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Karelo-Finnish laika  (KFL)

  • Origin of the breed
  • Standards of the breed
  • Hunting characteristics of the breed
  • Photo album
  • Video materials



1.  Origin of the breed

 Finnish ancestors had bred from the Ancient times (long before they spread over the territory of to-day Finland) a very nice, active and independent hunting dog, that was later called Suomenpistikorva, or Finnish bird laika now called Finnish Spitz (see photo with a bear showing an excellent male, Champion of Finland for exterior and hunting qualities). This breed lived and was cultivated over the territory of East Finland and Karelia for many centuries. After the October Revolution of 1917 Finnish and Karelian branches of these dogs became separated. Finnish dog-breeders went on cultivating the breed as is, while Soviet Karels … in a word, Finnish bird laika became mixed with other laikas. In spite of mixing with local dogs Finnish bird laika preserved its breed and in the 30s was separated by the dog breeders of Leningrad  and made a separate Karelo-Finnish type of laikas (KFL). Persistent work on selection resulted in consolidation of the breed, increase in the number of dogs. By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941 – 1945) a temporary standard of the KFL was adopted in the USSR. This standard has been practically unchanged nowadays (it is similar with the standard of the Finnish Spitz but has some differences from KFL - tight coat characteristic of the breed, not very bright color, acceptable big spots on the chest and legs, not very rigid requirements to the shape of the ring tail and the way it is worn). During the siege of Leningrad nearly all livestock of dogs was eaten (sorry for telling the truth), although we managed to preserve some fine breeders; besides our motherland plus Stalin took care of dog breeding and set up a breeding kennel for local stock in Karelia, not far from the village Medvezshjegorsk (the exterior of the dogs was worse in comparison with Leningrad dogs). All these, sometimes heroic , efforts together with delivery of pure Finns from Finland after the war, ensured that at the end of 50s it was possible to increase livestock of KFL in Leningrad and Moscow. The peaks of the development of the breed was in 50s and the beginning of 60s and the end of 70s. There is a clear explanation to this – post-war years were years of hunger, the 70s were characterized by scarcity of food…, thus it was easier to keep a small dog.

 KFL have seen better days then now. At exhibitions, tests and hunts we can see a small number of these dogs, we notice  cryptorchidism (retained testis), or we see toothless or untypically small and slim dogs. I think that Russian dog-breeders should admit honestly that there is a unique and wonderful breed of hunting dogs, i.e. Finnish Spitz, and to concentrate efforts in order to revive this breed and make it popular in Russia.  And what a splendid voice they have!

2.  Standard of the breed

 KFL is the smallest of all Russian laikas. General physique of males is nearly square, females are standing over more ground. The head is clear-cut, relatively V-shaped.  The muzzle is clear-cut and pointed and much shorter than the sculp. The length of the scalp equals or slightly exceeds its width. Transition from forehead to muzzle is smooth but clearly noticeable. Occiput is not prominent. Ears are rather small, with sharp edges, put wide. The eyes are round, the darker the better. The dog has a lively and expressive look. The nose is black, brown being acceptable for light-brown dogs. Haunches are always lighter than the head and the back.

Limbs are slim, round paws. The fifth finger is unacceptable. The coat is thick and tight. There is a ring tail or a curved tail. The is all tints of ginger (pale yellow and light red are not good). The color of the body is not homogeneous – the lower part of the body and the tail are always lighter than the back and head. White spots on the chest, tip of the tail and legs, some black hairs on the back and the upper part of the tail are acceptable.

 General appearance. The dog is of small height and strong built, it’s lively. Withers height is 42 to 48 cm for males and 40 to 46 cm for females.

Head. Seen from above it is V-shaped. Sinciput and occiput are not prominent, transition from forehead to muzzle is hardly noticeable. The upper line of forehead and the line of the muzzle are parallel. The muzzle is pointed. The dog is dry-mouthed, with thin, tight, not flabby lips.

Ears are rather small, pricked-up, nimble, in the shape of slightly stretched triangle with sharp edges.

Eyes. The eyes are small and round, slightly slanted, dark-brown.

Body. Deep chest, flat; strong withers, straight and muscular back, short and domelike coupling, broad and short rump, nearly horizontal, the belly is tucked up


Limbs are straight and parallel. Hind legs are set a bit wider, than forelegs. The paws are round, the fingers are tightly pressed.   

Tail. Set high. Ring or pressed to a hip, sometimes circle. Tail goes to the tarse or is 1 to 2 cm shorter. Evenly coated.

Coat. The coat is thick and broken, straight. Feathering on the neck, on the shoulders and on the wither makes side whiskers and collar. The coat on the head, on the ears and on the front side of the legs is short. There is some feathering on the rear side of the hind legs. The tail is evenly coated, between the toes hair makes a small brush covering foot sole. 


3.  Hunting characteristics of the breed

 KFL has a very excitable type of higher nervous activity, these dogs are very lively, hot-tempered and have a good contact with man. They need understanding, calm and gentle treatment; they are easily offended and cannot not stand beating. KFL perfectly suits hunting small fur animals and birds. It has a very fine ear which makes it good at hunting upland game, squirrels and martens. There is also evidence of using KFL while hunting hoofs or even bears.



All about laikas

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