The Russo-European Laika temperament is brave, intelligent and loyal.
The Russo-European Laika is a Spitz type dog that was originally bred to hunt large game such as bear, wolves, elk and wild boar.
As you can imagine, these dogs are courageous and powerful.
The Russo-European Laika temperament may be too challenging for a novice owner. However, these dogs make excellent companions for experienced handlers.
The breed originated in Russia and is also known as the Russian-European Laika, the Karelian Bear Laika, or the Laika Ruissisch Europaish.
This article will provide you with an introduction to common Russo-European Laika behaviors and characteristics.
If you are thinking about adding this dog to your household, learn as much as you can about the Russo-European Laika temperament to make sure you can provide the kind of home that it needs.
5 Russo-European Laika Temperament Traits to Know About Before You Bring One Home
In this section we will explore the most common components of the Russo-European Laika temperament.
However, please remember that there will always be some variation between individual dogs within a breed.
Your Russo-European Laika may not display every single one of these temperament traits.
Still, this article will provide you with a good starting point as you research the characteristics of this breed.
1. Fearless and Protective
The protective Russo-European Laika temperament makes this breed an excellent watchdog.
Russo-European Laikas are alert and brave. They will fearlessly guard the homestead against any unwanted intruders. After all, they were bred to hunt bear, so they are not easily intimidated.
Russo-European Laikas have excellent eyesight and hearing. They consider it their duty to keep an eye on their territory and sound the alarm if they notice suspicious activity.
This can be a helpful quality, but it is important not to let it get out of hand.
If your dog is becoming too aggressive, you should work with a professional trainer to redirect that behavior into more appropriate behavior.
2. Hunting Instinct
Russo-European Laikas have a strong hunting instinct.
They have a powerful desire to pursue and capture game.
Russo-European Laikas are happiest when they have a job to do. If you do not plan to hunt with your Russo-European Laika, you should be prepared to provide another outlet for their energy.
This is a breed that requires a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Russo-European Laika exercise activities can include pastimes such as jogging, hiking, or biking. Make sure you are ready for an active companion before you bring home a Russo-European Laika.
Likewise, be prepared to provide mental enrichment to keep them from getting bored. If your dog becomes bored he may develop problem behaviors such as chewing or digging.
If your dog is developing destructive tendencies, try increasing his exercise. A tired dog is a good dog! If you work long hours, you might need to consider a dog walker or a doggie daycare.
Due to their strong hunting drive, Russo-European Laikas need supervision around other animals such as cats or ferrets.
They should always be walked on leash to ensure that they cannot dart away after a squirrel or chipmunk. Never let them off the leash unless you are in a securely fenced area. Even a well-trained Laika might not follow commands when its hunting drive kicks in.
The word “Laika” literally translates to “barker” in Russian.
As you might imagine from its name, this can be a vocal breed.
There are certain things that you can do to decrease the amount of barking. For example, you can provide plenty of distractions in the form of interactive toys and food puzzles.
However, you will not be able to completely eliminate this trait. If you are not a fan of barking, this probably is not the right breed for you.
Because of this trait, the Russo-European Laika is not well suited for apartment living.
4. Loyal to Family and Children
The devoted Russo-European Laika temperament makes this breed a wonderful guardian of children.
The Russo-European Laika has an affinity for children and usually does well with them.
Of course, it is important to socialize your Russo-European Laika from a young age. As with all dogs, it is also important to supervise your Russo-European Laika when he interacts with children.
Always encourage children to be gentle and respectful with the family dog.
The Russo-European Laika tends to be very tolerant of the children in the family, but no dog should have to put up with rough handling.
5. Suspicious of Strangers and Other Dogs
Even though the Russo-European Laika bonds deeply to its family, it does not always warm up to strangers right away.
This breed can be aloof around new people.
Encourage guests to go slowly with your dog and allow your dog to accept them at his own pace.
You can have your visitors toss treats to your dog until he gets comfortable with their presence.
The Russo-European Laika is usually standoffish with other dogs but can learn to accept other dogs with time and socialization.
They can also be territorial if unknown dogs come onto their property. Male Russo-European Laikas can be especially territorial towards other males.
A Brief Account of Russo-European Laika History
The Russo-European Laika descended from the indigenous dogs of Europe, Russia, and Siberia.
One of its ancestors was the (now extinct) Karelian Bear Laika.
The Karelian Bear Laika was also the progenitor of the Karelian Bear Dog. The Karelian Bear Dog is the more popular of the two descendants. The Russo-European Laika is extremely rare.
There are two other recognized Laika breeds: the East Siberian Laika and the West Siberian Laika. All three are recognized by Federation Cynologique Internationale as Nordic Hunting Dogs within the class of “primitive breeds.”
Russo-European Laika Size and Appearance
The Russo-European Laika is a medium-sized dog with a thick double coat.
The typical Russo-European Laika height is between 19 and 23 inches at the withers.
The average Russo-European Laika weight is between 45 lbs and 55 lbs.
The most common Russo-European Laika colors are black or grey with white markings. A red coloration is undesirable.
The ears are erect and the tail is curled.
A Guide to Russo-European Laika Training
The intelligent Russo-European Laika temperament makes this breed a good candidate for training.
Start training your Russo-European Laika as early as possible.
If you acquire your dog as a puppy, sign up for a “Puppy Pre-K” or puppy socialization class. Do this and you are starting on the right foot for training your Russo-European Laika. Your puppy will also learn valuable canine social skills while playing with the other puppies in the class.
Even if you do not get your dog as a puppy, you can still sign up for a positive reinforcement obedience class with a local dog trainer.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Russo-European Laika dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Remember to always avoid trainers that use physical reprimands or painful training tools such as pinch collars or shock collars. This type of old-school training will erode the trust between you and your dog.
Instead, find a trainer that uses positive, force-free methods. This type of training is science-based, effective, and fun for you and your dog!
Once you have completed basic obedience, you can look into more advanced training such as agility, nosework, tracking, rally obedience, or search and rescue work.
A Guide to Russo-European Laika Grooming
The Russo-European Laika has thick fur that benefits from frequent brushing and occasional baths.
Most of the grooming for this breed can be done at home and does not require a professional groomer.
Russo-European Laika nails should be trimmed periodically and their teeth should be brushed on a regular basis.
Does the Russo-European Laika Shed?
Yes, this breed sheds moderately throughout the year and heavily during “shedding season.” Shedding season usually occurs twice per year for this breed.
Is the Russo-European Laika Hypoallergenic?
No, this breed is not hypoallergenic. For a list of hypoallergenic breeds, please check out this helpful article.
Staying Healthy: Russo-European Laika Health Issues
With excellent nutrition and care, the average Russo-European Laika lifespan is between 10 and 12 years.
These are generally healthy dogs, but like all purebred dogs there are some health conditions that can occur in the bloodlines.
Talk with your breeder and your vet about possible genetic conditions. Since this is such a rare breed, there have not been many studies about other possible health concerns.
However, here are a few conditions that have been identified frequently within this breed:
- Umbilical Hernias
- Cryptorchidism (retained testicles)
As with all dogs, your Russo-European Laika should visit the vet once per year for an annual examination and vaccinations. It is also very important to keep your dog up to date on flea, tick and heartworm prevention at all times. Speak with your vet about which medications are right for your dog.
Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your Russo-European Laika friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.
Russo-European Laika Rescue and Adoption
If you think the Russo-European Laika temperament is the right match for you, your next step is to find one to add to your home.
This can be a challenging undertaking because these dogs are so rare in the United States.
One option would be to search for a Russo-European Laika for adoption.
There are many benefits to adopting a dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. For example, rescue dogs are usually adults and have already gone through the destructive puppy chewing stage.
Sometimes they are already housebroken and trained. Adult dogs are more settled and they do not require as much exercise as a puppy. Adoption fees are substantially lower than buying from a breeder. Finally, and most importantly, you get to save a dog’s life and provide it with a loving and stable home.
Even though Russo-European Laikas are uncommon in animal shelters, you can still visit your local animal shelter or humane society to let them know what kind of dog you are hoping to adopt. The staff at the shelter might be able to notify you if similar dogs become available.
You can also find communities of Laika lovers online through Facebook or Google. These individuals may be able to connect you with Laikas that need new homes.
Other helpful adoption websites include Petfinder, Adoptapet and Getyourpet.
Finding a Russo-European Laika for Sale from a Responsible Breeder
Finding a Russo-European Laika puppy from a breeder will be equally challenging.
There are very few Russo-European Laika breeders in the United States.
You can start your search by contacting the American Kennel Club and asking for referrals of breeders in the US.
Once you locate a potential Russo-European Laika breeder, set up an appointment to visit the breeder in person.
Never purchase Russo-European Laika puppies sight-unseen over the internet. There are many unscrupulous breeders out there that will take advantage of unsuspecting buyers through internet scams. You might also inadvertently purchase a puppy from a puppy mill.
Always insist on meeting the breeder in person and touring the property. Ask to meet the adult breeding dogs and view their medical records. Make sure the dogs are friendly, healthy and living in humane conditions.
Good breeders will welcome your visit. This is a good chance for them to get to know you and ask you questions, too.
Reputable breeders want to make sure that their puppies go to excellent homes. They will want to make sure that you have done your research and that you are prepared to provide a lifelong home to a Russo-European Laika.
Since there are so few breeders in America, it is hard to provide an average Russo-European Laika price range. However, you should expect to spend over $1000 for this rare breed.
Some buyers choose to travel to Europe to purchase a puppy where the Russo-European cost is a little lower. However, if you do this, you will also have to factor in the expenses of travel and accommodations.
Conclusion: Why the Russo-European Laika
The Russo-European Laika temperament is not for the faint of heart.
These intelligent, powerful, courageous dogs require experienced handlers to bring out the best in their personalities.
If you have what it takes, the Russo-European Laika will make a superb hunting or companion dog for the right family.
Allie has worked in the field of animal welfare for over ten years and as a freelance writer the space for many years. She has had many different kinds of dogs (and cats) throughout her life—all adopted. She currently shares her home with a lovable pit bull mix named Huckleberry.