Powerful, graceful, and perfectly beautiful, the Samoyed dog is one of the most loved breeds in the United States, ranking 59 out of 196 on AKC’s (American Kennel Club) list of the most popular breeds.
If you’re interested in learning more about this perfectly beautiful but highly functional dog, keep reading for a complete guide to the Samoyed dog breed.
Also Read: Large Dog Breeds List A-Z with Pictures
Samoyed Dog Breed – Overview
Originally bred for hard work in the world’s coldest spots, Samoyeds (also known as the smiling sled dogs) have an outstanding capacity for hunting, herding reindeer, and hauling sleds.
Sammies proved themselves to be a valuable companion for people under brutal conditions, such as the Samoyed people of northwestern Siberia, where minus 60 degrees Celsius temperatures are a frequent occurrence. The Samoyed dog breed excels in performing duties that include tracking, pack hiking, and warming their owners by lying on top of them during the Arctic nights.
Samoyeds are strong-willed and tireless, as expected from a working breed. However, they remain gentle, friendly, and devoted to their families above all else.
Sammies are smart, social, and often mischievous dogs. They love to play, so be prepared to deal with some shedding on your clothes.
Demanding affection and attention, the Samoyed dog breed requires a firm yet loving hand when it comes to training. After all, they’re pack animals who must recognize the alpha dog early on, which should be you.
Samoyed Dog Breed – History
As we mentioned above, the substantial and sweet Samoyed dogs were originally bred to be used in hunting, herding reindeer, and hauling sleds for the Siberian Samoyede (semi-nomadic people from Asia who migrated to Siberia a thousand years ago).
The Samoyede bred dogs for hard work in the harshest and coldest habitable places in the world such as Oymyakon (a Siberian town where temperatures of -60°C and below are common).
The Samoyede curled up for warmth with their dogs at night. This human-canine partnership for mutual survival created a very close bond between Samoyed dogs and people.
The Samoyede treated these working dogs with kindness, letting them join in the family activities at the end of a day. It was this tightness that forged a sense of loyalty and trust in the breed that lasts to this day.
In addition to sledding heavy loads across Siberia, Samoyed dogs also worked as watchdogs and hunters. At first, they hunted reindeer as they were the primary source of food, fur, and leather for the Samoyede. But after some time, hunting turned into herding as the Samoyede culture evolved.
In the late 18th century, Arctic adventures introduced Samoyeds to dog lovers after returning to England. Sammies journeyed out of Siberia at the end of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century to pull sleds on polar expeditions.
It’s said that a Samoyed dog named Antarctic Buck was the very first to be brought to England. Queen Alexandra loved this breed of dogs and spent a lot of effort to promote it as a companion and show dog. In fact, many present-day English and American Samoyeds are descended from her kennels.
In 1906, the first Samoyed was registered by the AKC (named Moustan of Argenteau), while the first standard for the breed was adopted in England in 1909. The original Samoyed Club of America was launched in 1923 by the AKC, the same year the American breed standard was recognized.
Samoyed Dog Breed – Appearance & Size
The Samoyed dog breed is relatively large with males standing around 21 to 23.5 inches tall and females standing around 19 to 21 inches tall. An adult male samoyed weighs between 45 and 65 pounds, while an adult female samoyed weighs between 45 and 50 pounds.
Looking at a Sammy, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the ultra-thick white coat, which happens to be the breed’s defining characteristic. This coat is so dense that you can barely see the dog’s skin underneath.
Of course, this coat is super helpful in the winter months, especially in the harsh cold of the Arctic. Additionally, Samoyed “wool” is highly sought after by weavers since it’s carded, spun, and knitted or woven to make warm, gorgeous clothing.
Another appearance-related trait is known as the “Sammy smile”. This delightful feature, where the corners of their mouths are slightly upturned into an ever-lasting smile, brilliantly supports the dog’s happy nature and glass-half-full attitude. This smile also prevents drooling, effectively keeping icicles from forming on the dog’s face.
Samoyed Dog Breed – Personality
Dogs of the Samoyed breed are intelligent, gentle, and loyal. They’re affectionate and friendly with their families, including children and other pets. They’re social dogs who thrive on being part of household activity.
The Samoyed dog breed is far from a “lone wolf” situation. Instead, this dog enjoys having a tight bond with his/her owners. In fact, Sammies are neither psychologically or physically fit for being left alone in a backyard or a kennel.
The loyalty and alertness of Samoyeds make them good watchdogs. As hunters, Samoyeds are also likely to chase after small animals that they perceive as prey. To keep your dog safe, always have them leashed when they’re outside the house.
If you’re interested in owning a Samoyed, you may want to make sure that you’re getting a dog with a temperament that you’re comfortable with.
For this reason, be sure to meet at least one of the parents (usually, it’s the mother who’s available). Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents can also help you evaluate what the puppy will be like when he grows up.
In addition to genetics, temperament is also affected by a number of factors, including training and socialization.
Samoyed puppies with nice temperaments are playful and curious. They’re willing to approach people and be held by them.
Like every dog out there, Sammies need early socialization, so it’s a good idea to expose them to many different people, sights, sounds, and activities when they’re young. Socialization helps your Samoyed puppy to grow up into a well-rounded dog.
Consider enrolling your pet in a puppy kindergarten class. Other ways to polish their social skills include inviting visitors over regularly, taking your Samoyed to busy parks and stores that allow dogs, as well as going on strolls to meet neighbors.
Samoyed Dog Breed – Grooming
The Samoyed dog breed has a dense double coat. The hair of the outer coat is straight, long, and harsh, while the undercoat is soft and thick (referred to as the Samoyed wool). Sammies can be pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or biscuit.
Samoyed shedding is heavy, which means that maintenance can be demanding. During shedding season (occurs once or twice a year), you’ll need to make time for daily brushing to keep your dog looking nice.
As for the rest of the year, brushing once or twice a week should be enough to remove dirt and loose hair.
Sammies will need a bath about once every couple of months, or whenever they decide to roll in mud or play in something smelly – which is likely to happen.
Keep in mind that bathing a Samoyed dog isn’t a quick process. Soaking the coat thoroughly, washing out the shampoo, and letting it dry completely requires a fair amount of time.
To ease their burden, a lot of Samoyed dog owners prefer to hire a professional groomer even though it’s quite pricey. Still, you need to brush your pet regularly.
Besides their dense coat, grooming extends to include the following aspects:
● Trimming your Samoyed’s nails once or twice a month ( in case your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally). This is to prevent painful tears and other issues.
You can tell when your dog’s nails are too long if you can hear clicking sounds on the floor. But be careful not to cut too far since their toenails have blood vessels in them.
If you cause bleeding, your dog may not cooperate the next time you whip out the nail clippers. If you’re not confident about trimming your Samoyed’s nails, ask a vet or groomer for help.
● Brushing your Samoyed’s teeth at least two or three times weekly to remove tartar and bacteria buildup. Better yet, opt for daily brushing to avoid gum disease and bad breath.
● Checking your Samoyed’s ears every week for redness or a foul odor, which can be signs of an infection. When checking your dog’s ears, take the chance and wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Do not insert anything into the ear canal – only clean the outer ear.
● As you groom, check for rashes, sores, or any sign of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, feet, as well as in the nose, mouth, and eyes. The eyes should be clear with no redness or discharge.
Start building the habit of being groomed, brushed, and examined into your Samoyed from when they’re a puppy. Try to handle their paws frequently since dogs are generally touchy about their feet, and look inside their mouth.
It’s important to make grooming a positive experience using praise and rewards. This will help make future grooming and trips to the vet easier.
Samoyed Dog Breed – Feeding
The amount of food you should give your adult dog varies according to Samoyed size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level.
Just like humans, dogs are individuals; they don’t all need to eat the same quantity of food. It makes sense that a highly active dog will need more food than a couch potato dog.
Moreover, the quality of dog food you provide can also make a difference. The better the dog food, the more value it’s going to offer when it comes to nourishing your pet. With lower quality food, you’ll need to feed your dog more so you can achieve the same level of nourishment.
That being said, the recommended daily amount for feeding a Samoyed dog is around 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality food, whether commercially produced or home-prepared, divided into two meals throughout the day.
Samoyed puppies require a good-quality diet with 22 to 24 percent protein and 12 to 15 percent fat to support their slow yet steady growth.
If you want to keep your Samoyed in good shape, make sure you measure their food and schedule feeding twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time as this could lead to obesity.
If you’re suspecting that your Sammy is overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test to know for a fact. Here’s how to perform these tests:
● First, look down at your dog. You should be able to see their waist.
● Then, place your hands on his back with your thumbs along the spine and spread your fingers in a downward motion. You should be able to feel their ribs, but you shouldn’t be able to see them without applying pressure.
If you can’t see the waist or feel the ribs this way, then your Samoyed needs less food and more exercise.
Samoyed Dog Breed – Exercise & Training
As we mentioned earlier, Samoyeds enjoy being with their families and participating in group activities. They require daily exercise and play sessions with their owner, preferably in a safely fenced yard.
Long walks are also a great option, but make sure you put them on a leash. Sammies often have a strong urge to run away and roam. If you leave your dog loose, they might travel for miles and put themselves in danger.
It is recommended that Samoyed puppies attend a puppy kindergarten or socialization class where you’ll learn how to establish a working relationship with your dogs. Additionally, puppies will receive important socialization with other people and dogs.
Obedience classes are an excellent idea for Samoyeds and their owners, at least during the pup’s first year of life.
Sammies are generally very trainable with voice commands as they’re eager to please a fair and consistent owner. Harsh training methods are unnecessary for a properly bred Samoyed.
Samoyed Dog Breed – Health
Generally speaking, Samoyeds are healthy dogs. However, as with all breeds, they’re prone to some health conditions.
Of course, not every Samoyed will necessarily get any or all of these diseases, but it’s still important that you’re aware of them as a current or future owner.
If you’re buying or adopting a puppy, find a reputable breeder who’ll show you health clearances for both the puppy’s parents. These documents serve as proof that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a certain health condition.
For Samoyeds, you should expect to see the following health clearances:
- Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease.
- From the OFA Eye Certification Registry (CAER) certifying that eyes are normal.
- From Auburn University for thrombophilia.
Samoyed Dog Breed – FAQs
No, Samoyeds aren’t considered to be aggressive dogs. Instead, they’re generally friendly and affectionate with a gentle nature and a cheerful attitude.
Samoyeds are loving and dependable family pets; however, they can get aggressive if the situation calls for such behavior. For example, if they’re provoked, afraid of another person/animal, or in pain.
Even-tempered Samoyed dogs tend to get along well with just about any other dog breed, especially if they’ve been raised together from an early age.
Keep in mind, however, that Samoyeds have a strong urge to chase prey. Training, socialization, and proper introduction are a must to ensure peaceful coexistence with other animals.
No, the active Samoyed dog is not suitable for living in an apartment or condo. Ideally, these dogs need a home with a large, fenced yard to give them enough room for playing and roaming.
Yes, Samoyed dogs bark a lot. They can be quite loud, and some individuals have extremely high-pitched voices.
This is another reason why you should never leave your Sammy out in the yard unsupervised. Their barks can be so loud and piercing that your neighbors might end up calling the cops.
Some owners resort to getting their Samoyeds de-barked surgically to manage their noise level.
Yes, Samoyed dogs are hypoallergenic because they have low dander levels and don’t drool. Additionally, their proteins are less irritating to people suffering from allergies compared to other breeds.
No, Samoyeds are odorless, stink-free dogs. They don’t require bathing as frequently as other breeds, such as Basset Hounds, but they do need daily brushing.
There you have it, a complete guide to Samoyed dog breed. Not only do the dogs possess an irresistible fox-like charm with a heart-warming smile and happy nature, but they’re also highly dependable, loyal, and make for incredible family pets.
With a close human-canine relationship that goes way back, there’s no doubt you’ll become inseparable from your Sammy in no time.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.