1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Introduction
4. History
5. Appearance
6. Temperament
7. Intelligence / Trainability
8. Children and Other Pets
9. Health
10. Caring for a Samoyed
11. Grooming
12. Exercise
13. Feeding
14. Average Cost to keep/care for a Samoyed

Key Breed Facts

Popularity #96 out of 238 Dog Breeds.

The Samoyed breed is also commonly known by the names Smiley, Sammy, Bjelkier, Samoiedskaya Sobaka, Nenetskaya Laika.
11 - 15 years
Pedigree Breed ?
Yes - KC Recognised in the Pastoral Group
Males 51 - 56 cm
Females 46 - 51 cm at the withers
Males 23 - 30 kg
Females 23 - 25 kg
Health Tests Available
Breed Club - Breeders to Give Grooming Advice
BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme
BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme
Average Price (More Info)
£793 for KC Registered
£717 for Non KC Registered

Breed Characteristics


The Samoyed is a cheerful dog and one that always boast having a smile on their face which is one of the reasons why the breed has proved so popular not only here in the UK, but elsewhere in the world too. Apart from their lovely looks with their gorgeous, sparkling white coats and dark eyes, the Samoyed is a delight to have around thanks to their affectionate, fun-loving and cheerful natures. However, they are not the best choice for first time owners, because although clever and quick to learn, the Samoyed can prove challenging to train.


The Samoyed we know today boasts an interesting ancestry and were named after the Samoyed tribes of Siberia. However, the breed was developed by two tribes namely the Samoyed and the Nentsy and it was fur traders who came across these dogs during their trading expeditions to the Arctic. The fur traders brought their dogs back to Britain with them, but at the time they were described as white and black dogs. It was dogs of this type that were used on the very first Polar expedition. However, it was the white dogs that boasted stand-off coats that became the most recognisable throughout the world. Today, the Samoyed remains one of the most recognised dogs thanks to their charming smiley faces, their sparkling white coats and their dark, expressive eyes.


Height at the withers: Males 51 - 56 cm, Females 46 - 51 cm

Average weight: Males 23 - 30 kg, Females 23 - 25 kg

Samoyeds are attractive dogs with their dark eyes and sparkling white coats and tails that curl over their backs. These lovely dogs always have a smile on their faces which adds to their overall endearing looks. They have powerful, wedge shaped heads that are quite broad and flat between a dog's ears. Their muzzles are moderately long with a stop that's not too sharply defined. Their lips are black which accentuates their smiley look. Their noses can be black, brown or flesh coloured. Their eyes are a nice almond shape and set slanted on a dog's face. They can be a medium to dark brown colour and set nicely apart with the rims being black. Samoyeds always have a keen, alert and intelligent expression in their eyes.

Their ears are slightly rounded at the tips and quite thick being set well apart on a dog's head and nicely covered with hair on the inside. Older dogs hold their ears upright. The Samoyed has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are muscular and a good length which dogs carry arched adding to their proud looks.

Their shoulders are well laid back with dogs having muscular, straight front legs that show a good amount of bone. Their backs are moderately long and broad, being well muscled with dogs having extremely powerful loins. Chests are nice and deep without being too broad and ribs are well sprung and deep. Back legs are very powerful and muscular with Samoyeds having flattish, long feet that are slightly spread with a nice amount of feathering. The soles of their feet are well cushioned with hair too. Their tails are long and profusely covered with hair which dogs carry over their back when working or alert, but they typically drop their tails when they are relaxed.

When it comes to their coat, the Samoyed boasts a lush, thick, close and very soft outercoat with a much shorter undercoat which has harsher hair that grows through it. Their hair stands away from the body and provides the Samoyed with a lot of protection from the elements. The accepted breed colours are as follows:

  •    White
  •     White and biscuit
  •     White and cream


The Samoyed is known to be friendly by nature both with people and other dogs. They enjoy being part of a family and involved in everything that goes on in a household. Not only do these fun-loving dogs appear to always enjoy life with their wonderfully smiley faces and their alert dark eyes, but they really do take things in their stride loving nothing more than being in the great outdoors expending all that energy they have inside of them.

They are highly intelligent, but they are also one of the more sensitive Spitz-type dogs. They have retained a very independent streak in them which can make training them a little bit of a challenge. Samoyeds need to know their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in a household to be truly happy, well balanced and obedient dogs. They are never happier than when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance because without this, a Samoyed could quickly take the role of alpha dog and this could see a dog becoming wilful and unruly.

Samoyeds have a wonderful "talking" voice as well as a nice deep bark and although not know to be "barkers", they will soon let an owner know when there are strangers about or when they think something may be amiss in their territory. It would be fair to say that Samoyeds like the sound of their own voices which means they can be quite vocal at times. It cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of socialising a Samoyed early in their lives and this has to include introducing them to new situations, noises, people, other animals, pets and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they grow up to be well-rounded mature dogs. The same goes for their training which also has to start when dogs are young with a lot of emphasis being placed on obedience training.

One thing a Samoyed is extremely good at is turning a deaf ear to a command when the mood takes them and they usually do it in a very playful manner which can often prove frustrating to anyone who does not fully appreciated a Samoyed's needs. Because they are so intelligent, the Samoyed is very quick to learn new things and loves to please. However, the downside is these dogs are just as quick to learn all the bad things too. In short, when training a Samoyed, it's important to always be consistent and fair so a dog understands what is expected of them and to be extremely patient with them.

Intelligence / Trainability

Samoyed are independent thinkers by nature which can make training them a bit challenging, especially for people who have never shared a home with this type of dog before. This is why they are not the best choice for first time owners because a Samoyed might just get the better of them. However, in the right environment and in the right hands, a Samoyed can be trained to be relatively obedient bearing in mind these dogs are famous for turning a deaf ear to a command when the mood takes them.

The key to keeping one of these highly intelligent dogs focussed and on the ball, is to make their training sessions as much fun as possible because if a Samoyed gets bored, there's no hope of them paying any attention to what they are being asked to do. Many Samoyeds compete and excel at canine sports which includes activities like obedience, flyball and agility to name but three. With this said, one trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche is to pull which means extra attention has to be made when training a Samoyed to walk on a lead so they don’t pull too much.

Children and Other Pets

Samoyeds are friendly and loyal dogs and they enjoy being in a family environment and being involved in everything that goes on in a household. They are usually good around children although it's always best to supervise any interaction between toddlers and dogs just in case playtime gets too boisterous and a child gets knocked over albeit by accident.

They are also social by nature which means they generally get on with other dogs, more especially if a Samoyed has been well socialised from a young enough age. When they grow up with a family cat in the house, they get on well together and usually tolerate other small pets too.

For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.


The average life expectancy of a Samoyed is between 11 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Like so many other breeds, the Samoyed is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these energetic, handsome smiley dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

Caring for a Samoyed

As with any other breed, Samoyeds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.


Samoyeds have thick double coats and as such they are high maintenance in the grooming department. To keep their coats looking as good as they should means having to groom them on a daily basis. It's also important to keep an eye on the hair found between a dog's paw pads and to trim it when it gets too long. Samoyeds shed throughout the year, although more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to remove all the loose and dead hair from a dog's coat. It’s a good idea to have their coats professionally groomed several times a year which makes keeping things tidy easier in between visits to a grooming parlour.

A Samoyed's coat should not be trimmed or clipped which could leave their skin too exposed and it puts a dog at risk of being sunburnt. Their undercoat plays an important role in regulation their body temperature so if this is messed up, it can lead to dogs overheating. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.


The Samoyed is an intelligent, high-energy dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. This means exercising a Samoyed for a minimum of 2 hours’ a day. A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble bearing in mind that Samoyeds are known to be supreme escape artists.

With this said, Samoyed puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing problems later in their lives.


If you get a Samoyed puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Samoyed

If you are looking to buy a Samoyed, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Samoyed in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £48.70 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Samoyed and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1000 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Samoyed would be between £70 to £110 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.

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