Pavel at 11 Weeks Old

Awhile back, Scottie Westfall of The Retriever, Dog & Wildlife Blog went to southern West Virginia to meet Gary Varney of Kentucky to pick up Pavel the West Siberian Laika puppy. At the time, Gary told Scottie that Pavel was already treeing cats on the property and he and the litter-mates devoured a shot squirrel. For about a week or two, Scottie took care of the puppy before boarding him on a flight to Canada.

While Pavel was in care of Scottie, the puppy and Miley the Golden Retriever took walks to explore the rewilding forests every morning to see the grey squirrels and their den-trees. In the process, Scottie took several footages of Pavel’s treeing ability at a young age. He was smittened since a lot of puppies, including squirrel-dogs, don’t have a prey drive until about five-months old or later. Here is one footage from September 17, 2012 when Pavel was only 11-weeks old:

I have considered letting Scottie Westfall raise Pavel, then compensating Scottie heavily later on at the same cost of a started dog. In West Virginia, Pavel has much more opportunities to hunt squirrels than up in Canada where the native squirrels tend to only inhabit the old-growth forests; and the invasive Grey Squirrels are largely limited to the Fraser Valley and lower Vancouver Island in western Canada. Also, night-hunting in the United States, especially with raccoon, is commonplace while the practice is prohibited in much of Canada. Also, his bear-hound training would not be skimped on since West Virginia has the largest concentration of Black Bears in the eastern half of the continent. At least, that is how it would work out in a fantasy world.

One of these days, I will be sending Pavel back to Scottie Westfall if he still remain in a squirrel-rich area so Pavel’s foster care-taker could re-live his nostalgic long-lost days of hunting over an Elkhound with his grandfather. We will have to see what the future will hold.

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  1. very nice pup. iam looking for a laika too in ks. where did you find one?


    • Brad Anderson sets me up with a litter from Gary Varney of Kentucky.

      If you want to find your own pup, you can go to the following forums:

      There is also the Laika Hunters’ Association of North America, which you can join via the listserv by submitting an application to laika_hunters[at] There are over 60 members there. However, there are still many breeders who are not a part of that listserv.

      A lot of the Laika owners are old-time squirrel hunters from the South and are best contacted over the phone. However, Vladimir Beregovoy sometimes construct a waiting list and forward them to known Laika breeders in the States.
      Dave recently posted…Skansen Terraria and ZooMy Profile

  2. looking good. our feists are not ready to hunt until they are about a year old.the laikas we bred for ourselves trees them squirrels much sooner. problem is they cost a lot to feed compared to our feists. has he been started on coons yet? they are excellent coon-dogs too and we run them with the hounds on bears as well. great nose.

    • Pavel’s started on ruffed grouse already. I just need to break him of treeing ravens. However, the dog is more interested in cats than squirrels.

      Unfortunately, we don’t have raccoon in northern Canada; however we do have them in southern Canada. The problem is in order to hunt raccoon, there is only a time-frame of about half an hour to an hour before and after dusk and dawn where they can legally be hunted. We don’t do have night-hunting culture in the West. Hunting at night seems like something which is only practiced in Ontario and the Maritimes.

      Hopefully he will do good on bears though. :)
      Dave recently posted…Shikoku Pedigree DatabaseMy Profile

  3. I am looking for a russo european laika in or around holland. Willing to drive to finland or sweden.

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