The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
For centuries the Yakutian Laika was an irreplaceable and faithful assistant of a man in the conditions where the slightest demonstration of weakness was punished with death. It always received respectful attitude from its human family, which treated it as its member rather than a simple domestic animal. This means that it developed into a fabulous companion dog, devoted, lively and biddable. The breed is extremely gentle and considerate with children to whom it commonly establishes especially tight bonds. Nevertheless its friendly nature doesn’t exclude the necessity of certain amount of socialisation, preferably in the early age.
The Yakutian Laika is slightly reserved with unknown people but in the most cases it’s excited to acquire a new playmate. Human aggressiveness was considered by dogs’ breeders as a major fault and was meticulously eliminated from its characteristics. The breed is endowed with very sensitive nose and ears, which make it rather capable watchdog. However its barking is no more than a mean to show its anticipation of the perspective of making a new acquaintance. This dog will most probably fail in the role of a guardian because of its friendly nature.
The Yakutian Laika used to pull a narta (sled) in close collaboration with dozens of other dogs so it’s quite accepting of other dogs. The breed surely prefers to have one or several constant canine companions. It can be introduced with few issues to the household with pre-existing dog, although it should be performed with necessary caution. The second primary duty of this breed was hunting and it preserves much of its prey drive. That’s why its communication with other small and average animals should never go unsupervised. The Yakutian Laika will most likely get on with a home cat if they have been reared together.
The Yakutian Laika should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Yakutian Laika experiences seasonal shedding that can get out of control if he is not brushed regularly. Generally, he should be brushed weekly to prevent matting and tangles. When shedding heavily, it is a good idea to brush him every day to keep the hair from getting onto everything. Use a pin brush and metal comb when grooming. A deshedder or detangler may also make your job a little easier. Since the Yakutian Laika is a working dog, excessive trimming of his coat is not necessary. Trim between his foot pads to keep snow, ice and other debris from accumulating and causing him irritation. His coat naturally repels dirt and he does not have an odor, so bathing should only be done two to three times a year. Trim his nails when needed, usually every two to three weeks. Clean his ears each week as part of his grooming routine.
The Yakutian Laika is a sled dog with a well-defined prey drive. The breed thrives on regular exercise and sufficient training. With a medium-high energy level, they love to run alongside a bike, do sled or rig running, or play fetch in the yard. They play well with other dogs they are familiar with, but are wary of strange dogs and people. Usually, they warm up quickly, but supervision is a good idea in new situations. Yakutian Laikas are not suitable for people who cannot spend time with their dogs.
Training the Yakutian Laika is a rather pleasant and easy task thanks to his biddable nature and keen intelligence. This dog has a strong inclination to independent thinking so he won’t follow the handler’s orders unless he fully trusts him. Pulling a sled is an inborn talent of this breed, and it doesn’t need much training in this respect.
The Yakutian Laika seeks human leadership and guidance, but he doesn’t respond well to corrective training techniques. He works more eagerly if the learning process is based on positive reinforcement and tasty treats. As with any other dog, the Yakutian Laika should learn certain rules and norms of decent behavior in human society, so elementary obedience training is imperative.
The Yakutian Laika is a hardy breed, and to keep him that way, responsible breeders check for health concerns such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat and certain eye anomalies.
Recommended Health Tests
The Yakutian Laika is a newly-developed dog breed with an ancient history. This working breed originated in the Yakutia region of the Russian Siberia and, in ancient times, the dogs were employed by the native Yakute people as universal animals. They were used for hunting, reindeer herding, and as draft animals, as well as the family pet. Often times, their pelts were used in religious ceremonies. Their most important role was in transportation. The Yakutes became the first known people to use dogs to pull sleds.
In the mid-1800s, the breed was thriving. But in the 1900s, progress began to diminish the need for the dogs and their numbers plummeted. In 1998, a group of enthusiasts worked to reclaim the breed and in 2004, the Yakutian Laika was recognized by the Russian Kynological Federation. Since the dawn of the Internet, these wonderful dogs have slowly been finding their way into other countries.