The East Siberian Laika dog breed is one of the lesser-known breeds. Out of the Russo European, Karelo-Finnish, and West Siberian Laikas, the East Siberian is the largest Laika. It’s a medium-large, spitz-type dog.
The complete guide to the East Siberian Laika unveils a lot of facts about this little known breed. For instance, they’re amazing companions. They’re exceptional hunters and are highly protective. At the same time, they’re very loving and loyal.
East Siberian Laika dogs are best suited dogs for patient owners. They can sometimes be stubborn and dominant while being trained so not everyone will like that. They might not be the best choice for owners who already have pets since they might not get along well with them.
Height: 22 to 25 inches
Weight: 40 to 50 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Alternative Names: Vostotchno-Sibirskaïa Laïka
Energy Level: 5/5
Bonding Level: 5/5
Amount of Shedding: 3/5
The Tendency to Bark or Howl: 2/5
History and Origin
East Siberian Laika originated in the mountains of Central and East Siberia. Its ancestors are the Tungus, Yakut, pre-Baikal, and pre-Amur Laikas. It officially became an independent breed in 1947.
East Siberian Laikas are spitz-type dogs. These dogs have pointy muzzles, straight and pointy ears, a thick, fluffy coat, and their tails are curled upward and onto their backs. Pomeranian, Chow chow, and Alaskan Malamute are examples of spitz-type dogs.
Spitz-type dogs get their characteristics from their wolf ancestors. Studies show that Nordic dogs, many of which are spitz, are indeed descended from wolves. This explains the common physical attributes. They’re said to be the most ancient types of dogs that have originated in Asia.
The wolf traits are more distinct in East Siberian Laika than most of the other breeds. Hunting was one of the main reasons why they were bred in Russia. They were used to hunt down animals of various sizes, starting from a squirrel up to a bear. Sometimes they even hunted tigers and lions.
They were also used as scent hounds and sled dogs. Their intelligence and physical strength combined enabled them to perform all of these tasks and with ease. It’s not surprising really, considering they’re a part wolf.
East Siberian Laikas have a medium-large build. The males are around 22 to 26 inches tall and females are 20 to 24 inches tall. They weight between 45 and 70 pounds. Their bodies are practically square. They’re only a little longer than they are tall.
Their bodies are impressively muscular, which is why they’re pawtastic hunters. Their build gives them the agility they need and their muscles provide them with their impressive strength.
There are several colors of East Siberian Laikas.
- Black and tan
- Black and white
An East Siberian Laika’s coat is straight, shiny, and harsh. It’s quite dense so that they can withstand the Siberian cold. The coat on the neck is longer than that of the rest of the body. The undercoat, on the other hand, is very soft.
One of the best things about East Siberian Laikas is how balanced their temperaments are. They’re impressively calm and bark occasionally or rarely.
Friendliness is another great quality of theirs. When treated right, they’re hardly ever aggressive toward humans. East Siberian Laikas actually trust humans and love them fiercely when they get attached.
Their loyalty is undoubtable. They’re incredibly fierce protectors, which means that if their protective instincts are nurtured, they make excellent guard dogs.
Their loyalty and protectiveness make them distrustful of outsiders. They think of themselves as the protectors of their herd, which extends to their owners, so they don’t allow other animals especially dogs near their loved ones. They’re also quite territorial so they don’t tolerate trespassers.
This makes it hard to have another dog, or cat for that matter, with an East Siberian Laika. They won’t accept their presence and will regard them as a threat.
When it comes to predators, especially larger ones, East Siberian Laikas are quite aggressive. Whether they’re protecting a loved one or hunting, they’re relentless when there’s a threat.
They’re incredible hunters. They were used as hounds in Russia, thanks to their amazing sense of smell. They don’t need any help to catch their prey.
Independence is another strong suit of an East Siberian Laika. They’re quite smart and do well on their own and don’t require much of their owners.
East Siberian Laikas know that they’re independent. They’re very aware of the fact that they don’t need any help, which makes them stubborn sometimes. Their independence is inherent, making it hard for them to rely on others.
Whereas they’re not very social with fellow animals, East Siberian Laikas are quite children-friendly. As long as the kids treat them well, they’ll love them right back. It’s recommended if they aren’t left unsupervised with children who are too young to know how to treat them right so that neither hurts the other.
Common Health Issues
Generally, East Siberian Laika doesn’t have many health issues. They’re quite healthy dogs and usually stay that way.
Some of the health issues that East Siberian Laikas could encounter are common large dog health issues. They include:
- Hunting injuries
- Hip dysplasia (or joint dysplasia generally)
- Umbilical hernia
- Digestive issues
- Eye problems
- Ear infections
There are a few things that you could do to reduce the risk of your puppy getting some of these problems.
One way of preventing hip dysplasia is by feeding puppies the right kind of food so that they develop well. Read on to learn more about their dietary requirements and what to feed them.
To prevent bloat, for instance, you could get him a slow-feed bowl. This would force your dog to slow down rather than inhaling the food, which causes bloat and digestive issues.
In order to avoid being blindsided by sudden health issues, it’s best if you take your doggie for a vet visit every once in a while. Perhaps you could catch something early before his condition deteriorates.
How to Care for East Siberian Laika
Caring for your East Siberian Laika is quite easy. They’re low-maintenance but there are some things they can’t do without.
Your relationship with your East Siberian Laika and his behavior depends on this one thing alone: exercise. It’s the one thing that has the power of making you both miserable.
We’ve already established how this breed is used to living in harsh weather conditions, hunting, and sledding. They’re used to working all the time, which entails moving. Exercise is a necessity for them. It’s not something they can do without; they actually need it to stay mentally and physically healthy.
Their highly energetic nature requires them to exercise at the very least for 30 minutes a day. Walking won’t cut it, they’d have to run around and even jump. It’d be better if there’s no time limit so that they get rid of all that extra energy.
Unless they get all of their energy out, East Siberian Laikas will remain irritable and antsy. In fact, they can become depressed and anxious when prevented from getting enough exercise. They’re not lap-dogs; they need to move to be happy.
When they’re constantly deprived of their need, they can start acting out. Their behavior becomes destructive. They can bark a lot, bite, and scratch things around them. This could strain your relationship with your doggie. It’s better for everyone if you make sure he gets all the exercise he needs. If you don’t have much time to spare, then maybe this isn’t the breed for you.
Don’t forget how intelligent these puppies are. Their minds are just as active and need just as much exercise as their bodies do. In other words, you need to stimulate their minds a lot. The dogs of this breed don’t enjoy free time; otherwise, you risk them getting doggy boredom. That’s a thing.
You can keep your Laika’s mind going by playing with him. If you’re busy, there are other ways that are just as effective, if not more. Using puzzle toys is a great way to keep your puppy happy and entertained. There’s a wide range of puzzle toys to choose from. Other than the slow-feeders, there are treat-dispensing toys, snuffle mats, interactive games, and more.
Food and Diet Requirements
Feeding your pup or fully-grown dog is essential to keeping him healthy. It’s one of avoiding some health problems.
East Siberian Laika puppies between 2 to 6 months eat 3 or 4 meals a day. The rations vary depending on their age, weight, and lifestyle. Make sure you pick a type of food that best benefits your pup.
Starting six months and onward, they can eat twice a day. It’s important that the kind of food you choose is best fitted for large dogs. This would keep your East Siberian Laika as healthy as possible to prevent some of the common health issues.
It’s generally preferred if their diet includes certain nutrients. Protein helps puppies develop healthy organs and protects against some illnesses. Calcium makes sure their bones are sturdy enough to handle their activity. Fatty acids are a great source of energy, which is essential for a highly energetic doggie. They also benefit the nervous and immune systems.
Supplements are also important to keep your buddy healthy. Since East Siberian Laikas are at risk of joint problems, Omega-3 rich fish-oil supplements are highly recommended. They reduce the risk of hip and joint dysplasia.
Probiotics are also a good idea. They’re great at preventing digesting problems, which is another common health issue your Laika might face.
With all the running around your pup will be doing, make sure he gets enough water to drink. One way of making sure that your buddy drinks plenty of water is to get him a drinking fountain. There are numerous benefits of drinking them. It would make drinking a fun game for him.
Since having dense fur is one of an East Siberian Laika’s traits, make shedding is part of the package. They shed the most in summers. The hotter the summer, the more your Laika will shed. It’s therefore advisable to brush their coat daily to keep the shedding to a minimum unless you live in a cold climate.
Not grooming your dog regularly could be okay if you live somewhere cold, which is his natural habitat. They aren’t used to the warm weather so if you neglect to groom him in a hot climate, he could be too warm.
While it might seem like a good idea to just give them a shower to get rid of the excess hair, frequent showers aren’t a good idea as they might strip his skin of its natural oils. A couple of showers a year are sufficient.
Trim his nails only when they’re getting too long, not before. Doing so could cause you to accidentally cut the blood vessels and injure your little fella.
Since East Siberian Laikas are prone to eye and ear infections, clean them regularly to prevent that from happening. There are eyewash pads and solutions available. Pick whichever is most convenient for you. Ear wipes or solutions will keep his ears clean.
If you’re going for the solution, use a cotton pad to wipe the insides of his ears. Don’t ever expose his ears to any form of liquid, even if it’s just water. This would lead to vicious and painful infections.
Other grooming habits include brushing his teeth and trimming the fur between his toes. Trimming the fur isn’t important unless he’s going to be doing some hunting, then it might hinder him a little bit.
The good news is that East Siberian Laikas will want to make you happy if they love you so they’re going to want to follow your orders. The not-so-good news is that they can have their stubborn moments.
Your doggie loves you and wants to make you happy. Besides, you hold the holy grail that is the box of treats. With enough incentive and positive reinforcement, he’s going to use that doggie-intelligence of his to follow your orders.
There are moments when his independent streak will inevitably show itself. Don’t get mad; you can’t blame him for something that’s in his nature. Be patient and maintain your positive reinforcement techniques.
The earlier you start training your pup, the more likely he’s going to be susceptible to your training. If you start when he’s fully grown, chances are he’s going to feel like he’s too dominant and independent to follow your orders. You can still try by bribing him with treats, but don’t expect exceptional results.
East Siberian Laika dogs are quite rare in America. They’re not even registered in the American Kennel Club (AKC). The average price of an East Siberian Laika puppy is $1000.
Rescue Groups & Breeders
The fact that the East Siberian Laika isn’t registered by the AKC makes it really hard to find legitimate breeders.
Common Questions About East Siberian Laika
Have a look at these questions before you go.
While they’re not the worst shedders out there, they definitely do shed a lot to trigger some allergies. It ultimately goes back to how severe your allergies are and whether or not you live in a hot climate.
Not really. East Siberian Laikas are too active and energetic to be cooped up in an apartment. They’re better off somewhere with a backyard to be able to run and play.
The average East Siberian Laika adult is 2.5 cups per day.
Just like with other dog breeds, your East Siberian Laika will probably dislike the presence of cats in his territory. They’re very protective and possessive of their environment and loved ones.
While most dogs who get lost aren’t able to find their way back home, East Siberian Laikas have a much better sense of direction. They’ll likely be able to make their way back to you and with ease.
Although they’re not very famous, East Siberian Laika is an impressive dog breed. They have almost all of the best doggie qualities and very few negative ones.
East Siberian Laikas are a great fit for almost anyone out there. The only exceptions are people with other pets, those who live in apartments, or in hot weather conditions. Otherwise, they’re strong, intelligent, independent, and loving little fellas.
Before you bring your new East Siberian Laika puppy home, make sure you have enough time on your hand to play with it and spoil it as much as it needs.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.