18 Best Bear Hunting Dog Breeds

If you want to hunt bears, you’ll need a good dog. The dogs’ job is to track down the bear and then bring it back to you.

There are several breeds that are well suited for this type of work.

There are 18 different types of dogs that are considered suitable for bear hunting. Some of them are very large, some are smaller, but they all have certain traits that make them ideal for this task.

In this article, you will discover what breed of dog is most suited for hunting bears.

So keep on reading!

Bear Hunting Dogs

Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog

The Karelian Bear Dog is a native Finnish breed of dog and is seen as a national treasure. When you think of bear hunting dogs, this breed should be your first thought.

The Karelian Bear Dog has been used to scare away bears from livestock and humans for hundreds of years.

The breed of dog was specially bred to hunt brown bears, but they can hunt any type of bear. You may misjudge this breed due to its small size, but they make up for this in other ways.

They are incredibly intelligent, fast, and they have the right amount of aggression to scare off bears.

They use simple tactics of barking and chasing to hunt the bears down. Although it should be noted that this breed of dog is now considered quite rare.

Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino was first developed in Argentinian, with the main aim of game hunting. This large, white and muscular dog has a powerful body that is perfect for hunting bears.

They may have roots in Argentina, but they have also been bred in South America for hunting wild hogs and pumas. This breed doesn’t mind the hot weather and will run through thick hot terrain with little effort.

These dogs do have an intimidating look about this, which makes them perfect for bear hunting. They look more like a dog that a bear wouldn’t want to mess with.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are very beloved dogs in America and are a very popular choice. They are often seen in the police force or military. Alongside that, they can hunt for bears.

These dogs are known for their loyalty, courage, and fierceness. There is nothing that these dogs can’t do.

Alongside this, German Shepherds are known for being easy to train and for their intelligence.

As a result, you can easily train them how to hunt a bear. They then won’t forget the skills that you have taught them to hunt bears.

Also, German Shepherds have such good eyesight that they can see a bear from a long way away.

They will then be able to chase down that bear and scare it. As long as you have trained them to do such a thing.

Caucasian Shepherd

Caucasian Shepherd

Native to Russia, after dealing with many years of bear attacks, the Russians didn’t need to develop the ideal dog that would be able to hunt bears.

We cannot deny that this breed of dog is enormous and one of the larger and heavier dogs you can find around the world.

Just the size of this dog is enough to intimidate a bear and scare them away. Their long, thick coat helps give them a bigger appearance as well.

Originally, the Caucasian Shepherd was developed to protect the livestock of the Russian. Protecting the livestock against bears and other predictors. This is a passionate and fierce dog who is great at protecting.


Rottweiler’s are known for their aggressive and fierce behavior.

This may be the best thing when it is directed towards other dogs or humans, however, when it comes towards hunting bears, this kind of attitude is perfect.

It is surprising, the bite force this breed of dog has is very impressive. Their bite force is much stronger than you will realize, and not even a bear will be able to survive it.

As a result, having a Rottweiler is one of the best breeds of dogs you can have when facing off a bear.

They won’t back down and will fight until the very end. No matter how big the bear is, this won’t scare the Rottweiler.

Try hunting with a pack of Rottweilers, you would be seen as unstoppable!


The Coonhound is known for hunting raccoons, as their name suggests. However, they can still be used when it comes to hunting bears.

Coonhounds are known for their excellent sense of smell and natural instincts. They are overall all-around great hunters, especially when in the wild.

They may be a smaller dog than you would expect to take bear hunting, however, their size doesn’t stop them.

A Coonhound will gladly chase larger animals than itself such as bears, cougars, or coyotes.

These dogs are known for being fast runners. Also, their bark and bite will terrify, and the bear won’t stand much of a chance against this dog.

Plott Hound

Plott Hounds are known for their powerful and streamlined body. They have a very muscular build and are very smart and loyal dogs.

All these characteristics are important when it comes to hunting and chasing down bears.

They have very short barks, which allows you to follow the direction of the bear without having to stop to hear where your dog is. These barks also keep you alert to any changes.

Just like most hound dogs, the Plott Hound has an excellent sense of smell. They can follow a scent for many miles until they have found what they are looking for.

When they finally find a bear, they will happily charge at it and chase it, either by themselves or in a pack.

American Pitbull Terrier

American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier is a controversial breed of dog. This is because quite a few countries have banned this breed as they believe that they are a danger to people and society.

However, if you train this breed well, then this dog will be the most ideal dog you could have when chasing bears.

As we have mentioned, Rottweilers can have an aggressive personality, which is great when hunting bears. However, this breed of dog is seen as the next level up when it comes to fierceness and aggression.

As a result, as long as you train this dog well, they will be the perfect dog for you. They will happily chase after any animal that is bigger than them and attack them.

Siberian Laika

The Siberian Laika is native to West Siberia, where there are plenty of bears to hunt and chase.

It is easy to mistake the Siberian Laika for a type of Husky, as they have a similar appearance. They always share some personality traits as well.

This breed is known to have great natural hunting instincts and a sense of smell. They are very territorial dogs who are known for being protective and aggressive when they need to be.

When it comes to hunting bears, when a Siberian Laika spots a bear, they bark. Then they will then either charge at it and chase it away or attack.

However, you must train your Siberian Laika to attack if you want this to happen.

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is known for its amazing tracking skills. They also have great stamina, which means that they won’t stop until they have got their target.

Nothing will get in the way of this dog or slow them down. They can easily navigate steep and awkward terrain as they chase or escape their prey.

Typically, when this breed of dog finds a bear, they will point at it and do their best not to scare it off. This then gives you plenty of time to come in and shoot the bear with your gun.

Golden Retriever

Everyone knows the Golden Retriever to be a loveable and friendly family pet. As a result, you wouldn’t associate this breed of dog with hunting down bears.

However, Golden Retrievers have amazing ability skills and a sense of smell. As a result, this breed of dog may be seen as a lot of people’s best friends, and can also be a great hunting dog for bears in the wild.

Golden Retrievers are protective and can be territorial. They won’t just sit on the sidelines if they think that their owner is in danger.

They will do everything that they can to protect their owner, which means facing off a bear.



Native to Japan, the Akita is a very fluffy and pleasing dog to look at.

You may think that they look like a very innocent breed of dog, that would do anything to mess up their beautiful fur. However, they are fabulous dogs to use when hunting bears.

Akita is a great dog to use when hunting bears as they are very alert dogs that are protective and fierce. These dogs have an amazing scent, so they can sniff out a bear from many miles away.

This breed of dog can easily find a bear through its sense of smell.

However, they have no issue with attacking a large bear either. Therefore, this is why in Japan, this breed of dog is used to protect farms and fields from bears, as these dogs will gladly attack if they have to.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback can also be referred to as the African Lion Dog.

As the name suggests, this dog was the ideal dog for hunting lions. They would easily track a lion and when one is found, they would charge and attack it and try to take it down.

They have a very strong prey drive, which means that they can’t resist trying to chase their prey down.

However, thanks to their muscular and athletic build, they can easily charge and attack prey that may be larger or stronger than them.

Alongside this, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can withstand any climate, whether it is hot or cold. As a result, you can take this dog hunting anywhere in the world, and they won’t let you down.

The Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is an unknown choice for bear hunting. This is because this breed of dog is usually shown off for its beauty and skills.

However, when faced with a bear, this bread will show off its amazing agility skills and sense of smell.

They have great eyesight, which will help them spot bears from miles away. All of their skills make them a great choice when it comes to bear hunting.


The Bloodhound has a very impressive sense of smell. It is believed that this dog can smell the scent of a bear from up to a week ago.

Thus, this makes them the perfect bear tracker. This is an ideal skill to have when you aren’t sure where to begin looking for bears.

Although, you will notice that these bears are overall aggressive, unlike other dog breeds we have mentioned.

As a result, when you do find a bear, you will need to use other tactics to either chase them off or attack them to kill the bear yourself.



Boerboel is a South African dog, which is considered one of the best bear hunting dogs out there. These dogs were originally bred to defend their homes and protect remote farms from wild animal attacks.

These dogs are part of the mastiff family, thus they do look quite similar. Especially when it comes to their large and muscular body.

When it comes to the Boerboel you need to train them to attack and chase bears, but once you have, you can guarantee that they won’t forget their training.

Their natural protective instincts will kick in, and they will take on bears to define their owners.


Borzoi is another Russian dog which is known for hunting bears. This breed of dog has a very athletic body, which helps it run extremely quickly.

They can’t outrun bears, but they can easily chase them for many miles.

As they are such quick runners, they can catch up to your prey that they spot miles away in no time.

These dogs have spectacular vision and will spot a bear quickly and easily.

Overall, the Borzoi doesn’t give up when it comes to chasing or hunting down bears. They are very persistent and won’t stop until the bear is down.

American Foxhound

American Foxhound

The American Foxhound has an excellent sense of smell. They are known for picking up the scent of a bear from miles away and being able to track that bear down.

They have exceptional stamina and have a deep urge to prove that they are better than any other dog.

Although, these are great pack dogs, which will easily take down a bear together. These are strong dogs that will help you find and bring down a bear in no time.

Training Your Dog

All the dog breeds we have mentioned could easily take on a bear.

However, you need to make sure that you have trained them properly so that they know what to expect, and to ensure they don’t get injured in the process.

To make sure that your dog doesn’t get hurt, they should be trained to follow all commands that you give them.

Even the simplest of commands should be followed to the letter.

Alongside this, they should know when to chase, when to stop and when to get out of the way. This will ensure your dog’s safety.

Also, you should introduce them to the hunting terrain as soon as possible.

They need time to get used to the environment and understand the smells associated with that place as well. This can make tracking bears a lot easier, too.

Are Bears Scared Of Dogs?

Yes, most bears are scared of dogs. However, this does not mean that you cannot hunt with your dog. You just need to know how to handle your dog properly.

It is a known fact that black bears have been seen to run away from very small dogs. It is believed that the moving canines intimate these large animals.

Although, the only time a bear will ignore a dog is if they are tied up for some reason. However, there are some cases where a bear will attack the hunting dog and owner. Yet these cases are very rare.

Typically, a dog can chase a bear away with no effort.

How Do You Hunt For Bears With Dogs?

When it comes to traditional bear hunting with dogs, you would usually have a pack of dogs.

The pack would then chase down the bear and corner them, so the bear couldn’t escape. Then the owner would find the pack and catch the bear himself.

As bears are very intelligent creatures, trying to track and corner them by yourself is very difficult. This is when you need dogs to help you.

However, humans have been using dogs to hunt bears for hundreds of years. From our list above, you can see that some of the dogs we have mentioned have also been used to hunt other larger types of wild animals.

Thus, as mentioned above, there are an array of dog breeds that you could choose from to be part of your pack of hunting dogs.

The type of dog breed that you decide on will depend on where you want to go hunting and the bear hunting technique you want to use.

Although, you must follow the rules of your state or country. This is because not all states or countries allow bear hunting with dogs.

However, bear hunting with dogs in some regions has proven as an effective way of controlling small black bears that are being destructive.

Is Bear Hunting With Dogs Ethical?

With any kind of hunting, it is full of controversies.

Some arguments say that hunting with dogs causes unnecessary and unwanted stress on bears. Also, it can lead to bears being separated from their cubs.

Alongside this, hunting with dogs also puts the dog’s lives in danger as well, as the bear could attack, you don’t actually know what the bear will do when confronted.

On the other hand, people also say that this is a great sport and the bears aren’t always killed.

When the bears are killed, then the hunting is no different as people who go fishing and release the fish back into the water.

It is also said that there are several benefits for bears, dogs, and humans from this sport.

The dogs enjoy the activity. While the hunters also enjoy the thrill of hunting, they also get the chance to get close to these wild animals.

This then gives them the opportunity to verify the sex of the bear, which may help them reach the decision if they need to take it down.

This is in aid of bear management, in areas where there is a very large bear population.

Shooting A Bear

If a bear attacks your dog, you are not allowed to shoot the bear.

This is because, in the majority of countries and states, they don’t allow you to kill any wild animal in a bid to protect your property. This includes any pets.

As a result, if you cause damage to a bear in order to save your dog, this is seen as a crime. You could be given a financial charge, or you may have to do time.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we gave you the 18 best bear hunting dog breeds. Some of the dogs we have mentioned you may have not expected to be great bear hunting dogs.

Any breed that you choose from our list will be able to hunt down bears easily and effortlessly. You will have to train your dogs to be able to hunt and chase bears.

However, a lot of these breeds also have natural instincts that may make them great trackers already.

These dogs will help you hunt your bears, but you just need to make sure that you keep yourself and your dogs safe.

It may be surprising that bears are often seen running away from dogs, but sometimes they may attack if provoked.

Thus, always make sure you take every precaution possible when you next go on your next bear hunting trip.

This will keep you and your dogs safe!

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