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The Samoyed is a stunning medium/large Spitz breed, showing the typical characteristics of erect, pricked ears and a tail curling over the back. They have a thick, profuse weather-resistant coat. Their feet are flat and have an abundance of hair, making them like snowshoes and preventing snow from forming 'snowballs' between the toes.

  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Welcomes everyone happily
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Cannot be left alone

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–13 years
Weight: 23–30kg
Height: Adult males are 51–56cm and adult females 46–51cm
Colours: Pure white, white and biscuit, or cream
Size: Medium
Kennel Club group: Working


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 5/5
Three Samoyed dogs lying in the field


The Samoyed is generally a friendly, outgoing and devoted dog. Samoyeds are protective of their homes. No intruder will ever go unheard, although they rarely do much more than announce their presence. He loves to be included in all family activities and can become destructive and vocal if left for too long or bored. They enjoy digging and are great escape artists, so garden security is essential. They have to be socialised from an early age, especially with cats and any other household pets. They can be quite vocal.

Two Samoyed dogs sleeping

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Russia

Known at various times as the Smiling Dog or the Reindeer Dog, the Samoyed is an ancient reindeer-herding dog who takes their now universally known name from the tribe that treasured it so highly and worked alongside it - the Samoyede people of Northern Siberia.

While largely a herding dog, the Samoyed (or Sami) was a multi-purpose dog who would not only control livestock but would also pull sledges, and on occasions, provided the tribe with fur garments to keep them warm in the most inhospitable of climates.

These dogs lived and worked closely with the tribe and even shared their sleeping quarters, so has always lived alongside families, and was treated as a companion (and often a hot water bottle) as well as a working dog. At the end of the 19th century, explorers to the area took an interest in the Samoyed and their powers of endurance and stamina, using some as sledge dogs for early polar expeditions. A few Samis came back with them to England - where their stunning looks and cheerful personalities meant they become almost instantly popular with show enthusiasts and even royalty. This popularity continues to this day and the breed is remarkably unchanged - except unlike their ancestors, the modern Sami comes only in white!

Ideal Owner

The Samoyed would suit an owner or a family who wants a friendly happy dog, who are at home most of the time, who prefer a non-heated house and don’t mind being covered in white hair!

Health and Common Issues

The main inherited disease that the Samoyed suffers from is a particular type of kidney disease. As with many breeds, they can also suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.

Exercise Needs

The Samoyed dog breed needs a reasonable amount of dog exercise both on and off the lead. They do have a natural tendency to pull on a lead; however, they can be trained to walk beside you, or a headcollar can be used. An adult Samoyed needs a couple of hours of exercise daily, but his thick coat means he can easily over-heat and so very early morning exercise is ideal.

Nutrition and Feeding

Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. Samoyeds can be prone to bloating and stomach problems. Smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.

Grooming Samoyeds

This is a high-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming and it's important that full instructions are given to you by the breeder of your puppy. A daily brush will keep them looking clean, with a more thorough grooming once a week. If the coat becomes wet or muddy, leave it to dry; it is then easier to comb the dirt from the coat. In their native country, the Samoyed will shed its undercoat once a year, normally in the summer. In centrally-heated homes, however, they may shed twice a year. When the coat is being shed, it will get everywhere and grooming will need to be more regular. Males seem to have a longer coat than females.

Training Samoyeds

The Samoyed isn’t ever going to be an obedience champion as formal training isn’t in his repertoire! What he loves to do is run - so if you can find a club who specialises in Canicross, your Sami will be in heaven. If not, long lead walks will be in order after you've spent some time training him not to pull. After all, that’s what they were bred for!

Best Family Dog Breeds

Samoyeds make great family dogs as they enjoy being involved in everything and have happy, patient personalities.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Samoyed dog takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy, white, smiling dogs to help with the herding, to pull sleds, and to keep their owners warm at night by sleeping on top of them.
  • As Samoyeds were the easiest of the Arctic dogs to buy at the end of the 19th century, early polar explorers such as Shakleton and Scott used them as sledge dogs on their historic expeditions. Once such dog, called Antarctic Buck ended up in Sydney Zoo being exhibited between two tigers before being discovered and shipped back to England to join the breed’s foundation stock there.
  • Recent DNA analysis of the breed has discovered that they are one of the oldest dog breeds.

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