Are Black Bears Afraid of Dogs? (5 Reasons Why!)

Black bears are the largest creatures on the land. While they are pretty scary, I’ve seen some videos where dogs can scare them away.

Does it mean they are afraid of dogs?

Although much larger in size than dogs, black bears are scared of dogs. They feel threatened by dogs and want to get away from them as fast as they can.

This is because dogs can be very dominating and noisy. They chase them and also bark at them.

In this article, we will discuss several reasons why black bears are afraid of dogs. So, if you want to know more about bears and dogs, do read the whole article!

Table of Contents

Why are Black Bears Afraid of Dogs?

 1. Dogs Can Be Dominant

Dogs are able to make black bears frightened due to the fact that they are quite dominant.

Moreover, black bears like to stay on their own. Therefore, they are more likely to show submissive behavior when faced with a more dominating creature like a dog.

When out on a walk with their owners, some dogs occasionally take off into the woods to bother passing bears.

In most cases, the black bears will run away, and the dogs will return with their tails wagging.

Apart from being dominant, dogs may also chase black bears whenever they see them.

2. Dogs Chase Black Bears

Black bears have a fear of dogs because a dog may chase them while barking and running at them.

Even if a black bear is passing quietly, some dogs start chasing them for no reason.

This makes some bears very anxious. This can make the bear feel threatened and drive it to run away.

Furthermore, dogs not only chase black bears but also bark at them.

3. Dogs Bark at Bears

Dog barking at a bear

A dog may react to the sight of a black bear by barking continuously. And black bears are afraid of this barking noise. They will avoid any region that is close to a barking dog. 

Bears are not easily alarmed by loud music. Nevertheless, they may be shocked by a sudden noise burst such as a dog barking.

Did you know?

When compared to the average human voice, the bark of a dog is around 110 decibels louder. Because bears have excellent hearing, the sound of the barking is considerably more painful for them than for us. 

4. Bears Relate Dogs with Human

Black bears are afraid of humans due to their hunting nature. And they have evolved to recognize the human species in relation to the dogs. Why?

Humans usually take dogs with them to hunt black bears. Also, people often take dogs with them while camping. 

Black bears will gradually make the connection between the smells and noises of dogs and humans. They also leave scent marks all over their territory, which combines that of dogs and human beings. 

That is the reason, black bears associate dogs with humans and are afraid of them. In addition, black bears also associate dogs with wolves.

5. Bears Associate Dogs With Wolves

Dogs sometimes remind black bears of wild wolves. And they are afraid of the wolves due to their hunting nature.

Although, now the wolf attacks are less on bears for many reasons. But there was a time when there were frequent attacks.

Black bears, despite their evolution, are still reminded of what their ancestors faced. 

And that is why they tend to associate dogs with wolves due to their similar physique and nature.

So, now that we know black bears are afraid of dogs, you may ask, are all of them afraid of dogs? 

Are All Black Bears Afraid Of Dogs?

Most black bears are afraid of dogs but not all. It depends on the situation as well.

Some black bears get aggressive instead of being frightened when they see dogs.

There are many videos where we see black bears chasing dogs.

So, it proves that not all black bears are afraid of dogs. 

Do Barking Dogs Scare Away Bears?

Yes, barking dogs scare away bears.

Black bears get easily frightened by barking dogs. That’s why wildlife researchers use them as alarms to drive bears away from a region.  

However, the possible problem could arise in the long run in the form of habituation. After a certain time, bears may learn that the sound of dog bark means there are no problems.

Barking dogs do scare bears, but you should also know which breed of dog will be more efficient.

The Best Dogs To Keep Bears Away

Not all types of dogs can scare away bears. It’s necessary to keep the best dog if you go hiking or camping. 

 Karelian Bear Dogs - Best Dog to Scare a bear

Based on research, Karelian Bear Dogs are known to be the best in the case of tracking bears.

However, apart from KBD, there are some other dogs that are efficient enough to scare bears for example:

  • Bloodhound
Bloodhound waiting for trainer to attack a bear
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer
  • American Foxhound
American Foxhound
  • Dogo Argentino
Dogo Argentino
  • Plott Hound
Plott Hound  

Will A Black Bear Attack A Dog?

Yes, a black bear can attack a dog.

Bears have a tendency to keep to themselves; yet, they will protect both themselves and their young ones.

So, if they are provoked or threatened by dogs, they will attack.

If the bear feels it needs to defend itself, it can kill a dog. This is true for black bears as well as grizzly bears.

In January 2022 in New Jersey, a Yorkie dog named Tommy was attacked and then killed by a bear. The owner informed the cops that there were footprints of bears on the snow and drips of blood.

Meeting A Black Bear With Your Dog (What To Do)

Black bear and dog interactions are very critical.

Dogs have the potential to drive bears away, but they also have the potential to make the situation worse.

It’s possible that a bear will perceive both you and your dog as a threat if your dog barks excessively.

So, you need to follow the tips mentioned below before going on trekking with your dog. 

1. Train Your Dog

There are cases where bear attacks happened due to an untrained dog. An untrained dog would keep barking continuously or start chasing it. 

As a result, it can provoke the bear which may lead to an attack.

2. Leash Your Dog

Bear assaults are often provoked by chasing dogs. So, keep your dog on a leash at all times if you are going to bring them into the bear area. 

3. Keep Bear Spray

Hiker keeping a bear spray handy

Even if you keep a dog to scare away bears, you must carry a bear spray too. 

Bear sprays are very effective on bears. If your dog cannot scare away the bear, you can certainly use bear spray.

Final Thought

To conclude, bears are certainly afraid of dogs for different reasons. But that does not mean that they cannot attack.

If they are threatened by the dog they can turn around and attack you and your dog in no time.

There are cases that show many bear attacks happened due to the dogs. So, keeping a dog while trekking or camping is also a risk factor.

If you are planning to take a dog, you must train the dog properly. And most importantly, you must always carry bear spray.

Wait a sec! Don’t spray a panda confusing it with a black bear. Although people often get confused between the two, giant pandas are not bears. 

Click here to find out the reasons!