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The Samoyed: Snow Dog in Winter and in Summer

Rada is a volunteer at an animal shelter, where she helps dogs get adopted and have a chance for a fresh start.

The Samoyed makes an excellent companion, babysitter, or guardian angel.

The Samoyed makes an excellent companion, babysitter, or guardian angel.

Samoyeds are known for their "Sammy smile," which looks funny because of their contrasting black lips and white coat. It is a unique breed that wasn't crossed. They evolved from white wolves due to their domestication by herders of Siberia. Despite their abiding love of freedom, these dogs need love and attention from people. This article will introduce you to these incredible white teddy bears and you will fall in love with them!

History of the Breed

The breed takes its name from the Samoyedic people of Siberia. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy, white dogs to help with the herding, and to pull sleds when they moved. Also, they were used for hunting, guarding, and playing with small children. At night, they provided people warmth. An alternate name for the breed, especially in Europe, is Bjelkier.

Character and Temperament

If you are an active, energetic person, who seeks self-improvement and practices healthy sport, this cute dog is for you. The dynamism and cheerfulness of the Samoyed are inherent. They are playful and remain puppies at heart for a long time. That's why children adore them so much.

Facts about their character that you should consider:

  • Herding instincts: When playing with children, Samoyeds often attempt to turn and move them in a different direction.
  • Bad guards: They make bad guards for your home because they adore people. The gene that could be associated with aggression isn't found in this dog breed. Samoyeds get along well with other pets in the same house and can coexist with cats.
  • They are very sociable: Samoyeds hate isolation. When you leave the home, be sure the dog will find something to chew for hours. They use it as a way to get rid of boredom. When the owner is away, they tend to howl like wolves. Samoyeds often become dependent on owners and are sensitive to changes in their owner's mood.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

— Josh Billings

Common Health Problems

Generally, the breed is quite healthy, although Samoyeds are susceptible to a number of health problems, including a genetic disease known as Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy, which is a renal disease. This disorder is more severe in male Samoyeds.

Additional problems that may occur in the dogs are:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Hip dysplasia

When choosing a puppy, it's better to clarify its family tree and get information about health problems its parents may have experienced.

The life expectancy of Samoyeds is about 12 to 13 years, although you certainly can prolong the life of your dog by following some simple rules. Moving is living. For Samoyeds, it is vitally important. Balanced nutrition is another secret of a long healthy life.

How to Care for Your Samoyed

Samoyeds require the freedom of movement. The best solution is to keep the dog in a big yard. If you are living in an apartment, be prepared to walk the dog at least two times per day. Long nature walks will make your dog happy and satisfied. Give him physical activity to let the accumulated energy out.

Samoyeds don't smell like dogs. This feature may be significant for people who love cleanliness and sanitation. Living in a house may affect the fluffy fur of your dog. The breeds fur requires a tremendous amount of work and patience. Sometimes, you will need to groom them. Otherwise, this breed loves cleanliness and takes care of its fur. Dirt can't stick to its coat; it dries and then disappears.

Don't wash your Samoyed more than twice per year, as frequent washing may result in the inability of the fur to self-maintain. Instead of washing, just brush its coat. The breed's snow-white fur is even used as an alternative to wool in knitting; it has a texture similar to angora.


Feeding Your Large Breed Dog

Cereals, boiled beef and fish, dairy products, and vegetables should be in a dog's diet. It is highly recommended to add raw vegetables to the menu. Veterinarians state that raw food is much richer in vitamins and other vital nutrients than cooked food. Raw food assimilates well in a dog's body, and supplies it with lipids, amino acids, and proteins. Many Samoyeds love raw cabbage, cauliflower, and bananas.

Before selecting your dog's diet, you have to check with your puppy's breeder about its previous diet. If your dog was used to eating dog foods, it's better to change the diet as slowly as possible. If you prefer feeding your dog human foods, avoid raw meat, raw eggs, chicken bones and pork bones, and chocolate.


How to Train Your Dog

Despite the fact that Samoyeds are part wolf, they are family-oriented, social, devoted, and well-behaved dogs. This arctic breed is very intelligent and this is their distinctive feature. The breed easily learns the essential commands, and the best age for training is three months. When the basic course is finished, you can start with more difficult training.

Training facts you should know:

  • Be a leader: Embrace the spirit of a wolf pack and study its rules. Senior species usually eat first, therefore, it's better to feed the dog after you had finished your meal. If the leader enters the room, the Samoyed should follow him. Don't allow your dog to get in the way—he should know the "place" command.
  • Use a wolf pack strategy: If your dog did something wrong, some people choose to alpha roll their dogs. This painless way of training is quite effective to show the dog he was wrong. Wolf females act in a similar way with their pups.

They Love Dog Sports!

Animals have played an important role in people's lives throughout human history. Human-animal interaction, whether it is petting, playing, or participating in dog-sport events, increases the serotonin and dopamine, often called the "happy chemicals," can lead to self-efficacy and help to achieve goals. Having such an energetic and social dog like a Samoyed is beneficial for both parties. This breed can participate in diverse physical activities and motivate people to do sports.


Mushing is a sport or transport method that is powered by dogs. Usually, it includes carting, pulka, dog scootering, sled dog racing and skijoring. In other words, it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow or a rig on dry land.

Mushing with several dogs has a special structure. Dog team members are given titles according to their position in the team relative to the sled. These include leaders or lead dogs, swing dogs, team dogs, and wheel dogs. The localization of dogs in a specific position is determined by their individual characteristics.


Bikejoring is a dog mushing similar to skijoring and canicross. A dog or team of dogs are attached to a towline of a bicycle. Bikejoring sometimes is used to train racing sled-dogs out of season.

Many breeds of dog participate in this kind of sport. The only requirement is a desire to run down a trail and pull, which is innate in many dogs.

The safer way to do bikejoring is to race on dirt roads, because hard pavement will chafe dog's paw pads. If you want to succeed in bikejoring, it's recommended to master canicross first. It will teach your dog to move in the right direction.




Skijoring is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a dog or team of dogs. The skijor provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds additional power by running and pulling.

The skier wears a skijoring harness, the dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope. There are no signaling devices to control the dog; the dog must be motivated by its own desire to run, and respond to the owner's voice for direction.

Not all dog breeds can participate in skijoring. Small dogs weighing under 16 kilograms can't greatly assist the skier. Not only is stamina a prerequisite for skijoring, but dense fur is too and allows a dog to endure cold.




Canicross or CaniX is the sport of cross country running with a dog. A runner can canicross with one or two dogs always attached to him. The runner typically wears a waist belt, the dog a harness, and the two are joined by a bungee cord or elastic line that reduces shock to both human and dog when the dog pulls. Many breeds are very well suited to such a healthy sport. This human-animal interaction encourages people to achieve higher goals and makes their pets healthier.



Don't forget that the Samoyed is not a snow-white toy decorating your house, but just a dog. Let him be happy living his dog's life, laying in the dirt, and chewing your shoes. If you are living in a country with a hot climate, be prepared to find good cooling sources to comfort your arctic Samoyed—they can be rivers and inflatable pools.


  • Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds» D. Caroline Coile, Barron's Educational Series, 2015.
  • Dogs All-in-One For Dummies» Eve Adamson, Wiley Publishing, 2010.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you know of any reputable Samoyed breeders in the MA area?

Answer: I personally can't recommend someone, although you can check the Samoyed Club of America. There are many breeders, who give health guarantees and are helpful with any questions.

© 2018 Rada Heger