During the 1930s and 1940s, a Governments Kennel near Medvezhyergorsk raised pure Spitzes. Many dogs were lost due to World War II though, and there were only twenty four registered dogs in Petrozavodsk. The breed was revived in 1953 when Russian cynologists imported three Finnish Spitzes from Finland. They bred these three dogs with some of the small red-coated Spitzes that were left in Southern Karelia and in northern provinces of Russia. Then there were local dogs in Leningrad that were very good at hunting and a lot like the Finnish Spitzes. These dogs became the Karelo-Finnish Laika breed. The Karelo-Finnish Laika is very similar to the Finnish Spitz though, they are sibling breeds. Some of the minor differences include different variations of the red coat color, the curving of the tail and the closeness of the body guard hair. There were about two hundred of these Karelo-Finnish Laikas in just Moscow by 1970. They are the smallest of the Laika family that is used for hunting in Russia.
The Karelo-Finnish Laika has a double coat. The first layer is a thick undercoat and the second is a straight guard of hairs on top. The color is allowed to be some variations of red, but pale red is undesirable. There can be white spots on the tip of the tail and on the chest, and a white stripe on the forehead. The white spots on the Karelo-Finnish Laika are usually larger than the spots on the Finnish Spitz. Karelo-Finnish Laikas can also have black tips on the hairs that are on their backs. They should be about 38-48 centimeters (15-19 inches) tall and weigh about 11-14 kilograms (26-35 pounds). The males have a more square shaped physique than the females do. This breed has smaller sharp-edged ears, dark round eyes and a black nose. They have deep, flat chests and a tail that is set high.
They make great, affectionate family dogs, but don't trust strangers. Many can be very protective of their owners or property, so they sometimes bark when someone is coming. Owners should have patience with these Laikas because they can hold grudges for a long time if they are ever beaten. Also, they can be aggressive towards unknown dogs that come near their home, but should be friendly with dogs they live with, or dogs away from their home. From a young age, they see small animals, such as squirrels, as potential game so they will more than likely go after them.
These dogs should be trained as soon as possible, either by the owner or a trainer. The two types of training are obedience and behavioral. Training sessions that are too long will bore the Karelo-Finnish Laika. It's also best to do the training before they eat so they think of eating as a reward for their training. Before you give your dog a command, you should say their name so you have their full attention. It is also very important to be patient because training can be a very long process.
The Karelo-Finnish Laika breed is extremely good at hunting small game such as squirrels and wood grouse. Due to their small size, they sometimes have trouble getting through tall grasses, swamps or snow. They have a very good sense of hearing though, which helps them a lot. These Laikas have even been reported to attacking a bear once.