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About Samoyeds

The beautiful, sparkling-coated, smiling dog born from the mists of the Arctic is the Samoyed breed enthusiasts love.  Their medium size, robust sense of humor, and a mind and body that craves attention and partnership in adventure, makes this breed a wonderful companion, ready to be included in many of its owner’s activities.  The Samoyed was a nomad’s partner, sharing the workload of herding reindeer, pulling sledges as the people moved, hunting the tundra and forest for game, and best of all, keeping its owners warm in the Siberian night, and being a gentle guard of the children.

All of these enduring qualities combine to make the breed a favorite of the show ring, capable in sledding and weight pull competition, worth the work of obedience, rally, agility and herding, as well as sharing the family in its adventures.

samoyed posing for photo
samoyed with mountains in the background

Physical Characteristics

The Samoyed is a medium dog, with 21″ to 23-1/2″ at the shoulder recommended for males, and slightly smaller, at 19″ to 21″ for females.  While there is no complete disqualification in the show ring for sizes outside the Standard, most over or under-sized Samoyeds are more commonly seen as companion dogs sold out of litters.  A Samoyed’s double coat may be confusing.  They tend to look bigger than the actual dog-under-the-coat really is, leading to comments from the Public about 100 lb. Samoyeds they have seen or known.  Good weight for a male Samoyed is around 50-65 lbs., and 35-50 lbs. for females.  The Standard states that the “bone” (or substance) of the Samoyed is “somewhat heavier than expected for a dog of its size.”  Be aware that substance often actually refers to the amount of coat on the legs and body of the dog, while-in-reality, the Samoyed is of an average all around size when wet.

The guide for breeders and exhibitors of the Samoyed is the AKC approved Illustrated Standard.

The coat of the Samoyed is very important.  If of poor quality (too soft, too long, or too little undercoat) it makes for poor survival in an arctic winter.  In-order to survive, the coat lifts out from the body, preserving warmth. The outer coat is coarse and longer than the softer, fleecy undercoat.  The tips have a silver sheen when seen in the light. Both coats stand off from the body, and a coat that is too long, soft and droops, is incorrect. The color should be white, cream, or both, sometimes with biscuit highlights.  The shed-out coat can be carded, and spun into yarn, creating beautiful woven or knitted fabric that makes incredibly warm hats, mittens and clothing. Learn more about grooming a Samoyed.

trimming a samoyeds coat


The Samoyed came into existence in the northern reaches of Siberia, one of the coldest regions on earth.  Their appearance is softer, but almost wolf-like, and their personality can range from lovingly loyal to frustratingly primitive.  These dogs had to think for themselves to survive the arctic winter.  Food could be scarce for people and dogs, so there remains a propensity to roam and hunt.  Frustration at being constantly fenced can lead to digging, barking and other destructive behaviors. A new owner needs to dog proof landscaping, and provide a fenced-in environment, however, a dog bred to follow a nomadic people is not content to sit alone in the backyard continually.  They need activity, and they need to do things with their people.  A happy Samoyed that is side-by-side with its family, is a dog that does not create problems.

These dogs need us!  When they are content, they are loyal, funny, fun-loving, and creative (sometimes frustratingly so!)  Much like a child, they will test us to make sure we are attentive and including them.  Like a child, they thrive with consistency and  

limits.  A basic obedience class teaches about dog behaviors and how to establish boundaries.  All Samoyed owners will benefit and often be amazed by how training makes their Sammy a wonderful, well-behaved companion.  Many owners love their happy Samoyeds so much, they will never consider owning another breed!

samoyed running through the snow
samoyed sitting in a flower field

Health & Nutrition

Health and nutrition go hand in hand.  Being an ancient breed, Samoyeds have fewer health concerns than many, however, they are not immune from issues that affect dogs in general:  hip dysplasia, some eye anomalies, possible heart defects.  A well-bred Samoyed has had these issues taken into consideration by responsible breeders long before breeding partners are selected. Just like humans, health issues may arise as a dog ages.  Having a good relationship with a veterinary practice and frequent health check-ups will keep most Samoyeds’ health concerns at a minimum.

A good, well-balanced dog food can be suggested by your breeder.  A couple of things to remember about Samoyeds are that they do not seem to require the amount of food suggested for general consumption.  This may be because they thrived in the arctic environment when food often was scarce.  Their metabolism seems to need less fuel than the average breed.  In fact, keeping your Samoyed lean and in good shape will enhance their overall health and longevity.  Also, there seems to be a difference in the food needs of male and female Samoyeds.  Females are often good eaters, while males may be picky or stubborn about their food habits.  Providing adequate exercise and having patience may improve the appetite of your male Samoyed.

Fun Activities With Samoyeds

Learn more about all of the activities you can do with your Samoyed!

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