The Samoyed - 'Samoyedskaya'

descriptive textDog breed info
Weight:Male: 45 — 65 lbs
Weight: Female: 35 —- 50 lbs
Height:Male 21” — 24”
Height Female: 19” — 21”
AKC Rank 2008 #71
Lifespan: 10—12 yrs
Group Working

  • Breeders And Rescue Groups
  • Dog Health, Dog Illness, Medical Problems

    Dog Breed Info - The Samoyed

    A very playful Samoyedskaya
    alone in the dog park

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    Breed Overview

    Origin: From Russia, Ancient times. Original function: Herding reindeer, guarding, draft dog. Today: Sled pulling, companion. Color: Mainly white. Also cream.

    This is a hard working breed from Russia and dates back to ancient times in Siberia when fishermen known as “Samoyeds” used these powerful, all-white dogs to herd and protect their reindeer, upon which they depended for food. The dogs got their names from these nomadic people that were constantly on the move so the reindeer could find food. The dogs were also used to pull sleds, hunt bear and tow boats for the nomadic Samoyedskayas. By the late 1800’s, the dogs found their way into England where they were bred and distributed. In 1906, the dog was introduced in America as a gift from Russia’s Grand Duke Nicholas. At this time, the dog had become a sled pulling dog. In the early 1900’s it was part of a team of dogs that pulled sleds to Antarctica. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1947.


    A bit stubborn and difficult to train. Take your time and use a clicker. clicker training works on the most difficult dogs. It's humane and simple to do. Try it.

    Crate Training

    Want to crate train your Samoyed? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

    Potty Training

    Some Samoyed puppies can be a bit tricky (not easy) to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

    If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

    Agile Samoyed easily clears the bar
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    The Samoyed is a good companion dog for anyone, even children. The breed usually gets along with strangers, other pets in the family and other dogs. It’s a gentle dog as long as she gets plenty of daily exercise outdoors. The Samoyed needs activity and entertainment so keep her in toys and things to chew on so she doesn't become bored. Otherwise, she’ll bark and maybe dig holes or chew things. Some can be stubborn and independent. Others may try to herd children around the house which requires training. A good combination of strength, agility and friendliness.

    If you happen to get a Samoyed with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

    Friendly Toward Other Dogs

    Yes, relatively friendly. May pick and choose with some dogs.

    Friendly Toward Other Pets

    Yes. Does do well with household pets. May try to herd small animals in the house.


    Friendly Toward Strangers

    Yes, bring on the friends, relatives and neighbors.


    Yes, quite playful.

    A Samoyed Puppy playing in the fresh snow.
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    Yes, very affectionate.

    Good with children?

    Yes, good with children. Playful and gentle dog. Best for older kids 6 and up.

    Good with Seniors over 65?

    Yes, can be good for active seniors. IF the senior is into walking or jogging and can drive a car to the vet, this could be a good match. The dog is affectionate, playful and a good companion. If longevity or training are an issue, find a Samoyed rescue group and adopt a 2 or 3 year old dog that is house trained and knows a few commands. That will save a lot of headaches.

    Living environment

    Apartment, house or farm are okay as long as the dog gets her exercise outdoors. The apartment is okay since she is not very aggressive. She prefers a cool climate. But wants to live indoors with her family of humans.

    A medium to large size, fenced yard where you can play fetch with her would be an asset.

    Energy level

    Moderately high. The Samoyed was used for herding so she has stamina and is active.

    Exercise needs, daily

    Moderately high needs. This is an active dog. A jogging partner, but can also do with two good walks a day or some vigorous games of fetch in the yard.


    Excellent watchdog.

    Guard dog

    No. Falls short here. Not aggressive enough and too friendly.




    Brush and comb two to three times a week. Oftener when shedding to remove dead hair.


    Suggested Reading For The Samoyed
    Click on the cover photos for more information and reviews.

    • 3rd book from the left - "A Dog Who's Always Welcome" is a training book that takes your Samoyed way beyond normal obedience training and into the world of THERAPY DOG obedience. Friends will be glads to see your dog with his warm, sweet, loving attitude. You'll be able to take your dog anywhere to meet anyone!

    • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners to keep handy.

    Samoyed Breeders

    In the event you decide to go looking for Samoyed puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
    Samoyed Breeders with puppies for sale.

    Samoyed Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Samoyed Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
    Petfinder - Samoyed Rescue - (Nationwide) At the time of this writing, Petfinder is listing only 98 dogs available for adoption in the country. This number will vary. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate the dog health records for possible future reference.
    Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you may need to go online and search for Samoyed rescue groups, kennels, or adoption. This breed is a bit scarce.

    Dog Health Issues For The Samoyed
    Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the Samoyed by various vets.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

    • Renal dysplasia—Disease of the kidney. Improper function of the kidney. If you own a Shih Tzu, check twice a year with your vet for kidney function or.... sooner if you observe any unusual symptoms such as... increased drinking, increased or decreased urination, very little color to the urine, depression, loss of appetite, bad odor in breath plus any other unusual behaviors. See vet immediately!

    • Glaucoma—Painful pressure builds in the eye leading to blindness.

    • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
      Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

    • Aortic stenosis—Hereditary heart defect. A narrowing of the aorta inhibiting blood flow in the heart, causing the heart to work harder in the Samoyed. If the condition is mild, the dog may never show symptoms and live a long life. If severe, the dog will object to exercise, possibly faint at times or experience sudden death. In 90% of the affected dogs, the condition of the heart would not change from around 1 to 2 years on through it’s life.

    • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

    • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

    • Perianal gland fistulas—Abnormal openings around the dog's anal area. These openings quickly get badly infected and are painful. The dog may “scoot” on his rear end and a foul odor may be omitted. This is a SERIOUS disease. Early detection and treatment is vital.

    • Portosystemic shunt—Can be hereditary. Incorrect flow of blood from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver causing unclean blood toxins to bypass the liver and it’s cleansing function. Since the liver can not detoxify properly, the toxins cause health problems in the body. Most cases will show lethargy, disorientation, depression, weakness, throwing up, hyperactivity and maybe seizures, as well as diarrhea. Treatment can come in the form of medical, dietary or surgical, depending on the individual dog, age and severity of the case and finances.

    • Renal cortical hypoplasia—Kidney failure coming from a number of causes ranging from hereditary to ingesting automotive antifreeze and also bacterial infections. Once the kidneys become affected, there is no cure for the Samoyed. What hap-pens is there remains a shortage of functioning tissue in the kidneys to cleanse the body. Waste builds in the blood and the toxins cause vomiting, depression, lack of appetite and death. Same happens if the dog eats a little rat poison, as one of mine did.

    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

    • Diabetes mellitus—Inadequate amounts of the hormone insulin are produced by the pancreas, or, in some cases the Samoyed is insensitive to it. The pancreas controls the production of glucose, the primary fuel for the body produced by the liver. With diabetes, there is not enough insulin to stop production of glucose by the liver and the build-up finally affects the kidneys which allow glucose to get into the urine, causing excess urination and thirst. Dogs with the problem may lose weight, develop cataracts, object to exercise, want more food, and have an increase in infections. Treatment is mainly through special diets and daily insulin injections.

    • Atrial septal defect (ASD - Hereditary. A hole between the right and left of the atria, or separation, of two of the heart chambers. Obviously, not a good thing to have. Causes abnormal blood flow. A tiny hole will not affect the Samoyed. A larger hole can lead to right-sided heart failure. Breathing problems, fainting, inability to tolerate exercise and even sudden death can follow. Treatment includes medication, diet and sometimes surgery.

    Other health problems could occur with your Samoyed. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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