- Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
- Size: Large
- Energy: Medium-High
- Recommended Crate Size: 36” | Intermediate*
Return to main Dog Crate Size Breed Chart.
Table of Contents
Yakutian Laika is said to be one of the newest old breeds of dogs in existence. With a history dating as far back as the 1600’s, the breed was heartily thriving as working dogs in the mid-1800’s.
They all but faded away in the 1900’s. They have been newly developed though and are making quite a comeback, no doubt due to their beauty, inside and out.
Hailing from the Yakutia region in Russia, they were draft dogs, heavily depended on for transportation across the ice and snow-clad land in ancient times when Russian traders trekked the Arctic.
They were the first known breed to be Russian sled dogs and were the perfect breed to do so. They were naturals at enduring extreme freezing temperatures. They also worked well in small groups, laboring from sun up to sundown without complaint.
Being sled dogs was not all the Laika did though. The highly intelligent, hardworking dogs also herded reindeer, helped their owners as hunting dogs, and even served as family companions because although they are as tough as nails, they are extremely affectionate too.
To really get a glimpse into the history of this dog breed, it’s important to get the big picture. Life was hard in the frozen tundra of Siberia, Russia. It was man against nature.
The breed helped increase the survival rate by his ability to withstand the extreme weather conditions of Russia, as well as his strength, tenacity, drive, and his obedient nature.
Dogs that exhibited less were done away with (by man and by natural causes) which is sad but made for strong genes.
Laikas not only assisted their owners in hunting, but they also hunted both birds and mammals themselves. This accounts for the drive for hunting prey that many still possess today.
You can take the dog off the hunt but you can’t always take the hunt out of the dog. This strong trait in the breed was surely responsible for keeping many humans as well as Laikas alive through the ages.
For hundreds of years, the dogs faithfully served the Yakut people. As technology developed in the land in the 1900’s, however, the need for working dogs decreased.
Vehicles replaced the demand for sled dogs. A group of Yakutian Laika dog fans sprung up in 1998 and set about to bring the breed back though.
By 2004, the group succeeded and the Russian Kynological Federation officially recognized them. As the gorgeous, well-mannered dogs began to show up on the internet, their popularity soared.
Now they are even finding their way in many parts of the world. Ironically, technology was once almost the demise of the breed but turned out to be their saving grace.
The Yakutian Laika is a proud member of the AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) which is a recording service option for dogs that are purebred but not eligible yet for AKC registration, and therefore there is no breed standard at this time.
These active, medium-to-high energy dogs are known for their diligent work ethics, brute strength, and determination, but also for their gentle affectionate personalities.
Their strong working dog background spurs a need in them to perform a job which makes them excellent watchdogs and child guardians. Yakut Laikas bark - loud and clear. But, their outspokenness is mostly to voice anticipation or, at times, to sound a warning.
Although they are mighty and it wouldn’t be advisable to get on one’s bad side, they are also quite apt to fall in love with the hand that feeds them and once warmed up to them, visitors to the home as well.
They have the great reputation of being especially good with children and are likely to get along with other pets in the family too as they are definitely pack-creatures.
It’s important to note that this dog breed should be socialized at a young age. They are hunters at heart so though they are also lovers, it’s not advisable to leave one alone with a small animal that is new to them, like a new kitten or hamster.
Aggression was not tolerated in the breed’s history so, with a little coaching, they’ll get acquainted with the new family member and probably become the best of friends with them.
Yakut Laika dogs are one of the most intelligent breeds. They are very trainable. They are notorious for being very attached, especially to a favorite family member. Still, they have a streak of independence as well.
Yakutian Laikas are stunning to behold with their almond-shaped striking blue or dark brown eyes. They sport a double coat of dense, medium length hair that is super straight with no wave or curl whatsoever. Their thick furry coats are like armor that protects them from the cold as well as other elements like bites and scratches.
Colors and markings can vary quite a bit. Black and white, solid white and white with spots are very common. Grey, brown, and tri-color and popular as well. Black Yakutian Laikas are not permitted in the RDF standards.
Laikas average around 21-23 inches in height and 40-55 pounds. Their bodies are muscular and robust with well-rounded rib cages and a chest that is strong and developed. Their legs are athletic and long. Males run slightly larger than the females do.
The breed is gifted with a powerful sense of smell with very sensitive ears that stand erect and stiff. Yakut Laikas muzzles are somewhat pointed and tails are carried low when tired, irritated or angry. Their necks are thick and their muzzles tend to be blunt and their expressions, serious and melancholy.
This is an active, fairly energetic dog so they have a tendency to eat a surprising amount, usually more than a dog of their size. They are continually growing their mounds of fur which requires ample nutrients.
Beware though that Yakutian Laika puppies have an insatiable love for food and although they do require a good bit to sustain their needs, they can easily gain too much weight. It is wise to keep count of calories and to avoid giving too many scraps, treats, or fat to not only puppies but adults as well.
It is recommended to provide feed formulated to large-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a long and healthy. It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.
Laikas have dense mounds of hair, two layers, in fact. His coats serve the purpose of body temperature regulation and protection so much trimming is not necessary.
He does shed, especially in the spring and summer and should be routinely brushed so he’s not overcome with tangles and mats. During heavy shedding seasons, daily brushing is a good idea. Using a detangler or deshedder is also helpful as is a pin brush.
There’s no need for regular baths. This breed can get by with three or four good baths per year. If he encounters a skunk, rolls in stinky animal guts, or smells bad, you’ll want to spring for an extra one though.
Trimming between Laikas footpads is recommended in order to keep them free of dirt and debris, small pieces of gravel or pebbles, and snow. His nails will need to be trimmed every two to three weeks too. Be sure to clean his ears every week or two as well.
This breed is extremely athletic and agile. They require more exercise than just romping in the backyard. On average, a full hour per day is recommended and possibly more. It is great to evenly divide up exercise duty with family members if one hour is too much for you or any single member.
The breed takes well to running alongside their owner or going on a brisk hike in rough terrain. They not only need ample physical exercise but challenges too, both physically and mentally.
Agility courses are big hits with them. Games, like fetch, and brain games are winners as well. Combining physical and mental games will certainly make a Laika’s day.
Article Continues Below...
Pet Crates Direct recommends 36" dog crates* for most adult Yakutian Laikas.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
Is This Breed a Good Fit for You?
When choosing a dog to adopt into your family, you owe it to the potential new pup to consider all the ramifications.
They are not meant to be in every family. If you are elderly, handicapped, or inactive, you might want to put a second thought before getting a Laika.
Laikas thrive in active, physical settings. They are not meant to be put in a backyard and occasionally interacted with either. They are far too social for such treatment.
For those who can offer the physical and mental needs of the breed, owning a Yakutian Laika is an experience like none other. He is sure to fill your life with joy just as his ancestors did when they managed to find their way from a purely working breed in the frozen tundra right into the very hearts of the families they labored for.