Let's talk East Siberian Laikas

Hailing from the far reaches of Siberia, where winter temperatures regularly hit new lows, it is no wonder that the East Siberian Laika has a hardy constitution—and a dense double coat. A handsome dog initially bred to hunt in the wild – their resemblance to their wolf ancestors is still evident — they do double duty nowadays as sled dogs and drovers. Most content when they have a job to do, this territorial, energetic breed is also a loyal and smart protector of their humans.

Official name: East Siberian Laika

Other names: Vostotchno-sibirskaia Laika

Origins: Russia

Side view of East Siberian Laika in black and white
 Drooling tendencies:

Very low

Warm weather? Low
 Shedding level: High
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *: Medium Family pet? *
High
 Compatibility with other pets: Very low
Can stay alone? * Medium

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Spider chart of East Siberian Laika characteristics
Illustration of East Siberian Laika
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55 - 64 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
23 - 32 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
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53 - 61 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
20 - 30 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 

 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 12 months
 Adult age:  1 to 7 years
 Mature age:  7 to 10 years
 Senior age:  From 10 years

East Siberian Laika walking down path towards camera

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Get to know the East Siberian Laika

All you need to know about the breed

With their resplendent double coat and eager, sharp regard, the East Siberian Laika is every inch a cold weather working dog with high intelligence and energy to match. That’s not to say they can’t thrive in summer temperatures – the Siberian tundra gets hotter than hot in summer months – but their plush fur was made to withstand extreme lows.

Calm and quite even-tempered with their humans, East Siberian Laikas make for good companions, and can be trained as watchdogs. You will need to make sure they understand who’s the boss during training sessions—and that it’s you.

While naturally protective of their human family, as a breed originally created to hunt, East Siberian Laikas still exhibit an alpha aggression toward larger animal predators. So while they need a fair amount of exercise every day – this breed definitely needs an active owner! - it is suggested that you keep your East Siberian Laika on leash while running around to make sure they, and other animals, stay safe and sound.

Side view of white East Siberian Laika

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2 facts about East Siberian Laikas

1. Oldest, deepest and largest

One of four Laika breed variants, the East Siberian Laika hails from the region around Lake Baikal, near the border of Mongolia. This incredible freshwater lake boasts the title of largest, oldest and deepest in the world. No wonder that the East Siberian Laika’s thick coat protects against extreme cold and icy water.

2. Where have I seen that face before?

The East Siberian Laika is a handsome breed, one that brings to mind others. A little bit Spitz, a sprinkling of Siberian Husky – their coats have a similar appearance, as do their perky ears – and a decent part wolf… while the East Siberian Laika is its own breed, they definitely appear to resemble the above-mentioned breeds. It’s not just you. 

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History of the breed

As with many rare, and especially local-to-one-place breeds, the history of the East Siberian Laika is open to discussion. While record-keeping doesn’t go back that far, it is thought that Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought the East Siberian Laika’s Spitz-type ancestors with them as they moved about the region hundreds of years ago. They are the tallest of four different Laika-type Russian dogs and established as a separate breed in 1947.

Bred to drove, draft, hunt and herd in the extreme Siberian cold, they were robust enough to pull sleds through snow that would have been impassable by any other means and were fierce protectors of their charges.

The United Kennel Club recognised the East Siberian Laika in 1996.

East Siberian Laika sitting in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of East Siberian Laikas

1. Ears

Medium-sized, erect triangular ears.

2. Tail

Typical spitz-type tail curls over back.

3. Coat

Thick double coat composed of a harsh, straight outer coat with a soft, woolly undercoat.

Side view of East Siberian Laika lying on sand

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your East Siberian Laika
East Siberian Laika looking over a rocky outcrop

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Caring for your East Siberian Laika

Grooming, training and exercise tips

With their lustrous double coats, count regular brushing as part of your East Siberian Laika grooming routine. It will help keep their coats unmatted and distribute natural oils as well as keep their shedding if not under control, off the sofa. Teeth should be cleaned daily where possible, nails clipped, and ears checked for dirt, debris or any redness. East Siberian Laika dogs need a fair amount of exercise—they were bred for the great outdoors, pulling sleds and herding, and have a lot of energy to burn. An East Siberian Laika will not be content to just sit at your feet (though they will plop themselves down there post-long hike). Brisk walks, playtime, even runs around a big, enclosed garden are all good ways for the East Siberian Laika to let off steam. Watch out: This breed has a strong prey drive so could head off in the other direction if they catch a whiff of something interesting. Training your East Siberian Laika should be both straightforward – the breed is intelligent and eager to please – and challenging – they have an independent nature with a strong, territorial will. To know: East Siberian Laikas do not get along well with other dogs. Start early, establish your lead, include plenty of socialisation and keep it stimulating to avert boredom. If you are a first-time owner, this is probably not the right breed for you.

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All about East Siberian Laikas

They sure do. That thick double coat has to go somewhere when the weather changes. Regular brushing and grooming will help. But by ‘help’, we don’t mean ‘head it off completely’. The pleasure of your East Siberian Laika’s companionship will surely be enough to compensate for the need to vacuum often during shedding seasons.

In a word, no. Once trained, East Siberian Laikas make great family pets and are devoted to their humans. They were, however, bred to hunt and take charge. As such, East Siberian Laikas are independent and territorial, so can be a bit aggressive with other dogs and large animals. Early socialisation can help, training is a must, but they are not a great breed for fellow canine (or feline) cohabitation. And with their prey drive, smaller household pets are also a no-no. Sorry.

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Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/