The Samoyed breed has been around for hundreds of years. They are also often called ‘smiling sammies’!
This is a large breed that grows between 19 and 23 inches tall, weighing up to 65 pounds. It also has a thick white coat that can make them look even bigger!
You can expect a Samoyed dog to be friendly, gentle, and playful.
But will it be right for your family? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What’s In This Guide
Take a look at our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Samoyed.
- Are Samoyeds good family dogs?
- How old is the Samoyed breed?
- How much does the Samoyed shed?
- Are Samoyeds aggressive?
Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: 59 out of 195 breeds on AKC
- Original Purpose: Working dog
- Weight: 35 – 65 pounds
- Temperament: Friendly, affectionate, playful.
Samoyed Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose
- Fun facts about Samoyed
- Samoyed appearance
- Samoyed temperament
- Training and exercising your Samoyed
- Samoyed health and care
- Do Samoyeds make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Samoyed
- Finding a Samoyed puppy
- Raising a Samoyed puppy
- Popular Samoyed breed mixes
- Samoyed products and accessories
History and Original Purpose
The Samoyed dog was created for work. Its name derives from the nomadic Samoyede people who journeyed to Siberia over a thousand years ago.
This breed were originally used for reindeer hunting. So, they became vital to the survival of the Samoyede people.
They were bred to withstand the coldest of conditions. This breed was the epitome of a working dog who transitioned seamlessly to companionship. They provided their masters with protection, food, export, and warmth in the incredibly harsh conditions of Siberia.
But, as time passed, this dog turned from being a reindeer hunter to a reindeer herder. They drove livestock and protected them throughout Siberia.
The Samoyed breed was relatively unknown throughout the rest of the world until later in the 18th century. Explorers came across the breed while traveling through the Siberian region.
The explorers returned to England with the breed, where they quickly became favorites amongst dog enthusiasts. Including Queen Alexandria!
Fun Facts About the Samoyed Dog
This breed is taking the internet by storm! A Samoyed called Lucy from Scotland has become an Instagram star.
She posts pictures and reviews of different types of crisps! She currently has over 16,000 followers.
Another popular Samoyed called Maya has an impressive 1.9 million followers on her Instagram account! Take a look at how cute she is here!
Breathtaking and massive, this breed’s characteristics are some of the most gorgeous in the dog world.
And while the Samoyed size is rather large, the breed has a profusely thick coat that makes him look even larger! In fact, it has made our list of dogs that look like bears!
The Samoyed height and weight vary depending on if the dog is a male or female.
A male stands 21 to 23.5 inches tall and weighs 45 to 64 pounds. But a female is 19 to 21 inches and can weigh around 35 to 50 pounds.
While the Samoyed full grown is a rather large breed, there is no such thing as a “giant Samoyed” breed. There are just some that are bigger than others.
This dog comes in three color varieties:
- White and Biscuit
The breed has a thick, double coat and a long-plumed tail that curls over his back. He has erect ears. But, his most famous feature is a winning smile!
In fact, did you know the famous use of the Samoyed smile? It helps to keep him from drooling!
The Samoyed personality is perhaps one of his most endearing qualities. Known for his friendly nature and gentle disposition, this breed’s temperament is ideal for families with children and other dogs.
This breed is also known for his funny sense of humor and mischievous nature. He is friendly to all and doesn’t mind strangers.
However, he may not get on well with smaller pets like cats. In fact, he may make a game of chasing smaller pets due to his hunting instincts. Early socialization is going to be key to raising a well-rounded and happy dog.
And while relatively well behaved, this breed can be a bit stubborn and doesn’t like boredom. But training from a young age can help with this.
Relationship with Owners
The Samoyed thrives in loving environments and wants nothing more than his owner’s time and affection.
Bred to live shoulder-to-shoulder with his masters, the Samoyed naturally forms a very tight bond with those he considers family. Plus, although he is very tolerant of harsh weather, this is not a breed who should be considered an outdoor dog.
So, the Samoyed’s tight bond with his family could be a blessing and a curse. As this dog cannot handle being left on his own for hours at a time.
In fact, it is recommended that those who choose to get this breed either have a very flexible work schedule or are able to work from home.
Training and Exercising your Samoyed
This is a very large breed who requires daily exercise and playtime. He enjoys running and playing in the backyard. But, prospective owners should ensure that their yard is safely enclosed and fenced.
This is a dog who was bred to roam freely in Siberia. So keep this in mind when walking him or letting him outside.
While he does love his family and has an incredibly strong bond with his people, he also has a natural instinct to run and explore.
If let off leash or if he escapes his home or yard, he may end up running off and is perfectly capable of traveling for miles.
As far as training your Samoyed, keep in mind that he is very intelligent. He will enjoy learning and pleasing you. But it may take some patience and consistency, considering he can be stubborn and mischievous.
We love to recommend the positive reward system, especially treats and praise. You can learn more about this in our training courses (LINK).
And since this is such a large breed, remember that early socialization and obedience training from puppyhood will be key to ensuring this breed learns to walk gently on a leash. You don’t want him dragging you down the sidewalk!
Early socialization will also help ensure that the gorgeous and sweet Samoyed is adaptable and well-rounded in many different settings and situations.
Samoyed Health and Care
While typically a hardy breed, the Samoyed is predisposed to several inheritable health issues.
Health problems could include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Heart issues, such as aortic stenosis and pulmonic stenosis
If you are concerned about potential health problems in your dog, you may want to consider early health screening.
You should also keep in mind that any repeatable breeder will be able to provide health certificates proving their dogs have been screened for any of the above issues.
The Samoyed lifespan is about 12-14 years, which is generally pretty long for a larger dog breed!
However, this is only an average. So, you may know Samoyed dogs who have lived even longer than this! With the right care it’s possible for these big, beautiful dogs to live even longer!
Like all dogs, the Samoyed thrives on a high-quality dog food with real meat proteins as the first few ingredients.
Since the Samoyed is a larger breed, he will do best with a dog food geared towards larger dogs. Larger breeds require certain nutrients for their bone and muscle development, which specific food can provide.
Your Samoyed should eat a high-quality food specific for his age, weight, and activity level.
And of course, fresh water should always be available to him. Experts also recommend that treats be given in moderation but when necessary, especially during training!
Do Samoyeds shed? The answer is yes, and quite excessively too!
If you are considering adding this dog to your household, you should definitely consider shedding.
As previously mentioned, the breed has a double layer coat. His first layer is thick and wooly and his outer layer is pretty long and profuse.
This dog sheds consistently throughout the year. But, shedding becomes even heavier during shedding seasons, which occur twice a year.
This means that grooming your dog is going to require a bit of time and patience.
Grooming and Bathing
While they are pretty decent self-groomers, this breed will need to be brushed almost daily to keep all that loose hair under control. Grooming will also help keep his long, outer layer of hair from getting matted.
And though he will need further, more thorough grooming at least twice a week, the Samoyed will only need baths occasionally.
Your dog will also need his nails trimmed every three weeks to keep them from breaking. His ears will also need to be cleaned regularly to keep moisture and wax from building up and causing ear infections.
Do Samoyeds Make Good Family Pets?
This dog is gorgeous, intelligent, and very friendly. But that doesn’t mean he fits into everyone’s lifestyle.
Some of this breed’s characteristics make him an ideal family pet and a wonderful choice for first-time dog owners. But, he is also a dog who requires a lot of time and attention and will not tolerate being alone.
The Samoyed does best in homes with families that have flexible work schedules that allow them to come home often throughout the day. Or with a family member who works from home.
And while this breed does get along well with children and other dogs, you should take extra precaution when leaving him alone with smaller household pets like cats, as the Samoyed is a hunter at heart and may enjoy chasing smaller animals.
Room for Exercise
Prospective Samoyed owners should also consider their yards. Do you have a fenced and secure yard in which your dog cannot escape? Remember, this breed is capable of running off and traveling for miles.
Luckily, this breed is very adaptable to most home types whether they are houses or apartments, as long as his exercise requirements are being met.
So, if you love the outdoors and need a dog to adventure with, are able to groom your puppy as necessary, and have a flexible work schedule that allows you to give adequate attention to this loving breed, then he would make a wonderful companion for you.
Rescuing a Samoyed
There are many benefits to rescuing a dog from a shelter. One of them is going to be the price.
If you are looking to rescue your Samoyed puppy, adoption fees are around $50 to $100, and often shelters will cover the initial vet fee.
Click here for a list of rescue centers for this breed.
Finding A Samoyed Puppy
If you want to find a Samoyed puppy, you are in luck. This is a very popular breed, with many sources selling this dog breed. However, it may come with a hefty price tag.
However, popular breeds mean a higher change for poor breeders and puppy mills to take advantage. So be sure and do your research before making the leap into getting a Samoyed.
One of the benefits of getting your puppy from a breeder is that reputable breeders will be able to provide certificates proving their breeds have been health screened.
Raising A Samoyed Puppy
Raising any puppy can be challenging at the best of times.
Popular Samoyed Breed Mixes
Perhaps a purebred Samoyed isn’t the right choice for you. Some people prefer choosing a mixed breed.
Here are some mixed breeds featuring the Samoyed:
- Samoyed Akita mix
- Husky Samoyed mix
- Golden Retriever Samoyed mix
Perhaps this isn’t the breed for your home at all. If you want a similar dog, but aren’t sure about the Samoyed, take a look at some of the breeds below:
Pros And Cons of Getting A Samoyed
Let’s recap the pros and cons of this popular breed to see if it will suit your home.
- Needs lots of regular exercise
- Can’t be left alone for too long
- Good at escaping yards
- Won’t suit homes with small animals
- Can be stubborn at times
- Heavy shedding breed
- Happy, social, friendly breed
- Intelligent and often easy to train
- Great for families with lots of time to spend together
- Perfect for active families
- Has a long average lifespan
Samoyed Products and Accessories
Take a look at some of our guides to help you choose the best products for your new puppy.
Samoyed Breed Rescues
Take a look at the following rescue centers if you are searching for a Samoyed.
Also, make sure to leave any we have missed off in the comments!
References and Further Reading
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Dogs Owned In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Schalamon et al. 2006. Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years. Pediatrics
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2008
- Strain G. Deafness prevalence and pigmentation and gender associations in dog breeds at risk. The Veterinary Journal 2004
- Packer et al. 2015. Impact of Facial Conformation On Canine Health. PlosOne
- Adams VJ, et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Meyers VN, Jezyk PF, Aguirre GD, Patterson DF, Short-Limbed Dwarfism and Ocular Defects in the Samoyed Dog, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
- Betsy Sikora Siino, Samoyeds: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual,
- Ross D. Clark, DVM, Medical, Genetics & Behavioral Risk Factors of Samoyeds,
- Peter Pongracz, Adam Miklosi, Victoria Vida, Vilmos Csanyi, The Pet Dogs Ability for Learning from a Human Demonstrator in a Detour Task is Independent From the breed and Age, Applied Animal Behaviour Science,
- Tiffani J Howell, Tammie King, Pauleen C Bennett, Puppy Parties and Beyond: the role of early age socialization practices on adult dog behavior, Volume 6, pages 143-153
- Nathan B Sutter and Elaine A Ostrander, Dog Star Rising: The Canine Genetic System, Nature Reviews Genetics, Volume 5, pages 900-910