Breed Group: Working
The happy, “smiling” face of the Samoyed (sam-OY-ed) reflects its good nature and gentle, friendly personality. Samoyeds are extremely affectionate, playful dogs that thrive on human companionship. They are very good with both children and other animals. Always alert, they make excellent watchdogs barking to alert you to a stranger. But because he is still friendly with visitors he is not to be relied on as a guardian. Young Samoyeds can be rambunctious and easily knock-over small children and unsteady adults. They may also herd children or chase small animals but usually get along well with other dogs. Samoyeds are working dogs and do best if they have a job. They excel at recreational sledding and pulling competitions. Leaving this dog alone all day while at work is unwise. Samoyeds tend to develop separation anxiety if left alone more than a few hours. This results in destructive chewing or continuous barking. A happy Samoyed does best with an at-home owner who lives in a cool climate with time for daily grooming and can provide the modest exercise they need.
Samoyeds are striking, white, cream, or biscuit-colored dogs that stand 19 to 23 inches high at the top of the shoulders and weigh between 40 and 65 pounds. Their harsh, weatherproof, sliver-tipped outer hair protects a soft woolly undercoat designed to preserve body heat. They do very well in cold climates, but are uncomfortable and poorly suited to warm weather. The foxy face, erect triangular ears, contrasting dark eyes, and dark curved lips create the impression that the Samoyed is smiling. The tail curves over the back. Although they look soft and fluffy, Samoyeds are sturdy, working dogs with great physical endurance. Grooming is a major issue with Samoyeds. Although their outer coat tends to shed dirt, they need frequent, thorough grooming to keep their coat from matting. Although they need frequent grooming, Samoyeds should be bathed very infrequently. Shampoo destroys the naturally protective oils in their coat. The Samoyed has almost no “doggie” odor. Its wooly undercoat can be combed out and spun into yarn to make soft, warm, odor-free garments. Samoyeds are heavy shedders. This is not the dog for someone who wants a pristine house.
As agreeable as a Samoyed can be, that good nature, has a stubborn side. Like most sled dogs, the Samoyed is a thinking dog with a mind of its own. This breed and needs firm, consistent obedience training and can easily become bored, so training sessions need to be varied. These dogs were bred to pull sleds, and will just as happily pull their owner around the block if not given leash-training. Pups need socialization from an early age to bring out their best people-friendly qualities.
Samoyeds have a tendency toward hip dysplasia and inherited eye disorders. Breeding stock should be certified free of these problems. Samoyeds live into their mid-teens.
AKC rank 76. Samoyeds were introduced to the European public around 1898 and became an almost instant hit thanks to their beauty and temperament. Since then, the breed has remained consistently popular around the world. A Samoyed even had a featured role in a popular Japanese anime.
Samoyeds are an ancient dog breed that was developed by Siberian nomads. For centuries, these dogs lived closely with humans, pulling sleds, guarding reindeer, and sleeping with their owners at night. Samoyeds are considered one of the most pure breeds because they have no wolf or fox blood mixed into their pedigree. The public became aware of Samoyeds when Arctic and Antarctic explorers included them in their dog teams. Roald Amundsen used a Samoyed as his lead dog when he became the first person to reach the South Pole.
The National Breed Club is the Samoyed Club of America.