West Siberian Laika
Other names: Zapadno-Sibirskaïa Laïka
This sturdy Siberian hunter is as business-like as he is beautiful. A mid to large-sized dog, there is some variation in his precise qualities as different populations of the West Siberian Laika have been adopted and developed by humans at different points in history. Wolf-like in appearance, the West Siberian Laika shares an aesthetic appeal with Asian cousins such as the Japanese Kishu Ken and Korean Jindo Dog. He is energetic and can become aggressive if poorly trained; he can also be a stubborn fellow. Perhaps this is why he is considered a worker first and foremost. As for the most famous Laika dog of all, yes the first dog in space was named Laika (which means barker) but she was actually a Bitzer who just happened to have that name.
Key facts about the West Siberian Laika
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Affectionate Intelligent Hunter
Origins and history
The Laika is an ex-wolf, hence his hunting instincts. He developed over the centuries in Russia among the Hanty and Mansi cultures in the Ural Mountains and West Siberia, and was used to hunt sable among other creatures until the sable became near-extinct and the fur industry no longer demanded it. After that the West Siberian Laika struggled, and numbers dipped until the 1900s, when efforts were made to restore him and his close cousins, the Karelo-Finnish Laika, Russo-European Laika, and East Siberian Laika.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs
Physical characteristics of the West Siberian Laika
Female : Between 20 and 23 in
Male : Between 22 and 24 in
Female : Between 44 and 66 lb
Male : Between 44 and 66 lb
Grey with reddish-brown, red with reddish-brown, grey, red, fawn and reddish-brown, pure white, or white with any of the above.
Type of coat
Double: dense, harsh overcoat and soft, woolly undercoat.
Brown to dark brown.
Clean wolfish lines and an elegant, springy sense of awesome power define the look of this handsome dog. Add a certain Siberian woolliness to the picture, and consider that he has come to resemble the squirrels to whom he so effectively gives chase, and you begin to get the idea. One could even call the West Siberian Laika a cross between a wolf and a squirrel, although probably best not to do so within range of his pronounced and perky v-shaped ears. His face is narrow and long, his tummy is tucked, and his tail swooshes and curls up behind his muscular frame. In short, a handsome hug machine.
Good to know
It is quite difficult to track down a West Siberian Laika pup to raise in the UK.
He is very affectionate towards his family although not first and foremost a family dog.
The West Siberian Laika is moderately to highly playful. He likes games that are both physical and mental in nature.
He is a lively dog, always on the alert.
This is one highly intelligent Siberian, which has been used as both a hunting dog and a sled dog.
The West Siberian Laika is a natural hunter with a particular taste for squirrels. Indeed, he may become frustrated if not given the chance to hunt.
Fearful / wary of strangers
He is particularly stand-offish among unfamiliar faces. Proper introductions need to be made to prevent his protective instinct from being triggered.
He is certainly an independent soul who can be difficult to manage unless you have the right experience.
Behaviour of the West Siberian Laika
He may be left alone if he is accustomed from an early age to the gradual absence of his masters, but he must not spend his days alone doing nothing.
Easy to train / obedience
It can be rewarding to train this clever boy, but due to his independent streak it is a challenge that should only be approached by experienced pedagogues.
As his name suggests, he likes to bark.
Tendency to run away
His strong predatory instinct pushes him to follow tracks often, especially if his environment is not secure or he hasn’t been exercised enough.