The East Siberian Laika: Everything You Need to Know

The East Siberian Laika is a Russian hunting spitz-type of dog with an interesting history and a one-of-a-kind set of physical traits and characteristics.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the East Siberian Laika – from history and physical traits to personality and health issues. 

History and Origin of the East Siberian Laika

The East Siberian Laika is a fascinating breed of hunting dog that has a rich history and a unique origin story. These dogs have been an integral part of the lives of Russian hunters and nomads for centuries, and their importance cannot be overstated.

Ancient Roots and Development

The development of the East Siberian Laika was a gradual process that took place over many centuries. As the breed evolved, it became better suited to the specific needs of the Russian hunters and nomads who relied on these dogs for their survival.

One of the most impressive things about the East Siberian Laika is its ability to thrive in such a harsh environment. The breed has adapted to the extreme temperatures and rugged terrain of Siberia, making it an ideal hunting dog for this region.

Despite its ancient roots, the East Siberian Laika has continued to evolve over time. Today, the breed is recognized for its intelligence, loyalty, and hunting prowess, making it a unique choice for hunters and dog enthusiasts.

Regional Variations and Recognition

One of the interesting things about the East Siberian Laika is that it is a highly regional breed. Different areas of Siberia have their own distinct variations of the breed, with differences in physical appearance and temperament.

Despite these regional differences, the East Siberian Laika has recently been recognized by international kennel clubs, which has helped to standardize the breed and ensure that it continues to thrive in the future.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The East Siberian Laika is a medium-sized dog with a muscular build and thick fur coat. The breed’s physical characteristics have evolved over time to adapt to the extreme weather conditions of the region.

Size and Weight

East Siberian Laikas are medium-sized dogs that weigh between 40 and 646 pounds and stand around 20 to 25 inches tall. Males are typically larger than females. 

Despite the muscular build, East Siberian Laikas are agile and nimble, able to navigate through thick forests and over rough terrain with ease. They are also enduring and can work for long hours in the snow and ice.

Coat and Colors

The East Siberian Laika has a thick double coat that provides excellent insulation against the cold. Their coat is typically a mix of gray, black, brown, and white. Males have a distinct mane around their necks. 

Their coat is not only thick but also water-resistant. This helps to keep them dry and warm in wet conditions. The undercoat is soft and dense, while the outer coat is longer and coarser, providing additional protection against the elements.

Distinctive Features

The East Siberian Laika has a wolf-like appearance, with pointed ears, a broad head, and a powerful jaw. They have a thick, bushy tail that curls over their back and large, expressive oval eyes that are typically brown or amber in color.

Temperament and Personality Traits

East Siberian Laikas are highly intelligent dogs prized for their loyalty and affection. However, they also have a strong prey drive and can be quite assertive and independent.

Intelligence and Trainability

East Siberian Laikas are intelligent dogs that are very responsive to positive reinforcement training. They are quick learners and are capable of learning a wide range of commands and tricks.

However, they can be quite independent-minded and will only listen to their owner if they feel that it’s in their best interest. This means that training must be consistent and firm but also fair and rewarding.

These dogs have a strong work ethic and excel in a variety of activities, including obedience, agility, and tracking. They are also well-suited to hunting and can be trained for a variety of game, including small game, birds, and even large prey such as deer and wild boar.

Loyalty and Affection

East Siberian Laikas are extremely loyal to their owners and will go to great lengths to protect their families. They are also affectionate dogs that crave attention and physical contact from their owners. 

Breed members are social with other dogs and enjoy playing and interacting with other canines. However, they can be quite dominant and may not get along with other dogs that are also dominant or assertive.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

East Siberian Laikas are high-energy dogs that require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They are most suited to active owners who can provide them with plenty of opportunities to run, play, and explore.

The breed loves to be outdoors and will enjoy long walks, hikes, and runs with their owners. They are also very intelligent and require mental stimulation in the form of puzzle toys, interactive games, and entertaining training sessions. 

Protectiveness & Guarding 

The East Siberian Laika is alert and makes an excellent watchdog, as it will bark to alert its owners of any potential danger. It is also very protective and does not hesitate to defend its people and property. 

Despite their independent nature, East Siberian Laikas are very social dogs that thrive on human interaction. They love to be around their owners and will often follow them around the house, eager for attention and affection. 

Health and Lifespan

East Siberian Laikas are generally healthy dogs. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues and require regular preventative care and checkups.

Common Health Issues

East Siberian Laikas are prone to joint problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia. The conditions are hereditary and result in early-onset arthritis, pain, and mobility issues. 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To keep your East Siberian Laika healthy, it’s important to provide them with a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, and regular checkups with a veterinarian. You should also make sure that your dog is up-to-date with their vaccinations and that they receive regular flea and tick treatments.

Life Expectancy

The East Siberian Laika has an average lifespan of around 12 to 15 years if they are given proper care and attention throughout their life.


Overall, the East Siberian Laika is a fascinating breed with a unique set of characteristics and traits. It is a highly intelligent, loyal, and affectionate dog that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

If you’re looking for a high-energy dog that can keep up with an active lifestyle and provide plenty of companionship and affection, the East Siberian Laika could be the perfect breed for you.

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