East Siberian Laika (Vostotchno-Sibirskaïa Laïka)
The East Siberian Laika is the biggest of the Russian Laika breeds. It is a hardy and brawny dog that possesses excellent hunting qualities and inborn skill to orientate; thanks to this ability it never loses its way. The East Siberian Laika will be a superb companion for people who are keen on hunt. This dog can be also a true and affectionate friend for practically everyone.
The East Siberian Laika’s motherland is vast territory of the East Siberia, exactly the area of the Baikal Lake. It is believed that ancestors of these dogs were brought by some tribes from the West. This breed belongs to a Spitz family. It’s highly likely that all dogs in a Spitz group are closely related to a wolf and inherited its intimidating appearance and hunting talents from this wild forefather. Human selective breeding led to development of different Spitz-type dogs so the East Siberian Laika is the outcome of interbreeding of different Siberian Laikas.
During the first half of the XIX century local hunters started to import in the East Siberia region other types of hunting dogs including scent hounds, sight hounds, and bird dogs. The Laika was uncontrollably interbred with these dogs and therefore the number of its pure-blooded specimens dwindled very drastically. By the end of this century remnants of its previously vast population were scattered across the remote northern villages of this country.
Eventually Russian breeders expressed deep concern with such a pitiful condition of this ancient and beautiful breed and established breeding program in order to rescue it from final extinction. Thanks to their efforts during the period between 30s and 50s of the XX separate varieties of Laika were singled out and recognized under their current names. The first standard for the East Siberian Laika was developed by the Russian scientist K. Abramov in 1949. This standard had been in force until 1960s. The current one was approved in 1980.
Since 1960s pure-blooded East Siberian Laikas were again under the threat of extinction. At that time the first kennels were organized in Irkutsk in order to save the breed. Subsequently the purposeful breeding of this dog had been carrying out in Leningrad (Sankt-Petersburg) too.
In 1980 the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) gave recognition to the breed. In 1996 the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the East Siberian Laika.
East Siberian Laikas have been always used as hounds for various sized game from small ones such as martens, squirrels, and large ones such as bears, wild boars and elks. This breed is a good reindeer drover. Also the East Siberian Laika possesses an excellent guarding quality and defends fervently its masters and their property. Furthermore, as all Laikas, these dogs are used as draught dogs.
The East Siberian Laika is composed and even-tempered. These dogs are affectionate and very staunch to their masters. The dogs treat children tenderly particularly with whom they are raised; they even tend to guard kids. At the same time it won’t hesitate to act aggressively in case of rough-housing so make sure that children treat the dog with necessary respect.
Generally the East Siberian Laikas are not aggressive towards people. But they are perfect watchdogs, so these dogs are wary with unknown people. The breed member can be trained into an excellent personal guardian who will give its life for its human family without a moment’s thought. It also thrives in the role of a property guardian considering its willingness to defend everything that it perceives as its own.
As the East Siberian Laika’s territorial instinct is very strong, the dog is hostile towards dogs it does not know, especially of the same sex. Conflicts between strange dogs may arise because of possessive nature of this breed and its desire to assert its dominative position. It’s imperative to keep this dog leashed and muzzled everywhere with the exception of a safely enclosed area. The East Siberian Laika can be easily trained to accept other pets. On the whole this dog tolerates livestock and doesn’t require extensive socialization in this respect. However it is important to remember that the East Siberian Laika has powerful hunting instincts and it may take other animals for a prey.
The most common illnesses for the East Siberian Laika are:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· chronic ear infection;
· eye problems;
The East Siberian Laika does not need very careful and professional grooming. It is necessary to brush the dog once or twice a week to remove dead hair. You should not bath your pet very often in order not to leach natural oils from its coat. The dog’s teeth must be brushed several times a week to prevent dental diseases. It is important to check and clean its ears regularly as the dog is prone to ear infections.
Be mindful that this breed is an extremely heavy shedder, which will get rid from its undercoat once or twice (typically female) a year. Moreover dogs that live in a warm climate will lose their hair all the year around.
The East Siberian Laika is very clever dog. It is obedient and can learn to make virtually all tasks. These dogs require firm training, but at the same time it must be soft with encouraging rewards. As the dog is a quick learner, you should diversify its training. Nonetheless it’s apt to be fairly stubborn and independent thanks to its wild heritage. It will oblige only those trainer whose authority it fully acknowledges.
Force-based motivational methods don’t work with this dog and only provoke it to more wilful and bold behavior. You need socialize your pet as early as possible. Moreover deep socialization is a must if you plan to keep it exclusively as a pet.
The East Siberian Laika is extremely energetic and vivacious dog. It needs a great deal of daily exercises. It is essential to take the dog on long walks so that it will be able to run and play freely without a leash. You will be amazed at robustness of this breed as its capability of working numerous hours without any sign of exertion.
The East Siberian Laika can make a wonderful companion for a weekend hunter and enjoys the life of a family pet during weekdays. If the dog does not get sufficient amount of daily physical activity, it becomes aggressive, nervous and display destructive behaviour.