BEAR-LEADER, 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, and are even still sometimes seen perambulating the country with their keepers, generally Frenchmen or Italians. The phrase "bear-leader" has now come colloquially to mean a tutor or guardian, who escorts any lad of rank or wealth on his travels.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)