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  • Temperament: Adaptable, Friendly, Gentle
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 65 of 194
  • Height: 21-23.5 inches (male), 19-21 inches (female)
  • Weight: 45-65 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Working Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Samoyed lying in three-quarter view facing forward
Samoyed head facing left
Samoyed coat detail
Samoyed standing sideways in grass facing left, head turned forward
Samoyed

Find a Puppy: Samoyed

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As his work lies in cold climates, his coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather than quantity. Males should be masculine in appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness; bitches should be feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long. General appearance should include movement and general conformation, indicating balance and good substance.

HEAD

Ears – Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and “bear-eared.” Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog; they should be set well apart but be within the border of the outer edge of the head; they should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be the same measurement as the distance from inner base of ear to outer corner of eye. The expression, referred to as “Samoyed expression,” is very important and is indicated by sparkle of the eyes, animation and lighting up of the face when alert or intent on anything. Expression is made up of a combination of eyes, ears and mouth. The ears should be erect when alert; the mouth should be slightly curved up at the corners to form the “Samoyed smile.”

BODY

(a) Neck – Strong, well muscled, carried proudly erect, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when at attention. Neck should blend into shoulders with a graceful arch.(b) Chest – Should be deep, with ribs well sprung out from the spine and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. Should not be barrel-chested. Perfect depth of chest approximates the point of elbows, and the deepest part of the chest should be back of the forelegs-near the ninth rib. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width.

FOREQUARTERS

Legs should be parallel and straight to the pasterns. The pasterns should be strong, sturdy and straight, but flexible with some spring for proper let-down of feet. Because of depth of chest, legs should be moderately long. Length of leg from the ground to the elbow should be approximately 55 percent of the total height at the withers-a very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Shoulders should be long and sloping, with a layback of 45 degrees and be firmly set. Out at the shoulders or out at the elbows should be penalized. The withers separation should be approximately 1 to 1½ inches.

COAT

The Samoyed is a doublecoated dog. The body should be well covered with an undercoat of soft, short, thick, close wool with longer and harsh hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and shoulders, framing the head (more on males than on females). Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more than quantity. A droopy coat is undesirable. The coat should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it is softer in texture.

HINDQUARTERS

Upper thighs should be well developed. Stifles well bent-approximately 45 degrees to the ground. Hocks should be well developed, sharply defined and set at approximately 30 percent of hip height. The hind legs should be parallel when viewed from the rear in a natural stance, strong, well developed, turning neither in nor out. Straight stifles are objectionable.

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About the Samoyed

Samoyeds, the smiling sledge dogs, were bred for hard work in the world’s coldest locales. In the Siberian town of Oymyakon, for instance, temperatures of minus-60 degrees are common. The Sammy’s famous white coat is thick enough to protect against such brutal conditions.

Powerful, agile, tireless, impervious to cold—Sammies are drop-dead gorgeous but highly functional. Even their most delightful feature, a perpetual smile, has a practical function: The mouth’s upturned corners keep Sammies from drooling, preventing icicles from forming on the face.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Samoyed

Find a Puppy: Samoyed

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Samoyed Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Samoyed should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Samoyed has a profuse double coat, with a longer outer coat of harsh hair and a soft, thick, wooly undercoat. Samoyeds shed quite a bit all the time, even more so during shedding season, which can occur once or twice a year. Daily brushing will help to remove dirt and loose hairs and keep the dog looking his best. Mats or tangles can be worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. The nails should be trimmed every three to four weeks or as needed.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Samoyeds enjoy being with their people and participating in family activities. They need some daily exercise and enjoy play sessions with their owner in a safely fenced yard or long walks on leash. The breed has a strong urge to run away and roam, and if loose a Sammie might travel for miles, putting himself at risk.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

The Samoyede people lived in tents and huddled for warmth with their dogs on brutal Arctic nights. This unusual degree of dog-and-master closeness forged a tight bond between Sammies and humankind. A Sammy sentenced to solitary confinement in the backyard is a miserable—and destructive—creature. These are smart, social, mischievous dogs who demand love and attention. Sammies need a firm but loving hand in training.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Samoyeds are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye and cardiac disorders. The Samoyed’s teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test
  • Cardiac Exam
  • RD/OSD DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

 

Samoyed
Samoyed
Samoyed
Samoyed
Samoyed
Samoyed

History

The name Samoyed comes from the Samoyede, a semi-nomadic people from Asia who migrated to Siberia a thousand years ago. They bred dogs for hard work in the coldest habitable places on earth. In the Siberian town of Oymyakon, for instance, temperatures of minus-60 degrees are common. The Samoyede people lived in tents and huddled for warmth with their dog packs during the Arctic nights. This type of human-canine cooperation for mutual survival forged a tight bond between Samoyeds and people. When not sledging heavy loads across vast expanses of Siberia, Samoyed dogs earned their feed as watchdogs and hunters.

The Samoyede depended on reindeer as a vital source of food, fur, and leather. At first, they used their dogs to hunt reindeer. But in time Samoyede culture shifted from hunting reindeer to herding them. The bold white hunting dogs and haulers found a new role as stock dogs, moving and protecting the herds.

In the late 18th century, Arctic adventurers returning to England introduced the Samoyed to British dog lovers of refined tastes. Queen Alexandria was an admirer who did much to promote the breed as a companion and show dog. In America, a sparkling white dog named Moustan of Argenteau made history in 1906 as the first of the breed (then known as the Samoyede) registered by the AKC. American and European mushers of the early 20th century knew the Samoyed as an enthusiastic hauler of supplies, capable of sledging one and a half times their own weight. Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen are a few of the era’s famous explorers who rode behind Sams through uncharted frozen wastelands.

Did You Know?

The Arctic suns and snows have bleached the harsh stand-off coat and tipped the hairs with an icy sheen.
Named for the Samoyed people, primitives of the family of Sayantsi, described as a race in the "transition stages between the Mongol pure and the Finn." The Samoyeds comprised a nomadic tribe that traveled from Iran to the vast stretches of tundra reaching from the White Sea to the Yenisei River.
The Samoyed has been used for generations as a constant companion dog and guard for reindeer.
Queen Alexandra was an ardent Samoyed fancier, and descendants of her dogs appear in many English and American kennels today.
Samoyeds accompanied Roald Amundsen in his successful landmark reach of the South Pole in 1911.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As his work lies in cold climates, his coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather than quantity. Males should be masculine in appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness; bitches should be feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long. General appearance should include movement and general conformation, indicating balance and good substance.

HEAD

Ears – Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and “bear-eared.” Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog; they should be set well apart but be within the border of the outer edge of the head; they should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be the same measurement as the distance from inner base of ear to outer corner of eye. The expression, referred to as “Samoyed expression,” is very important and is indicated by sparkle of the eyes, animation and lighting up of the face when alert or intent on anything. Expression is made up of a combination of eyes, ears and mouth. The ears should be erect when alert; the mouth should be slightly curved up at the corners to form the “Samoyed smile.”

BODY

(a) Neck – Strong, well muscled, carried proudly erect, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when at attention. Neck should blend into shoulders with a graceful arch.(b) Chest – Should be deep, with ribs well sprung out from the spine and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. Should not be barrel-chested. Perfect depth of chest approximates the point of elbows, and the deepest part of the chest should be back of the forelegs-near the ninth rib. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width.

FOREQUARTERS

Legs should be parallel and straight to the pasterns. The pasterns should be strong, sturdy and straight, but flexible with some spring for proper let-down of feet. Because of depth of chest, legs should be moderately long. Length of leg from the ground to the elbow should be approximately 55 percent of the total height at the withers-a very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Shoulders should be long and sloping, with a layback of 45 degrees and be firmly set. Out at the shoulders or out at the elbows should be penalized. The withers separation should be approximately 1 to 1½ inches.

COAT

The Samoyed is a doublecoated dog. The body should be well covered with an undercoat of soft, short, thick, close wool with longer and harsh hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and shoulders, framing the head (more on males than on females). Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more than quantity. A droopy coat is undesirable. The coat should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it is softer in texture.

HINDQUARTERS

Upper thighs should be well developed. Stifles well bent-approximately 45 degrees to the ground. Hocks should be well developed, sharply defined and set at approximately 30 percent of hip height. The hind legs should be parallel when viewed from the rear in a natural stance, strong, well developed, turning neither in nor out. Straight stifles are objectionable.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Biscuit Check Mark For Standard Color 006
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
White & Biscuit Check Mark For Standard Color 269

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