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Yakutian Laika

Updated on September 29, 2021
Written by
Joel
2 sources cited
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The Yakutian Laika is an ancient dog breed with a fascinating history. Indigenous people in Siberia bred these medium-sized herding and hunting dogs through the folk selection method. The breed used to herd reindeer and pull sleds. To sum it up, a Yakutian Laika is a working dog.

In addition to hunting and herding, the breed has also worked as a sled dog. This makes the Yakutian Laika a versatile dog. 

Yakutian Laika 3

Although widely considered an ancient breed, some say the Yakutian Laika is a reborn breed. Preservation efforts began in the 1990s.

As one might expect of a breed that originated in Siberia, the Yakutian Laika has a dense coat and loves spending time outdoors even when it's cold. Trained and socialized properly, though, they make excellent family dogs and overall companions

Yakutian Laikas love being active and interacting with their humans. They are known to be clever and affectionate, and they are great with kids when exposed to young children early in life.

Yakutian Laikas are good watchdogs, but they aren't ideal as guard dogs. Although they can be aggressive and it takes them a bit of time to warm up to strangers, they are very friendly dogs. Many who have tried using them as guard dogs find that they are too friendly to be threatening, and they are rarely aggressive.

Despite being known as a hunting dog, this breed gets along well with other breeds and loves to share its home with other dogs. This comes from their history of sledding. They worked in teams as sled dogs and are most comfortable when others dogs are part of their pack. 

However, no matter how much Yakutian Laikas love being around other dogs, they don't take as well to other pets. They tend to view small animals, like cats, as prey. They're most likely to take to indoor cats that were introduced when they were young. 

Trainability

As working dogs, Yakutian Laikas are smart and highly trainable. They learn quickly but tend to be stubborn. Don't be surprised if your Yakutian tries to assert dominance. Just stick with training, take the lead, and eventually, any challenges will work their way out.

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This breed does not like being bored. During training, they tend to act out most during the corrective phases when things are repetitive. They are independent dogs, so you might need to get creative with your teaching so they'll feel as if they have some control. They learn best with positive reinforcement and expect you to be fair with correction.

As always, consider your specific dog's independent temperament when training. Regardless of breed, you know your dog best and should be flexible with your training approach based on how you see your pet responds.

Temperament

Yakutian Laikas are intelligent and eager to please their people. This makes them easy to train, despite their stubborn streak. The breed wants to do its best and make you happy but does so on its terms.

Yakutian Laikas respond well in a respectful relationship. They expect to have a lot of fun and enjoy life, and they want you with them for the ride. This breed is social, especially when you expose them to plenty of experiences as Yakutian Laika puppies. It takes them a little while to warm up to strangers, but they are rarely aggressive unless they anticipate a threat. They are protective guard dogs but are overall good around people.

This breed makes a good family dog, as long as all family members behave with respect.

Appearance & Care

Yakutian Laikas are medium-sized robust, muscled dogs. They have thick skin and a dense coat suitable for the Arctic region's cold conditions. Their heads are proportionate to their bodies with a moderately broad head with a large nose and dark lips. They have either brown or blue eyes, and some have one of each. They have high-set ears with short, thick hair. Their tail is high and curled.

Yakutian Laika 4

People caring for these dogs must understand the breed's need for activity. They are high-energy and require plenty of daily physical exercise. If you live in a climate with snow, your dog will love to be out running and playing when the ground is snow-covered. They have plenty of endurance and love participating in sports.

Despite their love of the outdoors, Yakutian Laikas are indoor dogs who need to be a part of the family. During the warm summer months, they need to spend most of their time in air conditioning and shouldn't be left outside for long. Their dense coat makes it unsafe for them to spend too much time in warm or hot weather.

They are social and loyal and do not enjoy spending a lot of time alone. Most choose a favorite person in the family to whom they are most loyal, but they fit in well with the entire family as long as everyone treats them with respect.

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Appearance

Yakutian Laikas are sled dogs and have bodies that show this to be true. They have a well-developed chest and rounded ribs with a strong, muscular body. Their double coat is dense and of medium length with no curl. Their topcoat is tri-color, white, or black. It's coarse and protects their skin from rain and snow. They have a thick, downy undercoat that feels soft and warm.

This breed is related to the Siberian Husky and has the same wide-set eyes that are sometimes icy blue or mixed blue and brown. Their big nose is black or brown with wide nostrils that help with breathing in cold climates.

Grooming

Yakutian Laikas require minimal to moderate grooming depending on the time of year. They shed seasonally and are not hypoallergenic. You'll need to brush them more frequently during shedding season, but once a week brushing is usually enough.

They require no trimming, aside from between their foot pads if they walk on ice, snow, or debris. Yakutian Laikas rarely need baths since their coats naturally repel dirt. Most get baths only about two or three times per year based on their activities. Nail trimming is usually necessary about once a month, and ear cleaning should be a part of your pet's grooming routine.

Health

The Yakutian Laika is known as a strong and healthy breed. Health efforts are geared toward keeping them stay that way. However, like other dog breeds, the Yakutian Laika is also prone to develop health problems.

Responsible breeders perform constant health tests for elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), and certain eye conditions. 

To keep the Yakutian Laika healthy, they need long walks and regular exercise. Their life expectancy is 10-12 years

Nutrition

Very active Yakutian Laikas need to consume energy-dense, high-quality dog food to supplement their high-energy requirements. On the one hand, less active Yakutian Laikas may not require as many calories.

Careful steps must be taken to ensure that your Yakutian Laika does not become overweight or obese. These conditions can cause joint problems in the elbows and hips. Additionally, it can trigger the onset of diabetes.

Avoid giving table scraps to your dog, especially cooked bones and foods high in fat. This will help control your dog’s weight. 

Clean, fresh water must be made available to them all the time.

How Do I Know If I Have A Yakutian Laika?

If you’re a breeder or a dog owner, the only way to know for sure if your dog is full or part Yakutian Laika is to conduct a DNA test. Chances are, if your dog resembles and behaves like this breed, there's some Yakutian in their lineage, but you can't know for sure without a DNA assessment.

Interestingly, you can get information about the Yakutian Laika’s coat color genetics via DNA testing.

If you prefer not to perform a DNA test or you want to compare the results to other factors, you can assess your dog's appearance and temperament. It's also interesting to know your dog's genetic lineage and compare him to the common traits of the breed. This helps you learn more about your dog. Many breeds are similar, so the only way to know for sure is to analyze your pet's genetic lineage.

For more information about your Yakutian Laika, the Yakutian Laika Club of America is a valuable resource. The American Kennel Club has the breed standards for the Yakutian Laika.

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Resources

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“American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 2017, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/.

Yakutian Laika Club of America. “Welcome to the Website of the Yakutian Laika Club of America.” Yakutian Laika Club of America, https://www.yakutianlaikaclubofamerica.org/.

Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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