Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Samoyed
Average Cost to keep/care for a Samoyed
Breed Specific Buying Advice
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 other thing to bear in mind is that a Samoyed's coat is extremely high maintenance and as such they benefit from being professionally groomed several times of year, more especially when they "blow" their coats. As such, sharing a home with a Samoyed means putting up with quite a lot of shed hair.
The Samoyed we know today boasts an interesting ancestry and were named after the Samoyede people, a group of Asiatic nomadic tribes thought to be of Mongol descent. These nomad people took their white coated dogs known as Bjelkiers with them when they migrated to North America. They used their dogs to haul sleds and to guard and herd large numbers of reindeer, all of which were jobs they were especially good at and for which they were highly prized. They were so highly regarded that puppies and dogs lived with their masters inside their lodgings which are known as "chooms".
It was during the 17th and 18th Centuries that Russian explorers began travelling through Siberia where they noticed how efficient the "Bjelkier" was as a working dog. They also recognised the "beauty" of these dogs and as such the Czar of Russia took an interest in the breed and even offered some of them to European nobles and royals. Very soon the "Bjelkier" was awarded "royal status" which saw the breed being protected from the outside world.
Bjelkiers were used to pull tax collectors sledges and to help explorers travelling through the Siberian regions of the land and their reputation for being trustworthy and reliable grew and grew throughout the land. Many explorers managed to procure Bjelkiers for use on their expeditions to the Arctic and the North Pole. Other breed enthusiasts back in the day included the King of Italy who owned many of them. The reason why the Bjelkiers were the preferred dogs over other breeds like the Husky, was that they boasted a much better temperament and disposition.
An explorer called Roald Amundsen used Bjelkiers on his expedition to the South Pole and the first dog to go over the pole in 1911 was his lead Bjelkier dog. Many of the dogs that returned from expeditions were offered to other intrepid explorers and as such many Bjelkiers found their way to England. Captain Scott used them on his fateful expedition to the South Pole too.
Virtually all Samoyeds seen today can trace their ancestry back to dogs that were used in expeditions to the Antarctic and the Artic with one of the biggest breed promoters outside of Siberia having been a gentleman called Ernest Kilburn-Scott who worked for the Royal Zoological Society in England. He had been given some dogs by explorers as well as some that had come from Siberia and he began exhibiting at Kennel Club shows in the "foreign dog classes". These dogs soon found enthusiasts throughout the land.
In 1909, he founded the Samoyede Club and established the name of the breed in England although in their native Siberia, they were still known as "Bjelkiers". By 1912, the breed was awarded its own class status and in 1923, the "e" was taken off their breed name. Today, the Samoyed remains one of the most recognised and popular dogs not only in the UK, but elsewhere in the world thanks to their charming smiley faces, their sparkling white coats, their dark, expressive eyes and their wonderfully cheerful smiles and dispositions.
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. A dog's coat should not have any curl in it whatsoever. Their hair stands away from the body and provides the Samoyed with a lot of protection from the elements. The accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
When a Samoyed moves, they do so with a lot of purpose and drive showing a free movement that's both elegant and powerful at the same time.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is given as a guideline only.
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 must 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 must 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.
Samoyeds are not the best choice for first time dog owners because they can be quite hard to train. They are much better suited to people who are familiar with their specific needs and who have the time, dedication and patience to train a highly intelligent dog that learns things quickly which includes the good and the bad.
Although Samoyeds are generally good around other dogs, they have a high prey drive and therefore should not be trusted around smaller animals and pets they don't already know. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when a Samoyed can run free off the lead more especially if there is wildlife or livestock around, bearing in mind that they are quick to turn a "deaf ear" to a command when the mood takes them.
Samoyeds have a very playful side to their natures and love nothing more than to entertain and be entertained by their owners. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever they quickly learn what pleases an owner and what does not which is to say a Samoyed will always test the "boundaries" just for the fun of it and to see how much they can get away with.
Samoyeds are highly adaptable dogs and providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with a ton of mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, they are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country. With this said, like all dogs, Samoyeds enjoy being able to roam around a back garden whenever they can so they get to really let off steam. However, the fencing must be ultra-secure to keep a Samoyed safely in.
Samoyeds form strong ties with their families, but they do tolerate being left on their own providing it is never for too long. Much like any other breed, no Samoyed likes to be left to their own devices for extended periods of time which could see them being destructive around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they may be feeling.
As previously mentioned, the Samoyed has a lovely "voice" and are known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which can become a real issue. Puppies should be gently taught not to bark, but this needs to be done with great care so as not to scare them more especially as Samoyeds are known to be sensitive dogs by nature.
Some Samoyeds like swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Samoyed off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they can't get out of the water on their own.
Samoyeds are natural watchdogs being quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively, preferring to keep their distance and bark as a way of alerting their owners to something.
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 focused 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 must be made when training a Samoyed to walk on a lead so they don’t pull too much.
Samoyed puppies are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. Owners need to set out rules and boundaries right from the word go so that a puppy understands what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. This means teaching a Samoyed puppy not to bark too much and to play nicely without pulling or tugging both of which are traits that are deeply embedded in their psyche. All dogs need to be taught their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household which prevents them from taking on the role of dominant dog. The first commands a puppy should be taught as early as possible are as follows:
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. However, they have a high prey drive and will happily chase any animal that tries to run away or which they spot in the distance, turning a convenient deaf ear to the "recall" command.
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:
The conformation and build of a Samoyed is all-important and dogs should be well-balanced and have good coats which meet the breed standard. A Samoyed's coat is designed to keep a dog warm in colder climates which means keeping cool in hotter summer months is challenging for the Samoyed. In short, a dog can quickly and easily overheat during the summer months and as such great care should be taken during the hotter months.
Another point prospective owners should be aware of is the shape of a Samoyed's eyes because if not correct, dogs can suffer from a condition known as "medial canthal pocket syndrome" which sees the corners of a dog's eyes tilting too much inwards which in turn creates a pocket where dirt can gather causing irritation.
Samoyed puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Samoyeds gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Samoyeds are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up, bearing in mind that they can suffer from a condition called sebaceous adenitis. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Samoyed breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions for all Kennel Club registered breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions for the Samoyed.
It is mandatory for all Kennel Club assured breeders to use the following schemes and other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club also recommends that all breeders use the following scheme on their stud dogs:
It is also worth noting that breeders should always offer prospective Samoyed owners advice on how to groom their dogs.
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.
Samoyed puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
Things you'll need for your puppy
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Samoyed puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Samoyed puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Samoyed puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Samoyeds need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Samoyed in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Samoyed need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Samoyed don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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 builds 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 must 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.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Samoyed puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Samoyed must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Samoyed can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 £21.78 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £50.23 a month (quote as of November 2017). 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 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 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 well-bred, healthy Kennel Club registered pedigree Samoyed puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Samoyeds are among some of the more popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies command a lot of money. As such, with Samoyeds there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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