan Malamute. These dogs are large and powerful with thick fluffy coats that act as insulation against cold. Alaska Malamutes are known for pulling sleds in the blistering cold and therefore make really excellent work dogs.

These large dogs can weigh almost 90 pounds and stand 26 inches tall. In addition to being powerful, they are highly energetic, and they love jumping around and getting into mischief. They are just the perfect catch for chasing down polar bears. You can count on your Malamute to work even in harsh weather conditions.

If you have dogs with stye eyes, then read this article to learn How To Treat A Dog Stye At Home Very Easily.

#4. Tibetan Mastiff:

Tibetan mastiff walking on snow; a great bear hunting dog breed

Tibetan Mastiff is a tough dog with a watchdog appearance. They have a natural killer instinct which makes them a great dog breed for hunting bears. These dogs are native to Tibetan Plateau located in Asia. They have been used long enough by local people to hunt, guard and protect livestock.

Tibetan Mastiffs are quite large and can weigh about 100 to 150 pounds. In addition, these dogs have thick protective coats that are handy during cold weather. They exhibit great courage and strength and will always make excellent guard dogs.

#5. Chinese Bear Hunting Dogs:

Chinese Bear Hunting Dogs

Just as the name implies, these dogs are dog breeds for hunting bears. They make excellent watchdogs and do well in hunting. If you get them as a family pet for protection, you won’t regret doing so. This is because these dogs make excellent watchdogs and they are also very protective of their families.

Chinese Bear Hunting Dogs require plenty of attention and exercise because they can be destructive when bored.

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#6. Plott hound:

The Plott hound is quite popular for its muscular and athletic stature. Just like other hounds, this dog tracks animals through their scents. This method is employed by the Plott hound in chasing down bears. They also help alert and direct hunters through their short barks when chasing down bears. With this, you would agree with me they make good hunting partners.

#7. Coonhound:


Although they are known for hunting coons these dogs are also great dog breeds for hunting bears. They have good scent-hunting skills which come in handy in the field.

Furthermore, their prey-drive instinct makes them good hunting dogs. Although they are not very large dogs, their intimidating bawl can send a big bear on the run.

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#8. American Foxhound:

 American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is one of the good dog breeds for hunting bears. This dog is really good at picking up scents that are far off and tracking them down.

In addition to this American Foxhound has stamina and energy for hunting. Therefore they make really good hunting dogs. 

#9. Bloodhound:


The Bloodhound is one other good dog breed for hunting bears. This dog has amazing and excellent tracking abilities.

Basically, you can trust a Bloodhound to identify bear scents from a week ago. These amazing tracking abilities can really give you a headstart when you know where the bears are hiding.

However, you need to note that this breed is not really aggressive. Therefore, do not depend on them to kill the bear for you.

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#10. German Shorthaired Pointer:


Generally, Pointers are usually trained to point at birds, however, they can be used theoretically for chasing and barking at bears too. Furthermore, these dogs also have awesome tracking abilities and good stamina.

A German Shorthaired pointer can basically point a bear out without scaring them away. This can help you bring the bear down with your gun. Therefore you can see that they make good hunting companions.

#11. Boerboel:

Boerboel bear hunting dog

One of the best dog breeds for hunting bears on our list is the Boerboel. These dogs were mainly bred to protect farms and homesteads from wild animals.

They are descendants of the mastiff family of dogs. Therefore it is no surprise that they are mostly muscular, large, and big-boned. Most importantly if you train them well to chase and attack bears, they will surely make you proud.

#12. Dogo Argentino:

Dogo argentino

The Dogo Argentino is a strong and independent dog breed that was bred to hunt big game. It also had scary looks and will make an excellent guard dog.

Apart from this, they can also be used for hunting bears. They exhibit traits such as aggressiveness, gameness, and raw, unbridled power. Therefore they need an adequate and strong trainer to handle them. Furthermore, their aggressiveness and gameness give them an edge in the hunting field. 

#13. Rhodesian Ridgeback:

Rhodesian Ridgeback bear hunting dog

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great hunting dog which is also known as the African Lion Dog. This dog makes one of the best dog breeds for hunting bears.

In times past, this breed has made a great lion-hunting dog. Basically, they can easily track down a lion, charge at it, and try all possible means to take a lion down.

This dog has a muscular and athletic body which helps a lot during a hunt. In addition, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a very strong prey drive that makes it not resist chasing down something.  This dog makes a very good hunting partner.

If this dog interests you so much, then you may want to read about other African dog breeds.

#14. German Shepherd:

Female German Shepherd Bear Hunting Dog

A German Shepherd always exhibits loyalty and courage.

Basically, these dogs are robust, intelligent, powerful, and fierce.

They are mostly used as military and police dogs.

Furthermore if left to roam these dogs can inflict deadly attacks on people.

However, when trained to hunt bears it can channel its energy well for better purposes.

With the above-mentioned qualities, it is no surprise they are chosen to play the role of police and military dogs.

Although they can be aggressive, they are highly efficient in curtailing human threats.

If well trained you certainly won’t regret bringing them to the hunting game.

#15. Rottweiler:


The Rottweiler is no weakling at all, this trait makes it an excellent hunting dog. This dog does not back down easily and will always love to fight till the end. Another good thing about this dog breed is it can grow up to 25 inches tall and weigh 120 pounds or more and still remain healthy.

They can also be protective and friendly to immediate household members but not to visitors and strangers. These animals are not only large they also possess a powerful bite which they make good use of. his powerful bite and resilient character come in handy when hunting bears.

#16. American Pitbull Terrier:

American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier is characterized by strength, zest for life, and confidence. It can basically pursue and conquer any animal.

Depending on upbringing, Pit Bulls can be lovable animals. However, they have the highest rate of fatal attacks than any other dog.

Pit Bulls were mostly bred as hunting dogs and fighting dogs. Their attacking ability has enabled them to be great bear-hunting dogs. In addition, they have great killer instincts, strong jaws, and bodies that weigh up to 80 pounds.

Because this breed is considered dangerous, it has been banned in some countries. Nevertheless, if you can train and tame an American Pitbull Terrier then you will find them quite useful in the home and as hunters.

#17. Siberian Laika:

Siberian Laika

These dogs were actually born and raised in Siberia where we have bears in their numbers. The Siberian Laika resembles the Siberian Husky in so many ways and also has some of his traits. These traits include good hunting instincts, a strong prey drive, and a great nose. Their strong prey drive and nose help them to track down bears easily. Furthermore, these dogs can also be protective, territorial, and aggressive.

#18. Golden Retriever:

Golden Retriever

Never underestimate a Golden Retriever. Although these dogs can be quite playful and friendly they are tough dogs. That is why they are on this list in the first place. They possess great agility and a great sense of smell. You will find a true companion in this playful dog can when hunting beasts in the wilderness.

#19. Akita:

Akita inu

This dog originated in Japan and is increasing in popularity in the USA. Basically, they are strong, independent, and dominant. This breed of dog is known for its recognizable smiles and irresistible to-touch coats.

They are very muscular and can weigh around 100 pounds. These dogs make good bear-hunting dogs as well and are very courageous. You can trust an Akita to sniff the scent of a bear from miles away. 

Apart from being good hunting dogs, their fierce and tenacious character makes them great catch dogs as well. Therefore these dogs have no problem attacking a huge bear with their jaws and paws. This is why they are used in many areas of Japan to ward off bears in the fields and farms.

#20. The Irish setter 


This dog doesn’t only have an interesting name it has an interesting beauty too. The Irish Setter has amazing eyes that are sharp and a very keen sense of smell. Furthermore, it has a pointing ability and knows how to use it well. This breed also loves to show off its beauty and abilities. Above all, if you bring an Irish Setter along for a bear hunt, it will surely throw his weight around just right.

#21. Kangal Dog:

The Kangal dog breed is a bear hunting dog that can kill a bear.

Kangal dog is a Turkish dog that originated in the Kangal district of Turkey. This breed is large and powerful and can fight and kill bears with its size and speed. It has a large head, a thick neck, and a curly tail, as well as a tan coat with a black mask and ears.

The Kangal dog is loyal, protective, and independent, and it is used for guarding livestock and property from predators such as wolves and bears. Additionally, this dog can run up to 50 km/h and has high agility and endurance.

Furthermore, it can confront bears with courage, intelligence, and alertness. However, the Kangal dog needs a lot of space, exercise, and socialization to prevent boredom and aggression. Therefore, it is not suitable for apartment living or inexperienced owners.

#22. Fila Brasileiro:

Fila Brasileiro bear hunting dog breed

Fila Brasileiro is a Brazilian dog that originated from a cross between several mastiff-type dogs that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese colonizers. This breed can hunt and kill bears with its strong jaws and aggressive temperament. It has a massive head, a loose skin, and a smooth coat that can be of various colors.

The Fila Brasileiro is loyal and devoted to its owner but distrustful and hostile to strangers and animals. Additionally, this dog can track, chase, and bite bears and hold them until they die or the hunter arrives.

Furthermore, it is fearless, determined, and independent. However, the Fila Brasileiro needs a lot of exercise, training, and socialization to prevent boredom and aggression. Therefore, it is not suitable for novice or timid owners.

#23. Borzoi:

borzoi bear hunter dog

Last but not least dog on our list of dog breeds for hunting bears is the Borzoi. This dog is no stranger to bear hunting and can run at the speed of light. Although a Borzoi may not actually outrun a bear, it will certainly chase it into the forest or toward your direction.

During hunting, this dog has a focused eye which it always keeps on the prey. They are also known to be quite persistent in character and will always make sure the bear goes down.

What Dog Breeds Can Kill a Bear?

There are several dog breeds that can kill a bear, either by themselves or in a pack. These breeds include:

  • Rottweiler: This is a large and powerful breed that has strong jaws and a fearless personality. It can protect its owner from danger and attack bears with aggression.
  • Boerboel dogs: These are South African dogs that are bred for guarding and hunting. They have a muscular body, a powerful bite, and a loyal temperament. They can take down big game such as bears.
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback: This is an African dog that was used for hunting lions. It has a distinctive ridge of hair on its back, a sleek coat, and a courageous spirit. It can track and chase bears with speed and stamina.
  • Fila Brasileiro: This is a Brazilian dog that is a cross between several mastiff-type dogs. It has a massive head, a loose skin, and a smooth coat. It is loyal to its owner but aggressive to strangers and animals. It can hunt and kill bears with its strong jaws.
  • Dogo Argentino: This is an Argentine dog that is a cross between several mastiff-type dogs. It has a muscular body, a powerful bite, and a white coat. It is used for hunting big game such as wild boars, pumas, and bears. It can attack and kill bears with its strength and tenacity.
  • Kangals: These are Turkish dogs that are used for guarding livestock and property. They have a large head, a thick neck, and a curly tail. They are loyal, protective, and independent. They can fight and kill bears with their size and speed. They also have the strongest bite force among other dog breeds.

What specific traits should I look for in a dog for bear hunting?

Some traits that you should look for in a bear-hunting dog are:

  1. Size: Bear hunting dogs need to be large and strong enough to hold their ground against a bear.
  2. Stamina: Bear hunting can be a long and tiring process, so dogs need to have the stamina to keep up.
  3. Courage: Bear hunting dogs need to be courageous and willing to face off against a bear.
  4. Loyalty: The dog should be loyal to its owner and willing to protect them from danger.
  5. Trainability: Bear hunting dogs need to be trainable and able to follow commands.
  6. Strength: The dog should be strong enough to withstand harsh conditions and possible injuries from bears.
  7. Tenacity: The dog should be persistent and determined to chase and corner the bear.
  8. High prey drive: Bear hunting dogs need to have a high prey drive in order to be successful.
  9. Intelligence: The dog should be able to follow commands and signals from its owner and work well with other dogs.
  10. Scenting ability: The dog should have a keen sense of smell and be able to pick up a bear’s scent from long distances.

Are there any particular health concerns associated with bear hunting dogs?

Some health concerns that may affect bear hunting dogs are:

  • Hip dysplasia: This is a genetic condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally, leading to pain, arthritis, and lameness. It is common in large breeds such as mastiffs and bloodhounds
  • Bloat: This is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists, cutting off blood flow. It can be caused by eating too fast, exercising after eating, or stress. It is more common in deep-chested breeds such as hounds.
  • Injuries: Bear hunting dogs may suffer from injuries such as cuts, bites, bruises, sprains, or fractures from chasing or fighting bears. They may also get infections or parasites from the environment or the bears themselves. If the injury is to the leg and causes your dog to limp, read this article to learn how to treat a limping dog at home.
  • Trauma: Bear hunting dogs can be injured in other ways, such as being hit by a bear or falling from a tree.
  • Heatstroke: Bear hunting can be a strenuous activity, and dogs are at risk of heatstroke if they are not properly hydrated.

Can any dog be trained for bear hunting, or are certain breeds more suitable?

Not every dog can be trained for bear hunting, as some breeds may lack the physical or mental traits required for this activity. Some breeds that are more suitable for bear hunting are:

  • Karelian bear dog: This is a Finnish breed that is renowned for its natural hunting skills and instincts.
  • American foxhound: This is an American breed that has a loud voice that helps it communicate with other dogs and its owner.
  • Dogo Argentino: This is an Argentine breed that has a muscular body and a powerful bite.
  • German Shepherds: These are large and strong dogs with a high prey drive. They are also very trainable.
  • Rottweilers: They are also large and strong dogs with a high prey drive. They are not as trainable as German Shepherds, but they are still capable of being successful bear hunting dogs.
  • Belgian Malinois: These are medium-sized dogs with a high prey drive and a lot of energy. They are very trainable and make excellent bear hunting dogs.

How should novice hunters approach selecting and training a bear hunting dog?

Novice hunters should approach selecting and training a bear hunting dog with caution. It is important to choose a dog that is well-suited for the task and to start training early. Here are some tips for selecting and training a bear hunting dog:

1. Start by choosing a dog that is from a reputable breeder:

This will help ensure that the dog has the physical and mental qualities that are necessary for bear hunting. Choose a reputable breeder who can provide you with health certificates, pedigree papers, and references. Avoid buying dogs from puppy mills or backyard breeders who may not care about the quality or welfare of their dogs.

2. Start training the dog early:

This will help the dog learn the commands that it will need to know in order to be successful in bear hunting. Introduce your puppy to other bear hunting dogs and let them learn from their example. You can join a hunting club or a group of experienced hunters who can mentor you and your puppy.

3. Start with basic obedience training. 

Once the dog has mastered basic obedience, you can move on to more advanced training, such as tracking and retrieving. Expose your puppy to different scents and tracks of bears and other animals. Also, introduce your puppy to gunshots and other loud noises gradually and positively

4. Be patient and consistent with the training:

Bear hunting dogs need to be well-trained in order to be successful. Start your puppy with small game such as rabbits or squirrels before moving on to larger game such as bears. This will help your puppy gain confidence and experience.

5. Take the dog hunting with you as often as possible

This will help the dog learn how to behave in the field and how to track and retrieve bears. Always supervise your puppy during hunting trips and keep it on a leash or a GPS collar. Do not let your puppy chase or confront bears alone or without your command. Always be prepared for emergencies and have a first aid kit, a veterinarian’s contact, and a backup plan.

6. Choose a breed that matches your hunting style, experience level, and environment:

For example, if you hunt in cold climates, you may want a breed with a thick coat like the Karelian bear dog. If you hunt in open areas, you may want a breed with a loud voice like the American foxhound.

Your dog may get a lot of injuries during hunting including getting a paw pad cut. Here’s a guide on how to treat paw pad cuts at home.

What are some effective training techniques for preparing a dog for bear hunting?

Some effective training techniques for preparing a dog for bear hunting are:

  • Scent discrimination: This is a technique that teaches your dog to distinguish between different scents and follow the one you want. You can use different containers with different scents inside and reward your dog for finding the one with the bear scent.
  • Treeing: This is a technique that teaches your dog to chase a bear up a tree and bark to alert you. You can use a stuffed animal or a live animal in a cage and reward your dog for chasing it up a tree and barking.
  • Baying: This is a technique that teaches your dog to circle around a bear and bark to distract it. You can use a stuffed animal or a live animal in a cage and reward your dog for circling around it and barking.
  • Retrieving: This is a technique that teaches your dog to bring back the game to you. You can use a dummy or a real animal and reward your dog for fetching it and bringing it back to you.
  • Use positive reinforcement: This is the best way to train a dog, as it will help the dog associate good behavior with rewards.
  • Be consistent with the commands: The dog needs to know what you expect of it, so be sure to use the same commands every time.
  • Make the training fun: If the dog is not having fun, it will be less likely to want to learn.
  • Be patient: Training a dog takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if the dog doesn’t learn something right away.


There are many different dog breeds that can be used for bear hunting, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The best breed for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. However, all of the breeds listed in this article are capable of being successful bear hunting dogs if they are properly trained and cared for.

No matter which breed you choose, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder. You should also start training your dog early so that it can learn the commands that it will need to know in order to be successful in bear hunting.

With proper training and care, a bear hunting dog can be a valuable asset to any hunter.


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