Puppy availability / How to select a puppy / How to bond with your puppy / Testimonials

John Rubin of JohnKnowsDogs.com with his puppy from California Karelians, Dupree. John is a professional dog trainer.

"Fast as lightening, smart and personable. That's our Dupree. This puppy is fearless but discriminating. Already, at 8 weeks, he seems mature for his age. He tackled the stairs the first day he was home. Sleeps through the night, is content in his crate, and also enjoys laying by my feet under my desk. He's a keeper!"

Later John wrote:

"At 9 weeks, we put Dupree on the agility course. He is courageous and has shown his ability to quickly adapt to all situations. This week he even accompanied John to a children's dog safety class, and Love On A Leash session with Ms. Caroline's class. The kids loved him, and he loved them back. He now goes with John on appointments [where John gives private dog obedience lessons]. His canine social skills are well-developed as he exhibits playful confidence with dogs of all ages and sizes. He loves to play with Kookla, Lefty and Barney [Johns other three dogs]."

John R., San Diego, California

"Everything is going really great. Polina [who was adopted as a one-year-old] is such a wonderful, fabulous dog. I could never have dreamed she would be this good. Even barking is not a problem, which I thought it would be with her. She is very friendly with all of our friends.

Robin C., Red Deer in Alberta, Canada

Later, we received this message:

"You really have a wonderful group of
dogs, and although another is already named Star, Polina is a star and
has such a wonderful personality."

"Our little one ["Jenny"] arrived with a delayed flight on top of a loooong day of travel. When we were finally able to meet her at the airport, she was hesitant to exit her crate for a couple of minutes. It took some coaxing. Well literally, within 30 seconds of being out, she was ready to get going. 'Let's go!'.

That was 4 days ago, and she has been ready to go anywhere since. She has adjusted very quickly to her new environment with seemingly no anxiety. She is not shy or timid at all and is taking all new experiences in stride. ...She is extremely intelligent and learns very quickly. Very special animal.

Bill and Liz are to be commended for such a well adjusting and confident animal.

She is absolutely gorgous. Even more so when she moves. What grace she has when she moves.!! Almost everyone she meets (on walks etc.) thinks she is beautiful.

Needless to say, we are all madly in love with her. We so look forward to the many challenges, rewards and learning we will all experience in the future with our new "baby".

Later, we received this update:

"We still just adore her. She is super smart and beautiful.  She definately has a mind of her own (a little stubborn) but we attribute this to her high intelligence. We have a few people who insist they want a puppy from her, but, alas, she has been fixed. She recovered very quickly (like the next day, no problems) and weighed in at just over 29 pounds. That was 3 weeks ago. I think she will be a bigger girl than most.

She gets quite a bit of socialization. Many walks and play-time with other dogs. She plays nicely with the dogs she has been around (although clearly domineering with our little pug). Took her to a weekend family reunion (80+ people, mosly small children) and she behaved very well. She loves the mountains and being out in the woods; off camping again next weekend. You can tell she is in heaven when we are in the mountains.
She has quickly bonded to be my little 'partner' and a real mama's girl.
Wow, her protective instinct did not take long to kick in. Our Rotties had none of that until at least a year old. She is on guard, and this is clearly the job she has chosen to be her's; takes her job seriously. (I know some people who could learn a thing or two from her.)
P.S. By the way, I still have several people each week tell me what a beauty she is."

Tracey C., Calgary, Canada

"Dozor is surrounded with love and attention in his new home. We have a porch that wraps around the front and side of our house. We had become so busy with our lives we had somehow stopped sitting on the porch. But the front porch is Joro's favorite place. And since everyone wants to spend time with the puppy, the family has rediscovered the joy of sitting on the front porch together on cool summer evenings. My husband, my three boys, my oldest son's girlfriend, and I meet on the front porch, discuss our days events, and laugh and play with the puppy.

Dozor loves to be outside, but we watch him closely since he is young. Yesterday evening an owl swooped over him twice. Tonight he saw and chased his first racoon who came to dig in the trash cans.  ... Although he gets a lot of love and attention from me, he is all male and wants to play rough house.

I can't thank you enough. We are so happy."

Christy G., Canyon Country, California

The BEAR League works with the bears of Lake Tahoe on a daily basis. After eight years of chasing bears on foot using rubber buckshot and paintball guns it became obvious that we could use some expert canine assistance. The search for a Karelian Bear Dog had just begun when we heard from California Karelian Kennels of a healthy new litter and the possibility of two pups being reserved for us.

At eight weeks old the puppies arrived at their new home in Tahoe with Ann Bryant, the BEAR League’s Executive Director. Bill Fantozzi and Bill Bates had planned well for the trip and the transition the puppies would undergo in leaving the only people they had ever known, their mother and littermates, as well as moving from Southern California into their new snowy winter mountain world. We spent several days going over every aspect of how to make a comfortable, safe and happy home for our new Bear Team Members and then bid our farewells to Bill and Bill, knowing they were only a phone call away.

Dmytry and Anya, now one year old, have become an important part of the work we do with bears. They have been chasing bears since they were just four months old and are trained to go off leash and herd the bears away from roads, houses and people and into the forest where they belong. The dogs take their job very seriously and are definitely “cut out” for this kind of work.

Because of the time and expertise shared by California Karelian Kennels with their new owner, the dogs have also become an integral part of every aspect of Ann’s life. Ann and her Karelians are rarely seen without each other, whether Ann is giving a lecture about bears for the Sierra Club, going for walks in the woods, teaching children in the classroom about wildlife, or taking day-long boat rides on Lake Tahoe. The two well-behaved beautiful black and white dogs are always right there.

Faithful, loyal, hardy, extremely intelligent, impeccably clean, fun-loving and delightful, this is a breed of dog to be protected and honored. It is clear to the BEAR League that California Karelian Kennels obviously appreciates the sanctity of this amazing dog and is dedicated to upholding these unique qualities and sharing their dogs only with homes where their full potential is realized and encouraged. We are grateful to California Karelian Kennels for having been blessed with these two wonderful friends and excellent team mates."

The BEAR League Board of Directors
(Puppies living at Lake Tahoe)

"Sophie is the sweetest creature I've ever encountered. Affectionate, loving, responsive, smart as a whip. Every morning she comes out of her kennel prancing. Beautiful lines and conformation and such expressive eyes. At times she seems like an old soul, then a stubborn two-year old toddler. What a joy."

Diane E., Mammoth Lakes, California

In a later update, Diane wrote:

"Yesterday we took Sophie out to a remote meadow with two huskies and a Lab and she ran like the wind, and her recall was superb. She's beautiful. "

This next testimonial is from Christina R., owner of a Karelian Bear Dog from California Karelians who works with Diane E. at the Mammoth Times newspaper. Below, Karelian Bear dog sisters, Sophie (left) and Luchik (right) at "work" at the Mammoth Times newspaper, Mammoth Lakes, California. Here is Christina's story...

"Luchik, at five months, is a puppy with the tenacity of a full-grown working dog and an attention span for learning unknown to me in previous breeds. Her family includes a senior citizen (16-year-old) golden Lab, a 100-pound Walker redback hound, a six-month old tomcat, and two horses. She lives on a large, half-acre property in the Eastern Sierra, near Bishop, and she travels with me to work at the newspaper in Mammoth Lakes every day.

“Lubee,” as we call her, likes to take field trips, has traveled to Nevada’s Virginia City and a couple of gold camps, enjoys taking mountain hikes and playing in the snow. When she is older, we hope to take her out on the trail with the horses and into the backcountry in any season, under any condition.

Karelian Bear Dogs, I’ve discovered, defy profiling. The moment you think you’ve got a pattern figured out in the dog’s habits, they change direction, quickly. They are extremely agile and able to make lateral moves, much like a cat, and after watching Luchik chase and follow the tomcat for three months I’ve discovered she mimics the cat’s actions far closer than I previously understood.

Like the cat, the Karelian Bear Dog is a prey-seeking, intelligent creature that anticipates the other animals’ actions to a far greater degree than other working dogs I’ve observed. While the Australian Shepard will follow the cattle or stock endlessly, just watching the animals in its charge, the Karelian Bear Dog assesses the total environment surrounding them.

The Karelian Bear Dog sees the ravens from afar and notices the red-tailed hawks as they find a high perch atop the telephone poles. The Karelian Bear Dog calculates the range of motion of the other animals to a far greater degree than other hunting dogs and actually reads the terrain to determine where they should begin their task. Unlike the Labradors, who seem eager to please at every task and need reassurance they are doing well, the Karelian Bear Dog is much more independent and is able to amuse itself when nothing else is going on in its life. They also have a bigger range of play actions than other breeds I’ve observed, frequently outwitting dogs that are accustomed to playing only retrieval games. Whether this is a handler initiated trait or an innate higher level of thinking, I’m not sure. However, I don’t play fetch with my dogs, and Luchik already retrieves without much motivation, encouragement or prior observation.

Food is still the biggest motivating factor in Luchik’s dynamics, and she will defend whatever space she feels is “her feeding territory.” She also will full-court press other animals away from the “feeding area” and doesn’t hesitate to chase the tomcat to great distances to assure he doesn’t return to her area.

Luchik is never away from the food action, even if it is happening outside, away from her. She monitors the yard and house as though she’s been assigned the perimeter guard position. However, she’s not aggressive about pursuing other animals.

It is true, the Karelian Bear Dog has a sense of humor, and it comes out when she’s taken a particularly ungraceful tumble chasing the cat or she’s over-shot the back yard deck. You know she sees her own folly when she pins her ears and wiggles around, looking at you as if to say, “Yep, I messed up, and you caught me at it.”

Karelian Bear Dogs are intense and extremely active, and I can’t imagine them being couped-up in an apartment all day without causing trouble. However, when given the opportunity to be out each day, fully expending their boundless energy, they fit nicely with other animal families, even mixed breed ones like mine.

I continue to be amused and amazed at the distinctly different temperament and disposition of the Karelian Bear Dog, and although I’ve never seen these primitive animals at work in their native Karelia in Russia, I imagine their dynamic personalities meshing very well with the rugged, harsh and ever-changing environment. I see these aboriginal dogs in their various shades of wolf gray, red coats and black and white and picture an ancient gene pool spanning thousands of years of history. The Karelian Bear Dog’s sense of their environment being the greatest indicator that this breed is a survivalist.

Acute sense of smell, even when the item is buried several feet below the surface. ...Constantly scanning the sky for overhead prey. ...Perfectly content to keep themselves occupied for long stretches of time. ...Watches the faces of humans for feedback and knows when people are emoting anger, happiness or sadness."

Christina R., Mammoth Lakes, California

"I appreciate your time and feedback. You gave me the answer I was looking
for - not necessarily the one I wanted to hear - but I appreciate your
honesty. The LAST thing I want to do is put a dog in a situation where they
will not be happy. ...I wish you the best in your breeding and training! I also respect you for
taking the time to "filter" your prospective puppy owners. If all breeders
put that much care into their breeding programs, the rescue groups would be a
lot less busy - and I think we would all agree that would be a good thing."

Brad A.

As part of our effort to promote and protect the Karelian Bear Dog breed, we invest time and resources to help Karelian owners with any questions they may have or to help place Karelians that find themselves without a home.

If you and your family would like to consider owning a Karelian Bear Dog, we are happy to discuss availability of one of our older puppies with you. Just contact us.


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San Diego, California