Samoyed Breed Information

General Appearance

The Samoyed is a substantial and graceful working dog who is alert, strong, agile, and dignified.

Samoyed eyes are usually black or brown and are almond in shape. Blue or other color eyes can occur but are not allowed in the show ring. It is in the "brown and black section" in its family, the Spitz family.

He should not be long in the back as a weak back would make him utterly useless for his natural work. He should also not have a close couple body as this would also put him at a great disadvantage as a draft dog. He should be slightly longer then he is high at the withers.

Breeders should aim for a body not long but muscular, allowing liberty, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, strong neck, straight front and especially strong loins. Samoyeds should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness.

Due to the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long. Hindquarters should be particularly well developed, stifles well bent. The bone is heavier than what would be expected in a dog of this size but not too massive to prevent the speed and agility that is most desirable in this breed. In all builds bone size should be proportional to body size.

When the Samoyeds move they should have a flowing graceful trot and not pace. When trotting there should be strong rear action. Moving at a slow walk to trot they will not single track, but as speed increases the legs gradually angle inwards until the paws are falling directly under the center of the body.

Samoyed ears are thick and covered with fur, triangular, and erect. They are almost always white but can often have a light to dark brown tint (known as "biscuit"), usually around the tips of the ears.

They have a perpetual smile and the upturned corners of the mouth have a practical function that prevent the Sammies from drooling so no icicles will form on the face.

The Samoyed tail is one of the breed's distinguishing features. The tail is carried curled over the back; however, unlike the Alaskan Malamute, the Samoyed tail is held touching the back. It is not usually held in a tight curl or held flag-like; it is usually carried lying over the back and to one side. In cold weather, Samoyeds may sleep with their tails over their noses to provide additional warmth. Almost all Samoyeds will allow their tails to fall when they are relaxed and at ease, as when being stroked or while eating, but will return their tails to a curl when more alert.

Adult Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat that is impervious to the cold (even at -60 degrees from where they originate). The topcoat contains long, coarse, and straight guard hairs, which appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. The under layer, or undercoat, consists of a dense, soft, and short fur that keeps the dog warm. The standard Samoyed may come in a mixture of biscuit and white coloring, although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common.

Shed Samoyed fur is sometimes used as an alternative to wool in knitting, with a texture like soft Angora hair. The fur is sometimes also used for the creation of artificial flies for fly fishing.

Health and Life span

The Samoyed breed is generally an extremely healthy breed and can have a long-life span. This is in large part due to them being an ancient dog breed that has experienced minimal genetic manipulation by humans. They are a hearty breed that is well built and not prone to injury from regular activity. They have a low rate of joint dysplasia. The average lifespan for a Sammie is 12-16 years and they are known to have am energetic spirit well into their senior years. Some Samoyeds will live longer, and it isn’t unheard of to hear of a Samoyed living 18 years.

An important fact to know that Samoyeds frequently have reactions to Sulfa medications (Sulfonamides) and are sensitive to anaesthesia and Remadyl.

Samoyeds are generally very healthy, but like any purebred dog there are some health conditions to be aware of with the Samoyed breed. Not all Samoyeds will get any or all of these diseases but is important to be aware of them if considering the breed. Good breeding programs have reduced the predisposition of genetic disease and that’s why it’s recommended to find responsible breeders who only breed healthy dogs that have OFA certificates to verify that their Dog is free of elbow/ hip dysplasia and that the eyes are healthy and free from any and all eye conditions. The OFA results will also be published in the CHIC database. Veterinarian assessments are recommended as well. A general genetic test is a good idea for breeders to be able to screen out certain possible problem conditions and predisposition level of possible future problems.

The following is a list of health conditions known to a small percentage of the Samoyed breed:

Eye Problems (much lower risk than other breeds): Retinal Atrophy, Retinal Dysplasia/OSD, Juvenile cataracts, Glaucoma.

Heart problems (Lower risk than other breeds): Aortic Stenosis and Pulmonary Valve stenosis.

Skeletal Problems (extremely low risk than other breeds): Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.

Metabolic Problems: Diabetes (Higher risk than other breeds) and hypothyroidism.

Skin problems (Same to slightly higher risk then other breeds): Sebaceous Adenitis.

It is common to here that Samoyeds have no hereditary problems, but they do have one known hereditary problem with low prevalence: Hereditary Glomerulopathy.

Keeping your Samoyed at an appropriate weight is one easy way to extend his life.


The Samoyed is a strongly built and graceful dog with large bone structure for its size. They are exquisite, majestic, yet exceptionally functional. At the shoulders, the Males standard measure from 21-23.5 in (53-60 cm) and 45-66lb (20.5-30 kg) while females will range from 19-21.5 in (48-55 cm) and 35-55 lb (16-25 kg).

The North American Bred Samoyeds tend to be a bit bigger ~ ½-1 inch in size and this tends not to be penalized within the same. However, if larger than this, the dog will be penalized according to the extent of the deviation. A smaller than listed breed standard size is more heavily penalized as this is a working dog that was required to perform certain functions in its original environment and intended functions. Weight listed above are average ranges. What is important is that the weight is proportional to the size. Judging may vary depending on the Judge.


While pure, sparkling white is the colour most often seen in the breed, cream, biscuit or white-and-biscuit are also Samoyed colors.


Samoyeds' are intelligent, adaptable, loyal, friendly, and gentle. This affable disposition makes them poor guard dog. An unwarrantedly aggressive Samoyed is exceedingly rare. The breed is characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned the nicknames "Smiling Sammie" and "Smiley Dog." The breed has an almost uncanny ‘human’ understanding. There is a happy, childlike air to be found in this gentle and companionable canine. The Sammie is full of action, ready to serve, friendly but conservative, not distrustful, or shy. Independent, yet loyal to those he loves, the Samoyed makes an excellent watchdog.

They are diligent watch dogs, barking whenever something approaches their territory. Barking can be decrease significantly via training. Samoyeds are among the best companions, especially for small children or even other dogs, and they remain playful into old age.

They are very gentle with children and animals they grow up with who they consider part of their pack.

According to the Samoyed Club of America, when Samoyeds are alone and become bored, they may become destructive or start to dig – especially when young. When trained and exercised daily and given chew toys/bones to chew this will diminish significantly and stop as we have experienced. With their sled dog heritage, a Samoyed is not averse to pulling things, and an untrained Samoyed has no problem pulling its owner on a leash rather than walking alongside.

Activity Level

The powerful, tireless, and upstanding Samoyed is a sturdy muscular dog and working breed. He appreciates lots of outdoor exercise. Animated and alert, the Sammie is best suited for suburban or country living. Can adapt well to urban living with lots of walks and outdoor exercise and not being left alone for long periods of time. They have a strong prey drive; females more so then males and will be on the look out for bunnies and squirrels to chase. Samoyeds can complete in a range of competitions and activities that include dog agility trials, carting, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, mushing and herding events.


Thick double coated breed. The glistening, stand-off outercoat has a harsh, straight, thick coat of long silver tipped guard hairs. This top layer keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. An inner coat that grows a thick, close, soft, woolly and short undercoat that keeps the dog warm. The coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather than quantity. Male Samoyeds have larger a “ruff” than the female.

The undercoat typically sheds heavily once or twice a year, and this seasonal process is sometimes referred to as "blowing coat". This does not mean the Samoyed will shed only during that time however; very light shedding fine hairs (versus the dense clumps shed during seasonal shedding) will be shed all year round, and can have a tendency to stick to cloth and float in the air.

Males typically have larger ruffs than females. While this breed is touted as "hypoallergenic", it does shed and needs frequent grooming. While the breed may produce fewer allergens, care should be taken for severe allergies.

Video of Samoyed overview by Anneka from Animal Watch:


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