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The Samoyed is a stunning medium/large Spitz breed, showing the typical characteristics of erect, pricked ears and a tail curling over the back. They have a thick, profuse weather-resistant coat. Their feet are flat and have an abundance of hair, making them like snowshoes and preventing snow from forming 'snowballs' between the toes.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Heavy drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–13 years
Weight: 23–30kg
Height: Adult males are 51–56cm and adult females 46–51cm
Colours: Pure white, white and biscuit, or cream
Size: Medium
Kennel Club group: Working


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 5/5


The Samoyed is generally a friendly, outgoing and devoted dog. Samoyeds are protective of their homes. No intruder will ever go unheard, although they rarely do much more than announce their presence. He loves to be included in all family activities and can become destructive and vocal if left for too long or bored. They enjoy digging and are great escape artists, so garden security is essential. They have to be socialised from an early age, especially with cats and any other household pets. They can be quite vocal.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Russia

Known at various times as the Smiling Dog or the Reindeer Dog, the Samoyed is an ancient reindeer-herding dog who takes their now universally known name from the tribe that treasured it so highly and worked alongside it - the Samoyede people of Northern Siberia.

While largely a herding dog, the Samoyed (or Sami) was a multi-purpose dog who would not only control livestock but would also pull sledges, and on occasions, provided the tribe with fur garments to keep them warm in the most inhospitable of climates.

These dogs lived and worked closely with the tribe and even shared their sleeping quarters, so has always lived alongside families, and was treated as a companion (and often a hot water bottle) as well as a working dog. At the end of the 19th century, explorers to the area took an interest in the Samoyed and their powers of endurance and stamina, using some as sledge dogs for early polar expeditions. A few Samis came back with them to England - where their stunning looks and cheerful personalities meant they become almost instantly popular with show enthusiasts and even royalty. This popularity continues to this day and the breed is remarkably unchanged - except unlike their ancestors, the modern Sami comes only in white!

Did You Know?

  • The Samoyed dog takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy, white, smiling dogs to help with the herding, to pull sleds, and to keep their owners warm at night by sleeping on top of them.
  • As Samoyeds were the easiest of the Arctic dogs to buy at the end of the 19th century, early polar explorers such as Shakleton and Scott used them as sledge dogs on their historic expeditions. Once such dog, called Antarctic Buck ended up in Sydney Zoo being exhibited between two tigers before being discovered and shipped back to England to join the breed’s foundation stock there.
  • Recent DNA analysis of the breed has discovered that they are one of the oldest dog breeds.
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