"The Smiling Dog"

Photo of Samoyed


The Samoyed is named for the semi-nomadic Arctic tribe that first employed these dogs to hunt with them and guard their families. Starting from about 1000 B.C., the Samoyed has lived and worked side by side with the gentle, kindly people who managed to eke out an existence in the frozen areas of Siberia along the Arctic Circle. The breed did not reveal his prowess in sled-pulling until Fridtjof Nansen employed some Samoyeds in his expedition to the North Pole near the end of the nineteenth century. At around the same time, the first Samoyeds were being introduced in England. In 1906, the first Samoyed was registered with the American Kennel Club and began to appear in shows in the United States. In 2006, the Samoyed ranked 76th among the 154 breeds registered to the American Kennel Club.


The Samoyed's smile reflects his gentle, congenial nature. He's also a playful individual, not to mention communicative. This dog has no problem demanding attention from human companions who may have temporarily ignored him. Like his forebears, this dog wants and expects to be considered a full member of his human family. Some Samoyeds are a bit headstrong; the wise owner employs a good sense of humor and a healthy dose of ingenuity to work around exhibitions of stubbornness.


The Samoyed is a medium-sized dog who ranges from 19 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 50 and 65 pounds. The dog's luxuriant double coat, which stands out from the body, is white, although some dogs sport cream or biscuit-colored spots. The ears stand upright and the tail curls over the back. The eyes are dark and reflect the dog's keen intelligence.


The Samoyed lives to serve, but may have his own ideas as to what constitutes such service. He also dislikes repetitive training; the precision and repetition of competitive obedience is not for him. Positive reinforcements, particularly tasty treats, will make training more fun for both owner and dog. Those who want to take training to the next level should consider embarking on canine sports such as recreational dog sledding and hiking. Many Samoyeds are also good at herding and therapy work.

Grooming & Care

Like other double-coated dogs, the Samoyed sheds profusely at certain times of year. To keep the shedding under control, daily brushings are needed. The Samoyed's spectacular white coat can get dirty pretty quickly, so frequent bathing may be necessary. Weekly pedicures and ear cleanings will also help him to look and feel his best.

Health Concerns

Like all purebred dogs, the Samoyed has his share of genetic health concerns. Among the most common are hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. Breeding parents should first receive OFA and CERF clearances, and breeders should provide proof of these clearances to prospective buyers.

Famous Samoyed

Etah, the lead dog for the first expedition to the South Pole, led by Roald Amundsen.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 5
Home 9
Children 48
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 61
Challenges Can be uncomfortable in warmer climates.
Height 19 to 24 inches
Weight 35 to 65 pounds
Life 12 to 15 years
Home Alone 84
With Kids 114
With Strangers 106
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.