Laikas are intelligent, energetic, and watchful dogs. Though originally bred for hunting, they make good guard dogs due to their attentive nature.
The Laika is a hunting dog found in northern Russia and Siberia. The breed belongs to the Spitz family of dogs—the group most closely related to wolves. Experts believe the Laika's ancestors crossed with wolves and were selectively bred for temperament. The result of that effort is the breed we know today.
Siberian hunters couldn't afford specialized dogs for different types of prey. So, the Laika became an all-around hunter used for birds and assorted small game. These dogs bark to alert the hunter when they locate game. That's how they got their name—the Russian word "laika" is a noun derived from the verb "layat," which means "barker."
Laikas are medium-sized, powerfully built dogs with a wolf-like appearance.
Coat and Colouring
Laikas have a thick double coat with harsh, straight hairs and a soft undercoat that protects them in arctic weather. Though usually black and white, their coats may also be red or pale red. And some Laikas are "wolf" grey—similar to their early ancestors. Grey coats can vary from very light to very dark and may have white patches in different proportions.
Distinctive Physical Traits
The breed has a wedge-shaped head, dark, oval eyes, prick ears, and a tail that curls over the back.
The Laika is a courageous, intelligent, highly versatile breed. These dogs are protective of their people and make excellent guard dogs. But they can sometimes be aloof or cautious with strangers.
It's essential to socialize these dogs so that they learn how to respond appropriately to different people and situations. Consistent training and reinforcement can also help them overcome any natural tendencies to guard toys, food, or other objects when sharing a household with other pets.
Laikas thrive on a high-quality diet formulated for their activity level, medium size, and life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior). To help them maintain a healthy weight, monitor their food intake—including treats. As a rule, treats should make up no more than 10% of their calories.
Laikas are naturally clean dogs that don't produce much (if any) smell. But their thick coats do need regular brushing to remove loose hair and prevent mats and tangles.
Most of the year, brushing with a pin brush once or twice a week will suffice. But during seasonal shedding periods, daily brushing is needed to keep the hair from getting out of control.
Beyond that, regular nail trims, ear cleanings, and teeth brushing should also be part of your pup's grooming routine.
This active breed needs a lot of daily exercise to be happy and healthy. Long walks, hikes, and games within a fenced backyard will give these dogs an outlet for their boundless energy.
Laikas are intelligent and very responsive to training. But they can be independent thinkers. So, a firm, consistent approach using positive reinforcement and rewards is the best way to teach these pups.