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the search for a dog
Two Samoyed dogs

Breed overview

  • Breed group – Working group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height – 21 to 23.5 inches (males), 19 to 21 inches (females)
  • Weight – 45 to 65 pounds (males), 35 to 50 pounds (females)
  • Coat length & texture – Long, thick, straight double coat
  • Coat color – The Samoyed is famed for its luxurious pure white coat. However, cream, biscuit, or white and biscuit color varieties are also accepted.
  • Exercise needs – High
  • Intelligence – High intelligence
  • Barking – Very vocal
  • Life span – 12 to 14 years
  • Temperament – Social, affectionate, playful, strong-willed
  • Hypoallergenic – No
  • Origin – Siberia

Samoyed fun facts 

  • Pronunciation: SAMMY-ed
  • “Sammy smiles” prevent drooling — and ice crystals from forming on the Saymoyed’s face in the extreme cold of its native Siberia.
  • Originally bred to be reindeer herders
Samoyed running in snow

Samoyed temperament and characteristics 

The Samoyed is a powerful breed with a gentle disposition and affectionate nature. They are highly active, inquisitive, and great family dogs, but they can become demanding and mischievous if they don’t get their way. Samoyeds love to be the center of attention and happily lavish affection on any person they meet.

The Samoyed is generally known to get along well with other animals, including cats. But, due to the highly playful nature of this breed, they are probably not the best companions for elderly cats or smaller animals. Bred as working dogs, Samoyeds require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to remain happy. They adapt to new situations with ease but dislike being left alone for long periods.

Samoyed puppy

Common Samoyed health problems

As an ancient breed, the Samoyed is relatively hardy, as they’ve experienced minimal genetic intervention by humans. However, they are prone to having adverse reactions to any medications containing sulfa, including sulfasalazine. It’s wise to share this information with your veterinarian before any treatment. Some of the most common health conditions seen in the Samoyed dog breed include:

Costs of caring for a Samoyed

You should expect to pay around $164 per month on average for your Samoyed, including food, toys, health care, and a little extra for emergencies. Samoyeds are prone to eye problems, which vary in cost depending on the cause and diagnosis. For example, cataract surgery ranges from $2,700-$4,000 per eye depending on where you live. Hip dysplasia surgery can cost around $6,000, depending on the severity of the issue.

Pet insurance

Health insurance is a great way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and ensure that your dog is cared for in the event of an unexpected health issue. You can also take out additional wellness plans that cover routine vaccinations, annual check-ups, and flea/worm treatments. An alternative to such policies is a pet savings account, setting aside a certain amount of money each week or month.

History of the Samoyed

The Samoyed is one of the world’s oldest domestic dog breeds, dating back as far as 5,000 years. Their thick coats and incredible stamina enabled them to herd reindeer for the Samoyede people of Northern Siberia, where temperatures could drop to 60 degrees below zero. They huddled with their owners overnight to keep them warm and protected from predators. This unique, close-knit relationship meant that the Samoyed was regarded as a valued member of the family.

Introduction to America

In the late 1800s, the breed was brought to work as sled dogs on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. They were first introduced to the rest of Europe in 1889, with the first breed standard adopted in England in 1909. The first Samoyed in the U.S. was a Russian import by Princess de Montyglyon in 1904. However, most Samoyeds in America today descend from dogs imported after World War II. The Samoyed Club of America was formed in 1923.

Caring for your Samoyed

Owning a dog can be expensive, especially when you factor in veterinary costs. When you first get your puppy, you’ll need to ensure they’re up to date with their vaccinations, flea/worm treatment, and that they are microchipped. You will also need to account for potential treatment costs if your dog develops any health concerns.

Exercise

Due to its history as a working dog, the Samoyed needs at least 40 minutes of moderate daily exercise. These dogs also require plenty of mental stimulation due to their high intelligence. This comes in the form of training sessions, interactive toys, or regular games. A bored Samoyed becomes mischievous and will happily open all your cupboard doors to find something interesting to play with!

Samoyeds and family life

Bustling family environments are ideal for this breed as they crave constant interaction. They will happily entertain your kids for hours and act as devoted guardians against any perceived threats.

Samoyeds do not like being left alone for long periods, so they’re best suited to homes where someone is around for most of the day. Expect your Samoyed to demand constant attention and affection — this is not a breed that is content curling up on the sofa. They also have a tendency to roam when they get the chance, so make sure your yard is secure.

Samoyed walking on leash

Grooming

The Samoyed has a luxurious double-layered coat, consisting of a slightly rough outer coat and a softer, fluffier undercoat. Daily brushing with a brush or metal comb is essential for this breed to prevent mats and tangles. Samoyeds tend to shed a lot, especially in the spring and autumn months, so you may need to brush more often in those seasons.

When brushing, make sure you get deep into the undercoat especially in the warmer months to prevent your dog from overheating. If your dog gets particularly dirty, give them an occasional bath but not too often as excessive bathing can dry out the skin. Avoid brushing the coat when it is wet because this can cause clumps and skin irritation.

Besides brushing, trim your dogs’ nails roughly once a month and regularly brush your dog’s teeth with a vet-approved dog toothpaste. You should also regularly clean your dog’s ears to prevent infection.

Diet and nutrition

Seek advice from your vet regarding food portion sizes, but as a general guide, an adult Samoyed eats about 1,500-1,800 calories per day or about 2½ cups of dry dog food split into at least two meals. Samoyed puppies require around 1,000-1,200 calories split into three separate meals.

Meals should include plenty of protein and fat in their diet, especially for Samoyed puppies because of their fast growth rates, such as raw meat, eggs, fish, and fresh vegetables. Docosahexaenoic acid is a beneficial supplement for puppies as it can boost eye and brain development. Other Omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your dog’s coat and skin in good condition.

Tips for mealtimes

Samoyeds are known to wolf down their food, a trait that’s traceable back to their ancestors. In the harsh Siberian climate, dogs frequently went weeks without food. As a result, they often devoured whatever was put in front of them. This can lead to bloat, so stick to a strict feeding schedule and try using a slow-feeder bowl. Avoid long walks or excessive exercise shortly after your dog has eaten as this can also cause bloat.

Training your Samoyed

The Samoyed is an intelligent and inquisitive breed that loves to please. However, they can be demanding and will express their opinions if they disapprove of something. For this reason, training should begin when your dog is still a puppy to make sure your canine companion knows who’s boss! A firm but loving hand is best for this breed.

Samoyeds are highly food-orientated, so use tasty treats to encourage your dog to remain focused on training. Offer plenty of praise and positive reinforcement. These dogs are easily distracted so try training your puppy after a high-intensity play session. This way, they will be too tired to be disobedient!

Samoyed playing with a tennis ball

Breeds similar to the Samoyed

Not quite sure that a Samoyed is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Siberian husky. These active dogs are similarly-sized to Samoyeds and possess the same high levels of energy and drive.
  • American Eskimo dog. This compact, clever breed shares the striking white coat of the Samoyed but in a smaller package.
  • Japanese spitz. Like the Samoyed, this breed is known for its expressive smile and loyal nature.

Frequently asked questions

How much does a Samoyed cost?

You can expect to pay between $600 and $1,000 for a purebred Samoyed. There is also the option of adopting a dog from an animal shelter. Do your research and only buy dogs from reputable breeders. You can check out a list of recommended breeders with the American Kennel Club. Alternatively, you can ask your local vet for advice.

How big do Samoyeds get?

Samoyeds are classified as medium-sized dogs. Males should grow to about 23 inches in height. Females are slightly smaller, typically growing to around 20 inches tall. On average, a healthy male will weigh 45 to 65 pounds. A female will weigh 35 to 50 pounds.

Are Samoyeds hypoallergenic?

Samoyeds are not considered hypoallergenic because they have thick double-layered coats that shed often. If you have a severe allergy to dander, you are better off looking for a shorter-haired breed.

Are Samoyeds good with children?

Samoyeds are playful and attentive, so they love being around children. However, you should ensure that they are properly socialized and trained first. These dogs can be quite noisy and mischievous — supervise any interaction between a Samoyed and small children to avoid any accidents.