The Russo-European Laika is a close relative of the Karelian Bear Dog of Finland, but it wasn't created by crossing the Finnish breed with the so-called Russian Utchak Sheepdog", as falsely claimed by many authors. In fact, there is no such breed as the Utchak Sheepdog, nor did it ever exist in Russia, being nothing more than a figment of imagination and proof of ignorance of some western writers. Another popular misconception is that the Russo-European Laika is the same breed as the more popular Karelian Bear Dog, which it most certainly is not. These two breeds are descended from the original Karelian Bear Laika, which no longer exists in its pure form, having been separated into the Russian and Finnish varieties. Both the Karelian Bear Dog and the Russo-European Laika share the same early ancestry and it could be argued that the Russian variety is much older, but whereas the Finnish breed has been bred to a strict type and gained recognition much earlier, the Russian Karelian Laika was primarily a common working dog, seen as just a regional type of the Russian Laika population before the 2nd World War. It wasn't until 1944 that this variety received proper attention, leading its fanciers to set up a selection, testing and breeding programme. After the decision made by the Russian All-Union Institute of Hunting Industry in the Kalinin province, as proposed by one of their researchers and Laika enthusiasts named Shereshevsky, all Russian Laika varieties were examined and classified as four official groups, establishing the West-Siberian Laika, East-Siberian Laika, Karelo-Finnish Laika and the Russo-European Laika as separate breeds in 1947, although various other Laika breeds remained in existence under the collective name of Russian Laika, including the four recognized ones, as well as local types found throughout Russia, such as the Amur Laika, Yakutian Laika, Kamtschatka Laika and others.

When developing the Russo-European Laika, Russian hunters sought out the best working examples of local hunting Laikas from Arkhangelsk, Udmurtia, Karelia, Perm, Ladora Lake, Komi and surrounding regions of north-eastern Russia, all of which appeared to belong to the same breed type, but noticeably different than the Karelian Bear Dog of Finland. By selecting the strongest and healthiest dogs, mainly from the Komi Republic and the district of Pomozda, then crossing them with the old Hanty type of the West-Siberian Laika, the breed developers soon established the appearance, temperament, hunting qualities and overall type of the Russo-European Laika and laid a foundation for the breed, but when the Standard was accepted by the Cynological Committee of Russia in 1952, all coat colours other than the black-n-white colouring as associated with the Finnish breed were proclaimed undesirable, seriously affecting the gene pool of the Russo-European Laika, since the breeders were forced to eliminate many dogs from their programmes and resort to heavy inbreeding to achieve the desired colouring. Although standardized and recognized as a pure breed in Russia since the mid-1950's, the Russo-European Laika was still being perfected through planned outcrosses over the next 10 years, while steadily gaining popularity among hunters and dog-lovers in its homeland.

Unlike the modern Karelian Bear Dog, which has been bred as a family pet and Show Dog for many years without the emphasis on preserving its hunting abilities, the Russo-European Laika remains primarily a working dog and is still a result of strict selection and testing guidelines, to ensure that only the dogs with the right temperament, hunting drive and working qualities are bred. The breed has traditionally been used to hunt bears, wolves, boars, elk, moose and other small and large game, as well as a fearless property guardian. Aloof with strangers, alert and very territorial, the Russo-European Laika is an excellent watchdog, but its love of children, devotion to its master and trainability make it a good companion for experienced owners. However, the breed is not suited for city life, needing plenty of excercise and is the happiest when working. It requires early socialization and responsible handling, due to its unfriendly attitude towards other dogs. The Russo-European Laika is a good rural pet, tolerant of farm animals, but it has a tendency to chase cats, rabbits, squirrels and other rodents, making a very effective vermin killer. Superficially similar to the Karelian Bear Dog, this impressive Russian breed is not as tall as its Finnish cousin, but is more muscled and agile, has a compact body, with a strong back, sturdy legs and a deep chest. The head is fairly small, elegant and moderately broad, with a powerful muzzle and erect ears. The tail is carried high, curled over the back, but some specimens are born bobtailed.

The coat is dense, hard and rich, most commonly seen as a black-n-white bicolour, although working examples can also be encountered in uniform white or black shades, as well as being white-based dogs with black, red, brown, brindle, grey and fawn markings, but they aren't preferred for the Show rings. The average height is around 21 inches.

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    this is a bit late but thank you for your comment on this profile. It is very much appreciated.

    Best regards,

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