The Loving Samoyed Needs Your Constant Companionship


Tireless Even under Extreme Duress, the Loving Samoyed Needs Your Constant Companionship

Originally bred over centuries by the Samoyede people of Siberia, the Samoyed (also affectionately known as the "Sammy") is a medium-sized dog that is friendly, playful, and gentle, as well as easygoing and relaxed without being lazy. Very intelligent, the Samoyed loves people, which qualifies it as a very good family pet. Although not willfully disobedient, the Sammy is smart and knows its own mind, which means that if you choose to adopt this breed, you'll also have to make a concerted effort to train it for best behavior, in a gentle, loving way. As long as it gets lots of personal companionship, its behavior should be delightful.


The Samoyede people established nomadic lives between the Yenisei River and the White Sea, and needed a hardy, intelligent, reliable working dog to shepherd reindeer, pull sleds and otherwise provide assistance as household companions. Of all the breeds in existence, the Samoyed may be one of the only dogs to have retained most of its original characteristics from centuries ago. Its white coat of varying shades (biscuit, cream, yellow, pristine white, or white with silver tips) has evolved over the ages to fit in with the Arctic snow and sun, the coat bleached white to match its harsh environment. And despite its having become a modern-day, beloved family pet, it still maintains its robust, unshakable, working personality, bred into it over generations. In fact, explorers throughout history, such as early polar explorer Fridtjof Nanse, saw his team of dogs pull one and a half times their own weight day after day after day under the most trying conditions, only to see a steadfast "joyous abandon" and "a carefree air" in these dedicated animals at day’s end. Indeed, experts say that this jubilant, triumphant, and diligently inexhaustible demeanor is typical of the breed.

In the late 1800s through 1917, the Samoyed was introduced to Europe from Siberia by European explorers who brought these enthusiastic, strong and tireless dogs with them. They quickly became popular as gifts for European royalty and Russian czars. Queen Alexandra (daughter of Queen Victoria) was a staunch advocate, and sent two dogs to her brother, who went on to show several of them between 1890 and 1900. The present Queen still has paintings of earlier royal Samoyeds in her collection.

So hardy is the Samoyed that dogs who had toiled in Antarctic expeditions ultimately were returned to Australia and then England to serve as stock to breed excellent, high-quality puppies thereafter.

Officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1906, the Samoyed is a member of the AKC's Working Group and currently ranks 66th in popularity among some 200 registered breeds.


Breathtakingly beautiful, the Samoyed is highly sought after for its appearance. Always some shade of white or off-white, the Samoyed can be snow white, biscuit, cream, or yellow. The Samoyed can also be white with silver tips, but snow white is preferred as the show color. Compact and muscular, this medium-sized dog will reach 19 to 23 inches in adulthood and weigh between 35 and 65 pounds. The eyes are dark, almond-shaped and wide-set, and the ears are erect and triangular, and slightly rounded at the tip. The tail is carried high and rolled on the back; the legs are muscular and solid; and the white coat is doubly thick, with a short, soft undercoat and a stiff, harsh, bristly outer coat that stands straight out. There's usually a ruff of fur around the neck and shoulders that frames the head.

Fur uses

The Samoyede people, resourceful as they are, have often used the loose fur that Samoyeds shed as an alternative to wool. Indeed, its hypoallergenic properties and a texture similar to angora fur makes it an excellent choice for this substitution. Modern owners may also find their own creative applications.


An excellent family pet, the tender, amicable, vivacious and outgoing Samoyed will literally love anyone and everyone that comes to your front door. Not suitable as a guard dog, it will be friendly even to an intruder. Nonetheless, it loves family life and gets along well with everyone.

The Samoyed does not generally have personality problems because it is so tranquil and affable, although it can seem "stubborn" simply because it is so intelligent. As needed with any dog, a dominant owner who offers clear, firm guidelines for proper behavior provides the best leadership as “alpha dog” in the relationship. Although the Samoyed is extremely placid, if necessary, it will protect those it loves.

As a herding dog by nature, this is a breed that wants to work and will enjoy being given something to do. Although not necessarily a "behavioral" problem, the Samoyed also loves to bark and otherwise vocalize. Howling or "singing" is something the Sammy loves to do simply as an instinctive behavioral outlet.

Finally, be aware that like many dogs, even a gentle and relaxed Samoyed can be destructive if it's frustrated and lonely. Although not ever a violent dog, it will chew and otherwise destroy property if it feels frustrated and abandoned. DON'T leave your pet alone at all, because it needs people. It's also important to remember that although the Sammy can be successfully socialized during puppyhood to comingle with your other larger pets (including cats), it is still also a hunter by instinct and may retain the natural urge to attack small pets like rabbits, gerbils, mice, birds, etc.

Proper Environment

As long as you give your pet a walk and other sufficient exercise every day, this active breed will adapt well within a relatively small space, including an apartment. If possible, provide at least a small yard for activity. Do not get a Sammy as a pet if you intend to leave your dog alone for long periods of time. The Sammy absolutely needs constant personal companionship with lots of your attention and love. If you can be as devoted to your pet as it will be to you, adopting a Samoyed will be a totally rewarding experience.


As you might have guessed, the Samoyed is hardy and healthy, as would be expected of a dog whose ancestors and contemporaries alike have had to withstand brutal conditions as a daily part of life. Hip dysplasia can be a concern, as can pulmonary stenosis. They can also develop renal difficulties because of Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy, similar to humans' hereditary nephritis. This is a genetically-dominant disease which affects males more often than females. The Samoyed can also be prone to a type of diabetes in middle age very similar to Type 1 in humans. Average life span is 12 to 15 years.


That beautiful white fur coat doesn't come without a price, albeit one gladly assumed by most Samoyed owners. This dog is a heavy shedder who needs extensive grooming, especially seasonally. Brushing daily and bathing when necessary (only occasionally) will help cut down on shedding – but again, if you so choose, you can use the beautiful angora-like fur for applications ordinarily satisfied by wool.


AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Samoyed.

Retrieved April 27, 2013.

Is The Samoyed The Right Breed For You?

Retrieved April 27,2013.

Samoyed (dog).

Retrieved April 27, 2013.

Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy.

Retrieved April 27, 2013.

Samoyed (Samoiedskaïa Sabaka) (Samoyedskaya) (Sami) (Sammy).

Retrieved April 27, 2013.

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