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The Samoyed, also known as the as the Sam, the Sammy, the Smiley, and the Smiling Sammy, is a breed of dog in the Working Group. The Samoyed is recognized by its continually smiling expression and a gentle, loyal, temperament. The Samoyed was approved by the AKC in 1993.

The average Samoyed stands 19 to 24 inches high at the shoulders and weighs between 35 and 65 pounds (the females are smaller and lighter than the males). Their thick coat needs to be brushed frequently to control shedding and tangles, and they need regular professional grooming.

History & Health


The Samoyed is considered to be the breed that has the highest degree of relation to primitive dogs as this breed has no wolf or fox blood in its ancestry. The Samoyed was developed in Siberia, possibly over a thousand years ago, where they were used as sled pulling, working, and hunting dogs.


The average life expectancy of the Samoyed is between 12 and 15 years. Increased health risks associated with this breed include a genetic disease known as Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy. Other potential health issues include hip dysplasia, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetes.

Temperament & Personality


Samoyeds are lively, happy dogs who adore people and often have a mischievous sense of humor. They are excellent with children and always have time for a romp in the yard, especially in the snow. Samoyeds will bark to announce a visitor, but they are not guard dogs as once they are done announcing the newcomer, will most likely cozy up to the visitor to solicit a rub down. Samoyeds are great family dogs, though they tend to favor one person above all others – usually the person who is in charge of feeding and exercise. They are excellent companions for people who like the outdoors – Samoyeds are always up for a good hike in the woods, and will be happy to keep you warm overnight on a camping trip. They can be difficult to train, but Sammies are generally well behaved and make a great choice for fist time dog owners.

Activity Requirements

Samoyeds need a moderate amount of vigorous activity in order to maintain health and happiness. The winter time is their favorite time of year, and you can be sure your Sammy will entertain himself for hours in the snow, especially if he has children to play with. Without snow, you'll want to walk your Smoyed several times a day and allow him to stretch his legs and run several times per week, especially as a puppy. If a Samoyed does not get enough exercise he will let you know by chewing your personal possessions.


Though they love people to pieces, Sammies don't always like to listen and training can be a challenge. Sessions should be kept short in order to maintain the dog's interest, and activities should be varied. Shower your Samoyed in treats and praise when he does things correctly in order to reinforce good behavior. Never treat your Samoyed harshly, as this will cause him to avoid you and stop listening to you all together.

Once basic obedience has been mastered, you can move on to advanced obedience or agility. He may not excel at these levels, but he will enjoy the activity and will soak up the extra time spent with someone he loves.

Behavioral Traits

Sammies bark early and often. Their bark is very high-pitched, which can be grating to the nerves. Teaching your Samoyed to obey commands to stop barking can minimize the annoyance, but it is very hard to train this behavior out of a Sammy. Samoyeds were raised to be contributing members of the Samoyede tribes of Siberia. They hunted, hiked, hauled sleds and kept beds warm for their tribespeople. This desire to interact with humans is what makes Sammies such great family dogs today, but it is also their downfall. If a Samoyed is left alone for too long, he will become anxious, which he will exhibit by chewing anything he can get his teeth on. For this reason, Samoyeds are best served by families with a stay at home or work at home parent, for with people who have flexible work schedules.

Breed Standard

General Conformation
(a) General Appearance - The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As his work lies in cold climates, his coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather then quantity. The male carries more of a "ruff" than the female. He should not be long in the back as a weak back would make him practically useless for his legitimate work, but at the same time, a close-coupled body would also place him at a great disadvantage as a draft dog. Breeders should aim for the happy medium, a body not long but muscular, allowing liberty, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, strong neck, straight front and especially strong loins. Males should be masculine in appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness; bitches feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long. A very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Hindquarters should be particularly well developed, stifles well bent and any suggestion of unsound stifles or cowhocks severely penalized. General appearance should include movement and general conformation, indicating balance and good substance.

(b) Substance - Substance is that sufficiency of bone and muscle which rounds out a balance with the frame. The bone is heavier than would be expected in a dog of this size but not so massive as to prevent the speed and agility most desirable in a Samoyed. In all builds, bone should be in proportion to body size. The Samoyed should never be so heavy as to appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy. The weight should be in proportion to the height.

(c) Height - Males--21 to 23½ inches; females--19 to 21 inches at the withers. An oversized or undersized Samoyed is to be penalized according to the extent of the deviation.

(d) Coat (Texture and Condition) - The Samoyed is a doublecoated dog. The body should be well covered with an undercoat of soft, short, thick, close wool with longer and harsh hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and shoulders, framing the head (more on males than on females). Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more than quantity. A droopy coat is undesirable. The coat should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it is softer in texture.

(e) Color - Samoyeds should be pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or all biscuit. Any other colors disqualify.

(a) Gait - The Samoyed should trot, not pace. He should move with a quick agile stride that is well timed. The gait should be free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there should be a strong rear action drive. Moving at a slow walk or trot, they will not single-track, but as speed increases the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are finally falling on a line directly under the longitudinal center of the body. As the pad marks converge the forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward in traveling, the stifles not turned in nor out. The back should remain strong, firm and level. A choppy or stilted gait should be penalized.

(b) Rear End - Upper thighs should be well developed. Stifles well bent-approximately 45 degrees to the ground. Hocks should be well developed, sharply defined and set at approximately 30 percent of hip height. The hind legs should be parallel when viewed from the rear in a natural stance, strong, well developed, turning neither in nor out. Straight stifles are objectionable. Double-jointedness or cowhocks are a fault. Cowhocks should only be determined if the dog has had an opportunity to move properly.

(c) Front End - Legs should be parallel and straight to the pasterns. The pasterns should be strong, sturdy and straight, but flexible with some spring for proper let-down of feet. Because of depth of chest, legs should be moderately long. Length of leg from the ground to the elbow should be approximately 55 per cent of the total height at the withers-a very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Shoulders should be long and sloping, with a layback of 45 degrees and be firmly set. Out at the shoulders or out at the elbows should be penalized. The withers separation should be approximately 1-1½ inches.

(d) Feet - Large, long, flattish-a hare-foot, slightly spread but not splayed; toes arched; pads thick and tough, with protective growth of hair between the toes. Feet should turn neither in nor out in a natural stance but may turn in slightly in the act of pulling. Turning out, pigeon-toed, round or cat-footed or splayed are faults. Feathers on feet are not too essential but are more profuse on females than on males.

(a) Conformation - Skull is wedge-shaped, broad, slightly crowned, not round or apple-headed, and should form an equilateral triangle on lines between the inner base of the ears and the central point of the stop. Muzzle--Muzzle of medium length and medium width, neither coarse nor snipy; should taper toward the nose and be in proportion to the size of the dog and the width of skull. The muzzle must have depth. Whiskers are not to be removed. Stop--Not too abrupt, nevertheless well defined. Lips--Should be black for preference and slightly curved up at the corners of the mouth, giving the "Samoyed smile." Lip lines should not have the appearance of being coarse nor should the flews drop predominately at corners of the mouth. Ears--Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and "bear-eared." Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog; they should be set well apart but be within the border of the outer edge of the head; they should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be the same measurement as the distance from inner base of ear to outer corner of eye. Eyes--Should be dark for preference; should be placed well apart and deep-set; almond shaped with lower lid slanting toward an imaginary point approximately the base of ears. Dark eye rims for preference. Round or protruding eyes penalized. Blue eyes disqualifying. Nose--Black for preference but brown, liver, or Dudley nose not penalized. Color of nose sometimes changes with age and weather. Jaws and Teeth--Strong, well-set teeth, snugly overlapping with scissors bite. Undershot or overshot should be penalized.

(b) Expression - The expression, referred to as "Samoyed expression," is very important and is indicated by sparkle of the eyes, animation and lighting up of the face when alert or intent on anything. Expression is made up of a combination of eyes, ears and mouth. The ears should be erect when alert; the mouth should be slightly curved up at the corners to form the "Samoyed smile."

(a) Neck - Strong, well muscled, carried proudly erect, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when at attention. Neck should blend into shoulders with a graceful arch.

(b) Chest - Should be deep, with ribs well sprung out from the spine and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. Should not be barrel-chested. Perfect depth of chest approximates the point of elbows, and the deepest part of the chest should be back of the forelegs-near the ninth rib. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width.

(c) Loin and Back - The withers forms the highest part of the back. Loins strong and slightly arched. The back should be straight to the loin, medium in length, very muscular and neither long nor short-coupled. The dog should be "just off square"--the length being approximately 5 per cent more than the height. Females allowed to be slightly longer than males. The belly should be well shaped and tightly muscled and, with the rear of the thorax, should swing up in a pleasing curve (tuck-up). Croup must be full, slightly sloping, and must continue imperceptibly to the tail root.

Tail - The tail should be moderately long with the tail bone terminating approximately at the hock when down. It should be profusely covered with long hair and carried forward over the back or side when alert, but sometimes dropped when at rest. It should not be high or low set and should be mobile and loose -- not tight over the back. A double hook is a fault. A judge should see the tail over the back once when judging.

Disposition - Intelligent, gentle, loyal, adaptable, alert, full of action, eager to serve, friendly but conservative, not distrustful or shy, not overly aggressive. Unprovoked aggressiveness is to be severely penalized.

Any color other than pure white, cream, biscuit, or white and biscuit.
Blue eyes.

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Sources: American Kennel Club


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