Samoyed
Samoyed dogs originate from north western Russia (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on May 22, 2019
Fact Checked

Samoyed dogs are perhaps best known for their smiles and lush white coats.

They’re medium sized dogs that are part of the American Kennel Club’s Working Group.

Hailing from the north western regions of Russia, Samoyeds are now a popular breed around the world.

They’re easily identifiable thanks to their white coats, although they also come in three different colors.

Nicknamed the “Smiling Sammy” in western culture, they also go by the following names: Samoiedskaia Sabaka, Samoyedskaya, Sami and Sammy.

Samoyeds are sociable canines that like to be around people, while they’ve got a friendly and welcoming nature.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at the Samoyed breed, learning more about their history, temperament, health issues and price.

We’ll break this article into the following sections:

• Where does Samoyed dog come from?
• Samoyed pronunciation
• Samoyed size
• Samoyed appearance
• Samoyed colors
• Are Samoyed dogs aggressive?
• Are Samoyed dogs smart?
• Samoyed temperament
• Are Samoyed good apartment dogs?
• Do Samoyeds smell?
• Do Samoyeds need a lot of exercise?
• Can Samoyeds be left alone?
• When do Samoyeds shed?
• Are Samoyeds hypoallergenic?
• How often should you bathe a Samoyed?
• How long does it take to groom a Samoyed?
• Samoyed health issues
• Samoyed lifespan
• Will a Samoyed protect its owner?
• Are Samoyeds good guard dogs?
• Can Samoyeds swim?
• Why do Samoyeds smile?
• Why do Samoyed dogs howl?
• Are Samoyeds good with cats?
• Can Samoyeds live in hot weather?
• Samoyed price
• Why are Samoyeds so expensive?
• Samoyed mix
• Samoyeds to follow on Instagram
• Anything else to consider
• In conclusion

Where does Samoyed dog come from?

Sally the Samoyed (Photo: @scotlandwithfluffywolf)

Hailing from the Sptiz family, Samoyeds were initially used to herd and hunt reindeer in the north western areas of Siberia in Russia centuries ago. They were used as sled dogs for the Samoyede people in that particular part of Russia.

They were able to withstand freezing temperatures given these white canines were bred to survive in the coldest habitable places on earth. The nomadic Samoyede tribe people would treat their elegant dogs as part of their family, resulting in a deep connection between the humans and dogs.

The AKC write on their website that the tribe would huddle with their dogs for warmth in inhospitable temperatures which only served to kindle the bond these nomads had with their dogs.

Samoyeds were first bred to hunt reindeer but as hunting practices changed, the Samoyede would use these canines to herd rather than hunt. They would also serve as guard dogs to protect reindeer from would-be predators.

Often described as a true working dog, Samoyed were exported from the region to be used by men to pull sleds in pursuit of the poles in the Antarctic and Arctic areas.

This practice first started in the late 18th century when British explorers started to use Samoyeds for their expeditions. They introduced them to British society where these white pooches quickly became popular, especially with Queen Alexandria.

Some of Britain’s most famous explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton as well as Norwegian Roald Amundsen used Samoyeds to pull their sleds in the early 19th century.

Moustan of Argenteau was the first Samoyed registered with the American Kennel Club in 1906.

The Samoyed Club of America write that most of the Samoyeds in USA can be traced back to “veteran expedition sledge dogs”. Most Samoyeds in USA were imported after World War I.

Their thought to be one of the closest relations to primitive dogs with a genetic footprint close to wolf DNA.

Samoyed pronunciation

One of the most common questions researched about these beautiful dogs is how to pronounce their name.

The Samoyed Club of American give clear instruction on the phonetic sound of the breed.

They write that these white dogs should be pronounced as “Sam-a-YED” rather than “Sum-a-YED”.

If you’re still struggling with the pronunciation, check out this video for some clear instruction.

Samoyed size

The American Kennel Club and Kennel Club have different breed standards for Samoyeds.

In USA, males can grown to a height between 21 and 23 1/2 inches (53–60 cm), while females are slightly smaller and range between 19 and 21 inches (48–53 cm) in height at the withers.

The size ranges differ slightly in the UK: males can be between 20 and 22 inches (51–56 cm) and females are 18-20 inches (46–51 cm).

The breed standard is defined by size and not weight. Generally, males weigh between 20 and 30 kilograms (9 and 13 pounds) and females weigh around 16 and 20 kilograms (7 and 9 pounds).

Samoyed appearance

Sally the Samoyed (Photo: @scotlandwithfluffywolf)

With snow white fur and a trademark smile, you should be able to easily identify a Samoyed.

Often given the nickname “the smiling Sammies”, the breed have black lips that turn up to give them a charming and friendly expression.

They’ve got distinctive curled tails with thick, dense white fur. It can even loop over and touch their back. Samoyeds have pointed ears that given them an alert appearance.

The AKC breed standard outlines that breeders should aim for the happy medium, a body not long but muscular, allowing liberty, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, strong neck, straight front and especially strong loins.

Samoyed colors

Samoyed are known for their trademark white coats but they can actually come in four different colors.

Other variations of color include biscuit, white and biscuit and cream.

If you find a black Samoyed puppy available for purchase, approach with caution as black is not an accepted color of the breed.

Are Samoyed dogs aggressive?

This ancient dog breed are not considered aggressive pooches. Far from it! Samoyeds are sociable dogs that enjoy human interaction.

It’s hardly a surprise given the close bond their ancestors had with the Samoyede tribe.

They’ve got a cheery demeanor, which is emphasized by their big smiles.

Are Samoyed dogs smart?

Sally the Samoyed (Photo: @scotlandwithfluffywolf)

Samoyed are considered smart dogs but they can be quite stubborn. As a result, these Russian dogs might not be a good fit for a first time owner who has little experience around challenging pups.

Are Samoyeds easy to train?

As we mentioned above, Samoyeds have a reputation for being intelligent dogs but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy to train. They can be strong willed and have a tendency to do things on their own terms. As a result, training from a young age will give owners the best chance to harness their intelligent for the greater good.

The Intelligence of Dogs lists the Samoyed as the 44th smartest dog in the world (a long way behind the Border Collie, Poodle and German Shepherds in the top three). They should understand new commands within 15-25 repetitions, while they’ll obey the first command 70 per cent of the time.

While they’re ranked 44th, some Samoyed owners will say these dogs are highly intelligent but stubborn.

Samoyed temperament

Overall, Samoyeds are considered to be great family pets given they love the company of humans.

These fluffy dogs can quickly forge a bond with family members and they’re not afraid to demand a lot of love from their pet parents.

With dignity and grace in abundance, Samoyeds are loving and loyal canines who will repay your affection for them.

Are Samoyeds good apartment dogs?

Sally the Samoyed (Photo: @scotlandwithfluffywolf)

These medium sized dog can live in apartments as long as their humans are responsible pet owners. They’ll need daily exercise to avoid Samoyeds becoming bored and destructive inside the home.

With a thick, plush coat, Samoyed owners will need to ensure their apartment is air conditioned to prevent overheating.

Do Samoyeds smell?

One of the big perks of the breed is they don’t tend to smell a lot. Samoyed owners will attest to the fact they’ve got very little odor.

Of course, this doesn’t mean these dogs won’t come back from the dog park with an unpleasant smell if they’ve found something to roll in!

Do Samoyeds need a lot of exercise?

Samoyed originate from north western Russia (Photo: Adobe Stock)

You won’t be surprised to learn Samoyeds do require quite a bit of exercise given their ancestors were accustomed to pulling sleds for nomadic tribesmen and then explorers in freezing conditions.

The AKC suggest that these smiling Sammies need a moderately high exercise regime, whether that means multiple walks a day, going for jogs with their owners or trips to the dog park.

It isn’t recommended that you allow your Samoyed to roam off the leash as they can be a flight risk. They’ve been known to travel long distances when they’re without a lead.

Can Samoyeds be left alone? Do Samoyeds suffer from separation anxiety?

For the uninitiated, separation anxiety in dogs is when a pup becomes increasingly stressed when their owner leaves the home.

This condition can manifest itself in a number of different ways: persistent barking and howling, destructive chewing or digging or even defecating.

Given the close bond Samoyeds have with humans, it’s hardly a surprise that the breed have a reputation for suffering with separation anxiety.

To tackle separation anxiety, you may want to consider a dog camera, leaving the radio or television on, crating, aromatherapy or hiring a dog sitter/walker.

When do Samoyeds shed?

Samoyed do shed a lot so if you’re thinking about these dogs as a pet, make sure you’ve got a good vacuum!

They have a straight outer coat, without wavy hair. The outer coat is thick and harsh, while the inner coat is soft.

The Spitz breed shed at least once and sometimes twice a year. Samoyeds will blow out their coat, which is a particularly challenging time for owners of these canines.

They usually shed in spring after the winter and with summer on the horizon.

Are Samoyeds hypoallergenic?

Sally the Samoyed (Photo: @scotlandwithfluffywolf)

These Russian pooches are not hypoallergenic. In fact, the AKC make it clear that there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic.

Samoyeds are not one of the breeds that the AKC or the Kennel Club recommend for people who suffer with an allergy to dogs.

They’re considered to be moderate to high shedders.

How often should you bathe a Samoyed?

The Samoyed Club of America recommends bathing the breed at least twice a year. Understandably, Samoyeds will get dirty on their daily walks or trips to the dog park.

Looking to debunk the notion that Samoyeds don’t need to be bathed, the Samoyed Club of America say ‘the time to bathe depends upon your dog, his surroundings, training and you.’

How long does it take to groom a Samoyed?

You won’t be surprised to learn that Samoyeds require quite a bit of grooming given their long hair.

They’re heavy shedders so they’ll need regular brushing to remove loose or dead hair.

AKC recommend brushing these dogs two or three times a week to keep on top of the grooming schedule for these dogs.

While brushing can help to get rid of hair, it can also prevent their coats from becoming matted or tangled.

Samoyed health issues

Although Samoyeds are considered healthy dogs, they are prone to some medical conditions.

These health problems include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), heart problems (like aortic stenosis and pulmonic stenosis), diabetes, and hypothyroidism.

Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can ultimately lead to lameness.

Progressive retinal atrophy is the bilateral degeneration of the retina, which can end up resulting in blindness.

Diabetes in dogs is caused by either a lack of insulin or an ‘inadequate’ biological response to a lack of insulin.

Hypothyroidism occurs when thyroid gland isn’t making enough of the hormone thyroxine.

Samoyed lifespan

As we mentioned above, Samoyeds are pretty healthy dogs that have an average lifespan of between 12 and 15 years.

Will a Samoyed protect its owner?

While Samoyeds are loyal to their owners, if you’re looking for a protection dog, you may prefer to opt for a breed with a history in this specific field.

These dogs are loyal to their pet parents and they’re sociable around people and other canines.

Are Samoyeds good guard dogs?

Continuing the theme, Samoyeds don’t make great guard dogs as they’re friendly and welcoming canines.

So if you’re looking for a dog to guard your family, home and property, they’re not the best fit.

Can Samoyeds swim?

Sally the Samoyed (Photo: @scotlandwithfluffywolf)

Each individual dog is different so it’s difficult to stereotype a breed. Samoyeds are a breed that have a reputation for not being the biggest water lovers.

Why do Samoyed smile?

Like we touched on above, Samoyeds are known for their trademark smiles. This is a physical feature that sees their black lips curve upwards to give them a cheery appearance.

Why do Samoyed dogs howl?

Samoyeds are often described as talkative dogs. They’re not afraid to tell off their owner if they’re unhappy with a situation. While the noise they make isn’t really a howl but a woo-woo sound.

Are Samoyed good with cats?

The Samoyede people used the Spitz dogs to herd and hunt reindeer centuries and centuries ago. Therefore, Samoyeds have herding instincts, which could prove problematic around small pets such as cats.

Can Samoyed live in hot weather?

You may be wondering whether they can live in hot weather given Samoyeds hail from north western Russia, where the weather conditions can be unforgiving.

However, they’re able to live in warmer climates. You need to make sure they’ve got access to fresh water and an area of shade if they’re outside.

If you’re worried about the hot temperature outside, you should keep your Samoyed inside the home with air conditioning.

Their white coats will reflect some of the sun’s rays, although it’s recommended that you don’t leave your dog outside when the sun is at its strongest.

Samoyed price

You won’t be surprised to learn that Samoyeds can be quite expensive dogs. The price can vary from breeder to breeder, while a dog’s lineage can also ramp up the cost.

Samoyed will generally cost between $600 and $1500, while puppies from show dogs could cost as much as $3000.

Why are Samoyed so expensive?

Samoyeds can cost quite a bit but that’s not where the expenses end.

As we’ve already discussed, some Samoyeds are predisposed to hip dysplasia, which can result in soaring health costs.

You’ve also got to consider health insurance for the Spitz breed to protect against unforeseen health issues.

According to Perfect Dog Breeds, Samoyeds can cost up to $60 to feed a month.

Samoyed mix

There are number of hybrid dogs that are part Samoyed. They include Golden Sammy (Samoyed x Golden Retriever mix), Samusky (Samoyed x Siberian Husky) and Sammypoo (Samoyed x Poodle mix).

Samoyeds to follow on Instagram

If you’re thinking about a Samoyed as a family pet, you may want to learn more about the breed from some Samoyeds on Instagram.

As a follower, you can ask owners questions about the dog and get a vital insight into these beautiful canines.

1) Maya The Samoyed @mayapolarbear – 1.5 million followers

2) Ghost (@ghost_the_samoyed) – 374,000 followers

3) Melker (@samoyedmelker) – 108,000 followers

4) Carl (@carlthesammy) – 62,800 followers

5) Dallas (@samoyeddallas) – 48,000 followers

6) Lambeau (@lambeauthederpking) – 33,400 followers

7) Roshe (@run.roshe.run) – 32,800 followers

8) Pillow (@pillowthegoodboy) – 31,500 followers

9) Zumo (@zumothesamoyed) – 27,400 followers

10) Murph (@themurphofwallstreet) – 20,000

Anything else to consider

Samoyeds are one of the oldest breeds. They’re one of 14 types of ancient breed of dogs.

The AKC rank the Samoyed dog as the 44th most popular breed in the United States.

In conclusion

Samoyeds originated in the north western Russia but are now common in USA and around the world.

They’re cheerful and friendly canines that like to interact with other dogs and people.

The breed don’t make good guard dogs or protection dogs because they’re welcoming of strangers.

Although Samoyeds can make great pets, it’s worth remembering that they shed a lot and they’re reasonably expensive dogs.