Today, we know the Samoyed as a fluffy canine companion, but the term was originally coined to describe ethnic groups of reindeer herders living in western Siberia in the late 19th century. The herders used dogs to protect their herds from bears and wolves by barking loudly – a trait they’ve still kept to this day! They were also used at times to help reindeer pull the sledges during migratory journeys.
According to the Breed Standard, the Samoyed ‘displays affection to all mankind’. This is true as long as they have plenty of human company. They are not a breed which can be left alone for long hours every day, otherwise their mischievous streak will look for other ways to occupy their minds! They are keen diggers and can be very vocal. They are bright, intelligent dogs, who love to be a part of the family and are happiest when given a job to do. They are wonderful sled dogs, working well in harness, and also make great agility, obedience and show dogs. As with all intelligent breeds, they like to please their owners and enjoy doing activities with the family.
Samoyeds are most recognisable by their white, fluffy coats! The coats can be white, biscuit or cream and are made up of a dense, soft undercoat with longer, coarse guard hairs. These hairs carry silver tips which shine in the sunlight! The coat requires regular grooming to keep on top of dead undercoat which can matt close to the skin if left neglected. A daily groom with a slicker brush and comb helps keep the coat in top condition and makes it a lot easier to maintain. As you would expect, Samoyeds do shed a lot of coat, so you need to be prepared for a lot of hair; a good vacuum cleaner is an essential! They ‘blow’ their coat around twice a year, when they shed their undercoat to encourage new coat growth and when this happens, it really does get everywhere! Ideally, the Samoyed needs to be bathed, blasted and give a full groom around every six to eight weeks.
The Samoyed is an active dog and loves to walk, run, play and work. They adore long walks and with training, most can be trusted to run off lead! The dogs are happiest when they are working so are the ideal companions for canicross, bikejor and scootering and they are perfect for sled-dog racing. As a freight dog, this all comes naturally to them and it is fantastic mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. They also enjoy activities such as agility and obedience, which are great opportunities for building the bond between you and your dog as well. As long as Samoyeds gets regular exercise and the chance to use their brains, they are easy going, relaxed and affectionate dogs who love lazy Sundays on the sofa with their families!
Samoyeds like all Northern Breeds love to run and please their owners. I feel that Samoyeds are different because they show pleasure in their smile. They get so excited when they know they are going out with you, be it a short run to the shops, or a journey to a rally. They always know when we have reached our destination as they all start singing “rather loudly”.
For their size they still like to sit on your lap and wash your ears. Whether they are running through the forest or trottering around a show ring, they love what you do with them and they love to be the showoff.
Overall, the Samoyed is a friendly, happy, active dog, who loves to be part of the pack, albeit it with humans or other dogs! If it sounds like it is a breed for you, make sure you research reputable breeders for a puppy or rescue from a rehoming centre.