The Samoyed is one of the most popular Russian dog breeds in the world. Its white, fluffy and thick fur is very popular and appreciated by all dog lovers. However, this dog also shows a very special and sociable character, perfect for active families and children or adolescents.

Whether you are considering adopting a Samoyed or if you already have one, you will discover much more about the breed in this article.

Origin of the Samoyed dog

Samoyed tribes inhabited the territory between northwestern Siberia and Central Asia. These nomadic peoples relied on their dogs to herd reindeer and protect themselves from predators, as well as to hunt. They also slept alongside their precious dogs to keep warm.

The dogs in the southern regions were black, white, and brown, and had a more independent temperament. However, the dogs of the northern regions had a pure white coat and were more docile.

These dogs captivated the British explorer Ernest Kilburn-Scott during his research in the Arctic in 1889. On his return to England, Kilburn-Scott brought a brown Samoyed puppy with him as a gift for his wife.

Thereafter, other explorers, as well as the Kilburn-Scott family, were commissioned to bring these dogs to Europe. Kilburn-Scott dogs were the foundation of today’s European Samoyeds.

Race was also used to explore the other hemisphere. The dog who led Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole is said to have been a Samoyed named Etah.

Later the breed spread throughout the world thanks to its beauty and good character. Today, the Samoyed dog is well known and appreciated everywhere, and is used primarily as a family dog.

Samoyed characteristics

The Samoyed is a medium-sized dog with an elegant, strong, resistant and lively appearance. They have a characteristic expression that makes them look like they are smiling all the time! Its head is wedge-shaped and has a very good proportion to the rest of the body.

The nose is black, but it can partially lose its pigment at certain times of the year, in what is known as the “winter nose” or “snow nose.” The eyes are almond shaped, obliquely arranged and dark brown in color. The ears are erect, small, triangular, thick and rounded at the tips.

The body is a bit longer than tall, but compact and flexible. The chest is broad, deep and long, while the belly is moderately retracted. The tail is set high and reaches the hock. At rest it may be hanging, but when the dog is active it bends over on its back or to one side.

Its coat is made up of two layers. The outer coat is straight, dense, rough, and thick. The undercoat is short, smooth and dense. Although the dogs of the ancient nomadic tribes were of different colors, the modern Samoyed is only pure white, cream or white and biscuit in color.

Samoyed dog character

The FCI (International Cynological Federation) defines the Samoyed as a friendly, cheerful and clever dog. Although their origin may make us think that they are predisposed to hunting, the truth is that they do not have a strong hunting instinct. They are very friendly dogs, who tend to get along well with children and other animals, provided they have received adequate socialization.

Caring for the Samoyed breed

A Samoyed’s coat should be brushed at least three times a week to avoid tangles and remove dirt. It is essential if we want them to stay clean and healthy. During shedding periods, they will need daily brushing. On the other hand, we can bathe them every 1 or 2 months when we think they are very dirty or necessary.

Moderate exercise is required and 2-3 daily walks are recommended. Also be prepared to spend 2-3 days a week doing some physical activity.

Dog sports such as herding, canine freestyle, and agility are also good options for a Samoyed. The breed is well adapted to life in the country, but given enough exercise and walks they can adapt very well to life anywhere.

Apart from exercise, it is essential to offer our Samoyed different exercises that will help stimulate his mind. You can buy toys to fill with sweets, in the store of our Glòries Veterinary Hospital.

Food should always match the dog’s lifestyle. If we provide them with regular exercise, it is important that you consider adapting their diet and providing additional calories when necessary. We recommend looking for quality food, according to your needs.

Training a Samoyed

The Samoyed has intelligence, so this is not a breed that has learning difficulties, as long as its development as a puppy has been positive and appropriate, always keeping animal welfare in mind.

To achieve a balanced and sociable dog, we must consider that it will be essential to socialize it from a puppy to learn habits and social relationships. You can use positive reinforcement to achieve better results and develop a strong relationship with your dog.

Gradually, you can begin to teach the basic commands, which are essential for good communication and safety of the animal itself. Finally, keep in mind that when these dogs are isolated in a garden or left alone for a long time, they can develop behavior problems and become destructive dogs.

Samoyed Health

As with virtually all dog breeds, the Samoyed is predisposed to certain pathologies, most of which are believed to be genetic in origin. Here is an ordered list where we mention the most common Samoyed diseases, ordered from highest to lowest frequency:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Subaortic stenosis
  • Atrial septal defects (ASD)
  • waterfalls
  • Ataxia
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Deafness
  • Familial kidney disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Adrenal sex hormone dermatosis
  • Hemophilia
  • Hypomyelogenesis
  • Leukodystrophies
  • Osteochondrodysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Retinal dysplasia
  • Sebaceous adenitis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Zinc sensitive dermatoses
  • Microphthalmia
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Shaker syndrome
  • Spina bifida

To prevent and detect any health problems early, it is vital to visit the vet at least every 6 to 12 months for a comprehensive review and to follow the dog’s vaccination schedule. Also remember to keep your internal and external deworming up to date. If properly cared for, the life expectancy of a Samoyed is around 12-14 years.