Yakutian Laika – Everything You Need To Know

The rarest and largest Spitz dog breed from Russia, the Yakutian Laika, is a recently recognized ancient hound with a long history. Laikas were bred initially for sledding, hunting, herding, and other tasks. Specifically, these breeds were bred by the Yakutes in Russian Siberia. They were the first to use a dog in sled pulling. Today, Laikas make wonderful, active family companions. Laika’s exercise requirement is more extensive than any average dog, but these breeds are happy to adopt any form of exercise. 

Laikas are related to the West Siberian Laika and Siberian Husky in looks and purpose. They work hard for their owners and diligently perform their various ordered tasks. They are incredibly versatile, trainable, and obedient working dogs. However, their strong prey drive and defensiveness may make them less cooperative with other small pets. On the other hand, they do well with kids and can be very affectionate and protective of them and other family members. In addition, they are naturally curious, alert, and snow-lovers, making them excellent outdoor companions.

Yakutian Laika Overview

Yakutian Laika is a medium-sized sled dog with an athletic build, a thick double coat, pointed ears, and a well-defined prey drive. They thrive on sufficient training and regular exercise. They play well with familiar dogs but are suspicious of unfamiliar dogs and people. Generally, these breeds warm up quickly, but supervision is a better idea in new situations. Laikas are unsuitable for people with less time to spend with their pets. 

Training Laika is effortless, thanks to their obedient nature and keen intelligence. However, Laikas are strongly inclined to independent thinking, so they will only obey your orders if they rely on you entirely. They seek guidance and human leadership and are less responsive to corrective training methods. They perform more eagerly if the learning process is based on tasty treats and positive reinforcement. Grooming a Laika is more manageable than other long-haired breeds, but they shed twice per year heavily.

Yakutian Laika Pros and Cons

Intelligent, hardworking, and healthyHigh prey drive
Friendly, adaptable, and athleticNot suited for hot climates
Easy to trainSeparation anxiety

Yakutian Laika Basic Information

  • Name: Yakutian Laika  
  • Origin: Russia
  • Group: Spitz
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: 21 – 23 inches
  • Weight: 40 – 55 pounds
  • Coat: Double coat with a medium-sized glossy, thick, and straight coat
  • Color: Solid white or a combination of black and white, gray and white, brown and white, or white and red with black, buff, or tri-colored markings.
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Hiking, agility, companion dogs, conformation, obedience, herding, watchdog, and guard dog.
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 6 – 8 puppies
  • Other Names: Yakut Laika, Yakutskaya Laika, Sledge Dog, Tungusskaya, Chuvychanskaya, Chien de Traîneau de Yakutie, Kolyma-Indigirka Laika, Laïka de Iakoutie, Laika de Yakutia, Arkticheskaya and Polarmaya
  • Original Passtime: Hunting, herding, and sledding
  • Life Span: 10 – 12 years

History of Yakutian Laika

While the predecessors of the Yakutian Laika are considered ancient, aboriginal breeds, this is a relatively new breed, bred by the method of folk selection by the indigenous peoples of the North-East of Russia as a sled, herding, and hunting dog. Laika was first demonstrated in the 1800s, and it was estimated that several thousand existed. However, their popularity dwindled significantly; by the 1990s, their numbers had dropped to only a few hundred. Nevertheless, the breed was revived during the 1990s, and preservation efforts brought it back to its original look and purpose. 

  • Enthusiasts started to reclaim the Yakutian Laika in 1998. 
  • The Russian Kynological Federation recognized Laika in 2004.
  • The primary canine kennel clubs like The American Kennel Club, The Canadian Kennel Club, and the United Kennel Club are yet to recognize the Laika breed. Still, Laika is a part of the AKC’S Foundation Stock Service.

Yakutian Laika Highlights

  • Laika’s coat comes in various colors, including gray, black, white, and brown. Most often, they are black and white, but some Laikas are tri-colored with white, black, and brown colors.
  • Laikas shed seasonally, also known as “blowing” their furs. 
  • They may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers.
  • Laikas are prone to gain weight, and they have high energy levels. 
  • They are people-friendly but also somewhat reserved.
  • Laikas get along well with familiar dogs. Still, they can have prey drive with cats and other small animals; consistent training should help curb any undesirable chasing.

Yakutian Laika Personality

Laika is a sled dog with a muscular body, well-developed chest, rounded rib cage, and longer legs. Their scintillating, almond-shaped eyes anchor your gaze and invite you to untangle their mischievousness. These medium-sized, compact, fluffy dogs are very affectionate, especially with their human family. Positive reinforcement works best on this intelligent breed. The backyard is a bonus, but they want you out there playing with them. Laikas are quick-witted, eager to please, and have the brains to understand their necessities. However, pet owners must be confident when dealing with them as they are dominant. Training should begin early to discourage house-soiling, chewing, and other destructive habits.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh
Kid-friendlyMedium to high
Dog-friendlyMedium to high
Stranger-friendlyMedium to high

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingLow to medium
Good for new ownersMedium
Sensitivity levelMedium
Tolerates being aloneLow
Cold toleranceHigh
Heat toleranceMedium

Yakutian Laika Physical Features

Head: Moderately pointed, wedge-shaped head with slightly rounded, broad skull, well-pronounced stop, big nose, straight and wide almond-shaped eyes, well-fitted muzzle, well-pigmented lips, triangular-shaped ears, strong teeth, and level or scissors bite.

Neck: Muscular, moderate-in-length neck.

Topline and Body: Firm and straight topline with moderately pronounced withers, straight, muscular back, broad, muscular loin, long, rounded, almost horizontal croup, broad chest, well-sprung ribs, slightly tucked up belly, and compact body.

Tail: The tail is set high with a curled-up, thick furry coat.

Forequarters: A strong, parallel, well-muscled foreleg with moderate-length shoulder, sloping upper arm, parallel and long forearm, short pastern, well-arched forefeet with tight fitting toes and tough pads.

Hindquarters: Strong, well-muscled hindquarters, broad thighs, well-defined stifle, medium-sized lower thigh, well-defined hock joints, vertical pastern, and well-arched hind feet. 

Coat: Medium length, thick, glossy, well-developed dense undercoat. 

Color: White and any patching (bicolor or tricolor)

Gait: Smooth and effortless 

Disqualifying Faults 

  • Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
  • Any dog clearly shows physical or behavioral abnormalities.
  • Males in feminine type.
  • Overshot, undershot with a gap (any gap is unacceptable).
  • Total depigmentation of nose, eye rims, or lips
  • Any solid color except white.
  • Short (smooth) hair.
  • Any behavioral or constitutional deviations affect the dog’s health and ability to perform the work traditionally for this particular breed.

Yakutian Laika Temperament

The Yakutian Laika is a sociable, bold, lively, friendly, and energetic dog with an amiable personality, especially with the people they trust in their family. Generally, their traits make them good family companions for homes with kids, particularly those raised with them. While Laikas are often more reserved around outsiders, they are unlikely to display any aggressive demeanors unless they sense a threat to their family members. Laikas need a significant amount of interaction with humans. However, they tolerate other canines if adequately socialized. Other pets, such as cats, rodents, birds, or reptiles, should be kept away from them because of their hunting lineage.

Yakutian Laika Training

Laika enjoys pleasing their owners, and they can be relatively independent and may be more challenging to train than other working dog breeds. It is best to start with basic positive training methods and obedience lessons at a very young age, then move on to more advanced lessons as they mature. Early socialization and proper training in puppyhood are essential to help your Laika grow up confident and accepting of outsiders. However, they are least responsive to corrective training methods but do best with more positive training strategies. They can also be motivated by sweet treats during the training procedure. Here are some of the training activities that you need to do with your Yakutian Laika:  

Here are a few dog interactive toys and products that you can use while training:

ASOCEA Dog Extendable Teaser Wand
Buy at Amazon

Ultra Tug & Toss Dog Toy
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Dog Puzzle Toys
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Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
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Blue Buffalo Health Bars
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Fruitables Baked Dog Treats
Buy at Amazon

BAAPET 2/4/5/6 FT Dog Leash
Buy at Amazon

AmazonBasics Foldable Metal Exercise Pet Playpen
Buy at Amazon

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainMedium to high
IntelligenceMedium to high
Prey driveMedium
Mouthiness tendenciesLow to medium
Barking and Howling tendenciesMedium to high
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium

Yakutian Laika Exercise Needs

Laikas are brilliant dogs and learn and respond quickly, thus making training more convenient. However, they can sometimes be strong-willed, so starting positive, reward-based techniques at a very initial age is essential. In addition, they require patience and consistency throughout the period. 

Laikas are exposed to adverse reactions and need positive reinforcement while training. They will pick up bad habits as fast as good, which is why they are best suited to professional owners. You can meet Laika’s daily exercise requirements by:

  • Teaching new tricks
  • Walking
  • Fetching
  • Chasing
  • Playing with puzzle toys
  • Frisbee
  • Herding trials
  • Flyball
  • Hiking

Here are a few puzzles and dog toys to keep your pet engaged:

XiaZ Dog Agility Equipments
Buy at Amazon

Classic Ball Launcher
Buy at Amazon

Dog Disc Toy
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Dog Treat Ball
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Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelMedium to high
Exercise needsHigh
PlayfulnessMedium to high

Yakutian Laika Grooming

It is relatively easy to meet Laika’s grooming needs. They don’t shed much if they reside in more frigid regions, while those in warmer regions shed comparatively higher. However, to avoid matting, you must regularly brush your dog’s fluffy coat at least once weekly—nevertheless, this schedule changes to daily brushing during the shedding season. Naturally, Laikas maintain their cleanliness and rarely need bathing. They also lack the typical doggy odor. Therefore, you can bathe them if they become filthy after their playtime. Also, you can use high-quality canine shampoo to preserve the natural oil in the skin. Like all dog breeds, Laikas need their nails kept tidy and trimmed, their ears should be checked and cleaned regularly, and they require a regular dental care routine

Here are a few products and equipment to meet your Yakut grooming needs:

WAHL Dry Skin
Buy at Amazon

Earth Rated Dog Wipes
Buy at Amazon

Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste 
Buy at Amazon

Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit for Dogs
Buy at Amazon

Virbac EPIOTIC Advanced Ear Cleanser
Buy at Amazon

OPULA Dog Eye Wipes
Buy at Amazon

Dudi Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmers
Buy at Amazon

Pet Union Professional Dog Grooming Kit
Buy at Amazon

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomMedium
Drooling tendenciesLow to medium
Amount of sheddingMedium to high

Yakutian Laika Health

Yakutian Laika is a healthy and active breed with few serious inherited diseases. Hence, it’s always wise to be aware of their health conditions and the diseases that may affect them.

Health Overview

General HealthMedium to high
Weight gain tendenciesMedium

Hip dysplasia: When the thigh bones do not fit into the pelvic socket of the hip joint of your pet, it results in hip dysplasia, which is a heritable condition. 

Elbow dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia occurs due to the malalignment of the elbow joint, which leads to chronic rubbing. This causes abnormal pressure at the joint, resulting in severe osteoarthritis. 


  • Mild to moderate pain  
  • Lameness in the forelimbs  

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: A life-threatening disorder affecting deep-chested dogs, mainly if they have an overfed meal, drink excessive amounts of water, eat rapidly, or exercise vigorously after eating. GDV leads to bloating in the stomach. Canines cannot vomit to get rid of excess air in their belly, and blood flow to the heart is prevented. As a result, blood pressure lowers, and the puppy suffers from a shock. Suspect bloat if your puppy is drooling excessively and is not throwing up. 

Eye problems: Laikas are inclined to these eye conditions: 

  • Glaucoma 
  • Cataract
  • Cherry eye 
  • Entropion 
  • Corneal damage 

Deafness: Dogs, like people, can develop hearing loss as they age. Because this is usually a slow process, it might be challenging to observe. The eardrums become less flexible, and sounds are less efficiently transferred. Chronic ear infections cause some dogs to lose their hearing. 

Recommended Tests

  • Hip Evaluation
  • CERF
  • OFA tests on joint and elbow
  • Hearing Evaluation

Yakutian Laika Diet and Nutrition

An ideal Yakutian Laika diet must be formulated for a medium-sized dog with high energy levels. Keep your Laika happy and healthy by measuring their food and providing it twice daily instead of always leaving it out. Like all dog breeds, Laika’s dietary requirements will alter from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their old years. Ask your vet for guidance about your Laika diet. It may vary depending on your pet’s age, weight, energy, and health.

Some dogs are predisposed to becoming overweight, so watch your pet’s weight level and calorie consumption. Treats can be essential to training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Also, clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Here are the foods and supplements to meet your Yakut’s nutrition needs:

Purina ONE Natural Dry Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

Pedigree Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

Blue Buffalo Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

VetIQ Hip & Joint Supplement
Buy at Amazon

Nutramax Cosequin Joint Health Supplement
Buy at Amazon

Milk-Bone Hip & Joint Dog Supplement
Buy at Amazon

Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
Buy at Amazon

Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs
Buy at Amazon

Yakutian Laika Living Condition

Laikas are the most suitable companion puppies who adapt well to their human families. They adore playing and love the company of kids. They are delighted when they are around their human family. On the downside, Laikas undergo separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. 

Did You Know?

  • In the 1800s, Laikas were used for mail delivery.
  • In 2004, Laika was recognized by the Russian Kynological Federation.
  • Laikas were the first canines photographed skijoring in the 1600s.
  • Laika has been registered with the Foundation Stock Service since August 2017.  

Yakutian Laika Club Recognition

Adding a Yakutian Laika to Your Family

Things to remember before adding a Yakutian Laika to your family

Getting a Yakutian Laika from a reputable breeder is best to prevent unavoidable circumstances like health and vaccination. It is best to check with the puppy’s parents to cross-check its health and happiness. 

Cost of a Yakutian Laika Puppy

A Yakutian Laika puppy may cost around $1200 to $1400, not including miscellaneous expenses.

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