West Siberian Laika

Canis lupus familiaris

Last updated: October 28, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Grigorii Pisotsckii/Shutterstock.com

West Siberian Laika Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus familiaris

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

West Siberian Laika Locations

West Siberian Laika Locations

West Siberian Laika Facts

Prey
Small game such as rabbits and birds
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Temperament
Loyal, energetic, protective, and versatile
Training
Highly intelligent and easy to train
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
Three to seven puppies
Favorite Food
Raw meat and fish
Common Name
Zapadno-Sibirskaia Laika or West Siberian Laika
Origin
North Ural and West Siberia
Location
Siberia Russia

West Siberian Laika Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Light Grey
  • Dark Grey
Skin Type
Fur
Lifespan
12 to 15 years
Weight
West Siberian Laika males measure between 21 and 24 inches, and females have a height between 20 and 23 inches.
Aggression
Medium

West Siberian Laika as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Low
Separation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
Poor
Pure bred cost to own
$600 to $800
Dog group
Hound
Male weight
40-49 lbs
Female weight
40-49 lbs

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Although it’s quite the mouthful, the West Siberian Laika is also called the Zapadno-Sibirskaia Laika because of its Russian origin!

Introduction

West Siberian Laikas were originally used as farm dogs in Russia until they were recognized for their hunting ability. They are a part of the Spitz family of dogs, and their ancestors were wolves. The breed derives from West Siberia and North Ural, so it’s no surprise that their name originates from the Russian language. The word liaka comes from the Russian verb layat, meaning to bark. West Siberian Laikas use their bark to find small game and birds when hunting.

The 3 Other Types of Laikas

Karel Laika

The Karel Laika is a breed that used to be identified alongside the Finnish Spitz. Over time, however, Karel Laikas were recognized as their own distinct breed. Karel Laikas are the perfect dog for hunting small game. They are the smallest Laika breed and have a red coat. Although beautiful, their coat causes them to be confused with foxes, meaning hunters may accidentally hunt Karel Laikas.

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Russian European Laika

Russian European Laikas are a medium-sized Laika breed and known for their success in hunting. They can hunt both large and small game, making them both adaptable and unique in their ability. Russian European Laikas are known to be more aggressive on the hunt than other Laika breeds. They have a black and white coat, and some experts believe they are related to the Finnish Bear Dog.

East Siberian Laika

East Siberian Laikas are the largest Laika breed and have a black, pale brown, or gray coat. Their coat color configuration makes them look like wolves. East Siberian Laikas originate east of Baikal Lake in Russia, and they are used for hunting and some laborious tasks.

The Best Dog Food for the West Siberian Laika

A raw diet is the best diet for a West Siberian Laika. They prefer meat, such as chicken or beef, and fish. When feeding a raw diet to a West Siberian Laika, their weight must be considered. It is recommended that for every 2.2 pounds that the dog weighs, they should be fed 0.35 to 0.88 ounces of meat and fish depending on how often they hunt, work, and play. Their portions should consist of 1/3 fish and 2/3 meat. As a pet, two meals a day should suffice. If the West Siberian Laika hunts and works often, three to four meals a day is recommended.

Keeping up with a raw diet for the West Siberian Laika can be difficult. Luckily, other premium dry foods will suffice in place of a raw diet. Dry foods with the main ingredients of pork, chicken, or beef are the products that should be considered first. West Siberian Laikas also require plenty of protein, so at least 25% of the dry food should consist of protein. Grain amount within the dry food should be as low as possible. A-Z Animals recommends Eukanuba Adult Medium or Large Breed Dry Dog Food in the Chicken flavor. This dog food names chicken as the first ingredient and includes fiber and probiotics for healthy digestion. In addition, Eukanuba dog food helps maintain brain function for the West Siberian Laika and keeps them energized throughout the day.

Eukanuba Adult Medium Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Chicken flavor
  • Rich in fiber
  • Probiotics aid digestion
  • Good for brain function
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Owning a West Siberian Laika: 3 pros and cons

ProsCons
Protective and loyal
West Siberian Laikas are protective of their family and loyal to their owners, making them a fantastic companion.
Can engage in aggressive and destructive behavior
West Siberian Laikas that don’t receive enough exercise, become easily jealous, or are provoked can become agitated. They may bark at strangers or other dogs breeds or chew, dig, and bite.
An intelligent breed
West Siberian Laikas are extremely intelligent, making them a pleasure to train or hunt with.
Susceptible to several health problems
West Siberian Laikas and their puppies can have a host of health problems if they are not vaccinated or do not attend regular veterinary checkups.
Don’t need to bathe often
Although regular brushing is required, West Siberian Laikas only need to bathe a few times a year.
Not friendly with other dogs
West Siberian Laikas want to defend their territory and assert their dominance, meaning they are not very friendly with other dog breeds.

Size and Weight

West Siberian Laikas are medium to large-sized dogs that weigh between 40 and 49 pounds. West Siberian Laika males measure between 21 and 24 inches, and females have a height between 20 and 23 inches.

West Siberian Laika puppy
While this is an adorable West Siberian Laika puppy, full-grown, these dogs grow to be between 40-49 pounds.

nik174/Shutterstock.com

West Siberian Laika Common Health Issues

West Siberian Laikas are generally known to be a healthy breed, but they still struggle with several health issues. Umbilical hernia can occur in West Siberian Laika puppies. If the umbilical ring does not close completely after birth, a swelling hernia will appear under the skin. Cryptorchidism can also affect West Siberian Laika male puppies. When one or both testicles do not descend to the scrotum, cryptorchidism occurs.

Common health issues in other breeds can occur in West Siberian Laikas as well. For instance, bloating happens in larger West Siberian Laikas, which, if left untreated, threatens to asphyxiate their internal organs. Hip or elbow dysplasia can cause joint discomfort, arthritis, and even the inability to walk. To avoid hip and elbow dysplasia, regular exercise and reasonable food portions should be considered. Other common issues like halitosis, periodontal disease, heartworms, and intestinal worms are preventable but possible to appear in West Siberian Laikas. Certain eye and heart diseases can affect any breed of dog, including the West Siberian Laika. Annual or twice-yearly checkups scheduled with a veterinarian can help prevent health issues or mitigate their effects on the dog. Therefore, the most common health issues in West Siberian Laikas are as follows:

  1. Umbilical hernia
  2. Cryptorchidism
  3. Hip dysplasia
  4. Elbow dysplasia
  5. Bloating
  6. Eye disease
  7. Heart disease
  8. Heartworms
  9. Halitosis
  10. Periodontal Disease
  11. Intestinal worms

West Siberian Laika Temperament and Behavior

Although they bark to locate animals to hunt, West Siberian Laikas are relatively quiet dogs. A highly alert dog, they will bark at strangers as a warning, but they may engage in aggressive behavior if these strangers do not heed their signal. They have an affectionate and loyal personality and are protective of their family. They need plenty of exercise, however. If they do not release their energy through hunting or playing often, they can resort to aggressive and destructive behavior. West Siberian Laikas might attempt to bark, dig, or chew if they become bored and aren’t exercised properly. A part of their trait of protectiveness, they do not get along well with unfamiliar dogs because they want to defend their territory and assert dominance. As a hunting dog, West Siberian Laikas might attack small animals that are not considered game. Therefore, its crucial to keep the West Siberian Laika in a large, enclosed space outside.

How to Take Care of West Siberian Laikas

This pet needs a lot of engagement as both a puppy and an adult. They shed often and love being outside, so proper grooming is necessary for their health and happiness. In addition, West Siberian Laikas are energetic by nature and need plenty of exercise to release a mountain of energy. Inexperienced or busy dog owners should start off raising another breed of dog because West Siberian Laikas require time and energy daily.

West Siberian Laika Maintenance and Grooming

West Siberian Laikas should be brushed one or twice a week to decrease shedding, untangle their coats, and identify or expel fleas and ticks. If they begin to shed often and copiously, they should be brushed daily. They do not need to be bathed but a few times a year. However, their nails, ears, and teeth should be trimmed, cleaned, and brushed, respectively, weekly at home. Brushing their teeth can reduce the chances of halitosis or periodontal disease in this breed.

West Siberian Laika Training

West Siberian Laikas are extremely intelligent dogs, so training should be an easy process. It is crucial to be kind and gentle in training the West Siberian Laika. Negative or frustrated responses aimed at this breed may cause them to become discouraged or agitated.

West Siberian Laika Exercise

West Siberian Laikas require a large amount of exercise, or they will become restless and destructive. Runs, walks, and hikes are a viable way to release pent-up energy in this breed. They should also be allowed to run freely in a large, enclosed yard. Bred and born hunters, locating and catching game is the best form of exercise for West Siberian Laikas.

West Siberian Laika Puppies

West Siberian Laika puppies are prone to problems like umbilical hernia and cryptorchidism, so veterinary consultation is necessary when beginning to raise these pups. Vaccinations for puppies should be considered to decrease the chances of disease, and they should be spayed and neutered before six months of age. In addition, West Siberian Laikas should begin socialization programs at approximately eight or nine weeks old so that their likelihood of showing aggressive behavior to other breeds decreases. Puppies also need lots of exercise daily and should be trained from a young age to ensure obedience and dispel the possibility of erratic or aggressive behavior later in life.

Puppies between eight and 12 weeks old need to be fed four meals a day. From 12 weeks to six months, three meals a day is required. From six months to one year, puppies should be fed two meals a day. After one year, West Siberian Laikas can be fed one meal a day but may require a second meal if they are highly active. Dog food should be high quality, and their water and food bowls should be cleaned frequently.

West Siberian Laikas and Children

Generally, West Siberian Laikas are good with children. They are energetic and love to play, so they can match energetic qualities in children as well. However, some West Siberian Laikas can become jealous of children and babies that are shown attention by their families or owners. Because they are loyal to their family, they may see attention shown to children as a sign of disloyalty from their owners. Due to this fact, West Siberian Laikas could engage in aggressive or destructive behaviors to gain attention back.

Dogs Similar to the West Siberian Laika

Dog breeds like the West Siberian Laika include:

  • Finnish Spitz – This breed also originates in Russia but lives in Finland today. They are a hunting dog like the West Siberian Laika and are known for their playful and affectionate qualities.
  • Yakutian Laika – This dog is a type of Laika breed like the Western Siberian Laika. They are sled, herding, and hunting dogs from Siberia. They are also easy to train due to their high intelligence.
  • Siberian Husky – Siberian Huskies are sled dogs from Northeast Asia. This breed makes for a superb family dog but requires plenty of maintenance and attention much like the West Siberian Laika.

Popular Names for West Siberian Laikas

Popular names for male West Siberian Laikas are:

  • Riley
  • Rocky
  • Oliver
  • Jake
  • Louie

Popular names for female West Siberian Laikas are:

  • Stella
  • Ellie
  • Penny
  • Bella
  • Zoe

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About the Author

I'm Ellie, and I am a full-time college student at Miami University. I enjoy writing, copy editing, and being involved in journalism. I write for The Miami Student newspaper as an opinion columnist. My favorite animals are fish, rabbits, and cats.

West Siberian Laika FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much do West Siberian Laikas cost to own?

West Siberian Laika puppies cost between $600 and $800 to purchase. Yearly costs average $650 for ongoing care and supplies.

Are West Siberian Laikas good with kids?

Usually, West Siberian Laikas are good with children. However, they may become jealous of children and engage in aggressive behavior.

 

How long does a West Siberian Laika live?

West Siberian Laikas live between 12 and 15 years.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. ITIS, Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=726821#null
  2. Doggy Dog World, Available here: https://doggydogworld.co.uk/best-dry-dog-food-for-west-siberian-laika/
  3. Wisdom Panel, Available here: https://www.wisdompanel.com/en-us/dog-breeds/west-siberian-laika
  4. Project Upland, Available here: https://projectupland.com/hunting-dogs/one-dog-to-hunt-them-all-the-west-siberian-laika-and-other-laika-breeds/
  5. Easy Pet MD, Available here: https://www.easypetmd.com/doginfo/west-siberian-laika
  6. ARBA, Available here: https://www.arba.org/PDF%20Files/Group%20Five/West%20Siberian%20Laika.pdf

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