Let's talk West Siberian Laika Dogs

The West Siberian Laika dog is a little-known breed that deserves much more attention. With a fabulously bright manner and total devotion to owner and family, the West Siberian Laika’s trusty spirit completes the picture. As does that full and furry tail curving over their back. The breed comes from Russia’s far north Ural mountains in Siberia, where they were raised as a loyal companion to hunters in the isolated region. The breed would be a welcome addition to any pack of modern-day humans as well.

Official name: West Siberian Laika

Origins: Russia

Side view of West Siberian Laika in black and white
Drooling tendencies Low Warm weather? Very low
Shedding level Medium Suited to apartment living? Very low
*Energy Level Moderate *Friendly pet? High
Compatibility with other pets Low *Can stay alone? High

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

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

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of West Siberian Laika
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55 - 62 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
16 - 23 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
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51 - 58 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
14 - 20 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

Two West Siberian Laikas standing on grass and snow

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Get to know the West Siberian Laika

All you need to know about the breed

That bright demeanour, that bushy, curved tail, and that thick coat - there’s no mistaking a West Siberian Laika. There’s a reason for that thick covering: roots at the very top of Russia. Chilly for sure.

The West Siberian Laika shares the marquee with three other types of Laikas: the Karelo-Finnish Laika, the Russo-European Laika, and the East Siberian Laika. All are spitz-type and have the commonalities of loopy tail, dense coat, and pointed muzzle.

The West Siberian Laika was bred from two particular types of dogs, the Khanty and the Manci Russian hunting dogs. Today’s breed is still popular with sportsmen, prized for their highly alert manner as well as their smarts.

Despite their origins as a faithful hunting companion, the West Siberian Laika breed is fully domesticated now. They are highly attached to their owners and can tend to be slightly wary of strangers until familiar. They do possess a balanced temperament and can be assertive but aren’t known to be aggressive. A big backyard is more their speed, but be aware that this is not a dog suited to apartment living. Give them room to run and they’ll be one content canine. Live in the countryside or close to the forest? Even better.

West Siberian Laika puppy standing in grass and yellow flowers

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2 facts about West Siberian Laika Dogs

1. East vs. West

It’s not often that a breed has a near-twin positioned on the opposite side of their home turf but such is the case with the West Siberian Laika, in the East Siberian Laika. The latter is heavier by six pounds on average and slightly taller. Their coat is also straighter, thicker, and harsher than the West Siberian Laika’s softer coat.

2. Takes all types

The West Siberian Laika dog comes from one of the coldest places on earth: Siberia. Hailing from a region this vast means there are many dogs spread over many miles and, in turn, a gene pool that’s fairly large with a good amount of variation. Look for West Siberian Laika fur in a wolf grey, grey with brown, pure white or white with coloured patches, red, reddish brown, and fawn.

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History of the breed

The faraway Ural Mountains and West Siberia are situated in northernmost Russia, and are home to the hearty West Siberian Laika breed. The dog’s presence there is said to date to prehistoric times, with even the wolf pinned as one of this dog’s ancestors. The breed hails specifically from the Boreal Forest region, just below where the frozen tundra lies. They were used to aid hunters who trained them to hone in on the cornering of one type of game - sable - the dogs being indispensable to the sable fur industry with their ability to keep their intense focus in the line of duty.

As the fur trade thankfully died down around the turn of the 20th century, the West Siberian Laika’s numbers dwindled, but efforts were made to keep the breed in good stead.

The West Siberian Laika breed remains more common in their homeland, with registrations quite low on the North American continent. They were definitively recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1980.

West Siberian Laika lying looking at camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of West Siberian Laika Dogs

1. Ears

V-shaped very erect ears with pointed ends, set high.

2. Body

Harmonious body, fairly elongated, long and strong neck.

3. Coat

Double coat of straight and hard outer coat, softer, woolly abundant undercoat, ruff on neck, thick tail.

West Siberian Laika running through snow and dried plants

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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 West Siberian Laika
West Siberian Laika jumping in long grass and yellow flowers

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Caring for your West Siberian Laika

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Despite their dense double coat, grooming the West Siberian Laika dog isn’t a huge chore. The hard and straight outer coat and soft undercoat should be brushed weekly with more brushing twice a year during shedding season - which can last a full three weeks each time. Bathe them only if necessary; doing so will break down protective oils in the coat. Brush teeth often (daily if possible), clean eyes, ears, and paw pads regularly. Trim nails as needed. This traditional sporting breed is used to lots of running so exercising the West Siberian Laika will be a breeze - for you both. They’re the perfect dog for walkers and runners. They like playing games too so never hesitate to offer them a healthy round of fetch. The West Siberian Laika breed is excellent with children, once trained. They’re extremely loyal dogs to their owners and are prone to take direction but do have an independent manner as well, so make sure to give commands firmly and precisely. Devotion to any task is one of the West Siberian Laika top characteristics.

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All about West Siberian Laika Dogs

A Laika breed typifies a spitz-type dog, which is marked by the curly, bushy tail, pointed muzzle, and bright demeanour. It may sound ironic for a dog to be characteristically upbeat but this breed is, and carries with them a whole host of great traits: They are balanced, confident, and affectionate yet independent.

Although they look very much alike, and are both considered spitz-types, the West Siberian Laika and Siberian Husky are two totally different breeds. The West Siberian Laika has more distinctive wolf-like grey and white or pure white colouring, while the Siberian Husky can come in a wide variety of hues. The Siberian Husky is also exceedingly popular whereas the West Siberian Laika is lesser known. The West Siberian Laika also sheds a lot less than the Siberian Husky.

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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/