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Country/Date of Origin: Russia/1600s

This is the herding dog of the once nomadic Samoyed people who roamed across Arctic Asia and now live in the regions of Siberia east of the Ural Mountains. For centuries the big white dogs guarded and herded the reindeer, which were the lifeblood of the tribes. Occasionally they pulled sleds, but this job usually was relegated to the reindeer. Most of the modern Samoyeds are descendants of just 12 animals brought out of Russia in the 19th Century. Still used as a sled dog, the Samoyed can withstand the most extreme weather. The story of the first Samoyed in the United States is a romantic one. Princess Mercy de Montyglyon was showing some of her collies at a dog show in St. Petersburg when she noticed a Samoyed following her. She dragged him back to his bench but the next day he followed her again. It turns out that he was the favorite of the Grand Duke and no amount of money was enough to purchase him. However, the heir to the Russian throne was so taken by the dog's attachment to the Princess that he gave the dog to her. In 1906 he became the first of his breed to be shown in America.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Working

Breed Club: Samoyed Club of America

Rescue Club: Samoyed Club of America Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A medium sized sled dog of the Spitz family. Compact and muscular with a smiling expression
  • Height: Males: 21 to 23 1/2 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
  • Weight: 50-65 pounds
  • The tail is carried over the back and to one side. It is never altered
  • The ears are erect, set far apart and are not altered. In line with what you would expect from a Northern dog, the ears are small and heavily furred


  • Intelligent and eager to please
  • Friendly but conservative. Aggressiveness is to be severely penalized in a Samoyed
  • Prefers to be outdoors
  • High energy


  • Coat is so thick that is almost impossible to see the skin when it is parted. Even the bottoms of the feet are cushioned with fur
  • Coat is very long
  • The outer coat is coarse and the undercoat is woolly. It should stand out from the body
  • Should be pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or all biscuit. Any other colors disqualify
  • Sheds heavily in the spring. At other times grooming needs are moderate
  • Males carry much more coat than females

Health Concerns:

  • Usually very hardy
  • Possible hip dysplasia
  • Skin diseases if kept in a heated house
  • Serious eye problems
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Fridtjof Nansen first brought the Samoyed to the attention of the public through his polar expeditions. Later, Scott and Amundsen used Samoyeds in Antarctica
  • Often called the "smiling dog" for its amused expression. It reflects the happy heart of the Samoyed which not only smiles but chortles. A real sense of humor
  • If you can stand the shedding this is a fine pet, one that adores children and can take rough and tumble play

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