What Is The Biggest Bear Species?

The title of the largest bear species on Earth generally goes to the polar bear. However, it’s a close competition, with the Kodiak bear – a subspecies of the brown bear native to Alaska – trailing just behind​.

These two titans of the bear world, the polar bear and the Kodiak bear, showcase the incredible diversity and scale that nature can achieve. As apex predators in their respective habitats, their size plays a crucial role in their survival. While the polar bear reigns in the icy expanses of the Arctic, the Kodiak bear dominates the forests and coasts of Alaska.

Understanding the Dimensions of Size

When discussing the “largest” bear, it’s essential to clarify what is meant by “largest.” Is it the heaviest? The longest? The bear with the highest recorded size? Depending on the criteria, the answer may differ, and this has led to some debate among experts.

Weight and Length Comparisons

To provide a clearer picture, let’s consider the average measurements of the polar and brown bears.

The average weight of a mature male polar bear ranges between 900-1,500 pounds, while for a mature male brown bear, it’s between 500-900 pounds. Interestingly, the heaviest recorded brown bear weighed over 2,500 pounds, surpassing the heaviest recorded polar bear that weighed in at 2,210 pounds.

When it comes to length, a mature male polar bear averages between 8 to 8.4 feet, while a mature male brown bear can range anywhere between 7 to 10 feet.


While the polar bear typically wins the title of the largest bear species due to its average weight and length, the competition is certainly close. The heaviest bear on record is a brown bear, which indicates that size can vary significantly within each species. This complexity and variability add another layer of fascination to these magnificent creatures, who continue to captivate and surprise us with their impressive stature and strength.