The East Siberian Laika is the largest of the 3 Laika breeds and is used for hunting furred animals and forest birds, but mainly for hunting big game, such as bear, wild boar and moose. In the early days, these dogs were even used for hunting tigers in Siberia, but this is forbidden nowadays. Moreover, this breed is used by professional Siberian hunters as a sled dog during their long hunting journeys.
The East Siberian Laika looks very impressive, has a relatively broad skull, is strong without a heavy bone structure and the length of the body is longer than the height. His somewhat slanting eyes give him an Asiatic expression. The eye colour is preferably dark. Due to the arctic circumstances and its low temperatures, he has a dense, water resistant, double coat, like all Laika breeds. In summer, he looses his coat and therefore the coat is thinner during this season. The most popular colour is ‘karamis’; black and tan with white or light patches, but almost all colours are allowed. The ears are quite small, pricked and must be covered with thick hair, also on the inside.
The East Siberian Laika is originally from the eastern part of Siberia, east of the Jenisej river to the Pacific Ocean. In this area, as large as Europe, a number of local variances have developed with differences in type and size. There are 5 main types: Evenki Laika, Irkutsk Laika, Jakutia Laika, Amur Laika and Tofolar Laika.
The Evenki type has had the biggest influence on the development of the East Siberian Laika. Dogs from the Evenki area are large, strong and dry built. The legs are long, the head can be somewhat light and the ears are placed high and close to each other. Mostly, the colour is white, white and grey or white with large black or grey spots.
The other important type is the Irkutsk type. These dogs are strong, sometimes massive and medium-sized. The head is broad and strong and the ears are placed to the side and sloping outwards. Mostly, the colour is black or karamis.
The other East Siberian Laika types are mixed or crossed with other types, so that their influence has declined.
The first breed description was accomplished in 1949, the present one is from 1980.
De East Siberian Laika is a medium-sized, slightly rectangular, strong built and agile dog.
Head Wedge shaped, broad skull, occipital protuberance clearly defined, gradual stop. Length of muzzle almost equal to the length of skull, upper line of the muzzle runs parallel with upper line of the skull. Dry lips, black nose leather. In white or pale yellow coloured dogs, a brown nose is permitted;
Teeth Scissor bite, teeth white and strong;
Eyes Not large, oval, slanting, dark in colour;
Ears Triangular, pricked;
Neck Muscular, length near to that of the head;
Body Strong back, broad loins, slightly arched. Broad and long croup, slightly sloping. Deep, broad and muscular chest. Belly lightly tucked up;
Limbs Front legs straight and parallel, length slightly more than half the height at withers, well defined angulations between shoulder blade and upper arm. Elastic pastern, strong bone. Well defined angulated, straight and parallel hind legs, muscular;
Feet Almost round, tight toes, dew claws may occur;
Tail Sickle or ring shape. The sickle tail is carried erect or curved towards the back or loins, the strong ring tail leans on the croup or the buttocks. Length reaches the hocks, but may be 1-2 cm shorter;
Movement Typical for the breed is gallop, alterning with trot;
Coat Hair of top coat long, coarse, dense and straight. Under coat dense and soft. A collar is formed on neck and shoulders. In male dogs, a mane is formed at the withers;
Colour Black and tan, with light patches (karamis), grizzle, patched, ticked, white, grey, black, red and brown in all shades;
Height Male dog 55-64 cm
Bitch 51-60 cm
The East Siberian Laika is balanced, calm, affectionate and loyal to the family and the herd. He has a strong herd instinct and can be aggressive if a dog outside the herd enters his territory. He has good control of his nerves.
The East Siberian Laika reacts fast, but uses his consideration, taking the master’s wishes into account. He is open and friendly towards strangers, bitches may be more reserved.
In strange situations, he is considerate and courageous and attacks if needed. The sensitivity to bark varies per dog.
The East Siberian Laika can defend himself well and is persistent if needed.
He can easily be trained, but has to be taught using soft methods. He cannot take hard training and unnecessary repeating should be avoided.
The East Siberian Laika has a very strong developed hunting instinct and has a remarkable sense of direction. He will never get lost and will always be able to find his way back. The movements and reactions are fast. The scent and hearing are the sharpest of all senses.
The East Siberian Laika uses his scent (either in the air or by tracking) and hearing to detect game quickly. The East Siberian Laika hunts with adequate persistence and keeps contact to his master with suitable intervals. The barking is loud and clear whenever game is found. The barking style varies according to game type and event.
The East Siberian Laika is a healthy breed. Not many health problems occur, although some cases of epilepsy, skin problems (allergy), eye problems and bite problems are known, as well as some cases of HD..
The East Siberian Laika is a lively dog with a very good endurance. He needs a lot of exercise, and needs to run off-leash. If this is not the case, he will try and find another - mostly not a positive - way to loose his energy.Moreover, every Laika has at least a good (but often an excellent) hunting instinct. The East Siberian Laika is only bred in countries where strict selection of these working skills takes place. This means that there is a high chance that the dog will chase game as soon as there is an opportunity. Because of his hunting method, it is not unlikely that the owner needs to be patient for a couple of hours, before the dog will return. In many countries this is not allowed and a dog hunting solitary and without permission can even be shot. Therefore it is very important that, when choosing a Laika, one should realize that the natural looks should not be the only important fact. Along with it comes natural behaviour and this may not be convenient in all situations. Especially when keeping a Laika as a family dog only, there are some consequences to it, like finding a way for the dog to loose its energy and to use its hunting instinct.