Breed standard

Approved by
The Presidium of SOKO RKF
"24" July 2013
Amendments approved by the RKF Presidium 08.04.2015


(Якутская Лайка)

UTILIZATION: sledge and hunting dog
group 5 (Spitz and primitive types)
Section 1 (Nordic Sledge Dogs)
Without working trial.
HISTORICAL SUMMARY: Yakutian Laika is an ancient breed of dogs bred by aboriginal peoples of the North-East of Russia, along so-called «dog rivers».
In different times various explorers (A. F. Middendorf, V. L. Seroshevsky,  L. P. Sabaneev, N.V. Slyunin, P.K. Maak, The Prince A. A. Shirinsky-Dhikhmatov, V.I. Jokhelson, E. V. Pfizenmeier, E. G. Orlov, M. Dmitrieva-Sulimova, E. I. Shereshevsky, A. G. Chikachev and others) described the Yakutian Laika under different names (Alazeevskaya, Anyuiskaya, Arcticheskaya (Arctic), Verkhoyanskaya, Kolymo - Indigirskaya, Omolonskaya, Omsukchanskaya, Okhotskaya, Polarnaya (Polar), Susmanskaya, Severo-Vostochnaya (North-Eastern) sledge dog, Tungusskaya, Chuvychanskaya, Evenskaya, Yakutskaya, etc.)
Since 1635 in the petitions of pioneering Cossacks there have been mentioned the dogs living along the «dog  rivers».
In 1692 in Amsterdam there was published a book by Dutch scientist-traveler, geographer and ethnographer Nicolaas Cornellisson Witsen «Noord en Oost Tartarye» containing engraving prints «Ways of movement of the Yakutians in the winter». These prints showed the ways to use the dogs as draught transport. Those were the first images of Yakutian  dogs. Those engravings depicted also a skier being towed by dogs and another winter sport that was winter windsurfing. Those prints were the earliest images of skijoring and winter windsurfing.
In 1730 Vitus Jonassen Bering began to equip the 2nd extended Kamchatka expedition. During that expedition there were actively used dogs of Arctic Yakutia. Those were the first geographical expeditions in which dogs were used.
Ivan Pavlovsky wrote in his book «Geography of the Russian Empire» in 1843:
«dogs (Yakutian Laikas) were used for, postal chase“. Thus in 1839, in the Yakutsk region during the winter period for the mail messages from Yakutsk to Okhotsk and onwards to Kamchatka there had been used up to 20 sleds (sledges) to carry cargo. They used to harness up to 10 dogs, 5 couples (by 2 dogs in a row) along a long belt headed by the eleventh one.  They used to tow from 25 to 35 poods (1000-1400 pounds) of cargo running up to 80 versts (about 53 miles) a day, if not heavily loaded the same dogs  could cover up to140 versts  (about 95 miles) a day.
In 1850, Professor Ivan Yakovlevich Gorlov described the traditional methods of keeping and use of the Yakuian Laikas in his book, «Overview of economic status, statistics of the Russian Empire for 1849»
«Yakutians use the dogs for sledding and carrying heavy loads. All year round dogs stay in the open air, in the summer digging a hole in the ground to cool themselves or lie in water because of mosquitoes. In  winter they look for a shelter in deep snow pits curling up and covering  muzzle with a furry tail»
Versatile applications of Yakutian Laikas  in all that everyday life ment for many centuries, starting from hunting, guarding of housing, cattle duties and finally for sledding, of course, stand them out among all the other «user» breeds of the world.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Yakutian Laika is strong, well muscled medium in size, compact, moderately long-legged dog, with a thick, but never even slightly flabby skin. Fur is well developed and should be sufficient to live and work under severe Arctic conditions.  Sexual type is well pronounced, males are more sturdy and stronger than females.
THE BASIC PROPORTIONS: The length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the croup exceeds the height at withers by 10-15%.
The length of the head is a little less than 40% of the height at withers.
The length of the muzzle is 38-40% of the length of the head.
The length of the front leg is 52-54% of the height at the withers.
BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: The Yakutian Laika is bold, agile, contact, friendly, sociable and temperamental dog
HEAD: It has a shape of a moderately pointed wedge, proportional to the size of the dog.
Skull: moderately broad, slightly rounded, with a high forehead.
Cheek-bones: moderately defined.
Stop: The transition from forehead to muzzle: well defined.
Nose: tip of the nose is large, with wide nostrils, of black or brown color.
Muzzle: Well filled under the eyes, wedge-shaped, gradually tapering towards the tip of the nose.
Lips: lean and tight, well pigmented.
Jaws/teeth: teeth are large, white, preferably in a complete set (42 teeth according to the dental formula). Scissors or even bite. It’s acceptable that 3 year old dog could obtain a tight undershot bite.
Eyes: straight and broad, but not deep, almond-shaped.
Eye color is dark brown, blue, and also the eyes of different colors (one brown and one blue) or the presence of blue segments of the brown iris.
Eyelids are ever lean, tight-fitting of the color matching the color of the nose tip. Discolored eyelids are allowed against a white background.
Ears: of triangular shape, set high, wide at the base, thick, erect or tipped. Ears are covered with thick, short hair. When running, ears are laid back.
NECK: fairly long, muscular, medium-set.
BODY: strong, muscular, with rounded ribs.
Top line: Straight and strong, slightly sloped from moderately defined withers to the base of the tail.
Back: strong, broad, straight, muscular.
Loin: short, broad, muscular.
Croup: broad, muscular, long, rounded, almost horizontal.
Chest: broad, fairly long, moderately deep, rounded in cross-section.
TAIL: set high, curled up into semi circle and leaned on the back, covered with a thick fluffy hair.
LIMBS: strong, muscular, straight, set in parallel.
Forequarters: straight, parallel, strong, very muscular.
Blades: obliquely set, of moderate length.
Shoulders: muscular, obliquely set, of moderate length.
Elbows: close tightly to the chest, directed backward.
Pastern: short, strong, almost horizontally set.
HINDQUARTERS: with robust bone and well muscled. When viewed from the rear -straight and parallel.
Thighs: broad and muscular.
Knee joints: well defined.
Legs: of medium length, strong. The angles of hocks are well defined.
Hocks: strong vertical.
Feet (front and rear): arched, tightly gathered with very hard pads, thick hair (brush) between his fingers. Rare paws are slightly bigger than the front ones.
GAIT/MOVEMENT: fast, elastic. Characteristic gaits are brisk trot and gallop.
COAT:  thick, shiny, straight, coarse to the touch, of medium length, with very well-developed dense undercoat. On the neck forms mane, especially pronounced in males, on the rear side of the fore and hind quarters there are thick feathers and small fur suspension on the tip of the tail. Hair is shorter on the head and front sides of the legs.
COLOR: White and any mixed (two or three color).
males - desirable height is 55-59 cm,  optimal height is 56 cm.
Females - desirable height is 53-57 cm, - optimal height is 55 cm.
FAULTS: Any aberration from the above points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which this fault is regarded should be proportional to its degree and its affection of the health of the dog and its ability to perform the work traditional for the breed.
  • a strong deviation from the described  type of constitution, short legs;
  • square format;
  • flat, small, or barrel chest;
  • poorly balanced, sluggish movement;
  • wavy, soft, too short hair with a poorly developed undercoat.
  • aggressive or overly shy;
  • constitutional disproportion;
  • males of a feminine type;
  • overshot or split undershot bites, wry jaw;
  • total depigmentation of the nose, eyelids and lips;
  • any monochrome color other than white.
  • short hair;
  • any behavioural or constitutional aberration, affecting the health of the dog and its ability to perform  the work, traditional for the breed.
N.B: males should have two normally developed testicles fully descended into the scrotum.