The West Siberian Laika or WSL, is a breed of hunting dog. Russian publications indicate that the term West Siberian Laika loosely applied to dogs from Ural and West Siberia, but there were no standards or registrations of WSL as such until 1930. Then WWll disrupted it for a while, but systematic breeding with registrations resumed after the war ended, in 1946. This was the time the breed began taking modern shape. Before that hunters only knew of Mansi Laika and Hanty Laika. In early 1960 many hunters in Ural still preferred the term Mansi Laika, when speaking of West Siberian Laika. In Russian language, the term Laika originated from the word layat that means to bark. The word Laika simply means a dog that barks. Any hunting Laika is a bark pointer (pointing at animal of interest by barking and staying with the animal). It is a versatile dog depending on use and environment, but in certain parts of the country they have become more specialized.
he West Siberian Laika is a medium to large size dog. Males are 19-20 inches and females are 18-19 inches at the shoulder.
The coat of the West Siberian Laika is a double coat of harsh straight guard hairs and thick and soft undercoat. The guard hairs on the neck, around the head and shoulders are particularly long and stiff. Together with a very thick undercoat they form a ruff framing the dog's face. On the tail, the guard hair and undercoat are also longer and thicker then on the rest of the body. In wintertime, the dogs living in countries with a cold climate, hair is growing between the toes. Although the coat quality varies individually, dogs raised in countries with cold climates have longer and thicker coat than dogs that live in warm and hot climate or dogs that are kept inside most of the time.
Most common coat colors are wolf gray, pale red and white. The gray coat can be of various shades from almost white to very dark gray, nearly black. The gray can be mixed with red producing array of brownish and red shades. Sable coats, combining black and white or black and brown or red also occur, but they are banned in the recent breed standard. Dogs with either coat color described above may have white patches in different proportions. Pale red and white dogs may have brown noses and lips. Dogs with either coat color have so-called 'zonary' pattern of distribution of pigment in each guard hair. This means guard hair has alternating bands (zones) of white with black, brown or red color. Hairs with evenly distributed pigment indicate an admixture of other then Laika breed.
The head is wedge-shaped in the form of a triangle, flat on the top and broader between ears. In the Mansi Laika, the head is more elongate with muzzle as long as the skull from eye to occiput or slightly longer. In the Hanty Laika, the head is boarder and the muzzle is as long as the skull or slightly shorter. Lips are always close and lean. A full set of large teeth with a scissors bite is typical, but dogs with vice bite also occur. The standard accepts scissors bite only. In many dogs with a scissors bite at young age the bite is changing with age and becomes a vice bite by age of 5-6 years.
Eyes are almond-shaped, medium size, deep set and distinctly slanted. Their colors are brown to dark brown. Dogs with amber yellow and/or blue eyes rarely occur, but hunters believe that dogs with brown and dark brown eyes are better hunting dogs. According to the standard, any eye color, except brown and light brown is a fault.
Ears are always pricked and directed straight up, but their size, pointed or slightly rounded tips of ears are variable. Generally, ears of the Hanty Laika are small to medium. In the Mansi Laika, ears are medium to long. Ears can be set high and close to each other or slightly apart.
The tail is carried high curving over the back. Details of its structure and carriage are variable among aboriginal dogs. In majority of dogs, the tip of the tail lies on the back, but some dogs have the tip of the tail rigidly curved like a fishhook. Among aboriginal dogs, there are individuals with a sickle-shaped tail, but it is considered faulty by the modern breed standard.
The body is slightly longer then the height or nearly square and with well-muscled forequarters and hindquarters. Legs are straight and parallel. Front feet are directed forward or slightly east-west and hind legs are straight and in many dogs slightly cow-hocked. The breed standard rejects square body proportions, cow hocks and east-west position of front feet. The angulation at stifles is normally developed and look like in wild canids. Feet are strong, compact and elongate. Toes are strong,
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Siberian_Laika
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