History and character
Jimmy Nelson – a photographer and ethnologist dedicated to the photographic capture of tribes and communities who still maintain their traditional way of life – said that the Nenets believe that the way a person treats his dog determines later his place in the heaven.
The name Samoyed dog derives from the Nenets – a tribe living in the polar regions of north-eastern Siberia and northern Russia – also known as the Samoyed people. The Nenets used their white or black-and-brown spotted dogs as reindeer herders. The dogs of the northern areas were completely white and had softer character. The Nenets used these dogs also for hunting and as sledge dogs. Their dogs were so important to them, that they lived side by side with their families, even slept within their shelters and were used as heaters in cold winter nights. Some even claim that the dogs nursed the children of their owners.
This special bond with the man shaped the Samoyed into a dog we know and love today – very friendly, social, and man trusting. Samoyed dog is used to living in a herd and therefore does not tolerate very well solitude. Due to its trustworthy nature, the Samoyed dog is not suitable for a watchdog position.
Of the Nordic sledge dogs, Samoyed is the easiest to train. But one needs to remember that obedience was not a priority in the development of this breed. This arctic spitz combines charm, strength, endurance, flexibility, dignity, and confidence. Despite these keywords, which speak of strong character, it is said that the Nenets never used violence in training their dogs, only their voice. This is the way Samoyed training should also be today. Yes, this training may take a little longer than, for example, that of a German Shepherd. Samoyed often has its own opinion on the matter, but it is worth the effort. One should establish the rules and boundaries immediately after the puppy arrives in the household. And schooling should start as soon as puppy is accepted into puppy school. Trained and socialized Samoyed can be very easy to live with and taken with you to wherever the dogs are allowed to.
Samoyed is medium in size. The hight at withers of a male is 54-60cm and of a female 50-56cm. Its characteristic features are its smile (the “Samoyed Smile” is made up of a combination of dark almond shape eyes and the slightly curved up corners of the mouth), its big fluffy tail, thick double-layered coat and of course its white colour. In addition to pure white colour, cream or white with biscuit is accepted as its colours. The latter means that some patches of biscuit hair in a primary white colour are accepted here and there.
The Samoyed’s coat is so called dirt-repellent. Meaning dried dirt and dust simply falls off it. Which, of course, does not mean the coat does not require regular grooming. The grooming is needed to avoid tangles in the coat and any kind of inflammation of the skin. The undercoat is soft and tense and changes regularly. The outer coat is longer, harsher, and straighter. The coat of a female is often shorter and softer in texture than that of a male. The coat forms a ruff around the neck and shoulders framing the head, especially in males. The coat provides protection for the dog from both, cold and heat, and cutting it is strongly not recommended! More than hot or cold, one should be afraid of getting the coat wet. In case the dog gets wet it is recommended to dry the coat with special hair dryer or just let the dog completely dry out inside the house. A wet coat may cause skin inflammation called the hotspot.
Samoyed is a primitive breed and relatively healthy, but it may have some inherited eye diseases. Some of which causing blindness. It is recommended to check the eyes of your Samoyed. Although Samoyeds generally do not have hip and elbow problems, it is obligatory to check the joints of all dogs used in breeding prior breeding them. Samoyed dogs can also have inherited heart diseases and autoimmune diseases.
The Samoyed combines beauty, friendly nature, and character of not giving up. Samoyed is working dog who is happiest when offered a lot physical and mental stimulation. One should not hope the Samoyed just calmly lies somewhere and does nothing. At least young dog. When expected to leisure, Samoyed usually finds an activity for itself, the result of which you may not like at all. The usual result is chewed items, furniture or dup up garden. One should remember that the original purpose for the Samoyed was to travel long distances with heavy load. Therefore, the Samoyed is a great adventure buddy, both on foot and by car. Your Samoyed will most happily discover new places and people, both in the city and in the countryside. He will gladly go as far as you go, because being together is a blast! Just keep a comb in your pocket to free your friend from all the twigs, weeds, burdock, and mud, if necessary 😊
Samoyeds are great diggers. They dig into the soil in summer to cool themselves, as well as to keep them warm in winter. But, also just out of boredom. Be prepared to take care of your garden more than before your Samoyed buddy arrived.
Samoyeds also bark. They may bark to get the attention of your arriving guest. Your guest may just be someone who can’t adequately appreciate the charms of your Samoyed. And, according to him, he just wants to let your guest know that he is mistaken and the prettiest of all in the house needs the appropriate attention! The Samoyed will definitely bark if he is tied up somewhere. In his mind, it is just unheard of that a dog is tied up somewhere!
According to the Samoyed breed standard, it has a moderately developed hunting instinct. This means, in real life, that your dog will chase after every squirrel, rabbit or cat he sees. Samoyed dog needs a strong and secure garden from which he cannot dig out of or jump over.
Having a mind of its own. If you consider this to be a bad habit. The Nenets depended on the character of their dog and their ability to think for themselves. They thought to their dogs independence and responsibility. Still, in our modern world, we demand from our Samoyeds to discard this trait obtained via their mother’s milk and submit them to the will of man. The key to successful Samoyed education is the respect for his instincts and finding a balance between him, you, and the world. Depending on your point of view, the Samoyed may be one of the hardest breeds to control or one of the easiest breeds to walk through your life with. Your choice!