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For a type of guide for 18th and 19th century travellers see Bear-leader (guide).
A caricature of a bear-leader

A bear-leader was formerly a man who led bears about the country. In the Middle Ages and Tudor times these animals were chiefly used in the brutal sport of bear-baiting and were led from village to village. Performing bears were also common; their keepers were generally Frenchmen or Italians.[1]

Later, the phrase "bear-leader" came colloquially to mean a tutor or guardian, who escorted any young man of rank or wealth on his travels.[2]


  1. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bear-Leader". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 582. 
  2. ^ Chisholm 1911.