The Yakutian Laika is a very old dog breed that was bred by native Russian tribes that lived in the Yakutian region in Russia. These dogs were primarily used for sled pulling and hunting. These dogs are bred for working and these weren’t the only tasks they have been entrusted with. The Yakutian Laika followed their owners in their everyday life. They hunted together, herd reindeer together, traveled, and lived together.
The Yakutian Laikas are medium-sized dogs that have an extremely dense coat that they developed over the years to protect them against harsh weather conditions in their native Siberian climate. It is usually very gentle and affectionate towards their family but can be extremely aggressive towards anyone or anything they perceive as a threat.
21-23 in (53-58 cm)
40-55 lb (18-25 kg)
The Yakutian Laika is technically an ancient breed although some do not consider it to be. Their ancestors are the native Siberian sled dogs that have been described by many explorers and biologists that visited those parts of the world. Native Siberian tribes have used dogs as means of transportation for thousands of years and it is believed that those dogs are direct ancestors of the modern-day Yakutian Laika.
The biggest issue with the Laika being an ancient breed is that the total number of dogs fell and only a few hundred purebred Yakutian Laikas remained. It has never been confirmed, but it is believed that other breeds have been imported in this breed to save it. The biggest Yakutian Laika conservation effort started in the 1990s and breeders are keeping detailed information on selective Yakutian Laika breeding. This breed is still mostly found in their native country of Russia.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The Yakutian Laika has a distinct, extremely thick double coat that insulated them from extremely cold weather conditions that are common in Siberia. These dogs are medium-sized and very strong compared to their size. They are muscular and have long limbs.
They have almond-shaped eyes that can be either dark brown or blue and have wide nostrils. That is also one of their natural adaptation and wide nostrils made it easier for them to breed in tough working conditions.
The Yakutian Laika is a breed that is fully registered and accepted by the FCI. As a fully accepted breed, these dogs have a complete breed standard in place. The FCI places these dogs in Group 5 (Spitz and primitive types), Section 1 (Nordic Sledge Dogs). The 5 (Spitz and primitive types) Section 1 Nordic Sledge Dogs has a working trial.
According to this breed’s standard, the male Yakutian Laikas should be 21,5 - 23 in (55-59 cm) tall while the female Yakutian Laikas should be 20,5-22,5 in (53-57 cm) tall. There is no specific mention of their weight but a dog’s weight should always be proportioned with their height.
This breed was registered by the FCI on the 4th of September 2019.
The Yakutian Laika is accepted by the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service and that is usually the last step before the full breed recognition. Their height should be 21-23 in (53-58 cm) and they should weigh 40-55 lb (18-25 kg).
Yakutian Laika has a thick and shiny coat of medium length. Thy shed massively and you will have to regularly brush your dog to keep the amount of hair under control. If you don’t do so you can expect tangles and mats in their coat. Their coat is dirt repellant and odor-free so these dogs don’t require frequent bathes.
Yakutian Laika coat colors:
- White and any mixes (two or three colors)
Brush their teeth at least three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and infections. Make sure you use products that are made especially for dogs as human products could potentially harm them. Trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally. A good indication is if you can hear them clicking on the floor while they walk. Clean their ears and check for signs of redness or infections. Use a cotton cloth and never insert anything in their ear canal. You can always check with your Vet about the products you should use and the proper technique.
Yakutian Laika dogs are medium active and they will need a proper amount of daily activities to be happy. Playing with his owner in the house, chasing the ball, or just long walks can all do the trick and keep this dog satisfied. If you provide him with enough daily activities you don’t have to worry that your dog will miss behaving.
The Yakutian Laika is a social breed. They were used for thousands of years as sled dogs and had to work well with its pack. They are energetic and playful. They have a strong urge to please their owner and most of these dogs are highly trainable.
They are considered fairly intelligent and can easily get bored and destructive if they are left alone for too long. They need plenty of physical and mental activities to be happy and healthy.
Yakutian Laika and children
These dogs can get along great with children they are raised with. Most of the Yakutian Laikas are affectionate and careful around young children but are known to be intolerable of rough and disrespectable treatment.
That means that these dogs are a better fit for kids that are a bit older and understand how you should approach and interact with a dog.
Yakutian Laika and other pets
The Yakutian Laika is a breed that was used thousands of years for hunting and to do that successfully, they needed to have a high prey drive. That is a trait they still have and that means that they are not the best fit for families that already have other pets at home, especially those that are a lot smaller than the Yakutian Laika.
Like any other dog breed, the Yakutian Laika can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are:
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Gastric Torsion - Also known as bloat. A dangerous condition that causes the stomach to twist (torsion).
- Elbow Dysplasia - Usually, it affects large breeds and is caused by uneven growth of three bones making a dog’s elbow.
- Eye abnormalities
The Yakutian Laika is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 10-12 years.
f this breed is a good fit for you and/or your family, make sure that you find a registered and reputable v breeder that can provide you with a great dog that will be physically and mentally healthy. Ask the breeder to show you the health certificates of his breeding dogs and if you can try and see what the puppy’s parents look like.
Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so, you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust. Provide him with enough daily exercise for him to be happy. If you devote your time and energy to this dog, you can be sure that you will end up with a companion for life.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
Photos by: Natalia Orel
World Dog Finder team