All About Samoyed

happy Samoyed dog

Samoyed dogs are loyal, friendly, hard-working, and intelligent—that’s not even mentioning their adorable appearance. Although the contagious Samoyed smile can win any room over, there is much to learn about this breed before bringing one into your home.

About the Breed

Samoyed, nicknamed Sammie or Sammy, are charming dogs that do well with large families or individuals, and they tend to befriend newcomers in no time, although they may let out a few warning barks at first. This breed can also get along well with children of all ages, but all interactions your dog has with young children should be supervised due to the pup’s large size and rambunctiousness. It is additionally worthwhile to teach children how to interact properly with dogs.

Being pack animals, Samoyed dogs typically enjoy the company of another dog, especially when they grow up in the same household. These canines can also learn to get along well with smaller household pets, but care should be taken when the two are introduced, and supervised interactions are encouraged.

These dogs are not lone wolves, so they prefer to have company and spend time with their family. If you have a hectic lifestyle resulting in you needing to leave your Samoyed at home for long hours every day, this probably isn’t the breed for you. However, if you are active in the outdoors or go on frequent dog-friendly trips, your Samoyed will jump for joy at the chance to join you on an adventure.

These dogs adore being outside, particularly in cooler weather. With such a thick coat, cold weather, wind, and snow are no deterrents for a Samoyed. Like other double-coated dog breeds, you may find it challenging to convince your Sammie to come inside when the temperature drops. That being said, although they prefer to spend their time in the fresh air, your Samoyed should never be kept as an outdoor dog.

If you live in a region that experiences warmer temperatures, it is vital that you do not take your pal outdoors for an extended period. These dogs can overheat and generally dislike when it becomes hot outside. Keep your dog cool by taking them for a walk early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not as intense. While staying cool inside, don’t be surprised if your pup hangs out around fans or your air conditioning vents.

Samoyed dog resting on a white fluffy blanket at home

Breed History

Samoyed dogs are an ancient breed, and although it isn’t easy deciphering exactly how old they are, it is safe to say that they have been around for an incredibly long time. It is believed that these dogs are descended from the Nenet Herding Laika dog.

Samoyed dogs are named after the nomadic Samoyede people, who moved from Central Asia up to Russia’s northern territories, bringing their dogs along with them. In the Arctic Circle’s harsh environment, the Samoyede people utilized and relied upon their Samoyed dogs for many tasks.

For instance, these people’s primary source of food was reindeer. As the reindeer moved from region to region to find more food, the people and their dogs would move along with them. The Samoyed dogs would help herd the reindeer in addition to protecting them and their people from some of the Arctic’s predators. Thanks to these dogs’ sturdy build and impressive strength, they were also used to help pull sleds and hunt game.

After a hard day’s work, the Samoyed dogs were always treated like family and welcomed inside. When they weren’t put to a task, these dogs enjoyed playing with the kids and spending time with their family. These Arctic pups were even welcomed to curl up and sleep in the beds with the Samoyede people, not just because the dogs liked to cuddle—they helped keep the Samoyede people warm. By being so close with their people, the Samoyed breed developed a trusting, loyal, and friendly personality that has carried on in the breed today.

Near the end of the 19th century, the Samoyed began gaining attention in other regions. Mainly, these dogs were being recruited for various polar expeditions.

Around the same time, the Samoyed made its way to England, where Queen Alexandra herself took an interest in the breed. Near the beginning of the 20th century, these pups made their way to the United States. Since World War II, the popularity of these dogs in the States has increased exponentially. Even today, the Samoyed remains a common breed in the U.S. and many other countries worldwide.

Attributes

Samoyed dogs are lovable puffs of fluff that you can’t help but want to scoop into a cuddly hug. These dogs have a striking appearance of an all-white coat, although they can also appear in a cream or biscuit color. Their eyes are typically a dark hue of black or brown, although lighter, alternate colored eyes, such as blue, are also possible.

These dogs have alert, triangular ears, and they have a curled tail that often rests on their back or slightly over one side—their tail typically falls when they are relaxed or eating. Sometimes when they are cold or cozied up for a nap, Samoyed will even wrap their tail up to their nose to help keep them warm.

The Samoyed dog’s mouth is naturally turned up at the corners, giving them the appearance of having a joyful smile on their face—fitting for such a happy breed. Known as the “Sammy smile,” this up-turned grin also means that these dogs are not prone to drooling.

Before committing to adopting a Samoyed, dog parents often have questions about the breed they first want to be answered. Some of these common questions include:

Do Samoyed Shed a Lot?

This breed sheds quite a bit at a near-constant rate. Plus, these dogs will blow coat twice a year, which is when their hair excessively falls out, particularly in tufts.

Are Samoyed Dogs Hypoallergenic?

Surprisingly, Samoyed dogs are considered hypoallergenic since they do not drool and they have low dander levels. However, if you have a dog allergy, it is essential that you spend time around a Samoyed before adopting one yourself.

How Big Are Samoyed Dogs?

Male Samoyed dogs typically weigh between 50-65 pounds and females between 35-50 pounds. Height-wise, Sammies, on average, stand around 19-23 inches. Even though these are averages, each dog is an individual and may be smaller or larger than what is typical.

How Long Do Samoyed Live?

An expected lifespan for a Samoyed is 12-14 years, although a dog’s life expectancy can be affected by several factors.

Are Samoyed Easy to Train?

Training a Samoyed can prove to be a challenging task, although every dog is different. That being said, if you are a first-time dog parent, a Samoyed is probably not the best fit.

Adopting a dog is a big overall responsibility. Not only are you responsible for the health and happiness of another living creature, but Samoyed dogs are also a financial and long-term commitment.

Samoyed dog on a red leash being petted by a young girl with pigtails

Training

Sammies are intelligent and ambitious, so they are often eager to learn. The only problem lies in the fact that they don’t always want to listen. These dogs are known to be independent and stubborn at times, so patience is a must when you are training your Samoyed.

It can be helpful to keep training sessions short, so you don’t lose your dog’s attention, and to reward your friend with treats, toys, and praise.

Training should also begin as early as possible. Even at a young age, Sammies are capable of retaining and learning numerous commands and tricks. Not to mention, no one wants a large, untrained, out-of-control dog on their hands.

Going hand-in-hand with training is socialization. Similar to training, socialization should also begin as early as possible and be met with patience and rewards. Continual socialization throughout your dog’s life can help them develop a well-rounded temperament and personality.

Grooming

If you’re taking on the responsibility of being a Sammy parent, you may want to prepare yourself—dog hair in your house will become as common as sand on a beach. Samoyed dogs are prone to shedding all year round, but twice a year, during the spring and fall seasons, these dogs will shed more than usual. Known as blowing coat, these double-coated canines will lose large tufts of hair daily. This is a natural, healthy occurrence, and double-coated dogs should never be shaved.

Unlike single-coated dogs, whose hair will grow back normally after they have been shaved, the hair texture for a double-coated dog can change if it’s shaved. Plus, a dog’s double coat serves many important uses, including helping them regulate their body temperature in hot and cold temperatures and protecting their skin from the sun. When a double-coated dog is shaved, they run a higher risk of getting sunburnt and becoming overheated.

When your dog is blowing coat, they will need to be brushed nearly every single day. When they are not blowing coat, your Samoyed will still need brushed multiple times a week—three times weekly is an ideal average.

It’s worth noting that having a dog as fluffy as a cloud comes at a small price. To help keep up with their grooming and coat care, it may be essential that you take your Sammie to a professional groomer every few months.

While you can bathe your dog on your own, many dog parents find that the stress and mess are not worth the fuss. Properly washing and drying all of that puppy fluff is additionally a time-consuming process. If you decide to tackle grooming yourself, more power to you, but as they say, sometimes it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

Besides coat care, it’s also important that you trim your dog’s nails. This will need to be done about every four weeks. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself, you can check to see if your veterinarian’s office offers this service, or you can have your Samoyed’s nails cut when they visit the groomer.

Your dog’s ears should be checked regularly for any signs of redness or a bad odor—both could be signs of an ear infection. Whenever you notice that your pup’s ears are getting dirty, gently clean them out with a dog-safe ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball. Be sure never to use a cotton swab and not clean your canine’s inner ear, which could accidentally cause an injury.

Be sure that you are also brushing your dog’s teeth, at least a couple of times a week. Frequent brushings can help reduce stinky dog breath and the chances of periodontal disease.

To acclimate your Samoyed to their grooming routine, it is best to be patient throughout each process and to reward your dog repeatedly. You will also find that introducing your dog to each item at an early age can help them become more comfortable with each task.

Samoyed dog smiling next to a window

How to Care for a Samoyed

Besides grooming, a pivotal part of caring for a Samoyed is to provide them with a nutritious diet. The type of food you feed your dog can be determined by their age and if they have any special dietary needs. The amount of food they receive can be determined by their size and activity level. If you are unsure what kind or how much food your dog requires, talk with your veterinarian for some recommendations.

On top of having a healthy diet, Samoyed dogs also require daily exercise. These dogs are innately hard-working and energetic, so exercise is beneficial for their physical and mental health. To keep your Sammie happy, be sure to take them on one or two moderate walks a day, allow them to run around in a fenced-in area, or have a play session in or outdoors.

If you are interested in getting your pal more involved with other activities, Samoyed dogs are ideal candidates for hiking, skijoring, agility trials, carting, mushing, and herding events.

No matter which activity you choose, what remains most important is that your pup receives an appropriate amount of exercise. If they are not given a chance to burn off their extra energy and become bored, Samoyed dogs can become destructive and noisy, which no dog parent wants.

It is important that you do not have your dog participate in any strenuous activities for an extended period until they go through their growth spurt. Large dogs grow exponentially in a short amount of time, and heavy exercise can put stress on their developing bones and joints.

Common Health Issues

Although Samoyed dogs are a relatively healthy dog breed, they are still susceptible to some health problems. According to our claims data,** the top five health issues that affect this breed are,

Although these health issues are common among the Samoyed breed, there is no guarantee that your dog will develop any or all of these listed above. That being said, as a Samoyed parent, it can be useful to familiarize yourself with the signs for these issues—to stay a step ahead.

One of the best ways to help your pup stay in tip-top shape is to schedule them for an annual visit with their veterinarian. These yearly check-ups are the perfect opportunity for a veterinarian to ensure that your pup is up-to-date with shots and in good overall health. Plus, if your Samoyed does have a health condition, a medical visit allows professionals to monitor their situation better. A good rule of thumb when it comes to being a Samoyed parent is that a healthy dog is a happy dog.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

RELATED ARTICLES

Fun Facts About Boxer Dogs

Smart, goofy, and loyal, Boxers are a lively breed and can be a fun addition to the family. And while their faces often express a sense of worry, their hearts are full of affection and fun – and a little bit of mischief.

READ MORE >

Find Articles