The Samoyed is a breed of medium-sized herding dogs.
It is considered to be a gentle, loyal, and intelligent dog, a capable guard, and a good companion.
The Samoyed belongs to the spitz or northern dog group, specifically the laikas, a Eurasian dog type used for a variety of purposes, namely hunting, herding, guarding, and sledding.
It takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. The nomadic Samoyed people, came to northwestern Siberia from central Asia. They depended upon herds of reindeer for food, and had to keep on the move in order that the reindeer could find sufficient food for themselves.
The breed was cherished by these people – they even allowed them to sleep in their tents – because they depended on the dogs for their survival.
Samoyeds were originally used for hunting, herding reindeer, and hauling sledges for the Samoyede people in Siberia.
It was Arctic explorers who first brought the breed to England in the late 18th century, where the Samoyed’s regal coat and warm personality made them a fast favorite among the English elite.
They were the breed of choice for Alexandra of Denmark, who became Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions in 1901 after the death of Queen Victoria.
In 1906, a dog named Moustan of Argenteau was the first Samoyed officially registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the United States.
The Samoyed has been classified as a basal breed – meaning their existence pre-dates the origins of most modern dog breeds in the 19th Century.
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 Sammies through uncharted frozen wastelands.
Their strong work ethic and incredibly friendly nature have made them a good companion to humans throughout their long existence, which has helped the breed proliferate.
Despite his Arctic heritage, the Samoyed has adapted well to the warmer climate.
The lifespan for a Samoyed is usually about 12 and 13 years.
The Samoyed stands 48 to 60 cm (19 to 23.5 inches) and weighs 23 to 29.5 kg (50 to 65 pounds).
Its long, double-layer coat is white, cream, grayish yellow (biscuit), or white and biscuit.
Sammies are perfectly optimized to withstand cold weather. They have an incredibly efficient coat that insulates them against freezing temperatures and an upturned mouth that prevents drool—and thus icicles—from forming at their lips.
The Samoyed tail is one of the breed’s distinguishing features. Like the Alaskan Malamute, the tail is carried curled over the back – however, unlike the Alaskan Malamute, the Samoyed tail is held actually touching the back.
In cold weather, Samoyeds may sleep with their tails over their noses to provide additional warmth. Almost all Samoyeds will allow their tails to fall when they are relaxed and at ease, as when being stroked or while eating, but will return their tails to a curl when more alert.
Samoyed eyes are usually black or brown and are almond in shape. Blue or other color eyes can occur but are not allowed in the show ring.
The breed is characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned the nicknames “Sammie smile” and “smiley dog.”
With their tendency to bark, they can be diligent watch dogs, barking whenever something approaches their territory.
Samoyeds are excellent companions, especially for small children or even other dogs, and they remain playful into old age.
According to the Samoyed Club of America, when Samoyeds become bored, they may become destructive or start to dig.
With their sled dog heritage, a Samoyed is not averse to pulling things, and an untrained Samoyed has no problem pulling its owner on a leash rather than walking alongside.
Samoyeds can compete in dog agility trials, carting, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, mushing and herding events.
Samoyeds aren’t exactly cheap, although they are relatively reasonably priced by purebred standards. Most Samoyeds cost between $600 and $1500. However, some – especially those from award-winning bloodlines – may cost $3,000 or more. Samoyeds are generally considered one of the more expensive dog breeds you can buy.