Average Height: 19 – 23½ in
Average Weight: 35-65 lbs
Average Life Span: 12-15 yrs
Area of Origin: Siberia, Russia
Similar Breeds: Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Finnish Spitz, Siberian Husky, American Eskimo Dog
History and Origin:
Bred to be a herding and freight-pulling dog in Siberia, the Samoyed is one of the oldest breeds of dogs, domesticated over 3,000 years ago. It was originally used by the Samoyed people to herd reindeer and to guard property. The Samoyed dog also became used to keep its family warm on the long, harsh Siberian nights. The breed was introduced to Britain in 1889 by explorer, Robert Falcon Scott, who is known for his leadership in two expeditions to the South Pole (one on which he died). He used the Samoyed on his expeditions to pull supplies, and the breeds tenacity became recognized in England. The Samoyed as it appears today is a result of breeding efforts in Britain. Its popularity spread to North America, where it became recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1906.
Personality and Temperament:
The Samoyed is a loving, loyal, and friendly dog. It typically does not make a suitable guard dog as it is not an aggressive breed, however its tendency to bark when a stranger is approaching makes it a good watch dog. It is extremely gentle, and makes an exceptional companion for children; the Samoyed maintains a puppy-like vitality through to old age. Its instinct to herd and pull may cause some issues if left unchecked. A Samoyed may attempt to herd small children or other pets, and will not hesitate to pull its owner along while walking. Overall, the Samoyed is a joyful breed that is suitable for a nervous or first-time owner who is dedicated to the proper socialization and training of the dog.
Exercise & Training:
The Samoyed is a working dog, and requires extensive exercise to keep it happy and healthy. If given enough exercise, it can live happily in an apartment; however, a yard for it to play in is ideal. It loves to participate in pulling activities such as skijoring or bikejoring, however care must be given during the summer months as the Samoyed has a tendency to overheat. It is a highly intelligent breed that is very trainable. Firm but gentle leadership, with attention given to the Samoyeds pulling instinct, will help it develop into a fantastic family companion.
The Samoyed has a thick double coat that needs daily vigorous brushing to keep it healthy. The undercoat sheds out in spring and fall, and will need extra grooming during these times to avoid skin irritation from dead hair. Bathe only when needed. Although an average to heavy shedder, it has been reported that people with allergies were not affected by the Samoyed.
The Samoyed shares ancestry with other Spitz breeds such as the Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, American Eskimo Dog, and the Finnish Spitz. These breeds are all among the oldest of dog breeds, with direct lineage back to a primitive dog type.
4 Interesting Facts about the Samoyed:
1. The Samoyed people of Siberian called their dogs, Bjelkier, meaning white dog.
2. Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen, used the Samoyed as a sled dog to explore the North Pole. In the extreme conditions and out of desperation, he fed dogs that had died to the living ones, ultimately destroying nearly all of his stock.
3. Roald Amundsen, another Norwegian explorer, used a Samoyed named Etah as a lead dog on his first expedition to the South Pole.
4. Shed-out Samoyed undercoat is sometimes used as an alternative to sheeps wool, similar in texture to angora wool.