The Samoyed is known for its sled-pulling abilities and friendly temperament. They are considered an age-old helper and a dependable friend. They were first used by the Samoyeds people of Siberia. These people were nomads and they used these dogs not only for pulling the sled, but also for herding reindeer and assisting the tribes in hunting for food and clothing. Recent DNA analysis of this breed has led to them being included among the fourteen most ancient dog breeds. Roal Amundsen made these dogs famous by using them in his 1911 expedition to the South Pole.
Samoyeds were first introduced to the West in 1889. This breed made a smooth transition as a household companion and has become very popular. This may be due to their striking looks and engaging personality. They are extremely friendly and gentle, and display affection to all people. These traits make them an excellent family addition. Because of their friendliness, their usefulness as a guard dog is limited.
Personality and Training
Obedience classes are highly recommended. Samoyeds are very intelligent and will respond to consistent but patient training. This training should be started at a very early age. They have a reputation of being chewers if left to their own devices for long periods of time. However, the good-natured, lively, social Samoyed will never actively search out trouble. Samoyeds deal best with cold-climate dwellers, families with children, farmers and ranchers, and active singles. They bond with their guardians, but love everyone in the family – especially children. They love to be in the thick of things, so a solitary life-style will not suit them.
Samoyeds can weigh between 51 and 66 pounds. Males are usually 21 to 23 inches at the shoulder, while females are 19 to 21 inches at the shoulder. A Samoyed’s eyes are usually black or brown and are almond in shape. Blue or other colored eyes can occur, but are not allowed in the show ring. The ears are triangular in shape and are thick and covered in fur and stand erect. They are usually white in color, but can have a light brown tint known as “biscuit”. A Samoyed’s tail is one of the breed’s most distinguishing features. The tail is curled over their back to one side. Most will relax their tails when at ease or when they are being stroked or when eating. The tail will return to a curl when more alert. Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat. The topcoat is long, coarse and straight, and will appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. This topcoat keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. The undercoat consists of short, soft, dense fur that keeps the dog warm. This breed sheds most of the time, but shedding is heavy once or twice a year which is referred to “blowing coat”.
Samoyeds are characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned them the nickname of “smiley dog”.
Photo: Courtesy of Caninest via Flickr (CC by 2.0)