West Siberian Laika

The West Siberian Laika, WSL, is a breed of hunting dog developed by the indigenous people of Northern Ural and West Siberia. They used Laikas mostly for treeing squirrels and hunting small predators with valuable fur.

Communism in Russia destroyed the traditional way of life of these people and brought them and their hunting dogs to the brink of extinction. Industrialization in Siberia introduced many new breeds of dogs to this region. Crossbreeding with them completely wiped out the last remains of pure bred indigenous Laikas. Many Russian hunters from big cities such as Sverdlovsk and Moscow were aware of this process. They tried to save the last exemplars of Laikas. The first attempts to establish the West Siberians as a modern hunting breed was made in the 1920s. Two types of dogs: the Mansi Laikas, which had light bones and a narrow elongated head; and the so called Hanti Laikas with a powerfully built body and a shorter head, lay the foundations for the new breed. In the beginning of the 1930s and later the Soviet government began to establish Kennels and Clubs concerning the preservation and repopulating of Laikas to their previous regions. In 1947 the West Siberian Laika was officially recognized as a new Soviet breed.


The West Siberian Laika is a large size dog, with males should stand 54 to 60 centimetres (21 to 24 in) at the shoulder and females 52 to 58 centimetres (20 to 23 in). The head is triangular in shape and has little to no stop, with the pricked, triangular ears set high on the skull. The body is broad and strong with pronounced withers and a well-developed chest. The tail is carried over the back in a tight curl.

The West Siberian Laika has a thick "double coat", consisting of a coarse outercoat guarding the dense undercoat which gives the breed some feathering on the cheeks, neck, withers, shoulders and haunch. White, black salt-and-pepper, red and gray shades are all accepted colours, displayed as a solid pattern or as a particolour.


Properly raised and trained West Siberians make a tight bond with their masters and never lose contact with them in the forest or in the field. West Siberians are poor guardians at home or for domestic stock. On the other hand, during hunting big and dangerous game they are capable of protecting their human partners to the bitter end.

The West Siberian Laika is a highly active dog. They are also highly territorial and aggressive with other dogs, and so West Siberian Laikas cannot be kept properly in huge kennels.

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