Russian-European Laika

The Russian-European Laika is the smallest of the Laika family of dog breeds. These dogs were mostly used for hunting purposes and were praised for their ability to tree prey. The Russian-European Laika was also used for hunting big game such as moose, wild boar, and in some cases, even bears.

This breed is also a part of the Spitz family and unlike many other primitive breeds, these dogs can make excellent pets. These dogs form an incredibly strong bond with their family. That bond is so strong that in some cases, it is impossible to find them a new home.

Russian-European Laika


19-23 in (48-58 cm)

Russian-European Laika


40-50 lb (18-23 kg)

Russian-European Laika



Russian-European Laika

Life Expectancy:

12-14 years

Breed History

The Russian-European Laika is a fairly young breed that came to life at the beginning of the 20th century in the north-east regions of Finland and the north-west regions of Russia. The early Russian-European Laikas were not well adapted to the agricultural lifestyle and weren’t properly controlled. Over time, only a few pureblooded RE Laikas remained because they were mating uncontrollably with the local dogs.

Around the year 1944, a systematic breeding program was introduced to this breed and their numbers went up once again. Only the dogs with specific character traits were selected for breeding and the result of that program is the Russian-European Laika as we know it today.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

The Russian-European Laika has a relatively small head compared to the rest of their body. It has a strong muzzle with a distinct white patch around the nose. These dogs have small, oval-shaped eyes that are slightly slanted. Their ears are pricked, pointed, and fully covered with fur. They are also deep-chested and have a strong, muscular body. The characteristics of the Russian-European Laika are quite similar to those of the Karelian Bear Dog so some people that are not that familiar with the breed can easily mix them up.

FCI standard

The Russian-European Laika is a breed that is fully recognized and registered by the FCI. As a registered breed, it has a full breed standard in place and according to this standard, the Russian-European Laika is placed in Group 5 (Spitz and primitive types) Section 2 (Nordic hunting dogs). This is a breed that has a working trial.

According to the FCI standard for these dogs, male specimens should have a height of 20,5-23 in (52-58 cm) and female specimens should have a height of 19-21,5 in (48-54 cm).

This breed was accepted by the FCI on the 3rd of June 1980.

Coat and care

The Russian-European Laika’s coat is thick and it is a breed that is double-coated. They needed to develop a double coat as they were mostly used for hunting in the snow and very low temperatures.

This also means that they are strong shedders and you will need to brush their coat at least once a week to get rid of dead hair and keep the coat healthy and shiny. They will blow their entire undercoat twice a year and brushing should be done daily at that period. Check their ears regularly, trim their nails if they don’t wear them out naturally, and brush their teeth at least three times a week.

Russian-European Laika temperament

The Russian-European Laika is a rather intelligent dog breed that was specifically bred for hunting so it had to be able to make their own decisions. These dogs form strong bonds with their owners and generally get along with everybody.

The Russian-European Laika likes children and usually gets along great with them. However, you need to be careful as they can become overly excited and enthusiastic while playing and that is a perfect formula for accidents with kids.

This breed needs early training and socialization as it has a natural tendency to become protective and territorial. It is suspicious of strangers so they make great watchdogs.

Training and socialization

The Russian-European Laika belongs to primitive hunting breeds and as such, it needs to be properly trained and socialized from an early age. Best training methods involve loads of treats and food. The best results are achieved by using positive training methods and fear, punishment, and threats should be avoided.

Socialization is also important and should start as soon as your Russian-European Laika puppy comes to your home. Expose the puppy to different sounds, sights, people, situations, and dogs so your puppy knows how to handle different situations later in life. These dogs are usually enthusiastic barkers so it is a good idea to teach them to stop barking on command.


Russian-European Laikas are dogs with a life expectancy of 12-14 years. Like any other dog breed, they are prone to some health problems that every (future) owner should be aware of. To be sure that you'll get the healthiest possible dog, never buy a dog from a puppy mill breeder or a pet store. Russian-European Laika can suffer from

  • Cryptorchidism
  • Umbilical Hernia

Russian-European Laika breeders

If you decided that this is the right dog for you, now it's time to find a good and responsible Russian-European Laika breeder. Buying a dog from such a breeder will provide you with a healthy puppy who will not have health and temperament problems. These dogs became very popular, and many unethical and bad breeders started to breed these dogs to earn money without worrying about puppy health, temperament, and well-being.

Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy.

World Dog Finder team


Updated at26.07.2020.