Samoyed Dogs

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Breed: Samoyed
affectionate, independent
12-16 years
From $1000
Recommended for:
dedicated owners and families


The exact origins of spitz-type dogs such as the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and the Samoyed remains a mystery. It is likely that they are initially the product of matings between pariah dogs (undomesticated, scavenging dogs) which travelled north through the Arctic regions and larger, more robust wolves. Selective breeding by the Arctic’s human inhabitants further contributed to the variations in the spitz breeds we see today. Despite these variations, these spitz breeds are all recognised by their distinctive double coats, erect ears, broad head and curled tail. Unlike the Malamute and Husky, Samoyeds were also companion dogs and were selected to show no hunting instincts; so that they may be used to herd and guard reindeer as well as pull sleds, carry packs and guard the community. A British explorer is credited as having brought back the first Samoyed in 1889. However it is possible that fur traders travelling to Siberia for sable first introduced the breed to the west. Only 12 dogs are cited as the foundation of the Samoyed breed today, with initial breeding efforts being centred in England.


The snow-white fur of the Samoyed is its most distinguishing feature though black variations did once exist prior to western breeding programs. Cream variations also occur. The coat is the longest of the Arctic breeds and is double layered, insulating the dog from both the cold and the heat. A medium sized dog, the Samoyed stands 46-56cm tall and weighs up to 23-30kg. The deep set dark eyes and black nose contrast sharply with the white coat. Underneath the harsh, straight outer coat lies a thick, soft and short undercoat. The Samoyed is a strong, agile dog with large flat feet and long fluffy tail. Puppies are particularly attractive, with the ears becoming erect as the puppy ages. Samoyeds are famous for their “Sammy smile”, as they always appear to be smiling.


Samoyeds are one of the more affectionate members of the spitz breed. They are also very intelligent, however their spitz origin shines through, causing them to show an independence which makes training difficult. Obedience classes are essential from an early age. Samoyeds were originally a pack animal and they can be aggressive towards foreign dogs, however if socialised with other animals from an early age this tendency can be curbed. Above all, Samoyeds are well regarded for their affection and loyalty towards people. They love human companionship and are very good with children, though no dog should be left unattended with youngsters. The attention a Samoyed gives its family can be very demanding at times, and if not given adequate stimulation or company the Samoyed may become destructive.

Care and maintenance

Brushing once a week is usually quite sufficient but when they’re blowing (shedding) their undercoat a daily brush is required. The coat sheds profusely and will be at its worse once or twice a year during seasonal changes. The white coat doesn’t need constant washing and the harsh outer coat will naturally repel dirt. Brushing will usually suffice to remove foreign matter. Over-washing will only serve to damage the hair follicles.

Samoyed hair has actually been spun into yarn to make human apparel.

In hot weather, the white coat reflects sunlight and keeps the dog cool by insulating it against heat. Excessive exercise can however overheat the dog, and don’t forget to make sure there is always sufficient shade and water available.

Exercise and uses

Although Samoyeds enjoy activity they are not hyperactive dogs and are just happy to spend time with their human companions. Exercise should be seen not only as a means of burning off energy, but also a way of stimulating the breed mentally. Samoyeds are known to get bored very easily and are often seen in activities which also reflect their history. Weight pulling competitions, sled racing, backpacking treks, herding and even obedience and agility are common activities for Samoyeds and their owners (although don’t expect Samoyeds to excel at these last two activities!).

Health and lifespan

Samoyeds are a hardy breed. Problems are seldom seen though hip dysplasia is known to occur. So if buying a puppy always ensure that both parents are tested and passed. The dog’s straight hindquarters can cause the kneecap to dislocate, otherwise known as luxating patella. This can be checked fairly early by a veterinarian. If you live in a tick affected area make sure you regularly inspect your dog, even daily during tick season, as the small parasites can be easily missed in the dense coat. Breeders say that Samoyeds can be very good at disguising illness or injury. This is perhaps due to their pack heritage where any sign of weakness would mean attack by other pack members. Samoyeds are expected to live up to 12 to 16 years.

Breeding and cost

Samoyeds experience few whelping problems and produce litters of six or seven puppies. Samoyed pups aren’t cheap. They cost from $1000.

Recommended for

Only dedicated and experienced dog owners should really consider owning a Samoyed. Dogs are usually considered companions for us humans, but perhaps in this case we should consider ourselves companions for these dogs. Samoyeds really thrive on human contact and are well suited to families who can offer lots of stimulation throughout the day.

Further information

We filmed our story with the late Pat Hosking of Sydney, NSW.

NSW Samoyed Club Inc.
Secretary: Mrs V. Zavattaro
Phone: (02) 9773 9704

The Samoyed Club of South Australia Inc.
Secretary: Mr David Brown
Phone: (08) 8289 6545
Web Site:

Australian Capital Territory Samoyed Club
Secretary: Vicki Ullman
Phone: (02) 6226 4448
Email: [email protected]

Qld Samoyed Club
Secretary: Yvonne Woodrow
Phone: (07) 5541 2420
Email: [email protected]

Samoyed Club of Victoria Inc.
Secretary: Bernadette Lawton
Phone: (03) 9726 4431

Canine Association of Western Australia – CAWA
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Email: [email protected]

Tasmanian Canine Association – TCA
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Email: [email protected]

North Australian Canine Association – NACA
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Email: [email protected]