As the men watched, their dog darted in and out of the tree-line. Had it found a squirrel to chase? Shortly afterwards, they saw a large dark shape break through the woods in pursuit of the dog. That was no squirrel, and it was coming right for the startled group.
On November 23, 2015, a group of men uploaded some footage of themselves and their dog to Rumble. Who they are, why they are out on the wooded roadside, or even exactly where they are is unknown. However, what is apparent is that their adventure takes place somewhere in Finland.
Although the details aren’t entirely clear, this doesn’t make the video any less heart-stopping. That’s because it captures the moment when the group were plunged into a potentially life-threatening situation. And it’s all the more surprising considering the country’s famously laidback reputation.
Finland is famous for a great many things. Lapland, found in the north of the country, is renowned as the home of Santa Claus and his reindeer. Another local tradition are saunas, which are just a part of day-to-day life for Finns.
Not only is Finland known for all these things, but its people have also bred some effective hunting dogs. One of them is the Finnish Spitz, the country’s national dog. They work with their humans to track and hunt game.
Finnish Spitz don’t just target small animals and game birds, either. They can and will pursue large game such as elk and even bears on occasion. Another hunting breed – the Karelian Bear Dog, or KBD – is considered a national treasure.
KBD are brave animals that don’t just hunt aggressive predators; they protect their owners from wild animal attacks, too. Such encounters are rare these days, though. There are roughly 1,500 brown bears across the Finnish woodlands, and they tend to avoid human contact.
Dogs, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely. How would a bear react to a hunting dog on its territory? Well, the video captured by the Finnish guys shows one possible result of such an encounter. And it begins on a wooded roadside.
The group’s dog – which looks like a Spitz or KBD breed – is hunting in the woods. The men are eagerly awaiting its return to see if it caught something. They clearly aren’t expecting the bulky, dark shape that then emerges from the tree-line.
Instead of the dog that the men were expecting, though, the creature that runs into the road is a brown bear. Initially, the men are in little danger, because the bear runs in the opposite direction. As it lumbers away from them, the group’s dog makes its appearance, too.
The dog looks like it’s chasing the bear, in fact, and follows after its quarry closely. Then, just when the dog closes in on the bear, the bigger animal stops and turns to face the dog. After a quick glance at its humans, the dog turns and dashes away.
The bear notices that the dog has stopped its chase and returns the favor, following the dog’s retreat. However, the pooch runs in the direction of the assembled group of men. As a result, the bear now has some more animals in its path.
Next, the bear gives up pursuing the dog and heads in the direction of the humans. The assembled men immediately retreat, while one of the men attempts to scare the bear. He shouts at it and tries to deter it with his camera.
And it looks as if the noise and the arcing camera strap work, because the bear now veers off back into the trees. Shortly afterwards, the dog reappears from the woods and looks to its humans. But it subsequently dives back into the woodland once again.
The encounter more or less ends there, although the footage is shown from another angle. It highlights just how close the bear came to the men before it turned away. So, what was actually going on between the dog and the bear?
Although it’s hard to tell for sure, it actually looks like the bear is playing with its new doggie friend. It makes no attempt to harm the dog, nor does the dog snap at the bear. They seem to be enjoying a game of chase with each other, in fact.
As for why it ran towards the spectators, the video’s description offers an explanation. “The bear was probably just excited and wasn’t trying to harm anyone,” it reads. “It is still always better to be safe rather than sorry, so moving out of the way was the best idea.”
The video has since been viewed by over three million people, and the commenters generally agree. “As an old dog trainer, I can spot that the dog is in play mode, and so is the bear,” one wrote. “They’re mates playing.”
Husky breeder Brian Ladoon filmed another famous dog-bear encounter in Manitoba, Canada. He explained that he fed the local polar bears – an act illegal in Manitoba – so that they didn’t eat his dogs.
The initially heart-warming encounter ended tragically, however, when a bear later killed one of his huskies. Animals can be unpredictable, so although the humans in the Finnish video were probably safe, they did the right thing by showing caution. Still, no person or animal was hurt, and the footage revealed an intriguing encounter between potential friends from different species.