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Two adorable puppies — both are furry and white. Both have black noses and irresistible dark eyes.

Would it make a difference which one you choose to be your dog? Oh, yes — a big difference!


Each of these puppies is a very distinct AKC-recognized breed of purebred dog. They were carefully bred and developed over many years in different parts of the world to do certain jobs or perform certain functions. One is a West Highland White Terrier, or "Westie." The other is a Samoyed.

When each of these puppies grows to its adult height in about year, the Samoyed will stand about twice as tall and weigh about three times as much as the Westie! And their coats, or hair, although both white, will be very different.

The Samoyed's beautiful, lush coat can mat and needs to be brushed every week and even every day when shedding, according to the Samoyed Club of America Inc.

The Westie on the other hand, has a "hard outer coat... easily kept clean with a brush and occasional dry cleaning," according to the West Highland White Terrier Club of America.

Samoyeds like to be very close to their people. The Samoyed is an ancient working breed developed in Siberia.

"The dog's jobs included herding reindeer, hunting and hauling sledges as well as guard work," according to the Samoyed Club of America Inc. "The Samoyede people (of Siberia) depended upon their dogs for their very survival. Samoyed dogs actually slept in the chooms (tents) with their people."

In contrast, the West Highland White Terrier, is an earthdog — a dog originally bred to "go to ground" to hunt mice, rats and other vermin. Westies love to dig! They have double coats that shed lightly. The Westie is a small, well-balanced, hardy looking terrier with a straight, hard outer coat of hair. He should be alert, happy, courageous and self-reliant.

While a Westie is adorable, don't assume all Westies will want to cuddle in your lap for long periods.

"Westies are very people-oriented and like being with you whenever possible," according to the West Highland White Terrier Club of America website. "Many are too independent to be held for long periods. While they like to be in close proximity (to their people), most find a corner of the room or near a heater vent to be ideal."

These brief details about the Samoyed's and West Highland White Terrier's history, temperament, size and appearance provide just a glimpse at just how very different these breeds are. Both are fantastic breeds, and with the proper training, love, care and attention, both of these puppies would make a great pet for the right person or family. However, knowing the differences in the breeds and being able to predict what the dog will look like and how it will be inclined to behave as an adult will help anyone considering getting a dog choose the breed that best suits their preferences and lifestyle.

The American Kennel Club gives anyone thinking about getting a dog all they help they need to find a breed of purebred dog that will be the best match for them (as long as these potential dog owners are willing to take the time to research and investigate!). The AKC recognizes more than 150 breeds of purebred dogs. If your family or someone you know is thinking of getting a dog, take the time to find out about the different breeds of purebred dogs. Use this website to start your search for the right purebred dog for you.