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› Samoyed

The Samoyed

"Smiling Sammie," that intelligent, friendly, hard-working dog breed

The Samoyed is also called “Smiling Sammie” because their lips turn up, making it appear like they are smiling at you, making for a picture perfect dog. 

This is a breed that is adaptable, friendly, and overall outgoing and playful. Samoyeds make excellent pets for nearly everyone, considering they even get along extremely well with small children and other dogs. Sammies belong to the Working Group according to AKC and were developed to be sled dogs.

This breed can show characteristics of their sled dog heritage. They are not shy when it comes to pulling things, and will need to be trained at an early age to walk on a leash unless you want your Sammie to be walking you by the leash instead of the other way around.

Herding is also in their background, so be aware that your dog is not adverse to herding anything it can find, young children included.

One highlighting characteristic of this breed is their ability and willingness to adapt to a broad range of living situations. With proper training at a young age, this dog will willingly adjust to other dogs, children, and strangers very well. This cooperation is appreciated by the breed's owners and makes life adjustments that much easier.

This is a dog that loves everyone, including strangers. They will be easygoing and friendly to any stranger which has its ups and downs.   

Samoyeds meet new people with their natural friendly “smile.”  It can be a problem, though if these dogs come face to face with an unwanted intruder. 

This breed does not make good guard dogs due to their incredible friendliness, but they can make energetic watchdogs because of their barking tendency.

Samoyeds are known for their tendency to not only bark but actually to sing as well. They have a high-pitched, almost howl-like bark, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think your pup was trying to talk to you.

This dog will alert when someone, especially someone new, approaches their territory, and their bark will not go unnoticed.

Although your dog may bark at strangers, once they are assured that the stranger is welcome and a friend, they will be their best friend as well.

Samoyeds also can get along well with other dogs, especially is raised together since puppyhood, and with proper precautions, Sammies can be taught to get along with most other dogs, and even cats.

However, with their instinct to hunt, taking caution when it comes to small rodents and pets is necessary.

Making sure this breed gets proper training and socialization is important, but as long as they receive the amount of training that is needed, they will be very clear minded and happy.

This is a breed that will thrive when working in a team since that is what they are accustomed to. Like any breed of dog, both proper mental and physical exercise is required to ensure your Samoyed is the special, good-natured pet that it can be.

Sammies will not go off looking for trouble, but can and will handle anything that comes its way, as necessary.

These dogs require a decent amount of exercise, which is something to keep in mind when choosing a breed. Daily exercise is necessary for this breed and is not something that can be shorted.

This exercise will ensure your Sammie does not become stressed or tense in any way.

Sammies love large, fenced in areas with lots of room to run and roam around. This is a dog that will not stay on your front porch, if they see an opportunity to run and roam, they will take it, and it is much more beneficial to you to provide that opportunity within a fenced area.

With this being said, you don’t necessarily HAVE to have a huge fenced in backyard to own a member of this breed.  Just keep in mind that if you do not have this amenity, be ready to take your pup on a daily walk or jog at the very least with a sturdy leash.

Due to their love to roam, walking your puppy on a leash will ensure safety for them and peace of mind for you as a dog owner. With the proper amount of exercise, and willingness to adapt, a Sammie can happily and healthily live in an apartment or smaller home as long as all their needs are being met.

Another crucial thing to consider is climate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your dog if you live in a warmer climate or if it is hot outside.

Due to their thick, double coat, they can tend to overheat if not careful.  A Sammie that does not receive the proper daily exercise can become strained and start to show behavioral problems such as obsessive barking. It is important that as a devoted dog owner, you do your best to keep your canine pal’s mental health as clear and happy as it can be.

This is also a breed that is not particularly fond of personal alone time. They are very independent thinkers, and will find ways to keep themselves occupied, sometimes being things that you do not find as entertaining.

In fact, Sammies can be very destructive if they are left on their own for too long. They thrive off of human interaction and exercise, so being left alone for many consecutive hours is not something that floats their boat, and if they are left by themselves for a while, be prepared to come home to a mess of pillows, newspapers, and scratched up furniture.

Breed History

Sammies are one of the fourteen most ancient breeds of dog and belong to the Spitz family of dogs.

Their roots are traced back to Siberia, where they lived with hunters and fisherman, also known as “Samoyeds,” which is where they get their name from.

The Samoyed people used them for sledding, herding reindeer, guarding property, and warmth.

This breed was very helpful when it came to keeping the people warm. Not only are they great snugglers, but when they shed, pounds of their coat would be removed.

The Samoyed people decided that instead of wasting all of the shredded furs, they would instead utilize this hair and that is exactly what they ended up doing.

Spinning the excess fur into yarn, the Samoyeds could then make clothes out of the yarn, which in turn kept them warm in the icy weather. This breed of dog was well used in Siberia.

This breed also carries the distinction of being closely related to the primitive dog. There is no wolf or fox DNA found running in this breed’s strain.

In 1889, this breed was brought over to England by explorer, Robert Scott, where it further developed and spread over the rest of the world.

This breed was recognized by AKC in 1906. Today, they are ranked at 63rd most popular breed in the United States according to the American Kennel Club.


Vital Statistics

Weight

     Male- 45-65 lbs; 20.5-30 kg

     Female- 35-50 lbs; 16-20.5 kg

Height:

     Male- 21-23.5 inches; 53-60 cm

     Female- 19-21 inches; 48-53 cm

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Colors

  • White
  • Biscuit
  • Biscuit and white
  • Cream

There are no markings

Other Names: Bjelkier, Samoiedskaya Sobaka, Nenetskaya Laika, Samoyedskaya

Nicknames: Smiley, Sammy, Sams


Ease of Training

Fortunately, when it comes to obedience training, this is not a particularly difficult breed to train due to their intelligence and willingness to cooperate. However, it is imperative that you begin training at an early age to help decrease the chances of behavioral problems as an adult.

Samoyeds tend to be stubborn. Therefore, this is a breed that responds well to firm and patient training from a person who is both confident and consistent when it comes to authority and taking on the role of pack leader. Without this firm training at an early age, these Sammies can end up showing some undesirable behavior problems such as digging and excessive barking.

Since Sammies are an ancient working breed, they will sometimes fall back to their original roots and try to pull you on walks or herd your children, which is not something that most kids appreciate. This is also something that can easily be avoided by early training. As well as training, early socialization of your puppy is equally as important.                                                                                                                               

This is a breed that is known for its happiness, friendliness, and affection, however, without proper socialization as a puppy, your Sammie will display characteristics of a nervous and tentative dog, which is not fair to you or your furry friend.

Keep in mind that it is normal for Samoyeds to be conservative, but shyness is usually not common, and it is very rare to see an aggressive Samoyed. Proper training and socialization will ensure the most happiness for you and your fluffy lifelong friend.

Protection

It pretty much goes without saying that Samoyeds make poor guard dogs due to their excessive happiness and love for everyone. This is just a breed that is too friendly to make for a good guard dog, so if that is a quality that is a must-have in your next puppy pal, this is not the breed for you.                                                                                                                     

They do, however, make excellent watchdogs, especially because it is instinctual for them since they were initially utilized for watchdog duty back in Siberia. Due to the high tendency for this dog to bark, Sammies happen to do a good job of alerting you when strangers are present in the area.

Coat Type

The undercoat sheds seasonally about once or twice a year. This is also referred to as “blowing coat.” However, during that time of the year is not the only time your dog will shed. This is a breed that sheds heavily and regularly, which is something to keep in mind if you or anyone in your family has an allergy to animal hair.

This breed is sometimes said to be hypoallergenic by certain people, but they are just referring to the fact that even though they shed, the hairs may produce fewer allergens. Allergic reactions are still possible.

Even though some people with allergies have reported that Samoyed hair does not bother them, it is not something that should be relied on.

However, if you are looking specifically for breeds that are “hypoallergenic” or do not shed nearly as much, if at all, then click here for that list. Going back to the Samoyed,  if you are not particularly bothered by finding little hairs on your furniture, clothes, rugs, blankets, etc, then this breed may be the perfect one for you.

Grooming

Samoyeds require a fair amount of grooming due to their thick double coat. Frequent grooming not only ensures the health and comfort of your [literal] furry friend, it also helps in reducing the amount of daily shedding produced by this dog, and is very necessary if you want to keep as much hair out of the house as you can.

Regular extensive and thorough brushing is required for this breed to remove the soft and loose undercoat. This is a very lengthy process, so go ahead and put on your favorite TV show or music playlist to keep you company while you brush and brush and brush.

Although this will take a decent amount of time, this is an activity that most Sammies absolutely love. These giant fluff balls absolutely adore being brushed, which tends to make the whole process much easier, since you do not have to battle your dog while also trying to groom them.

They require frequent brushing, but the light colored coat tends to stay bright, so frequent baths are not necessary. 

Samoyeds also have no odor, and even when wet, they lack the usual “doggie smell,” and tend to lose the odor more quickly than other breeds when they do end up getting into something. With this being said, of course, wash your Sammie if they get into something, for their own safety and health, just keep in mind that on ordinary days, your Sammie does not need frequent bathing.

Other than coat maintenance, it is vital to keep your pup’s nails, ears, eyes, anal glands, and teeth in check.

Overall, this is not an easy dog to groom, and significant time and energy is required to maintain the coat of this breed. Keep this in mind when choosing your next best friend, and ask yourself if you are willing to put in the time and energy to keep your Sammie healthy and happy.

Overall, this is a little price to pay in order to have an amazing, friendly, loyal, best friend for life.

Health Considerations

Although Samoyeds have a sturdy life expectancy, they are predisposed to certain health problems including diabetes, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, skin problems, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which is more common in males.

Samoyeds are also prone to kidney disease such as Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy, which is a genetic renal disease. Be sure to look out for any irregular behavior in your Sammie, and alert the vet immediately if you suspect any of the listed health problems. Overall, the Samoyed is said to have average health.

  • Diabetes mellitus similar but not identical to human Type I 
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) 
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Sebaceous adenitis, an uncommon idiopathic autoimmune skin disease
  • Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy
  • Hypothyroidism

Famous Samoyeds

Some famous Samoyeds include Kaifas and Suggen, who were the lead dogs for Fridtjof Nansen’s North Pole expedition, and Etah, who was the lead dog from Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole, who is actually said to be the first person to reach the pole. 

Does that make the Samoyed the first dog to reach the South Pole?

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