The Samoyed is a medium-sized dog belonging to the pastoral group with well-balanced proportion coupled with a strong and graceful appearance. It has a powerful head shaped like a wedge with broad skull and medium length muzzle. Featuring tapering forehead, black lips, short, smooth hair on the face and a black nose. It has almond-shaped eyes which come in medium to dark brown that offers an intelligent expression. The long, thick ears which are slightly rounded at the tips are carried fully erect. It has strong jaws with regular and complete scissor bite and a strong and medium-sized neck to support a well-balanced head. The body of the Samoyed features a broad and very muscular back and a deep chest, supported efficiently by muscular, straight front legs with good bone and evenly muscular back legs bolstered by long, flat and hairy feet. The tail is long and coated profusely, carried over the back and to the side when the dog is excited or it can also be carried dropped when at rest. The coat is made of wiry, weather-proof outer coat with a thick, close undercoat that comes in pure white, white and biscuit and cream with the outer coat tipped in silver.
The Samoyed is a native of Siberia and was named after the Samoyedes people, a tribe of nomadic reindeer herders who bred the Samoyed for herding reindeer and caribou, sled pulling, boat towing, guarding and bed warmer. It was both a pet and a working dog, often sleeping with the children to keep them warm in the harsh, biting cold of the Siberian weather. It is included among the fourteen most ancient dog breeds as evidenced by recent DNA analysis of the breed and was brought to England during the late 1800s, although those early breeds were not pure white in colour. Queen Alexandria is credited for promoting the Samoyed after receiving one as a gift. In fact, the dogs bred by the Queen are known to be the ancestors of the modern pedigrees. Between 1910 and 1912, Road Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer of polar regions led the first successful Antarctic expedition to the South Pole by using a team of sled dogs led by a Samoyed named Etah. Kaifas and Suggen, the lead dogs for Fridtjof Nansen’s first North Pole expedition were also Samoyed dogs. While the breed is still being used to pull sleds, nowadays, they are seldom utilized for herding and are far more known as household pets.
This friendly and playful disposition coupled with an attitude that is never distrustful or shy makes it a poor candidate for a guard dog. It is a loyal breed that is happy to please its master. An instinctive herding behaviour can sometimes manifest when it is playing with children, often attempting to move them in a different direction. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Samoyed is its alert and happy expression which has earned for itself the nickname “smiling dog.” In general, the breed is very inactive indoors but it has a tendency to dig and bark a lot especially if it gets bored.
However, the Samoyed can be quite difficult to train and is known to have a stubborn streak. Training is an absolute requirement and should be started at an early age by a consistent and gentle handler, as the Samoyed can be quite difficult to train due to its stubbornness.
This thick coat sheds semi-annually which requires daily attention during this period. On normal occasions, it only needs brushing or combing twice a week and along with proper diet will keep the coat in excellent condition. It should only be bathed when necessary.
The Samoyed is a hardy dog with very little health concerns. This robust breed can live between the ages of 12 to 14 on average. Like other large breeds, canine hip dysplasia is the most prevalent medical concerns with the Samoyed, along with eye problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma. It is also prone to diabetes and bloat or gastric torsion.
An ideal base diet for the Samoyed should be a blend of horse meat, poultry, and fish with wheat and potatoes. Suggested feeding should be several small meals a day instead of one large heavy meal. Moreover, avoid taking the dog for an exercise after a meal.
As a typical working breed, the Samoyed requires a lot of exercise in order to stay healthy and vigorous. Daily workouts in the form of long walks on leash, jogging or a session of play in the park are ideal physical stimulation. It enjoys doing work and will typically get enough exercise out of doing physical activities such as pulling or herding. This breed thrives in cold weather conditions and can live outside the house in temperate to cold weather. Conversely, it is not recommended for hot, arid climates because its thick coat will cause it to suffer from heat stroke.
The Samoyed is a friendly breed and an excellent companion for small children and other household pets including dogs, always playful even into old age.