Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Obscure Dog Breed of the Month

This month I will highlight a Russian herding dog; the Nenets Herding Laika.

First, "laika" is a Russian term used to describe Russian working dogs in general. The website, http://dogbreeds.bulldoginformation.com/, describes the Nenets Herding Laika as...

The Laika breeds are Russian working dogs of the Northern type. Laika is the Russian word for 'barker' or 'barking dog' and is derived from the verb 'layat', which means 'to bark'. The breed's name thus simply means 'a dog that barks' in Russian, referring to the fact that the hunting laikas are bark pointers, dogs selectively bred for their barking abilities.

Six breeds belong to this group: West Siberian Laika, East Siberian Laika, Russian European Laika and Karelo-Finnish Laika, Northeasterly Hauling Laika and Nenets Herding Laika. The first four are hunting dogs for bear, elk, forest birds, which are also occasionally used for pulling sleds; one is a herding dog (which can also pull sleds) and one, the Hauling Laika, is a pure sled dog.

They all have a tick, weather-resistant coat with woolly undercoat, a very strong and muscular neck and a feathered tail that is carried curled over the back when the dog is working.

The Nenets Herding Laika is a medium-sized working dog that owes its name to the Nentsy tribe, an ancient nomad tribe whose main activity is reindeer herding. The Nenets Laika looks very similar to the Samoyed, a dog developed under similar circumstances by the Samoyed people.

Their main distinctive feature is their coat color, which is solid or bicolored grey, tan, black or white for the Nenets dog, while pure white for the Samoyed.

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