An Arctic dog with a unique "Samoyed smile" extending from ear to ear, this breed has a beautiful, pure white, very heavy, weather-resistant coat that makes it ideal both as a reindeer herder and as a quite friendly household pet.

The independent-minded Samoyed was originally used to herd reindeer and pull sleds. Today they are known as playful companions. If left alone too long they can suffer from separation anxiety and become nuisance barkers.


Named for and developed by the nomadic Samoyed peoples of northeastern Asia, this breed remained separate from others for centuries as it hunted and herded reindeer, fished, and pulled sleds in the wilds of Mongolia. The coat color once varied from dark sable to black and white, until about one hundred years ago when the dog was introduced into England by Arctic explorers and color was limited to a solid pure or near white. Although this breed still works as a sled dog in the Arctic, its noble appearance, gentle temperament, and rapport with humans have made it popular worldwide as a watchdog and house pet.


The Samoyed has an extremely sturdy, well-balanced body; a straight top line; wide, strong, well-muscled loins and chest; long legs in harmony with the body; a straight, extended, powerful neck; a slightly triangular, V-shaped head with a medium-length, slightly tapering muzzle; firm lips that give it a characteristic smile and a thousand expressions; dark almond-shaped eyes; erect, slightly round-tipped ears; a black nose, and a long, thick, bushy curled tail. Its thick, profuse double coat is composed of a soft, dense, short, almost woolly close undercoat. Coat coloration should be cream, pure white, biscuit, silver white, or silver biscuit.

Height: 46-56 cm at the shoulder

Weight: 20-27 kg


The Samoyed is active, smart, gentle, especially good with children, obedient in its own way, and definitely vocal. Though friendly, they will warn of visitors by persistent barking, then will accept them willingly when they enter the home.

Grooming and Care

The double-coat conies in white, white and biscuit, cream or all biscuit. This breed requires brushing a few times a week and more when they are shedding. Nails must always be kept cut short, while the teeth and ears require constant care.


Samoyeds are best kept in hard physical condition and not allowed to become soft. Their health is generally good, but they can have hip dysplasia problems. All breeding stock should be X-rayed under the relevant country’s scheme. In the United States there has also been some incidence of progressive retinal atrophy but this has not appeared in British dogs. Hip dysplasia is a concern.

Expected lifespan is 10-15 years.

Environment and Exercise

Samoyed require access to a fairly large yard but will enjoy living indoors with their family. They cannot tolerate the heat and but do well in cold climates. This active dog needs daily exercise. A long walk, jog or play session should do the trick and Sammies really love sledding and carting.

Compatibility with Kids and other Pets

Even though this dog likes children, young dogs can be so energetic that small children may be knocked over. This breed may also try to herd children. Some Sammies have been known to be trustworthy with other pets, but others have strong chasing instincts that make them a danger to smaller animals. They are reasonably friendly with other dogs.

Puppies and Training

The newborn puppies, numbering five to nine per litter, look very sweet, almost like teddy bear cubs. They do best with early contact with a number of human strangers, and obedience training should begin very early.

Gallery of Samoyed