Watch: Alaskan Working Dogs Fight a Brown Bear…and Win
This brown bear crashed the wrong barbecue
Encounters between brown bears and dogs don’t always end well for the domesticated canines. But some dogs are just tougher than others. A recent video from Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula shows a handful of working dogs that aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a brown bear. In the video, which was shared to Instagram on July 12, the four dogs win the fight and drive the bear away.
Kenai River fishing guide Mike Evans filmed the video at Harpestead Mountain Kennels, where his friend Jen Harpe trains German shepherds, Border collies, and other working breeds. Evans told reporters that the bear had visited the property before and was about to crash their barbecue when Harpe’s dogs stepped in.
“Intense moment from a couple weeks back,” Evans writes in the video’s description, adding that no dogs or bears were injured in the tussle.
Of the four dogs that confront the bear, one in particular stands out as the dominant fighter in the group. While the other three bark at the intruder and run circles around it, the dominant German shepherd charges the bear, barking in its face and nipping at its throat. The brown bear growls, spinning on its heels as it shakes its head defensively from side to side. The dog only gives up when Harpe calls it off, using the German command “Aus,” which translates to “off” or “let go.”
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There are a couple of explanations for why the dogs won the fight so handily. For one, the dominant dog had likely been trained for encounters like this. Harpe’s Instagram page features several videos of German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and other dogs doing personal protection drills and biting down on would-be attackers. (Harpe did not immediately respond to requests for comment and little is known about her training programs or her dogs.)
The other obvious factor was the bear itself, which took a defensive stance from the get-go. The young boar looks like a two-year-old, which would help explain its curiosity around the barbecue. It’s also clearly injured and has a large chunk missing from the back of its neck. This was probably the result of a recent fight with a larger, more dominant bear.
If that was the case, then the beat-down bear wouldn’t have wanted to fight and would have been more of a pushover than most Alaska browns. In any other circumstance, the dogs might not have been so lucky.