Thursday, 4 October 2007

List of Dog breeds (Page 32)

Zapadno-Sibirskaia Laika /
West Siberian Laika

The West Siberian Laika- WSL- is a hunting breed developed by the indigenous people of Northern Ural and West Siberia. They used Laikas mostly for treeing squirrels and hunting small predators with valuable fur.

Image:West Siberian Laika - Chara Jr. FL USA - at work..JPG

Communism in Russia destroyed the traditional way of life of these people and brought them and their hunting dogs to the brink of extinction. Industrialization in Siberia introduced many new breeds of dogs to this region. Crossbreeding with them completely wiped out the last remains of pure bred indigenous Laikas. Many Russian hunters from big cities such as Sverdlovsk and Moscow were aware of this process. They tried to save the last exemplars of Laikas. The first attempts to establish the West Siberians as a modern hunting breed was made in the 1920s. Two types of dogs: the Mansi Laikas, which had light bones and a narrow elongated head; and the so called Hanti Laikas with a powerfully built body and a shorter head, lay the foundations for the new breed.

Image:West Siberian Laika - Mansi light type - Zarya FL USA..JPG

In the beginning of the 1930s and later the Russian government began to establish Kennels and Clubs concerning the preservation and repopulating of Laikas to their previous regions. In 1947 the West Siberian Laika was officially recognized as a new Russian breed.

Image:West Siberian Laika - Hanti type - Chara Jr. FL USA..JPG

Image:West Siberian Laika Chara Jr. FL USA -Hanti type of head.JPG

Originally, West Siberian Laikas were pro dogs for pro hunters. They can work as versatility dogs, but their strength is in their ability to specialize on one type of game only. Professional hunters want their dog to be focused on the game with the most valuable fur. Laikas working on sable and pine marten were, and still are, the most valuable. Such selection is fully understandable. In the nineteenth century the money from one silver-black sable pelt supported a family of four for a year. Because of this, the dogs that worked on every kind of game were killed or kept out of breeding. West Siberians are the last breed of hunting Laikas that still preserve this pro ability in their genes. This is what really differentiates them from other Hunting Laikas and makes them so unique. They are capable of specializing on one game only and master hunting it to perfection.Today, careful training is paramount for a WSL to perform at its best. Depending on how it is trained, a West Siberian Laika can hunt squirrels, pine marten, or sable; or big game such as moose, bear, or wild boar. Some hunters prefer training their West Siberians for birds, such as Capercaillies, pheasants, or waterfowl. Properly raised and trained West Siberians make a tight bond with their masters and never loose contact with them in the forest or in the field. It is like a Symbiotic team created for successful hunting. West Siberians are poor guardians at home or for domestic stock. On the other hand during hunting big and dangerous game they are capable of protecting their human partners to the bitter end.

Hot climate is a problem for West Siberians imported directly from North Eurasia. When a litter is born in the USA, the chances for adapting to local temperatures, even in Florida, are better. West Siberians are selected for hunting and they live for it. Permanently keeping Laikas at home, on a chain, or in a cage is extremely harmful for them. If you do not have time or a place where you can hunt regularly with your WS Laika, it is not a dog for you. Highly territorial and aggressive with other dogs, WS Laikas cannot be kept properly in huge kennels. Two of them (usually male and female partners) are a good combination for hunting and breeding. The best way of bonding with a WSL is to raise and train it alone in an environment free of other dogs. The introduction of this breed to the USA had a stormy beginning. Cheap crossbreeds named Laikoids were imported here, and kennels of "industrial" magnitude were established for making fast money.

Image:West Siberian Laika -Zarya - FL USA - Mansi type of head.JPG

The Russian Standards for West Siberian Laikas changed several times/1947-1966 -1979-etc./. Usually Males stand 19 to 20 inches at the withers, females 18 to 19 inches. Most of the modern dogs today are bigger and heavier than their original ancestors. Typical for all Laikas are, erect, triangular ears and a tail that is carried high curving over the back . The coat is a so called double type observed in wolves and most of the polar dogs.

Hair that is too long, too soft, curly or growing in all directions is a sure sign of mixed blood. Standard colors are gray, rusty, and white. The gray coat can vary from almost white to very dark. Brown or shades of browns are absolutely unacceptable. Many dogs imported from Asia /Kazachstan/ have such a fault as a result of crossbreeding with German Shepherds and other breeds. Black, or black and white WS Laikas, frequently appear in litters and are considered by old descrptions of indigenous Laikas as pure bred. This color is unwanted today, because of its associations with the other Russian Laika-the so called Russo Europeans-that have exactly the same color. The real difference between those two breeds is in the shape of the body and head and most of all in the character of the West Siberians.They are COOL! Pure bred West Siberians are not so nervous or easily excited as other breeds of Hunting Laikas. They display such a brave, cool, and calculating type of behavior even in the most dangerous situations. It comes as a package along with the ability to work on big game and to track very old, "cold" tracks. With the economical changes in Russia West Siberian Laikas lost their popularity there. Pro hunting is a dying profession and the new Russian Elite prefers "prestige" breeds of dogs imported from abroad. Luckily, American Hunters discovered the true potential of this breed and have recently imported some pure bred West Siberians to the US. Chances for this breed to prosper in America are good. More than 200 hunters in Alaska, Canada, and the Continental United States use this type of dogs today. They became an important - American part of the huge family of Hunting, Sledding, and Herding Laikas living for millennia in Northern Eurasia. Preserving them in their original state is very important. Laikas, along with domestic Reindeer, are the oldest breeds of our civilization. They helped humanity to survive in the ice age.Changes in the climate usually work in both directions. Who knows -- may be, we will need these breeds again in the future. West Siberian Laikas are a living monument to an ancient, very rich, and highly sophisticated indigenous culture. We must preserve this superior achievement of selection for our future generations.

Sources in Russian Language: Voilotchnikov, A.T. and Voilotchnikova, S.D. Hunting Laikas, . Moscow: Forest Industry Publishing House 1982. Voilotchnikov, A. T. and Voilotchnikova, S.D.Laikas and Hunting With Them . Moscow: Forest Industry Publishing House, 1972. Voilotchnikov, A. T. and Voilotchnikova, S.D. "Which breed of Laikas is the best?" Hunting and Hunting Industry, 1972: Issue 10. page 30-31. The authors are a Russian family recognized as the world's leading experts on West Siberian Laikas.

Sources in Bulgarian Language: Raytchev, Vasko. The Bulgarian Shepherd-Legend and Reality, Stara Zagora: Bioshield Publishing, 1992. (pg. 20-23)

Sources in English Language: Demidoff, L.B. How to Raise and Train a Siberian Husky. New York: 1964 Beregovoy, V. Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia. Crystal Dream Publishing, 2001 . Little, Clarence C. The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs. New York: 1971.