Let's talk Samoyeds

With their Siberian heritage and working dog background, the good-natured Samoyed exudes strength, stamina, and enviable self-assuredness. Samoyeds are rarely reserved with strangers, which makes them ill-suited as guard dogs but fantastic companions. Intelligent and somewhat mischievous, the Samoyed requires an owner with experience who will be able to assert themselves as the “alpha” of the household. Another essential:  someone able to spend a lot of time with them walking, running, and playing to satisfy their ample exercise needs and playful spirit. 

Official name: Samoyed

Origins: Russia

Samoyed looking past camera in black and white

 

 Drooling tendencies    Warm weather? Very low
 Shedding level  High  Suited to apartment living ?
 Energy level *  Medium  Family Pet? * High
 Compatibility with other pets  High   Can stay alone? * Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 

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Illustration of Samoyed
Male
53 - 60 cm Height
20 - 30 kg Weight
Female
48 - 53 cm Height
15.8 - 23 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months  
 Puppy age  2 months to 12 months
 Adult age 1 year to 7 years
 Mature age  7 years to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Samoyed standing under a tree

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Get to know the Samoyed

All you need to know about the breed

What’s not to love about the Samoyed? The breed’s bright and distinctive expression resembling a smile, thick snowy white coat, and playful personality have made it a favourite among families with young children. The nomadic breed may have once been accustomed to long-hauls through the arctic but today, it gets its kicks from jauntily running, strolling, and playing with you (even better when that includes getting to pull the occasional sled!).

Highly social, good-humoured, and full of energy,  the Samoyed is an ideal companion for experienced dog owners. They need someone with the time to devote to them and the space at home to their needs in attention and activity. Intelligent with a stubborn streak, the breed requires a tough but patient (and loving) guide for training and responds well to food or game-based rewards (however, treats should always be taken out of a dog’s daily food portion to prevent obesity).

Whilst barking outbursts and trouble-making antics are infrequent, they do happen. And if they do, you’ll want to ask yourself: was my Sammie, as they’re nicknamed, left alone for too long? Were they bored? The breed is independent to a degree but thrives in your company and when mentally stimulated by games.

As for maintaining that all abundant, beautiful fur: it does require regular care. Consider brushing your Samoyed on a daily basis as another form of bonding -- it’s good for you both!

Two Samoyeds looking over a log

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2 facts about Samoyeds

1. Temperature-control fur

The Samoyed’s dense double coat seems like it would be better suited to extreme cold but it actually allows the breed to adapt to temperature variations. Think of the fur as a layer of insulation that retains the Samoyed’s body heat in the cold. The same insulating properties that keep the Samoyed warm are what keep them cool--so don’t even think about shaving their luxurious mane!

2. The Samoyed smile 

If ever there was a breed to be known for its facial expression it is the Samoyed whose mouth, which curves slightly at the corners, forms what is widely known as the Samoyed (or Sammie) smile. But the breed’s defining expression goes beyond the mouth: it is conveyed by the shape and position of their eyes (which tend to sparkle) and the way their faces become animated when alert or excited.

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History of the breed

Among the world’s oldest dog breeds, the Samoyed gets its name from the indigenous and nomadic Samoyedic people of northern Russia and Siberia who bred the dog to pull sleds, herd reindeer and protect them against predators. When they weren’t sledging through arctic climates, Samoyeds could be found following their owners everywhere and providing the tribe warmth on cold nights as they slept in tents.

Much later, the breed earned the attention of Queen Alexandra of Denmark who received one of the first Samoyeds imported to England in 1889. It wasn’t until 1906, however, that the Samoyed landed in America when the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas offered a Samoyed named Moustan of Argentaeu as a gift to the nation (who also happened to be the first Samoyed registered with the American Kennel Club).

By the time the breed became a fixture in the U.S. and Europe, their outdoor role had shifted to hauling supplies. Samoyeds’ great strength and adaptability to cold and hard conditions made them the perfect companions for polar expeditions such as those led by Shackleton, Scott, and Amundsen-- the first team to reach the South Pole. Their loyalty, combined with that snuggling reputation, has remained an enduring characteristic of the breed’s modern popularity.

Samoyed sitting facing camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Samoyeds

1. Head

Strong, wedge-shaped head.

2. Colouring

White or cream-coloured with biscuit markings.

3. Coat

Abundant and thick polar coat with a soft, dense undercoat.

4. Ears

Naturally straight, small triangular ears with rounded tips.

5. Tail

Bushy tail set high and carried over the back.

Samoyed sitting on grass in front of a lake looking at camera

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Samoyed
Samoyed running across grass towards camera

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Caring for your Samoyed

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Be prepared: the Samoyed’s elegant coat, which sheds a bit year-round (and more during seasonal shedding times), will need your regular attention. But rest assured, the fur is very easy to keep clean, healthy, and untangled. It’s advisable to brush your dog several times per week if not daily to remove any loose hairs and use a metal comb for matted fur. Baths can be infrequent but it’s important to keep the Samoyed’s nails trimmed, checking every few weeks. The breed should get a moderate level of exercise: long daily walks, the freedom to run in an enclosed area and play sessions with you are all recommended. Training the Samoyed takes some patience, as they tend to be stubborn. But the breed also learns fast and can be easily motivated with rewards-- just make sure those rewards come in more than edible forms, such as games and affection.

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All about Samoyeds

Given their strong will (did someone say stubborn?) and high attention needs, Samoyeds are not generally recommended for first-time dog owners. The breed is best-suited to someone with more experience training and living with active dogs. 

With their dense overcoat and soft, thick undercoat, the Samoyed tends to shed throughout the year - and more so during shedding seasons which occur twice a year. One way to keep the breed’s fur healthy and shiny is by brushing them daily, including their heads and ears (just be gentle!). 

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/