Bear Names – Naming Your Strong Dog

Picture of a Grizzly Bear

Do you have a strong reaction to bears? Some people fear the sight of them while others are drawn to them. For some people, the sight of cubs playing elicits smiles and laughter. Or, you might be nervous about mama bear lurking nearby. Or, maybe bears put you in mind of that wonderful childhood friend, the teddy bear!

If you are a bear lover, there are numerous bear-themed names that make excellent names for a dog.

What You Need to Know about Bears

There are three kinds of bears found in North America: the American black bear (which isn’t always black); the grizzly or brown bear; and the polar bear. The black bear can be shades of black, brown, or white at times. It is found in 40 of the 50 United States and in all of the provinces and territories of Canada except Prince Edward Island. This species is not endangered and its numbers are increasing. While black bears are a respectable size (200-300 pounds), they usually are the smallest of the three kinds of bears found in North America. However, some black bears can be very large, weighing up to 800 pounds.

Grizzly bears are found in the mountain west of the United States – Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. They are also found in British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories in Canada. Along coastal areas, grizzly bears are often called brown bears or Kodiak bears. Male grizzly bears usually weigh between 300-650 pounds, but this can vary.

Because of their coat colors, which can be similar in some animals, and the overlap in their sizes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between an American black bear and a grizzly at times.

Polar bears live in the northern parts of Canada, Alaska, Russia, Norway, and Greenland. There are currently estimated to be between 22,000-25,000 polar bears in the world and their population is considered to be stable. They are considered to be a “vulnerable” species. Male polar bears can weigh nearly 1000 pounds.

While you probably won’t see a polar bear in the lower 48 states, it’s not uncommon for hikers and others to see bears. Visitors to national parks may see them or, if you live in wooded areas or even near farmland, bears may roam around. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has many sightings of American black bears each year. Some bears even break into cars and cabins, looking for snacks.

The Bear Personality

People who understand bears say that they are intelligent, social creatures. They are gentle and tolerant – at least with other bears. Mother bears are protective, devoted, and affectionate with their cubs. Cubs and even older bears enjoy playing. Bears have a hierarchy for social behavior. They are also said to be able to distinguish between human behavior that is threatening or non-threatening.

Bears have very strong senses, with an excellent sense of smell and hearing. They can see in color and have vision similar to human vision. They are also fast and powerful.

Bear Names

If you have a dog that has some of these bear-like qualities or that reminds you of a bear in some way, there are many good names you can choose.

Arcadia or Arcadius Derived from the Greek word Arktos which means bear
Arktos In Greek, it means bear
Armel From Arthmael, Old Breton for bear chief or warrior prince
Art Short for Arthur, which in Celtic, means bear-man
Artair The Scottish version of the Celtic name Arthur
Arthfael Welsh form of Arthmael
Arthmael Means bear chief in Old Breton
Arthur Means bear man, also means strong as a bear
Artie Pet form of Arthur
Arto or Arttu The Finnish version of Artie
Artorius Latin form of Arthur
Artturi Finnish form of Arthur
Artur Early English form of Arthur
Arturas Lithuanian version of Arthur
Arturo Spanish and Italian form of Arthur
Åsbjörn Means divine bear in Swedish
Avonaco Cheyenne, lean bear
Barney English pet form of Bernard
Bearnard Gaelic form of Bernard
Benat Basque form of Bernard
Beornheard An Anglo-Saxon version of Bernard
Beowulf A metaphorical expression in Old English that means bear
Ber Yiddish name that means bear
Bera Means she-bear in German
Berdine Shortened form of Bernardine, the feminine version of Bernard in French
Berend Low German form of Bernhard
Berengar Italian name meaning bear-spear, derived from the Latin name Berengarius
Berengaria Feminine form of Berengarius
Berengarius Latin, bear-spear
Berenger Old French form of Berengarius
Beringar In Old German, “ber” means bear and “ger” means spear, hence the name means bear-spear
Bernadette Feminine form of Bernard
Bernadine or Bernardine Means bold as a bear, feminine form of Bernard
Bernard Means bold as a bear in Anglo-Saxon and Norman French
Bernardino Italian pet form for Bernardo
Bernardita Spanish feminine version of Bernardo
Bernardo Spanish and Italian form of Bernardus
Bernardus Latin form of Bernhard
Bernat Catalan form of Bernardus
Bernd or Berndt Low German name meaning bold as a bear
Bernhard or Bernhardt Old High German name meaning bold as a bear
Bernie English pet form of Bernard
Bernou Dutch, sacred female bear
Bernat Hungarian form of Bernhard
Biorna Gaelic name meaning bear
Bjarne The modern form of Bjorn, also means bear
Bjarni Icelandic form of Bjorn
Bjorn Old Norse name meaning bear
Björne Swedish pet form of Björn
Chyanne Means loving bear
Cinnamon In reference to the cinnamon bear, a subspecies of the American Black Bear
Dov It means bear in Yiddish and Hebrew
Duroj Albanian, bear
Enyeto Miwok, it refers to someone who walks like a bear
Espen The Swedish name meaning divine bear, derived from Old Norse Ásbjorn
Glacier In reference to the glacier bear, a subspecies of the American Black Bear that has gray or silver-blue hair
Gobi A brown bear, this species is found only in the Gobi desert
Grizzly In reference to the grizzly bear, which has a grizzled fur color
Honaw Hopi, tbear
Ibatu Maltese word for bear
Iomair Scots-Gaelic, bear
K’eyush Inuit, bear cub
Kuma Japanese, bear
Kuruk Pawnee, bear
Mahon Derived from the Irish Gaelic name Mathuin, it means bear calf
Mathuin From the Old Gaelic Mathghamhain, the name means bear calf
Matoskah In Sioux, the name refers to a white bear
Mecho In Bulgarian, this is a pet name for a teddy bear
Monarch A Californian wild grizzly bear
Nadine German, the courage of a bear
Nanook or Nanuk In Eskimo mythology, it refers to the master of bears; also means polar bear in Inuit
Nita It means bear in Native American Choctaw
Nokoski It means bear in Seminole
Orsina Female form of Orsino, an Italian name that means bear-like
Orsino From the Latin Ursinus
Orso Italian form of Ursus, the Roman Latin word for bear
Orsola Means she-bear in Italian, from the Latin name Ursula
Orsolya Hungarian form of Ursula
Orson Derived from Old Norman French, it means little bear or bear cub
Osbeorn Anglo-Saxon name meaning divine bear
Osbourne A variant of Osborn
Otso Finnish, bear
Ours French, bear
Panda Giant pandas also belong to the same family as bears
Preben Shortened form of the Danish name Predbjørn
Predbjørn A Danish name that means magnificent bear
Sapata Miwok, dancing bear
Sun The Sun Bear is found in Southeast Asian forests
Taqukaq Inuit, grizzly bear
Tarben Old Norse, it means Thor’s bear or thunder bear
Thorben or Thorbern Danish name derived from Tarben, also means Thor’s bear
Thorbjorn Norwegian variant of Thorbern
Thorburn Scottish variant of Thorbern
Tureti Lithuanian, bear
Turi Spanish and Celtic, bear
Uffo German, wild bear
Urola Russian, little bear
Urs From the Latin Ursus, the German name that means bear
Ursa Shortened form of Ursula
Ursala or Ursula Latin, it means little she-bear
Ursel German form of Ursula
Ursella English variant form of Ursula
Ursina or Ursine Variant of Ursula
Ursinus Derived from the Latin word Ursus, it is a Roman name that means bear-like
Ursus Derived from Ursus, it is a Roman name that means bear
Uschi A German name that means little she-bear, the pet form of Ursel
Uzumati Native American Miwok, grizzly bear
Vorsila Greek, bear
Wahkoowah Sioux, charging bear
Wyborn Scandinavian, war bear
Yona Cherokee, bear

Saying Bear in European Languages

Many of these “bear” words from other languages would make interesting and unique names.

Language Ways to say bear
Albanian duroj
Basque bear
Bosnian snositi
Catalan suportar
Croatian snositi
Czech medvěd
Danish bjørn
Dutch beer
Estonian kandma
Finnish karhu
French ours
Galician soportar
German Bär
Greek αρκούδα


Hungarian medve
Icelandic Bera
Irish iompróidh
Italian orso
Latvian paciest
Lithuanian turėti
Macedonian носат
Maltese iġorru
Norwegian Bjørn
Polish Niedźwiedź
Portuguese Urso
Romanian urs
Russian медведь


Serbian медвед


Slovak medveď
Slovenian nosi
Spanish oso
Swedish Björn
Ukrainian нести


Welsh arth

Saying Bear in Asian Languages

Language Ways to say bear
Azerbaijani ayı
Hmong dais
Uzbek ayiq
Vietnamese chịu

Saying Bear in African Languages

Language Ways to say bear
Afrikaans dra
Chichewa kudzachitira
Hausa kai
Igbo ibu
Sesotho jara
Somali dhali
Swahili kubeba
Zulu athwale

Saying Bear in Austronesian Languages

Language Ways to say bear
Filipino madala
Indonesian beruang
Javanese metokake
Malagasy hitondra
Malay menanggung
Maori mau

Saying Bear in Other Foreign Languages

Language Ways to say bear
Esperanto toleri
Haitian Creole pote
Latin Ursa

Famous bears

You can probably think of many famous bears. Here are some that we thought of. Some of these names would be very cute as dog names.

Smokey Bear

Fozzie Bear

Yogi Bear

Baboo (The Jungle Book)

Winnie The Pooh

Knut The Polar Bear

Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs or some of their players, if you are a sports fan

Memphis Grizzlies or some of their players, if you are a basketball fan


If you have a dog that reminds you of a strong, powerful bear in some way, why not consider one of these names? You could go old school and choose a name from history that means “bear.” Or, choose a unique name from another language that will have your friends scratching their heads! Whatever you choose, bears have many fascinating qualities and we hope that you and your dog find the perfect name.



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