A medium-sized Russian European Laika is the smallest and the last officially accepted type of three recognized Russian Laika dogs. This impressive hunter is a lively, independent, and reactive guard dog well known for its devotion to family. Nowadays, you can find it in the middle and central Russian regions and several kennels in other countries.
Laika dog breed is a hunting dog chasing game birds, bears, and moose. It won’t tolerate strangers to touch it and can be aggressive towards unknown people, but it is extremely rare for this smart dog to bite someone. The only exception is a direct threat to its family.
Everything You Need to Know About The Russo-European Laika
No one can precisely explain the origin of four Spitz-type dogs, including Russo European Laika.
Historians believe that all types originate from the arctic region, and genetic testing has proved that they are closely related to wolves. Therefore, these dogs are considered one of the oldest domesticated canines worldwide.
One of the impressive archeological sites in Europe discovered Laika-like dog’s fossilized remains dating back about 10,000 years ago. Theoretically, their ancestors probably mated with wolves, but selective human breeding led to the development of modern varieties.
These medium-sized dogs with characteristic prick ears and pointed muzzles lived across Northeastern Europe’s Taiga Forests. They were used for hunting throughout the region, from Finland to the Ural Mountains.
Early 20th Century
Once agriculture became more important than hunting, new dog breeds replaced small hunting dogs, especially from the 19th to 20th century. As a result, only a few purebred Russo-European Laikas remained in the 1930s, but even they weren’t used for hunting. They became watchdogs that spent their lives near owners’ houses.
Several Russian hunters living near Leningrad and Moscow realized that Laika hunters were on the brink of extinction and decided to save this valuable breed. They started buying all pure dogs they could find and bred them with native Laika strains from other regions.
The genetic pool was provided from local purebred dog strains, including:
- Votyak Laika
- Karelian Laika
- Zyryan Laika
- Archangelsk Laika
- Komi Laika
That way, hunters saved the breed and provided superior genetic diversity and dogs’ health without significant variations in their personality and appearance.
World War II
This breeding program resulted in several small to medium-sized dog types with grey-wolf, red, and reddish-grey coats. Before World War II, black and white Russo-European Laikas were rare. In fact, there were only three black and white Laikas in Moscow in 1940.
Unfortunately, the Russian dog breed was decimated during the war and nearly extinct one more time. Most of the dogs became food for starving citizens during the 872 days long Siege of Leningrad. After that horrible period, surviving Leningrad’s hunters brought new dogs from the Karelia and Arkhangelsk and bred them with only a few remaining city’s Laikas.
Most of these dogs had a wolf-gray coat, but breeders adopted a new standard that favored the black and white coloration. The downside of this decision was the elimination of many excellent dogs with superior physical attributes and ultimate hunting instincts.
Experts from the All-Union Research Institute for the Hunting Industry gave their best to reestablish the breed in 1944. They favored the dog’s hunting ability and added some diversity by crossbreeding Leningrad and Moscow’s lines.
The Russian Congress of Cynologists established four Laika types in 1947, including:
- West Siberian Laika
- East Siberian Laika
- Russo-European Laika
- Finnish Spitz (Karelo-Finnische Laika)
The new breed was established by the 1960s, and most dogs were in any combination of black and white. Even though they look pretty similar, their personalities are entirely different.
Nowadays, most westerners identify all Laikas with the Laika space dog breed and can’t determine the difference between them. The FCI recognized only the first three kinds in 1980, while the United Kennel Club did that in 1996. The AKC hasn’t officially recognized these breeds yet.
Russo-European Laika is among the most intelligent Russian breeds of dogs. It is playful, independent, docile, focused, and with unlimited capacity, but never sharp.
It is not a guard dog, but you can expect it to defend your family committedly and effectively. One of the unusual Laika facts includes its disinterest in other dogs. It seems that this small dog feels far superior to other house canines and doesn’t feel the need to hang out with them. It is crucial to socialize it early to avoid getting a too stubborn animal that acts independently. Connect it with your pet on time because once established, the attachment will remain forever.
You can expect your trustworthy family pet to behave highly friendly with people it loves. It is an excellent companion to children, and it will tirelessly play with them, including tiring and boring toddlers. In fact, your four-legged friend will tolerate their roughhousing surprisingly well.
On the other hand, this tolerance won’t exist when it faces strangers and unfamiliar animals, making this creature an ultimate watchdog. Laika will always be wary of your guests when they enter the house for the first time. The great thing is that Laika is rarely aggressive. It will only start barking and warning you of someone’s presence.
Since it is a territorial dog, it won’t like other pets in the house. Life with cats in the same home is possible only when growing up together. It will also consider small pets as prey, so you should be careful. Keep in mind that this dog is not an excellent choice for an inexperienced owner. If you can’t overcome its strong character, you won’t be able to teach your pet to take its place in the family hierarchy. Letting Laika become a pack leader will make you many troubles.
4. Size And Look
The average Laika Russian dog weighs approximately 44 to 65 pounds (20 – 29.5 kg). It is 20 to 23 inches (51 – 58.5 cm) tall, primarily depending on its gender and inherited traits.
|Height||20 to 23 inches (51 – 58.5 cm)||20 to 22 inches (51 – 56 cm)|
|Weight||44 to 65 pounds (20 – 29.5 kg)||44 to 65 pounds (20 – 29.5 kg)|
Russian Laika dog breed has a double, moderately long coat that appears in a few color variations, including:
- Salt and pepper
- Dark grey
- Black with white markings
- White with colored markings
This dog doesn’t require special attention when it comes to grooming. It will be enough to brush it occasionally and bathe it only when it is really necessary. Too frequent bathing will result in a dry coat and itchy skin. Take care to groom your pet at least once a week during the shedding season to save your furniture and clothes from plenty of hairs.
Russo-European Laika enjoys spending time outdoors. Rural areas and big backyards are an ideal solution for this active dog. In ideal conditions, it will enjoy trailing and hunting. When it is not possible, you should provide at least an hour of vigorous exercise a day for your furry friend.
It is crucial offering it enough physical activity to prevent possible frustration. Otherwise, you will get a dog that chews the furniture in the house, digs up your garden, and barks excessively.
This high-energy dog has a willingness to learn, meaning it is a satisfying breed to train. Its intelligence will help it quickly pick up all previously acquired knowledge.
8. Diet And Nutrition
This particular Laika Russia breed is highly active, requiring a breed formula for working or active dogs. It is recommended to provide a recipe with high-quality proteins for your pet to strengthen its muscle and enough healthy fats for gaining energy.
9. Possible Health Problems
Russo-European Laika is a hardy dog in excellent health condition. It is rarely ill since no particular pathology and diseases affect this breed.
Rarely, this dog may suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia. These conditions are usually related to the dog’s size and activity level.
Russian Laika is an incredibly healthy dog breed without significant inherited health disorders.
In fact, it can suffer from only two hereditary conditions, including:
Cryptorchidism – This condition affects only male dogs. In most cases, only one testicle fails to descend into the scrotum, but sometimes both can stay inside the inguinal canal or rarely in the abdomen.
It is necessary to take the dog to the surgery since the stuck testicle may become cancerous. You shouldn’t breed dogs with this problem.
Umbilical hernia – It is a rupture in the abdominal muscles, mainly those around the belly button.
Occasionally, breeders test a litter for Blood Panel.
Russo dog is a healthy, energetic, and active hunting dog dedicated to its family. You should consider adopting such a breed only if you live in a house with a spacy backyard since it can’t stand the city constraints. Laika likes kids, including toddlers. Always keep in mind that early socialization will help this lovely dog adapt to any home, but it primarily depends on its temperament.