Type: Working dog
Weight: Male – 20-30kg
Female – 16-20kg
Height: Male – 20-23in / 53-60cm
Female – 19-21in / 48-53cm
Appearance: Samoyeds are rather large dogs. They have a double layered coat – a soft and dense undercoat to keep them warm in the Siberian cold and a long top coat. They can be seen in white and cream sometimes with a hint of silver. The Samoyed’s ears are triangular and erect. Their eyes are usually black or brown but blue-eyed dogs can be seen as well although this is not accepted in shows. One of their signature features is the long curled tail.
Temperament: Samoyeds are friendly and playful animals, not the most suitable breed as guard dogs. They do however make great companions – loyal, intelligent and affectionate. As always, training and socialisation play a big part in determining the temperament and character of the individual dog.
Skills: The Samoyed is a highly active dog and he needs his daily dose of exercise. In the past they were used as sled dogs in Siberia, nowadays keep your Sammy busy with different games, walks, hiking and dog sports such as agility and tracking competitions. It can be a challenge to train the Samoyed, but they learn quickly once you’ve caught their attention. With a working dog heritage, boredom is a risk and an under-stimulated Samoyed is prone to digging and chewing.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Samoyeds are a great choice as a family dog. They are kind and protective of children though sometimes a little clumsy, which can be a problem with toddlers, a playful Samoyed can easily knock a young child over. The breed is generally good with other dogs but they do have an instinct to chase prey so it can be difficult to socialise them towards smaller pets such as cats, ferrets or rodents.
Common Health Problems: Some of the most often seen health issues with Samoyeds are glaucoma, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, diabetes mellitus, cancer, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, subvalvular aortic stenosis and samoyed hereditary ghlomerulopathy.
Lifespan: Average 12 to 14 years.
Basic Tips For Successful Training
- It is important to keep an optimistic attitude when performing training activities.
- Training sessions should be kept short. The owner will accomplish more with 10 to 15 minute sessions two or three times per week than with a one hour session once a week.
- It is important for the owner to maintain a consistent behaviour. For example, it would be confusing for the dog to be praised for one thing only to be later scolded for performing the exact same action.
- Once the dog learns the meaning behind each command and the correct way to respond to them, the animal should be praised for achieving the set goals. Training should start while the dog is still a puppy.
- The owner should take on the role of “the pack leader”. For instance, if one does not want the Samoyed to climb on furniture, then one should never allow the animal to lay on the couch or on one’s bed. If this household rule is not clearly established, the dog is likely to disregard the owner’s authority.
- The Samoyed should be exercised on a daily basis. These animals are teeming with energy that will be channelled into inappropriate behaviour if said energy is not properly spent.
- Any verbal commands, for example “Sit”, “Stay” or “Lie down” should be issued with an enthusiastic and caring attitude.
- The Samoyed should be praised after each successfully performed task. These dogs crave for their owners’ attention and will respond well to verbal applause.
Housebreaking a Young Samoyed
Housebreaking a puppy is considered by dog owners to be one of the more difficult tasks to perform. Puppies do not develop full bladder control until they reach the 4 or 5 month threshold. Because of their accelerated growth rate, puppies tend to eat more food, burn more calories and eliminate more often than adult Samoyeds. After each nap, meal or play, the puppy should be taken to its designated area (indoors or outdoors) and stay there until it eliminates. The dog should be then taken to its crate. This should be repeated daily until the puppy develops a habit.
Housebreaking an Adult Samoyed
The best way to housebreak an adult Samoyed is to begin from the very beginning. The owner should pay special attention to the animal’s behaviour and could perhaps even maintain a diary in order to track where and when the dog eliminates. One may also use dog crates as an alternative, however they should be gradually introduced to the animal.
The owner’s most important duty is to teach the puppy how to be dog- and people-friendly. This will ensure the safety of those around the animal and vice versa. The puppy should be allowed to regularly interact with other dogs and people.
- The dog should be provided with pleasant experiences around other dogs and people.
- The dog should be allowed to live indoors.
- The dog should be exposed to a variety of external stimuli.
- The dog should be trained through negative behaviour and treatment.
- Positive behaviour should be encouraged, while negative – ignored. The dog will thus associate inappropriate behaviour with a lack of reward.
- Repetition is key in ensuring that the Samoyed learns and remembers well.
- The owner should provide the animal with multiple rewards – the pet should be instantly rewarded for each successful task.
Good leadership is not expressed through dominance and power. It is instead achieved through an adequate control of the dog’s behaviour, regulating the animal’s access to desired things. If the dog expresses the need to go outside, the owner should command it to sit down before the door is opened. If the Samoyed excitedly jumps up on the owner before leaving the house, that person should remain calm until the dog sits. The owner should then clip on the leash and take the animal for a walk. This will teach the dog to strictly obey commands in order to achieve what is desired.
The Samoyed breed was originally used to hunt animals, herd reindeer, and haul sledges for the Samoyede people in northwestern Siberia, from whom the name is derived. It is believed that they treated these working dogs kindly, allowing them to join various family activities at the end of each day. During 19th century’s fin de siècle Samoyeds were imported from Siberia, while during the early half of the 20th century they pulled sledges on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
Most Samoyed strains in England and in the United States originate from veteran sledge dogs. The first American Samoyed, a Russian import, was registered by the AKC in 1906. Most present-day American Samoyeds, however, trace their ancestry to dogs imported after the First World War.
Despite their Arctic heritage, the Samoyeds have successfully adapted to warmer climates and may even tolerate the heats of Florida, Texas and Southern California. Recent DNA analysis of the breed has proclaimed the Samoyed as one of the fourteen most ancient dog breeds, along with Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and the Chow Chow. The Samoyeds have been bred and trained for a period of at least 3,000 years.
The very first Samoyed brought to England is believed to be a dog named Antarctic Buck. Queen Alexandra was known as a Samoyed breed enthusiast and contemporary English and American Samoyeds are descended from her kennels. In 1909, the first breed standard was adopted in England. The year of 1923 saw the establishment of the original Samoyed Club of America, which is the same year in which the American breed standard was adopted.
In 1923, the English Kennel Club and later the American Kennel Club dropped the “e” from the breed’s name. Shortly thereafter, the name began to be mispronounced. Instead of “Sahm-uh-yed” (the native pronunciation), the name was anglicized to “Sahm-oid.”
The active Samoyed is not suited for apartment life. A home with a large, securely fenced yard is a much more appropriate choice. Because of its working dog nature, the Samoyed needs a designated place for a playground. Activity should be constantly stimulated with ongoing training and dog sports. Should the Samoyed grow weary, the animal would most likely resort to digging holes in the ground, chewing various objects for self-entertainment or may even attempt an escape.
- The Samoyed should be kept on a leash whenever the dog is out in public.
- The Samoyeds’ Nordic heritage guarantees that the dogs are naturally fit for cold climates. As a result, they enjoy activities that involve snow.
- Conversely, their thick coats make them sensitive to heat.
- They should not be allowed to perform strenuous exercises in extremely hot weather.
- Exhausting activities should be performed during early morning or evening when temperature level is low.
- During extremely hot weather, Samoyeds should be kept indoors with either fans or air conditioning turned on.
Similarly to many large-sized dog breeds, the Samoyeds experience rapid development over the course of four to seven months. This accelerated growth, however, leaves them vulnerable to bone disorders and injuries. A suitable diet consists of high quality, low-calorie foods that will also suppress their fast growth. In addition, Samoyed puppies should not be allowed to run and play on solid surfaces (such as pavement), jump excessively or pull heavy loads. Instead, owners should wait until the animals are at least two years old and their joints have fully formed.
The Samoyed has a straight outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat (often referred to as wool). It can be of pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or biscuit colours and its maintenance can be daunting. Daily brushing is necessary during shedding periods. Under normal conditions, however, this task may be performed once or twice a week. The dog will need a bath once every eight weeks or whenever the animal is stained with mud or with other substances. Bathing a Samoyed is a time-consuming process, which involves thorough soaking of the coat and its subsequent rinsing and drying.
- The dog’s ears should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that they are properly cleaned.
- It is recommended to bring the dog to a professional groomer every four to six weeks.
- Keeping the Samoyed’s face clean and trimmed is important for the dog’s health.
- The puppy’s teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week to remove any tartar build-up and bacteria.
- The dog’s nails should be trimmed once or twice a month to prevent painful injuries and other problems.
- The owner should praise the dog while it is being brushed and should reward calm behaviour in order to encourage it further.
- The owner may occasionally have to perform ear plucking.