Breed Family: Spitz
Country of Origin: Russia
Size: Medium, 52-60cm tall, weight 20-30kg
Also Known as: Zapadno-Sibirskaïa Laïka
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Care Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: High

General information and Appearance
West Siberian Laikas are grouped in the Spitz type of Russian dog breeds. Spitz dogs were bred in Siberia for their ability to work hard in harsh climates. Laikas are excellent hunting dogs and can even be used for sledding as well.

The West Siberian Laika is a strong dog, with a muscular build. Like other wolf-like dogs, the dogs have triangular-shaped heads and pointed ears. Laikas have dark eyes. The coat can be a variety of colours, include white, black and white, red or grey. The thick hair makes up a dense double coat. The body is strong with a wide and deep chest. The belly is raised and the hindquarters well muscled.

Laikas were originally bred solely as hunting dogs. They are accustomed to finding tracks many dogs would miss as well as focus on one singular animal. Through breeding, many Laikas today specialize in hunting sable. This breed can be trained to hunt elusive animals, small animals, big game or birds.

Temperament
Laikas are specially bred to hunt large animals such as elk or bear and the dogs are very focused hunters. Rather than becoming easily distracted, the West Siberian Laika will focus on one variety of prey. They are frequently used in hunting valuable animals because of this ability to hone in on one animal.

This breed is a particularly intelligent one. They are easily trained, especially for hunting, which is second nature to the breed. They are also very loyal to their families. This breed is especially easy to train because of its devotion. This particular breed of dog is consistently obedient and follows the direction of its owner with hesitation. Laikas behave well with children as well as other pets as long as they are introduced at an early age.

Laikas will fight if they perceive a threat to the owner. The dog is not aggressive with strangers unless it senses a threat. It will fight to the death on behalf of its owner and is a strong threat against big game.

Health Issues
West Siberian Laikas are bred to withstand tough climates and rugged lifestyles. They do not often experience many health problems. Two of the most common injuries seen in dogs, hip dysplasia and ear infections are unheard of in Laikas. These dogs also tend to heal quickly from any surface wounds, which adds to their ruggedness.

Grooming and Care

The West Siberian Laika has thick hair with a rough texture. The coat is actually a double coat. The undercoat is dense a softer while the outer coat is very course and straight. There are not necessary grooming requirements for these dogs. When the dogs shed annually, some light combing helps to rid the coat of excess hairs.

Suitability as Pet In Australia
These hearty are bred in the cold of Siberia in Russia. As such, they are much better suited for the cold weather. It may be difficult for Laikas to be comfortable in warmer places. If they are bred in warmer climates and are accustomed to the heat, it is possible for these dogs to live in warm places.

West Siberian Laikas are born to hunt. They can live in homes where the owners are not hunters, but they will probably still instinctively hunt small animals. Whether the owner of a Laika is a hunter or not, the dog will need plenty of exercise. Many people choose to let these dogs roam free outside in country areas, as they generally do not venture far from the home and always return after a hunt.

A Laika, like other larger breed dogs, is not suited for an apartment or other tight living quarters. They need plenty of space to roam and run. Dogs that are not given freedom to roam out of doors will become disobedient. They should be kept in areas with plenty of space.

Additionally, this breed develops a strong relationship with their owners and thus need to spend time with their families. A West Siberian Laika will not be content if it is left out of the family. These dogs will love and protect their families, including small children and other pets. Loyal and loving, a Laika is an excellent hunting companion as well as member of the family.