Tahltan Bear Dog

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Non-Sporting    Type: Pure Breed    Talent: , , ,


Size: Medium     Weight: 15-20 lbs     Fur length: Short    Ears: Pointy    Fur type: Straight    Fur Color: Black, Black & White, Brown & White


Life Expectancy: 10-12 years    Rarity: Uncommon    Availability: Hard to find    Climate: Not good for warm climate.

Breed Details


The Tahltan Bear Dog is a small dog that originated in Canada. Named after Tahltan tribes, these small dogs were seen around their camps as they were essential for their existence. The dog was raised to fight and hunt game like ptarmigan, beaver, porcupine,elk and a variety of other game but they were specialist in hunting bear. Working in pair, one dog used to annoy the bear from front while the other attacked from behind. They kept the bear at bay until the hunters came and finished the job.

Though its exact origin is unknown, the Tahltan Bear Dog is speculated to have descended from the dogs of the settlers during the prehistoric migrations. This dog has existed in the remote mountain areas of northwestern British Columbia and Northern Yukon for hundreds of years. It is a Spitz and pariah type breed of hunting dog. At the turn of the 20th century, these dogs were among the rarest dogs but became well known during 1930s so much so that they were recognized by Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) in 1939 or 1941. Unfortunately, this breed could not gain popularity among masses, possibly due to stories that these dogs did not survive going South. What ever the reason, by 1970, the breed had almost became extinct as no new registrations were made. The CKC de-listed this breed and it is now considered to be an extinct breed of dog.

This primitive breed came with a short, dense and harsh coat, erect ears and fox like face. They stood 15-17 inches and weighed 15-20 lbs. Most of these dogs were black with white markings but some were steel gray. White dogs with black or gray spots were not preferred.

This breed was NOT recognized by AKC.


A black coat with white markings was most common for this breed although steel grey, dark brown and blue coated dogs with white patches on chest and feet were also seen. White coats spotted with black or grey also occurred but this coat type was less desirable.


The Tahltan Bear Dog had a short, dense and glossy coat. Thick outer coat completely covered the dense undercoat.


Despite smaller size, taking on animals much larger than their own size requires high levels of bravery and courage and these qualities were abundant in the Tahltan Bear Dog. Working in pair, these dogs were specialist in Bear hunting. They were not intimidated by large and ferocious animals. These dogs were highly valued by their tribe people not only for their hunting skills but also for their even and calm temperament when these dogs were around their family. Used to living in tents with their family, the dogs were very kind, playful and protective of children. They were docile to their master and very trainable through consistent training. As like most working breeds, the Tahltan Bear Dogs had high exercise needs. They were accustomed to working in colder climates, doing hard work like hunting and guarding.


These dogs had an easy to maintain coat that only needed weekly brushing to be in prime condition. These dogs needed some task to perform and were happiest when assigned to do some work.


The Tahltan Bear Dog was docile and intelligent breed that was easy to train. The master needed to be consistent and firm yet gentle when training this dog. With proper training, these dogs made excellent companion.


The Tahltan Bear Dogs were very active dogs that liked to be doing something. With high energy levels, these dogs needed lots of physical and mental stimulation and outlet for their pent up energy. Accustomed to living tribal life, the dogs had plenty of opportunity to engage themselves in different activities.

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