Nenets Herding Laika vs Bisben - Breed Comparison

Nenets Herding Laika is originated from Russia but Bisben is originated from India. Nenets Herding Laika may grow 18 cm / 7 inches shorter than Bisben. Nenets Herding Laika may weigh 26 kg / 57 pounds lesser than Bisben. Both Nenets Herding Laika and Bisben has almost same life span. Nenets Herding Laika may have less litter size than Bisben. Nenets Herding Laika requires High maintenance. But Bisben requires Low maintenance

Basic Information

Herding dogs
Working dog
Height Male:
48 - 58 cm
18 - 23 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
45 - 55 cm
17 - 22 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
16 - 29 kg
35 - 64 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
13 - 22 kg
28 - 49 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 13 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 7
4 - 10
Medium dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Nenets Laika or Reindeer Herding Laika, Samoyed Laika
Bisben Sheepdog, Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Bisben, Himalayan Bisben Sheepdog, Himalayan Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Sheepdog, Himalayan Shepherd, Indian Sheepdog, and Indian Shepherd
Colors Available:
grey, black or white , tan
jet black, either solidly or with white markings on the feet and chest. Other commonly seen colors are tan, tricolor, and “wolf-color,” which probably means grey, brown, black, and/or various shades of sable.
The harsh outer coat is straight, and the abundant woolly undercoat
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Affectionate, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Stubborn
Aggressive, Courageous, Energetic, Independent, Intelligent, Stubborn
High maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


nenets herding laikaThere is a large variety of Laika dogs as the word is almost a generic term for a type of Russian hunting dog. They are found in Northern Russia and Siberia and there are several recognized by the Federation Cynologique International including the East Siberian Laika, the Russian European Laika, and the West Siberian Laika. These Siberia Laika are crosses between the aboriginal dogs of Siberia and northern Russia. The word Laika means a barking dog and comes from the word meaning to bark. These laikas are working dogs, hunting pointers that were bred specifically for their barks.

All the dogs in this category are loyal and affectionate. They are hard workers and hunters/herders and sled dogs. Of the official Laika groups including the Nenets Herding Laika, there is the Karelo-Finnish Laika, the Northeasterly Siberian Laika, the West Siberian Laika, The Russian European Laika, Eastern Siberian Laika. The Laika are wary of strangers, noisy and rowdy.

Nenets Herding Laika

The Laika breed known as the Nenets Herding Laika is also called the Reindeer Herding Laika. The breed is pretty ancient, developed by the Nentry tribe at about the same time that the nomads were developing the Samoyed. Like the Samoyed breed, the Nenets Herding Laika herded Reindeer. The artic breed originates from Russia and can be used for transportation and hauling as well.

While their temperament and history are very much the same as the Samoyed, they are recognized as separate breeds. However there are many aficionados of both breeds believe that the Samoyed and the Nenets Herding Laika are the same breed. For many the Samoyed are simply a white version of the Nenets Herding Laika.

The Nenets Herding Laika is also know as the Samoyed Laika, so you can see how close if not the same, these two breeds are. The Nenets Herding Laika was bred by the Nenet peoples. The Samoyed is all white while the Nenets is any variation of black, gray, piebald, red, white, sable and brown.

The dogs herd and guard reindeer, keeping the herd together and moving them from one pasture to another. They will also stay with a stray reindeer until they are found. They will do this whether they have food or water. They will bark to try to bring the people’s attention to the lost reindeer. They are also an excellent hunting and retrieving, swimming dog.

The Nenets are also known as Yurak Samoyeds and they are the largest group of Samoyedic peoples today. They live on both sides of Russian Ural Mountains in northern Russia and the Yamal Peninsula. They move large herds of reindeer to the winter lands south of the Artic Circle from the north – about 600-900 miles. It is believed that the Herding Laika originated with this group of people but spread beyond them. They were shipped to far northeast Siberia to be bred and shared with reindeer herding tribes there.

There is a longhaired or rough coated variety and a shorthaired variety. The Nenets consider the work routine of both varieties the same, but they believed that the shorthaired version was a more ancient than the longhaired version.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding this large herding dog said to come out of the Himalaya Mountains of Asia. The belief is that sheepdogs were crossed with wolves toward the end of the 18th century, but his origin is basically unknown. They are both herding dogs and guard dogs. Others theorize that rather than a wolf, the breed arose from the Mastif family. Still others claim that the Bisben is not a breed at all but rather a “landrace”. A landrace is an animal group that is only found to exist in the local area or is bred locally for a specific reason, while a breed is developed intentionally and from a select purebred with pedigree. The Bisben may be a landrace since it is very popular in India but hardly known anywhere else. What is known is that the Brisben was in existence at the end of the 1700’s and its job was to protect and herd livestock. There are three main theories about the origin of the Bisben. They are, in no particular order:

1. The Bisben was developed by mixing several different Himalayan and Indian Sheepdogs with wolves. The wolf population in the Himalayas and in India live in very close proximity to dogs and people and this population is quite large. These Tibetan and Indian wolves are known to be smaller, more comfortable with people and less aggressive than wolves from other parts of the world.

2. The Bisben was developed by mixing local sheep herding dogs with the Tibetan Mastiff. This gave the breed its protective nature and its large size according to this theory.

3. The Bisben was developed by mixing local dogs with the ones the British, Portuguese and French imported to the India subcontinent.

There is a fourth theory as well and it combines all three of these, supposing that the Bisben is a product of crossing local dogs with wolves, Tibetan Mastiffs and European dogs.

Regardless of their origins, the Bisben grew into one of the most respected animals in the Southern Himalayas. Their assistance to the shepherds of the area was unquestioned and irreplaceable. They were touch enough to herd flocks of goats or sheep across several treacherous and unstable mountain passes. The environment in which these dogs worked when herding is one of the harshest environments on the face of the earth. Temperatures were dangerously cold, altitudes dangerously high and the terrain just plain dangerous. Many deadly large predators live there as well. This included tigers, Asiatic black bears, golden eagles, Himalayan brown bears, snow leopards, fox, dholes, wolves, and small cats. The Bisben had to be able to fight off all of these predators. In addition to these herding and protecting duties, the Bisben was also known throughout the region as an excellent hunting dog. They are capable to this day of hunting large prey such as antelope or deer. They are equally comfortable hunting alone or in a pack. He has grown into one of the most popular hunting dogs in all of India.

The Himalayas, being so rugged and treacherous, were inaccessible to most of India for many centuries and the Brisben was unknown as well. Through the British imperialist expansion across all of the Indian subcontinent, the lowlands people were connected to the highlands and mountain people for the first time. This also meant that the Brisben was no longer unknown. The entire country began to appreciate the dog for its protection and herding of livestock, as well as a companion animal who would protect its owner and family as well. As India continues to grow the popularity of the Brisben grows as well and its numbers increase regularly. The breed, if it is a breed, remains an Indian secret. They have migrated to the countries around India, but their number are small. It is only in India that they are revered and prosper. They are not present in any great numbers in Europe, North America, Japan, or most of Asia.

Whether or not the Bisben becomes a recognized breed depends upon those who own and fancy them. Most Bisbens are bred to only other Bisbens in an effort to purify the breed. However, few dogs have pedigrees and the practice of breeding the Brisben to other breeds and mixed breed to acquire specific characteristics continues to this day. It is unlikely that the Bisben will ever be a purebred dog. It is quite variable in how it looks depending upon what the breeding line of the individual dog actually is. Does it look like a wolf? Does it look like a larger version of a local or European dog? There will always be these questions around the Bisben. Is it a breed or a landrace?


nenets herding laika puppyThis is a medium sized dog , muscular and strong. Slightly smaller than the Samoyed, the Nenets Laika weighs about 40-55 pounds and is 18 inches tall. The ears are typical Spitz ears and the tail is carried up over the back. The Nenets Herding Laika can have gray, piebald, black or tan coats and some can be solid white and look just like a Samoyed. The coat is a thick, double coat with the undercoat very wooly.

As mentioned in the previous section the appearance of the Brisban can vary greatly from one dog to another based on the individual dogs’ ancestry. Breed or landrace, the Brisban breeding line is not very pure. Therefore, appearance can vary greatly from what is described here and there is no standard by which to measure the Brisban. Most are distinctly large animals, being as tall as the European mountain dogs – the Newfoundland or the Bernese Mountain Dog, Swiss Mountain Dog. St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees. Reports are that it is perhaps the largest dog in India. At least it is one of the largest dogs in India. The Bisben is said by some to be a large, bulky, husky dog while others claim it to be tall and athletic, leaner than the Mastiff bred. Again, there is disagreement on the size and shape of the Bisben’s head with some claiming it is massively square like a Mastiff while others say the head is long and like that of a wolf not a Mastiff. The long hair of the Bisben and its confusing heritage may be the cause. They are most often black but might also be found to be tricolor, tan and “wolf-color” or brown, grey, shades of sable and black. No matter how it looks, this is a dog that was designed to work in the harshest conditions known and their physical appearance should make that abundantly clear.

Health Problems

nenets herding laika dogFor the most part the Nenets Herding Laika is a healthy breed and very hardy. They do however have some propensities for some illnesses and conditions.

Diabetes Mellitus – can be treated with medication and is usual seen in middle age -after 7 years of age.

PRA – Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Slow loss of vision and this is a genetic disease – leads to blindness.

  • Hip Dysplasia – can lead to lameness or arthritis.
  • Skin diseases are possible – autoimmune disease the is idiopathic.

Because he is not a purebred and is probably a land range, there have not been a lot of health studies done and written up on the Brisban. It is believed that the Bisben is for all practical purposes a healthy working dog. As long as the breeding practices are not compromised it should remain a healthy line. It is bred for temperament and work not for appearance and showmanship. Some problems that plague large dogs have been noted in the Bisben. These conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia; optical issues such as Entropion, Ectropion and cataracts; ear infections; and Demadex and Demodectic mange. Most of these conditions can be tested for either in DNA or early in a pup’s life and should be tested for by the breeder before a puppy is sold

Caring The Pet

Feeding the puppy

nenets herding laika puppiesBe careful that your pup doesn’t grow too fast. They are open to injuries if they grow too fast. Low calorie with protein and not a lot of fat. half a cup of high quality medium breed dog food 3X a day.

Feeding the adult

1 1/2 cups high quality medium breed dog food.

Points for Good Health

athletic and agile

Games and Exercises

At leaset a walk or two every day. Don’t get overheated as they are used to cold weather. Would be good at agility and herding exercise.

The Bisben is a large working dog that needs a lot of calories if you are keeping him busy. Do not let him get overweight. The Bisben should not be free fed but rather given two controlled portion meals per day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned, the Bison was developed with the harshest of conditions in mind and long hours of hard work. It is a healthy breed that is however prone to any of the issues that any large dog is prone to including dysplasia and mange and well as optical issues.

Exercise and games

The Bisben needs a lot of exercise as the breed is developed for hard work. Walks are essential but if you have more than one dog, pack walks are even better and pack time at the dog park or in a fenced yard is great. The Bison was bred to hunt in packs as well as alone and they love to play in packs. In any respect they need at least an hour of strong exercise daily. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become aggressive, destructive and fearful. This could result in destructive activity, barking and excess excitability. They are not very happy in the city and thrive in the countryside.


Children friendliness

nenets herding laika dogsyes

Special talents



Adaptability not good in apartments or smaller spaces. Needs a fenced in yard.

Learning ability

High but stubborn and independent

The Bisben was so important to the people of the Indian subcontinent because of her temperament. He is a loyal, productive and courageous worker who took care of her flocks, her family and her pack. They are devoted to their family and if raised with children will care for them as well. He is suspicious of strangers. They are territorial and great watchdogs. They can take on any large challenger if need be to protect what they consider to be theirs. They can be highly dog aggressive and must be socialized as a puppy. Do not mix them with strange, unknown animals as the Bisben might attempt to kill them. If he sees them as his “pack” he will love and protect them, but not if he does not know them. Take as much time as you need to introduce him to a new animal and do not leave them unsupervised. They are not easy to train as they are stubborn, intelligent, want to be dominant and is a problem solver. If he doesn’t want to learn something forget it – he won’t. You can still train them. It just takes time and patience.

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