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East Siberian Laika: Everything You Need to Know

The East Siberian Laika is characterized as a hunting breed with the makings of a sled dog. This is the largest of the huskies, bred based on the Evenk, Amur, and other game dogs of Eastern Siberia.

The East Siberian Laika is the owner of an outstanding instinct, a natural-born hunter, capable of getting forest trophies even without preliminary training. Balanced and peaceful, Easterners do not create problems in everyday life and do not harass the owner with momentary whims. The only place where the dog is not averse to “steer” is forest land, in which AFL are used to feeling one step ahead of the owner. However, the breed has every reason for this – in hunting for fur-bearing animals and elk, East Siberian huskies are out of competition.

Modern East Siberian huskies are the descendants of game dogs, which were bred by the indigenous population of Siberia since ancient times. The main occupation of the ancestors of the breed was hunting for fur-bearing animals since the fur trade in Russia flourished from time immemorial and was considered a profitable craft. But since the population density behind the Ural ridge has always been low, the animals reproduced and lived in relative isolation. Ultimately, this led to the stratification of the Laik clan into offspring, differing in performance and external data.

The first attempt to describe hunting dogs was made at the end of the 19th century by the researchers Shirinsky-Shakhmatov, Liverovsky, and Krestnikov. After traveling across Siberia and Transbaikalia, breeders identified 20 types of aboriginal huskies, basing their descriptions on the geographical principle of the distribution of breeds. As for a full-fledged classification, it was possible to create it only in 1949, when members of the Soviet society “Glavokhota” agreed to standardize animals. It was decided to distinguish four main breeds – Karelian-Finnish, Russian-European, East Siberian, and West Siberian Laika. Moreover, only a temporary standard was written for the East Siberian huskies, since there was very little factual material about the exterior and working qualities of the Easterners.

The breed owes its modern standard to the Soviet cynologist A.V. Gets. For 13 years of work, the specialist has studied more than eight thousand East Siberian huskies and systematized their external characteristics. At his request, the boundaries for the growth of the breed and the index of the elongation of the dog’s body were established. In addition, the area of ​​origin of AFL was narrowed. If earlier, in addition to Siberia, the Far East was also considered the homeland of animals, then after the study of A.V. Gets, the eastern outskirts of the country were excluded from this list. The final standard, which fixed the specific color of the breed and the type of skeleton, was approved for the Easterners in 1981. Breeders and exhibition commissions are still guided by it.

Initially, individuals with a strong type of constitution were considered exemplary. However, modern rules are more loyal to animals with lean muscles. Nevertheless, it is unacceptable to compare two dogs in the ring, which are in polar types of condition. Sexual dimorphism is also inherent in Easterners: the growth of a thoroughbred male should be at least 55 and no more than 64 cm, females – from 51 to 60 cm.

For AFL workers, the body stretch index is important. In males, it fluctuates within 104-109, in bitches – within 107-112. It is not difficult to determine visually which dog is more suitable for hunting activities. To do this, it is enough to compare the height of the animal at the withers with the length of the body. If the second value is greater than the first, this is a good sign. Husks with a stretched body, sufficient height, and a strong constitution is more enduring and easier to work in snowdrifts. At the same time, too large, as well as too low individuals are considered an unenviable acquisition. The former is more difficult to climb and acquire a loose constitution with age, the latter quickly get tired and work poorly on heavy snow.

When viewed from above, the skull has a wedge-shaped outline resembling an equilateral triangle. The superciliary arches of the breed are not expressed, the stop is smooth, the forehead is almost flat. In puppies, there may be a bulge in the frontal area (growth prilobin), which levels off by 3-4 years of age.

As they grow older, the head of the East Siberian husky expands in breadth due to the increase in muscle mass. The dog’s muzzle is rough, normally filled in the area under the eyes, of the bar type. There are no signs of damp lips.

The jaws are massive and wide with tightly fitting incisors. The bite of the wolf-type premolars, that is, open. The grip of the jaws is deep and strong.

Distinctive features of the eyes of the East Siberian Laika are an oblique section of the eyelids, an almond-shaped shape, a moderate fit (the eyeballs are not protruding, but they are not “sunk” deep into the sockets). The iris is brown or dark brown, regardless of the suit.

The shape of the ear resembles an isosceles triangle with a pointed or slightly rounded apex (ear tip). Set almost at eye level, in addition, a slight camber is noticeable when the back edges of the ears are not parallel to each other.

The necks of the East Siberian huskies can be either round or slightly oval in cross-section. Set the neck about the body at an angle of 40-50 °. The length of the neck corresponds to the length of the head.

The East Siberian Laika is a strong and moderately “pumped up” pet. The characteristic stretch of the silhouette of the breed is provided by a straight, wide back. In this case, the lumbar region should not be excessively long. The croup is wide, moderately sloping in the hindquarters. The bottom is tucked up, with a slightly pronounced transition from the sternum to the abdomen.

The chest of the breed is deep, strong, often dropping a couple of centimeters below the elbows or reaching their level. The standard allows an oval chest in a cross-section, but an ovoid one is not acceptable. An important nuance: for fishing in a snowy area, a dog with an overdeveloped chest is not the best option, since when the front paws are extended, the wide sternum prevents the shoulder blades from turning outward.

The straight and parallel forelegs impress with their strong bone and strength. The shoulders are moderately oblique, the angles of the shoulder-scapular joints are within 90-100 °. The olecranon is pronounced, looking back. The pasterns are short and slightly sloped.

Hind legs without curvature, parallel to each other. The articulation angles are clearly marked. The shins are noticeably longer than the thighs, the metatarsus is vertical. The paws of the Easterners gather in a lump, resembling a circle or an oval in outline. The presence of dewclaws on the hind legs is unacceptable.

The tail is sickle-shaped or rolled into a ring-shaped structure. In the straightened form, the tip is at the level of the hock joints or shorter by 1-2 cm.

Wool is a straight spine characterized by a tough, coarse structure. The undercoat is silky, but dense, serving as a natural sweatshirt. On the ears and head, the coat is short, close-fitting. On the neck and shoulders, hair grows more abundantly, turning into a rich collar. At the withers, the dog’s hair is also comparatively long.

The legs are covered with short, smooth hair, slightly lengthening on the inside and forming feathering on the hind legs. The paws of the breed are well pubescent. This is especially noticeable in the area of ​​the fingers, where the hair breaks through with miniature brushes. The tail of the dog is protected by straight, coarse hair, which is noticeably longer on the inside but does not become dewlap.

The traditional colors of the Eastern European huskies are solid black, black, and piebald, red, gray, and brown in all shades. Black and tan color is also considered valuable, especially if it is its caramel variety (light tan spots on black). Combinations of the above suits with white are also allowed.

Possible vices:

  • Deviations from standard height by more than 2 cm.
  • Crochet or log tail.
  • Pronounced straightness.
  • Spread, clubfoot, twisted elbows.
  • Sagging or hunched back.
  • The neck is curled and much longer than the head.
  • Iris of any tone, except those allowed by the standard.
  • Heterochromia, bulging eyes, or deep-seated eyes with a horizontal incision of the eyelids.
  • Semi-erect or drooping ears are set below the line of the eyes.
  • A raw, heavy head with an upturned, hunched-nosed, or sharp muzzle.

A purebred Oriental in everyday life is a benevolent and peaceful creature. The tendency to unmotivated aggression is not typical for the breed, but only if we are talking about a person and fellow tribesmen. Small domestic animals for AFL are still an object of hunting lust, which must, if not catch, then at least slightly drive. By the way, one should not expect any servility from the East Siberian huskies, it will not work to educate this quality in a pet with all the efforts.

A true husky-fisherman listens only to the instructions of the owner, and on the hunt perfectly executes the command only when it does not contradict its own opinion. At the same time, the dog does not refuse to recognize the authority of the owner-hunter, but perceives the rest of the family members as equals, and even as creatures of a lower order, when it comes to children. In practice, it looks like this: VSL willingly fools around and plays with the household as much as he wants, but periodically turns on “misunderstanding” when something is not required of her by the owner himself.

The East Siberian Laika is not the most qualified guard, although her distant ancestors were introduced to guard activities. On its territory, the animal relaxes and does not try to control the situation. In the case of a clear violation of the boundaries, the dog will, of course, show its displeasure. But usually, it does not go further than a threatening grunt and a raised hair on the withers. The rest of the East Siberian huskies are considered mild-tempered, albeit a little touchy pet, which should not be too pressured.

Unlike West Siberian huskies, easterners are not so popular among hunters of the Central Lane. The reason for the low prevalence of the breed is partly in the fact that its representatives have less gambling in their work than their relatives in the section. At the same time, VSL is distinguished by a wide search breadth, high fragility, and excellent viscosity. A valuable quality of the East Siberian huskies is their ability to quickly adapt to changing realities. In fact, the animal can hunt in any climatic zone, from the taiga wilds to the forest steppe.

Like most huskies, AFLs are considered versatile hunters. However, the breed works best with elk, bear, wild boar, and small mustelids. The hunting technique of a dog consists of tracking the animal by smell, barking at it, and detaining it until the owner arrives. The correct orientalist follows the trail in silence and speaks only when the game is in sight. Another feature of the breed is the search at a trot, turning into a gallop and, less often, into a walk. In infield trials, the talents of commercial East Siberian huskies are evaluated according to the following indicators:

  • flair;
  • the speed and correctness of the search;
  • vote;
  • the nature of barking (no hysterical yelling, running around and throwing at the tree where the squirrel is sitting);
  • surveillance and viscosity (persistence in the search and detention of the beast);
  • obedience;
  • attitude towards the killed prey (it is allowed to lightly bite the shot squirrel, but not to vomit).

Each husky has its own hunting preferences. Accordingly, when acquiring an AFL, calmly accept the fact that the degree of enthusiasm for the process of capturing trophies in different conditions will not be the same. For example, some dogs like hardcore bear prey, others prefer to walk moose. In addition, having tried to work “on a large scale,” the East Siberian huskies lose interest in small fur-bearing animals and do not show much zeal in the hunt for squirrels.

Among the hunters, it is considered undesirable to introduce the East Siberian Laika to hunting a hare. Carried away by the pursuit of the oblique, the dog moves too quickly away from the owner and does not hear commands. As a result, the hunter does not have the opportunity to catch up with the pet, and the provoked dog deals with the prey on its own, which is unacceptable in principle. For the same reason, it is not recommended to allow East Siberian huskies to walk uncontrollably through the forest in summer. In such unauthorized trips, the dog learns to hunt, strangle and eat light game like young moose calves and hares, and then on seasonal hunting no longer adheres to the rules, spoiling the prey with its teeth.

It is not customary to go through OKD with the East Siberian Laika, but you will have to master the basic techniques of controlling a pet. Although in terms of habits, huskies are close to their wild ancestor – the wolf, it is still important to correct their actions. The first command in the life of a  puppy is “Come to me!”. It is obliged to introduce it into use by the breeder himself or the owner of the nursery when the time comes for feeding the newborn offspring. In the future, this will facilitate the training process for the buyer.

As the baby grows up, the traditional beckoning can be replaced with an approach based on the whistle of the owner. For a timely response to a call, be it a voice command or a whistle, the pet should be encouraged. Remember that among hunters, individuals are valued who do not lose contact with humans in the hunt, as well as come on demand. The second basic command is “No!” Without her, it will be impossible to control the temperament of the four-legged hunter on the hunt. Commands “Drop it!” and “Place!” the puppy should understand at 3 months of age. Collar and leash training also begin at 3 months.

At 5-6 months, the East Siberian husky begins to train on the squirrel. Moreover, if there is an adult who experienced husky at home, it is advisable to also involve it in the case. In the process, the puppy will adopt the habits of an older tribesman and will quickly learn how to hunt correctly. From the very first lessons, it is necessary to eradicate the traditional mistakes of a young individual. A professionally trained AFL should not rush into trees and gnaw on branches where a squirrel is sitting. It is also impossible to allow empty barking and tormenting of the wounded animal. A disciplined dog should calmly sniff dead prey, sometimes bite slightly, but not try to tear or eat it.

Hunting for a sable, which is often practiced with East Siberian huskies, is considered a transition to a higher level, since, unlike a squirrel, this furry animal escapes from the pursuit more masterly. It is better to train an oriental sable on the first snow when the tracks are clearly visible. The optimal age for this activity is the same as when working with squirrels, that is, 5-6 months. The methods of training the breed for various types of production are described in more detail in the book by A. V. Gets “East Siberian Laika”.

It is worth trying to go on a moose with a husky when the pet is one year old, and preferably two. The optimal month for the first training in September, when wild artiodactyls start rutting and when it is allowed to shoot males. The mining is usually done in two ways. The first is the long-term pursuit of the animal by the husky at a distance of at least 15 m, without sharp attacks. The second is a gambling race, furious barking, and active attempts to grab prey by the face and neck.

In both cases, barking should be done from the head of the potential victim. If the Easterner gives a voice, keeping away from the elk, and at the first turn of the elk runs away, this means that the dog is either very young and has not yet developed the correct technique, or simply does not have the ability to work with large prey. A husky is considered a good moose calf, capable of following a cloven-hoofed animal for at least 5 hours and doing several sweeps (stopping the elk and barking from its head). The status of a pro is assigned to single individuals who are ready to follow the elk and set sweeps until the next morning.

Important: it is better to go for squirrels, sables, and muskrats with one husky since the presence of a “partner” will distract the animal from the process. At the same time, it is recommended to hunt moose, wild boar, and bear with a couple of orientalists.

The East Siberian Laika is a dog with heroic immunity and genetically hardened hardening, so even newborn puppies with their parent are not recommended by experts to be kept warm, but kept in an unheated room. You can often hear stories about how easily Easterners adapt to life in an apartment. At the same time, keeping the breed in “greenhouse” conditions is not approved by the breeders, and the animal itself is not good for it. A healthy working dog can live in the yard, where a solid enclosure with a warm kennel, which is best placed on the sunny side, must be built for it.

The content of a husky on a chain is permissible, as a temporary phenomenon, until the aviary is equipped. Moreover, the chain must be fixed on a movable block, which will allow the animal to move freely around the yard. It is necessary to take the puppy for a walk in crowded places after vaccination against distemper and enteritis. Before receiving vaccinations, it is also necessary to take the baby out to breathe, but in such locations where contact with other dogs and people will be excluded. It is best to walk with the ward in the woodlands and meadows, which is a preparation for the future hunt. The duration of the walks should be at least 2 hours a day because the longer the puppy is in the sun, the less likely he is to get rickets.

East Siberian Laika puppies cannot be bathed in principle. Adults should not be washed unnecessarily either, since the protective grease is removed from the skin and wool together with shampoo and water. It is enough to wipe the dirty pet with a damp cloth and rinse the dirty paws in lukewarm water without using dog cosmetics. It is strongly discouraged to wash the East Siberian Husky on the eve of the exhibition since hair deprived of the fat layer looks less aesthetically pleasing and there is a risk of getting a low score from the judges for the exterior.

You need to comb the yard twice a week during the molting period and once a week at all other times. With apartment huskies, the frequency of brushing will have to be increased if you do not want the dwelling to turn into a warehouse for wool. If the dog is constantly and productively hunting, the “pedicure” of the claws is allowed to be neglected, since the plate is naturally ground. Easterners, who travel to exhibitions more often than work, need to carefully trim their claws. The ears of the East Siberian husky are checked after each trip to the forest, or a couple of times a week if the dog spends time in the yard.

It is better to remove excess wax inside the ear funnel with a cloth moistened with hygienic lotion. Mandatory measures are the treatment of wool from ticks and ectoparasites, as well as periodic boiling of the mattress on which the animal sleeps. It is extremely important to monitor the health of the eyes of the East Siberian husky and remove contamination from them with a clean cloth moistened with strong chilled tea. If your eyes are suddenly red or watery, try applying tetracycline ointment to your lower eyelid. If there is no improvement in a couple of days, the husky will have to be taken to the veterinarian.

Adults are fed twice a day, and during the hunting season, food is divided into unequal parts: in the morning, the pet eats ⅓ of the daily norm, in the evening, but not earlier than an hour after working on the animal, the remaining ⅔. As for any game dog, meat is the basis of the diet for the East Siberian Laika. To save money, everything obtained during the hunt is used – butchered squirrel carcasses, muskrat meat, and entrails, as well as any other edible trophies. During active fishing activities, the share of animal food in the daily menu of the AFL should reach 600-800 g.

East Siberian huskies are unpretentious pets that do not need food variety. Along with meat, they can be given cheaper products – sea fish, from which large bones are extracted (you can turn it through a meat grinder), cereals, offal, rye bread, yogurt, chicken eggs, vegetables (except legumes), fruits, young greens. Some owners teach pets to find edible fruits and eat them from the bush. In the future, if the dog gets lost on the hunt, it will be able to feed on its own for several days.

Mandatory foods in the diet of East Siberian Laika puppies are cottage cheese and cartilaginous tissues, without which the formation of a strong skeleton is impossible. The first complimentary food in the life of an orientalist is liquid porridge with milk (semolina, mashed oatmeal). It is better to give them monthly puppies. Six months old adolescents are allowed to enter cereals from whole cereals – rice, oatmeal, pearl barley into the menu. They are cooked in meat and bone broth with the addition of a small amount of salt, unrefined vegetable oil, or fish oil, as well as vegetables – cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, zucchini. It is also useful to feed the growing AFL with sprouted oats and wheat. Unsalted cheese, butter, rye croutons are suitable as an incentive treat. Dandelion leaves, nettles (scalded with boiling water), kelp, or ready-made vitamin complexes from a veterinary pharmacy can serve as a source of essential vitamins.

Important: river fish and liver of East Siberian huskies are allowed to be given only thermally processed since these products are often infected with worms.

East Siberian huskies are healthy dogs that do not have a predisposition to most hereditary ailments. The breed is not able to withstand only viral diseases – plague, enteritis, and rabies, and it is the working individuals that are most susceptible to them. Timely vaccination continues to be a salvation from these problems – at 2-2.5 months, puppies are already allowed to be vaccinated against canine plague, a year – against rabies.

By the time of vaccination, the puppy should be progestogenic in advance – it is advisable to do this a couple of weeks before the procedure so that the body has time to recover. After vaccinations, the animal is quarantined for 14 to 22 days. It should be heavily fed, protected from hypothermia, and walked only in deserted places where there are no other dogs. And of course, do not forget that the introduction of the vaccine will have to be repeated, and the treatment of the pet with anthelmintic drugs should take place throughout the life of the husky.

How to choose a puppy?

  • If a puppy is purchased for hunting for a specific animal, check with the seller about the success of the baby’s parents in this matter. For example, for elk hunting, it is better to take offspring from elk-huskies and it is undesirable from orientalists who work strictly on squirrels.
  • The hunting ability of males and bitches of the East Siberian Laika is practically the same. However, males are more likely to get lost in the forest, as they are distracted by the smells of current bitches, which may be several kilometers away. Accordingly, if you are not ready to spend hours, if not a day in search of a lost dog, choose “girls”.
  • Opt for puppies from spring litters. These babies are healthier, as they grow and develop in the warm, sunny season.
  • Check the age of the litter breeders. The breeding bitches of the East Siberian Laika are ready for mating at one and a half years and males at two years old. Offspring from too young parents, as well as from too old, have poor health. It is optimal when mature and old males (6-10 years old) are mated with 3-year-old bitches and vice versa – young 2-year-old males are bred with 6-9-year-old huskies.
  • Assess the general condition of the puppies. Sparse wool, dry nose, and signs of emerging rickets signal that it will take a long time to nurture such a baby.

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