The Samoyed Breed

The Samoyed is a natural breed - one of the oldest known to man, having shared the lives of the nomadic Samoyede tribe of North West Siberia for perhaps thousands of years.

The demands of the unforgiving arctic environment dictated a hardy, versatile, hard-working dog, capable of not only survival but also considerable endurance in the harshest of conditions, sometimes on a virtual starvation diet. This all-purpose dog was used primarily for herding reindeer, but also for hauling sleds, hunting polar bears, and anything else that cropped up - the Samoyed had to earn his keep, but at the end of the day, he was a member of the family - he shared their companionship, played with the children and helped to keep them warm at night.

These characteristics made the Samoyed very popular with the early polar explorers. Indeed, it has been "claimed" that a Samoyed, Roald Amundsen's lead dog was the first non-native to reach the South Pole.

The Samoyed is a medium-size dog with a thick white coat and a big, permanent smile on his face that reflects the happy-go-lucky nature of the breed. Beautiful, graceful, affectionate and fun-loving, the Samoyed has been called the dog that carries in its face and heart the spirit of Christmas the whole year through.

Surprisingly, that glamorous coat stays fairly clean and requires far less grooming than most people expect. Weekly brushing is usually enough and mud sheds easily when dry. Little bathing is required and there is none of the "doggy odour" often found in other breeds. As a side benefit of the thick white coat, the Samoyed readily adapts to climate extremes - both cold and hot. However, the coat will eventually "blow" - once or twice a year the undercoat sheds in a spectacular way requiring many hours work with a stripping comb.

The Samoyed has often been accused of being wilful and stubborn, and certainly is easily bored and distracted. However, his original environment demanded a very intelligent breed with an independent nature. He is easy to train, but dislikes repetition. He thinks for himself, and "if you keep throwing that ball away, you obviously don't want it!" If not kept entertained, the Samoyed will entertain himself - he enjoys chewing and delights in "gardening".

Many Samoyeds are barkers, which makes them great as watchdogs, but as guard dogs, they are often found lacking - they will bark when a stranger approaches, but then show him where to find the silverware.

View the ANKC Samoyed Standard.

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