The Yakutskaya Laika is not to be confused with the Siberian Husky, which is well known in this country and resembles its Russian ancestor in many ways. In Germany you rarely see arctic primal dogs – allegedly Laika, Husky, and Co. cannot be kept in a species-appropriate manner in this country. We clarify what the rumors are about and what owners have to offer the dogs.
Built for Arctic Climates – The Look of the Yakutskaya Laika
The Yakutian Laika is a strong, arctic-type sled dog, measuring between 55 and 59 cm at the withers. Bitches are significantly narrower and slightly smaller than males, measuring between 53 and 57 cm at the withers. The weight depends on the musculature and is not limited in any breed standard.
Differences between Yakut Laika and Siberian Husky
- Yakuts are more compact and powerful than huskies.
- The eyes are straighter and the expression is friendlier than husky eyes.
- Huskies carry their bushy tails bent over their backs without touching their backs. The tail of the Yakut dog lies on its back.
- The Russian-European Laika (REL) has longer legs and is not as powerful as the Yakut dog.
- West Siberian Laikas (WSL) can be recognized by their wolf-like coloring.
Characteristics of the breed according to the FCI standard
- The wedge-shaped head is reminiscent of that of an arctic wolf. The muzzle and skull are connected by a pronounced stop. The forehead is well arched. The cheeks are visible but not overly pronounced.
- The lips are well pigmented, as is the large and wide-open nose, which can be brown or black. The face has short hair and the lips are tight.
- The almond-shaped eyes are framed with black lids (brown if the nose is brown). Lid pigmentation may be absent in solid white dogs. The iris is dark brown or light blue in color, and heterochromatic eye colors also occur.
- The erect ears, covered with dense, short hair, are laid back when running. They feel thick and tight.
- The body and neck are broad and extremely muscular. The chest is well developed and reaches the elbows.
- Legs are strong and parallel. The toes are close together on the paws, the pads are exceptionally hard and, according to the FCI, dense tufts of hair grow between the toes.
- The tail is set high and carried curved over the back. It has very bushy hair all around and over its entire length.
The frost-proof fur of the Yakut dogs
The dense, smooth coat consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a slightly stiff, shiny topcoat. The coat forms a mane around the neck, which is visibly pronounced in males. The hair is shorter on the face and front of the legs.
Allowed colors and common tints
- The basic color white with “any piebald, bicolor or tricolor” is permitted.
- Tricolor puppies are rare and have a yellow-tan between white areas and colored plates.
- Checking in black or in chocolate brown (chocolate) is common.
The Story of the Yakutian Laika – Original Arctic Sled Dog
Husky-like dogs have been kept in north-eastern Russia for more than 8000 years and are essential to the survival of families. The oldest mummified finds of puppies in Yakutia are about 12500 years old. For centuries they were used in arctic regions for hunting and as sled dogs. Yakut huskies are among the direct ancestors of Siberian huskies, which were first bred in Alaska in the early 20th century.
- Use as a sled dog
- Used as a hunting dog (hares, martens, birds, foxes)
- Use as a herding dog
A rare encounter
Dogs were widespread in north-eastern Russia until the 20th century. A Russian place description from 1896 tells that even the poorest Yakuts owned at least one Yakut husky. By the 1990s, the breed was all but extinct. Today there is a stable breeding community in Russia and a few active breeders in Europe. The first breeding animals were imported to Germany in 2002. The breed has been officially recognized by the FCI since 2019.
Explorers of the polar regions
Laikas are very robust and are still indispensable helpers for researchers and residents in arctic regions. With their help, the North and South Poles were explored: They can work for hours even when there is a shortage of food and defy sub-zero temperatures day and night.
The Nature of the Yakut Laika – Reliable Companion with a Drive to Work
For all arctic breeds, the colder the better. They love snow and prefer to exercise when the temperature is below zero. However, owners do not necessarily have to live in ski resorts or in polar regions to keep their dogs healthy and happy. The Yakutskaya Laika feels comfortable in families and with single owners as long as he is physically challenged and can do a meaningful job.
- Very friendly to people
- urge for freedom
- Aggressive hunting behavior of prey
- Sense of hierarchical structures in the pack
- Willing to work and persistent
- Loves snow and cold
- Confident and fearless
- Gentle on children
A real philanthropist
The Yakutian Laika is always friendly to people and is therefore not suitable as a guard dog. A close connection to the owner is very important to him. Sometimes it seems as if he can understand every word or read thoughts since he can interpret verbal and non-verbal signals from humans very well and is extremely attentive. In the family circle, he submits to the hierarchy and protects the little ones.