The Samoyed is a substantial but graceful dog standing anywhere from 19 to a bit over 23 inches at the shoulder. Powerful, tireless, with a thick all-white coat impervious to cold—Sammies are perfectly beautiful but highly functional. Even their most delightful feature, a perpetual smile, has a practical function: The upturned corners of the mouth keep Sammies from drooling, preventing icicles from forming on the face. A Sammy sentenced to solitary confinement in the yard is a miserable—and destructive—creature. These are smart, social, mischievous dogs who demand love and attention. Sammies need a very firm but loving hand in training. As pack animals, they must learn early who the alpha dog is—and the alpha dog must be you.
Have a question about Samoyed? Ask us
Subscribe now and be the first to know on our upcoming litters
Samoyeds, the smiling sledge dogs, were bred for hard work in the world’s coldest locales. In the Siberian town of Oymyakon, for instance, temperatures of minus-60 degrees are common. The Sammy’s famous white coat is thick enough to protect against such brutal conditions. Powerful, agile, tireless, impervious to cold—Sammies are drop-dead gorgeous but highly functional. Even their most delightful feature, a perpetual smile, has a practical function: The mouth’s upturned corners keep Sammies from drooling, preventing icicles from forming on the face.
The name Samoyed comes from the Samoyede, a semi-nomadic people from Asia who migrated to Siberia a thousand years ago. They bred dogs for hard work in the coldest habitable places on earth. In the Siberian town of Oymyakon, for instance, temperatures of minus-60 degrees are common. The Samoyede people lived in tents and huddled for warmth with their dog packs during the Arctic nights. This type of human-canine cooperation for mutual survival forged a tight bond between Samoyeds and people. When not sledging heavy loads across vast expanses of Siberia, Samoyed dogs earned their feed as watchdogs and hunters. The Samoyede depended on reindeer as a vital source of food, fur, and leather. At first, they used their dogs to hunt reindeer. But in time Samoyede culture shifted from hunting reindeer to herding them. The bold white hunting dogs and haulers found a new role as stock dogs, moving and protecting the herds. In the late 18th century, Arctic adventurers returning to England introduced the Samoyed to British dog lovers of refined tastes. Queen Alexandria was an admirer who did much to promote the breed as a companion and show dog. In America, a sparkling white dog named Moustan of Argenteau made history in 1906 as the first of the breed (then known as the Samoyede) registered by the AKC. American and European mushers of the early 20th century knew the Samoyed as an enthusiastic hauler of supplies, capable of sledging one and a half times their own weight. Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen are a few of the era’s famous explorers who rode behind Sams through uncharted frozen wastelands.
The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As his work lies in cold climates, his coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather than quantity. Males should be masculine in appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness; bitches should be feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long. General appearance should include movement and general conformation, indicating balance and good substance.
The Samoyed should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Samoyed has a profuse double coat, with a longer outer coat of harsh hair and a soft, thick, wooly undercoat. Samoyeds shed quite a bit all the time, even more so during shedding season, which can occur once or twice a year. Daily brushing will help to remove dirt and loose hairs and keep the dog looking his best. Mats or tangles can be worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. The nails should be trimmed every three to four weeks or as needed.
Samoyeds enjoy being with their people and participating in family activities. They need some daily exercise and enjoy play sessions with their owner in a safely fenced yard or long walks on leash. The breed has a strong urge to run away and roam, and if loose a Sammie might travel for miles, putting himself at risk.
The Samoyede people lived in tents and huddled for warmth with their dogs on brutal Arctic nights. This unusual degree of dog-and-master closeness forged a tight bond between Sammies and humankind. A Sammy sentenced to solitary confinement in the backyard is a miserable—and destructive—creature. These are smart, social, mischievous dogs who demand love and attention. Sammies need a firm but loving hand in training.
Samoyeds are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye and cardiac disorders. The Samoyed’s teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.
Medium, 19-24” at the shoulders, weighing anywhere from 35-65 pounds. The Samoyed is solid and muscular in a compact body with an abundant double coat that comes in colors of white, cream and biscuit yellow. The outer coat is weather resistant and straight; the under coat is thick but short and soft for extra warmth.
The Samoyed Dog has a life expectancy of 12-15 years and is prone to hip dysplasia, diabetes, eye issues and skin allergies
The Samoyed is a gentle, devoted, friendly and playful breed. Your Samoyed is composed, loyal and highly intelligent. This breed needs a lot of early socialization, great with family and friends, but wary of unfamiliar people and will chase other pets. You need to be a calm, knowledgeable, and humane owner giving consistent and committed leadership to your Samoyed using only motivational training methods.
The Samoyed requires a daily walk or jog with off-leash play in a safe area. Get your veterinarian’s approval before exercising your Samoyed in hot weather because this breed does not do well in hot climates.
General Appearance - The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As his work lies in cold climates, his coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather then quantity. The male carries more of a "ruff" than the female. He should not be long in the back as a weak back would make him practically useless for his legitimate work, but at the same time, a close-coupled body would also place him at a great disadvantage as a draft dog. Breeders should aim for the happy medium, a body not long but muscular, allowing liberty, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, strong neck, straight front and especially strong loins. Males should be masculine in appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness; bitches feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long. A very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Hindquarters should be particularly well developed, stifles well bent and any suggestion of unsound stifles or cowhocks severely penalized. General appearance should include movement and general conformation, indicating balance and good substance. (b) Substance - Substance is that sufficiency of bone and muscle which rounds out a balance with the frame. The bone is heavier than would be expected in a dog of this size but not so massive as to prevent the speed and agility most desirable in a Samoyed. In all builds, bone should be in proportion to body size. The Samoyed should never be so heavy as to appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy. The weight should be in proportion to the height.
Size, Proportion, Substance
(c) Height - Males--21 to 23½ inches; females--19 to 21 inches at the withers. An oversized or undersized Samoyed is to be penalized according to the extent of the deviation.
(a) Conformation - Skull is wedge-shaped, broad, slightly crowned, not round or apple-headed, and should form an equilateral triangle on lines between the inner base of the ears and the central point of the stop. Muzzle--Muzzle of medium length and medium width, neither coarse nor snipy; should taper toward the nose and be in proportion to the size of the dog and the width of skull. The muzzle must have depth. Whiskers are not to be removed. Stop--Not too abrupt, nevertheless well defined. Lips--Should be black for preference and slightly curved up at the corners of the mouth, giving the "Samoyed smile." Lip lines should not have the appearance of being coarse nor should the flews drop predominately at corners of the mouth. Ears--Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and "bear-eared." Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog; they should be set well apart but be within the border of the outer edge of the head; they should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be the same measurement as the distance from inner base of ear to outer corner of eye. Eyes--Should be dark for preference; should be placed well apart and deep-set; almond shaped with lower lid slanting toward an imaginary point approximately the base of ears. Dark eye rims for preference. Round or protruding eyes penalized. Blue eyes disqualifying. Nose--Black for preference but brown, liver, or Dudley nose not penalized. Color of nose sometimes changes with age and weather. Jaws and Teeth--Strong, well-set teeth, snugly overlapping with scissors bite. Undershot or overshot should be penalized. (b) Expression - The expression, referred to as "Samoyed expression," is very important and is indicated by sparkle of the eyes, animation and lighting up of the face when alert or intent on anything. Expression is made up of a combination of eyes, ears and mouth. The ears should be erect when alert; the mouth should be slightly curved up at the corners to form the "Samoyed smile."
Neck, Topline, Body
(a) Neck - Strong, well muscled, carried proudly erect, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when at attention. Neck should blend into shoulders with a graceful arch. (b) Chest - Should be deep, with ribs well sprung out from the spine and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. Should not be barrel-chested. Perfect depth of chest approximates the point of elbows, and the deepest part of the chest should be back of the forelegs-near the ninth rib. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width. (c) Loin and Back - The withers forms the highest part of the back. Loins strong and slightly arched. The back should be straight to the loin, medium in length, very muscular and neither long nor short-coupled. The dog should be "just off square"--the length being approximately 5 per cent more than the height. Females allowed to be slightly longer than males. The belly should be well shaped and tightly muscled and, with the rear of the thorax, should swing up in a pleasing curve (tuck-up). Croup must be full, slightly sloping, and must continue imperceptibly to the tail root. Tail - The tail should be moderately long with the tail bone terminating approximately at the hock when down. It should be profusely covered with long hair and carried forward over the back or side when alert, but sometimes dropped when at rest. It should not be high or low set and should be mobile and loose -- not tight over the back. A double hook is a fault. A judge should see the tail over the back once when judging.
(c) Front End - Legs should be parallel and straight to the pasterns. The pasterns should be strong, sturdy and straight, but flexible with some spring for proper let-down of feet. Because of depth of chest, legs should be moderately long. Length of leg from the ground to the elbow should be approximately 55 per cent of the total height at the withers-a very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Shoulders should be long and sloping, with a layback of 45 degrees and be firmly set. Out at the shoulders or out at the elbows should be penalized. The withers separation should be approximately 1-1½ inches.
(d) Coat (Texture and Condition) - The Samoyed is a doublecoated dog. The body should be well covered with an undercoat of soft, short, thick, close wool with longer and harsh hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and shoulders, framing the head (more on males than on females). Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more than quantity. A droopy coat is undesirable. The coat should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it is softer in texture.
(e) Color - Samoyeds should be pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or all biscuit. Any other colors disqualify
(a) Gait - The Samoyed should trot, not pace. He should move with a quick agile stride that is well timed. The gait should be free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there should be a strong rear action drive. Moving at a slow walk or trot, they will not single-track, but as speed increases the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are finally falling on a line directly under the longitudinal center of the body. As the pad marks converge the forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward in traveling, the stifles not turned in nor out. The back should remain strong, firm and level. A choppy or stilted gait should be penalized.
Adaptable, Friendly, Gentle
Any color other than pure white, cream, biscuit, or white and biscuit. Blue eyes.