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Samoyed mother running in the snow with her puppy.
©Kseniya Abramova -

Samoyeds are among the world’s most ancient dog breeds, with a history stretching back more than 5,000 years. Here are 10 Samoyed fun facts that you probably didn’t know.

1. The Samoyed Has a Long History

As the last Ice Age disappeared, wild reindeer became the key source of food for people living across northern Eurasia. The Nenets people, a group of people that speaks a Samoyedic language, survived by herding and breeding domestic reindeer on the Russian tundra. Their working partners were multi-purpose dogs named for the people they worked with for centuries.

2. The Samoyed Is Genetically Similar to the Wolf

A wolf-like breed, the Samoyed has not been dramatically changed by human selective breeding. Samoyeds are among the 14 ancient dog breeds most genetically similar to the wolf.

3. The Samoyed Smile Serves a Logical Purpose

Exceptionally social, intelligent, loyal, and vocal, Samoyeds possess the famous Samoyed smile, seen by the upwardly curling lips, even with the mouth closed. But this “smile” serves a purpose. It’s designed to prevent drool from freezing into icicles in cold weather.

4. This Breed Is Known For Its Coat

The Samoyed is also known for its magnificent double coat of white, cream, or biscuit. The breed standard notes that the coat should “glisten with a silver sheen.”

Samoyed standing in the forest.
Ryhor Bruyeu/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

5. Samoyeds “Blow” (or Shed) the Undercoat Twice a Year

There is no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic dog breed. Most of those breeds considered best for allergy sufferers are non-shedding breeds. People with allergies interested in acquiring a Samoyed would do well to expose themselves to Samoyeds before deciding to purchase one. They do indeed shed.

6. Their Coats Are Relatively Easy to Clean

Once the mud is rinsed off and the dogs are dried, Samoyeds with proper stand-off coats are said to be “Teflon” dogs because the dirt doesn’t stick. A forced air driver works wonders in blowing out dirt and dust from Samoyed coats.

7. Samoyeds Do Well When Given Tasks to Complete

It takes an owner talented in training to bring out the best in these smart dogs who get bored easily. They have achieved MACH titles in agility, high in trial obedience awards, have bested traditional herding breeds in herding trials, and are crowd-pleasing favorites in appearances pulling Santa’s sleigh, weight-pulling, or posing for photo-ops whenever out in public. They also excel at Lure Coursing and make exceptional therapy dogs.

150 20' CH El-Al's Tatqiq Atuqtuq UD GO RAE2 PT CGC. WS36091001. Samoyed. F. 12/10/2010. Breeder(s): Elsie Buhaly/Monica B Hackett. CH El-Al's Piper Cub - CH El-Al's I Can Touch The Sky. Owner(s): Maurneen Ozmore, 792 Crandall Court, Decatur GA 30033-5002. Handler: Maurneen Ozmore
Photo by Pix 'n Pages ©American Kennel Club

8. Samoyeds Thrive on Close Human Contact

Historically kept in their nomadic owners’ homes, Samoyeds do not do well kept apart from the human family. These dogs tend to get along well with other pets, but common sense should prevail when introducing animals to each other. And remember that dogs are like children—they need to know and understand the rules of the household.

9. They Are Energetic and Need Sufficient Exercise

These athletic dogs have plenty of energy, so owners need to make sure they have enough exercise. Samoyeds make terrific walking companions, and some enjoy swimming. Most Samoyeds also love the snow.

10. The Samoyed Club of America Requires Health Screenings

The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) requirements, as stipulated by the Samoyed Club of America, include OFA or CERF registered eye exams, OFA, OVC, or PennHIPP hip evaluations, XL-PRA and RD/OSD DNA tests, and OFA congenital cardiac evaluation. The Samoyed Club of America Education and Research Foundation (SCARF) is an invaluable resource for Samoyed owners. Those seeking to add a Samoyed to their family should ensure that the breeder they choose (and who chooses them) is an SCA member who has signed the club’s code of ethics and who breeds the healthiest and best possible representations of the breed.

Related article: The Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2022
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