The Samoyed is a 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. The Samoyed can be pure white, white and biscuit, or cream in colour. Adult males are 51-56cm in height and adult females 46-51cm. The weight range is 23-30kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: Daily
- Shedding: Heavy
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
- Alone: Less than 1 hour
- Other pets: Low
- Stability as a guard: High
A herding dog in northern Russia, the Samoyed (or 'Sami') dog breed acquired the name after the nomadic tribe it served. They were also used to guard the reindeer that they herded. The Samoyed dog worked closely with the tribe and shared their tents, so has a great love of family life. On occasion they were used to pull sleds or boats. Many explorers used these dogs at the turn of the century when there was an increase in polar exploration. After the expeditions many of these dogs returned home with the explorers. They became popular very quickly and are still so to this day.
The Samoyed is generally a friendly, outgoing and devoted dog. Samoyeds are protective of their homes; no intruder will ever go unheard. 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.
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.
The Samoyed dog breed needs a reasonable amount of 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' exercise daily.
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.
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.