Complete Guide To The Samoyed: Care, Grooming, Exercise and More

If you have ever been lucky enough to be witness to a Sammy Smile, you know just how easy it is to fall in love with this medium-sized dog. But their good looks aren’t everything this complete canine package has to offer. The Samoyed is an intelligent, loyal, and loving dog that likes to be close to his family members. He is hard-working and dedicated to protecting his family and is particularly fond of children. If you can deal with excessive, white tufts of fur throughout your house, the Samoyed may be the perfect pet to add to your family.  

It’s funny, but every family that owns a Samoyed that comes to my veterinary practice actually owns two Samoyeds. It seems that one is just never enough, and their pride at owning these beautiful dogs is evident. When I was a kid working at a large boarding kennel, the head bather (that’s how big it was – they had a bathing department) was a Samoyed breeder.

I’ve had a ton of experience with the breed and the following is partially based off of that experience.

How Big Do Samoyeds Get?

Male21-23.5″ at the shoulder45-60 lbs
Female19-21.5″ at the shoulder35-50 lbs

The Samoyed is a medium to large size dog with males slightly larger than females. The males will usually weigh between 45 and 65 pounds and will measure between 21 and 23.5 inches at the shoulder. Slightly smaller, a female Samoyed will weigh just 35 to 50 pounds and will usually measure about 19 to 21 inches at the shoulder.  

What Do Samoyeds Look Like?

This dog is well known for its trademark stark white fur. The fur is thick, fluffy, and designed to protect the dog from extremely cold and brutal conditions. The coat is made of two layers, with the top outer coat more coarse and thick. The undercoat is soft and wooly and designed to help insulate the Samoyed from cold temperatures. When the thick coat is fully grown, it can be difficult to see parts of the Samoyed skin through the fur.  

What Is The Personality Of A Samoyed?

The Samoyed is a devoted and loving family member that wants to be by your side. While the dog was bred as a working dog, hunting and herding in harshly cold climates, the dog became accustomed to sleeping right alongside his family every night. This same closeness and affection for humans still exist today. While this dog will love all family members, don’t be surprised to find this dog gravitating to one family member as his particular person. Always make it a priority to include your Samoyed in your daily activities, giving them as much attention and interaction as possible. If this dog is left alone, he can become depressed, miserable, and turn to destructive behaviors even for short periods.  

While the Samoyed is an intelligent dog, undoubtedly capable of learning new tricks and behaviors, he tends to be notoriously difficult to train. The dog has a history of roaming through the tundra unhindered and often has this same prevalence for the wild. Training is possible, but you must use firm and consistent training methods. Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviors, and remember to use treats and plenty of praise to reward your dog.  

The Samoyed was bred to be a hunting dog, and the prey drive remains strong with this breed. Always keep the Samoyed in a tightly secured fence or on a leash. The dog has been known to be a bit of a mischievous escape artist and is prone to digging. If the Samoyed is ever unhappy with you, he will be the first to let you know.

This breed is a particularly talkative dog and will howl, bellow, or bark to let you know he is unhappy about the current situation. The barks can be quite piercing. These personality traits make this a dog better suited for a rural or suburban environment than a city or urban environment.  

How Much Grooming Does A Samoyed Need?

It can be expected that a dog with this much thick fur will be a heavy shedder. Expect a moderate amount of shedding throughout the year, with a heavy shedding period twice per year. The heavy shedding period usually coincides with changing seasons around the spring and fall.

These guys need a fair amount of brushing and likely a regular appointment with a professional groomer to keep them looking at their best. Don’t even think about shaving these furry guys down.

How Much Exercise Does A Samoyed Need?

The Samoyed is a working dog and has a high energy level. This dog was bred to spend long hours roaming outside, working to hunt, herd, and protect his owners. Today the dog needs the same amount of exercise to keep him happy. This dog is not well suited to an apartment or condo and requires a fenced area where he can roam safely. The dog will enjoy a long walk or a play session every day to help him burn off some energy.  

The dog is also brilliant and must remain physically and mentally exercised to keep the dog engaged and happy. This dog breed is a working dog and enjoys figuring out new puzzles and challenges. Consider enrolling your dog in agility competitions to help exercise his mind. Although the dog may be difficult to train, the dog is fully capable of competing in agility. When exercising your Samoyed, keep in mind that this dog was bred for the cold Arctic tundra and traps heat very quickly. If exercised outdoors on a hot day, the dog can quickly overheat.  

What Kind Of Food Should A Samoyed Eat?

Samoyed puppies are either chow hounds or they just don’t care that much about food. Adjust your feeding expectations accordingly. Don’t fret if they’re not big eaters. Many of the dogs breeds that are similar to Samoyeds are the same way. Check with your vet if you think your particular dog may be underweight.

Best Puppy Food For A Samoyed:

Best Adult Food For A Samoyed:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

How Long Does A Samoyed Live?

12-14 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Issues Do Samoyeds Have?

For the Samoyeds that I see on a regular basis, they are all quite healthy. Thankfully, due to the emergence of widely available DNA testing procedures, the few diseases that you might see regularly in Samoyeds seems to have been bred out of most of the lines.

Where Can I Find a Samoyed?

Like many purebred dogs, the Samoyed can easily be found at a reputable breeder. Always make sure to vet your breeder before committing to a puppy fully. You want to make sure the puppies are healthy and have received the necessary health certifications. Your breeder should know the breed and want to place their puppy in a good and caring home.

Breeder List From The Samoyed Club of America

AKC Puppy Page

It is also possible to rescue a Samoyed. Begin your search with the National Samoyed Rescue to find a rescue group close to your home specializing in this breed of dog. Saving a Samoyed will not only allow you to get the purebred dog of your dreams, but it will allow you to help a dog who needs a home and loving family to call his own.  

Where Can I Learn More About Samoyeds?

Samoyed Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Fun Facts About the Samoyed

The Samoyed really is an all-terrain dog and was initially bred for multiple uses. The Samoyed dog was bred to herd reindeer, haul sleds, hunt, track, carry a pack through a hike, and of course, keep an owner warm by sleeping snuggly on top of them.  

This dog has a trademark facial expression known lovingly as the “Sammy Smile.” The Sammy Smile comes out when the dog looks at you with upturned corners to his mouth. The smile quickly denotes this dog’s good-natured personality and positive attitude about life in general.  

The first Samoyed brought to England was named Antarctic Buck. This dog quickly drew the attention of Queen Alexandra, and she promptly bred the dog through her kennels. Many of the Samoyed bloodlines known today can be traced back to Antarctic Buck.  

The breed standard that we know today for the Samoyed was developed in England in 1909. The dog quickly grew and popularity both in England as well as the United States. The first Samoyed Club of America was founded in 1923, and the American breed standard was finalized the same year.