BaxterBoo Blog
July 24, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Samoyed

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  • Height: 19"- 24”
  • Weight: 35-65 pounds
  • Historical function: Sled dog, herding, guard, bed warmer
  • Modern function: Companion, obedience
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Samoyed has the classic characteristics of the northern Spitz breeds including a heavy straight coat that stands out away from the body, pricked ears, and a plumed tail that curves over the back. The body is compact, muscular and squarely built. The head is wedge shaped, tapering to a wide dark nose that can be black, brown, or liver colored. One of the defining characteristics are their dark lips that curl into a smile, hence the name nickname "Smiling Sammy." The double coat is very heavy, especially in males. It doesn't have any curl. The coat color can be pure white (preferred in the show ring), cream and biscuit. The Samoyed sheds a lot and will shed in clumps seasonally. 

History of the Breed:

The Samoyed, also called a Bjelkier in Europe, originated in Siberia and was developed by the Samoyede people. They were used to herd reindeer, as sled dogs, and also for warmth on cold nights. They were also babysitters. They slept in the huts of the Samoyede people and had a very close relationship with their families. They were never disciplined with force, only voice control. This rich and longstanding history with the peaceful, nomadic Samoyede tribe makes the breed particularly suited for family life. Their profusely shedding coat was also collected and spun into yarn for making garments. The Samoyed is considered to be an ancient dog breed, and they do not show evidence of wolf DNA in their makeup.


The Samoyed is a loyal, friendly family dog that will enthusiastically participate in all family activities. They do like to herd cats and children and must be taught not to do this. They are intelligent and intuitive.  

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to include this social breed in as many family activities as possible. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog can overheat easily in hot climates. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Odorless coat sheds profusely, requires daily brushing, and regular baths. Fish oil supplements are helpful for the coat. Trim foot pad hair level with pads.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia. Some strains have epilepsy and cancer.

Breed Club Links: Samoyed Club of America Perfect Pairings: Furminator Products including the White Coat Shampoo.

Have any stories about a Samoyed? Please share!

Photo courtesy of monkeywing

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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