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All About Samoyeds: The Smiling Sled Dogs

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

White Samoyed dog

The Samoyed, affectionately known as the “Smiling Sammy,” is a beautiful and friendly breed with origins in Siberia, Russia. These dogs were bred by the nomadic Samoyed people for herding, sledding, and companionship. 

Renowned for their fluffy white coats and happy demeanor, Samoyeds are excellent family pets and working dogs. If you’re looking for a Samoyed puppy for sale, it’s crucial to do your research first. Laura Bush from Larajus Samoyeds provides insights into the breed’s characteristics and care needs.

Samoyed Key Points

  1. Samoyeds are friendly, outgoing, and known for their “Sammy smile.”
  2. They were originally bred by the Samoyed people of Siberia for herding and sledding.
  3. These dogs are highly intelligent and excel in various dog sports.
  4. Samoyeds require regular grooming due to their thick double coat.
  5. They thrive in active households and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Samoyed Profile: Temperament & Physical Characteristics

Close up of Samoyed head showing breed physical traits

Samoyeds are known for their gregarious and outgoing nature. Laura Bush describes them as “happy and always smiling.” They are extremely affectionate, social, and love being part of the family. Samoyeds are not suited to being left alone for long periods as they can become bored and destructive. They are highly intelligent and need mental challenges to stay happy.

Samoyeds are emotionally in tune with their owners and enjoy participating in family activities. They watch every move you make and are known for their ability to open gates and latches, showcasing their intelligence and desire to be involved in daily life.

Suitability for Active and Outdoor-Oriented Households

These dogs are ideal for active households due to their high energy levels. They enjoy activities like running, hiking, and playing fetch. Laura Bush emphasizes that “they need a good amount of exercise to be good house dogs.”

Ideal Environments for Samoyeds

Samoyeds thrive in homes where they can be with their families and participate in various activities. They are not suitable for being left outside alone as they crave human interaction and can become destructive if bored. Just like Siberian Huskies, they are known for being a little dramatic.

Size, Weight, and Appearance

Samoyeds are medium to large-sized dogs. Males typically weigh between 45-65 pounds, while females weigh 35-50 pounds. They have a thick double coat that comes in white, biscuit, and cream colors. Their distinctive “Sammy smile” and dark, expressive eyes give them a friendly and approachable look.

Coat Types and Colors

The primary coat color for Samoyeds is white, though biscuit and cream are also seen. Their double coat consists of a harsh outer layer and a wool-like undercoat, which requires regular grooming to prevent matting.

Distinctive Physical Traits

Samoyeds have a well-muscled build, erect ears, and a tail that curls over their back. Their thick fur provides insulation in cold climates, making them well-suited for colder environments.

Is the Samoyed Right for Me? Pros and Cons

Samoyed adult sniffing puppy pros and cons of having a Samoyed

Samoyeds are beautiful, friendly, and intelligent dogs that make excellent companions for the right families. However, like any breed, they come with their own set of advantages and challenges. Here’s a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of owning a Samoyed to help you decide if this breed is the right fit for you.

Affectionate and FriendlyHigh Grooming Needs
Samoyeds are known for their friendly, outgoing nature and love to be around people. They are excellent family dogs and get along well with children and other pets.Their thick double coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and keep it looking its best. They also shed heavily, especially during seasonal changes.
Intelligent and TrainableHigh Exercise Requirements
Samoyeds are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. They excel in obedience, agility, and other dog sports.Samoyeds are an active breed that needs plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They require daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
Versatile Working DogsPotential for Destructive Behavior
Originally bred for herding, sledding, and other tasks, Samoyeds are versatile and capable working dogs. They can be trained for various roles, including therapy and assistance work.Without enough mental and physical stimulation, Samoyeds can become bored and resort to destructive behaviors such as chewing and digging.
Excellent CompanionsNot Suited for Hot Climates
Samoyeds thrive on human companionship and enjoy being part of family activities. They are loyal and form strong bonds with their owners.Samoyeds have a thick coat that makes them more suited to cooler climates. They can struggle in hot weather and need to be kept cool to avoid overheating.
Low OdorPotential Health Issues
Unlike some other breeds, Samoyeds have a low odor and their coats don’t emit a strong doggy smell, even when wet.Like all breeds, Samoyeds can be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and diabetes. Regular veterinary care and health screenings are essential.

Additional Considerations

  • Samoyeds do best in homes with a yard where they can run and play. Apartment living can be challenging for them unless they get sufficient exercise.
  • Owning a Samoyed requires a significant time commitment for grooming, exercise, and training.
  • Samoyeds are social dogs that do not like to be left alone for long periods. They thrive in homes where someone is often present to keep them company.

By carefully considering these pros and cons, you can determine if the Samoyed is the right breed for your lifestyle and home. They are wonderful, loyal, and loving dogs that can bring immense joy to your life when their needs are met.

Common Health Issues & Lifespan

Samoyeds typically live between 12 to 14 years. Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain their health and longevity.

Like all breeds, Samoyeds are prone to certain health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and diabetes according to Dr. Alex Gough’s book on breed predispositions to disease. Regular health screenings and veterinary check-ups can help manage these conditions effectively.

Cardiovascular Conditions

Heart Murmur – Samoyeds can be predisposed to heart murmurs, which are often detected during routine vet visits. A heart murmur is an abnormal sound heard during a heartbeat, which may indicate an underlying heart condition.

Dermatological Conditions

Endocrine Alopecia– This condition involves hair loss due to hormonal imbalances and is seen in some neutered Samoyeds. Regular veterinary care can help manage this condition.

Drug Reactions

Sulfonamide-Associated Hypersensitivity – Neutered female Samoyeds are particularly prone to adverse reactions to sulfonamide antibiotics. Symptoms can include fever, joint pain, and skin reactions.

Endocrine Conditions

Diabetes Mellitus – This is a significant health concern for Samoyeds, particularly in older, unspayed females. It is a condition where the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels. Symptoms include increased thirst, urination, and weight loss.

Gastrointestinal Conditions

Chronic Hepatitis – Samoyeds may develop chronic liver inflammation, which requires ongoing medical management. Symptoms can include jaundice, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Congenital Portosystemic Shunt: This condition involves abnormal blood flow between the liver and the rest of the body, often identified in young dogs. It can cause poor growth, vomiting, and neurological signs.

Musculoskeletal Conditions

Hip Dysplasia – This is a common hereditary condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, leading to arthritis and pain. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage this condition.

Neoplastic Conditions

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Lingual): This type of cancer affects the tongue and is more common in female Samoyeds. Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing this condition.

Neurological Conditions

Hypomyelination Syndrome: This inherited disorder affects the nervous system, leading to tremors and difficulty walking in puppies as young as two weeks old.

Ocular Conditions

Cataracts – Samoyeds are predisposed to cataracts, which can lead to vision impairment or blindness. Regular eye exams can help catch this condition early.

Primary Glaucoma – This condition involves increased pressure in the eye, which can cause pain and vision loss. It’s often hereditary in Samoyeds.

Renal and Urinary Conditions

Familial Renal Disease – This genetic condition affects the kidneys, potentially leading to renal failure. Symptoms can include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, and vomiting.

Urolithiasis (Calcium Oxalate and Silica Stones) – Samoyeds can develop urinary stones, which can cause pain and difficulty urinating. Dietary management and increased water intake can help prevent this condition.

Best Dog Foods for the Samoyed

So, what should you feed a Samoyed?

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Adult

Royal Canin’s formula is designed to meet the specific needs of Samoyeds, providing balanced nutrition that supports their active lifestyle. This food includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, as well as joint support to help maintain their mobility.

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed

Hill’s Science Diet offers a formula tailored for large breeds, which is ideal for Samoyeds. It includes high-quality protein to support lean muscles, and its blend of vitamins and antioxidants helps boost the immune system. Additionally, glucosamine and chondroitin are included to support joint health.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula provides holistic nutrition with real meat as the first ingredient. This food includes a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals carefully selected to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Recipe

Taste of the Wild offers a grain-free formula that includes real roasted meats, providing a highly digestible energy source and excellent nutrition for active Samoyeds. This recipe also includes fruits and vegetables that deliver antioxidants to support overall health.

Orijen Original

Orijen Original is known for its high-protein, grain-free formula that mimics a natural diet. Made with fresh regional ingredients, this food includes free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. The high protein content supports lean muscle mass, while a mix of botanicals supports digestive health.

Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef & Sweet Potato

Merrick’s grain-free recipe features deboned beef as the first ingredient, providing high-quality protein to support muscle development and energy levels. The addition of sweet potatoes and peas offers a source of easily digestible carbohydrates. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health.

Samoyed Training and Socialization

Samoyeds are intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement. Using rewards such as treats, praise, and play can effectively motivate them. Short, frequent training sessions are ideal to keep them engaged and prevent them from becoming bored. Incorporating fun activities and varied commands can make training enjoyable for both you and your Samoyed.

Behavioral Management

Early training and socialization are crucial for Samoyeds to manage their high energy levels and potential for excessive barking. Introducing them to different environments, people, and other animals from a young age helps them become well-rounded and confident. 

Consistent training helps address and reduce undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, and separation anxiety. Establishing a routine and clear boundaries will make your Samoyed feel secure and understood.

Samoyed Grooming and Maintenance

Samoyeds have a thick double coat that requires regular and extensive grooming. This coat, consisting of a harsh outer layer and a soft, woolly undercoat, is what gives the Samoyed its iconic fluffy appearance. To prevent matting and keep their coat healthy, it’s important to brush them several times a week.

Brushing Frequency and Techniques

Regular brushing is essential for maintaining the Samoyed’s coat. Ideally, you should brush your Samoyed at least three to four times a week, if not daily, especially during shedding seasons. Using the right tools, such as a slicker brush, an undercoat rake, and a comb, can make the grooming process more effective. Start by brushing in the direction of the hair growth to remove loose fur and then use the undercoat rake to get rid of any tangles or mats in the dense undercoat.

Bathing and Trimming

Bathing your Samoyed every few months helps keep their coat clean and healthy. Due to their thick fur, it’s essential to rinse them thoroughly to ensure no shampoo residue is left, which can irritate their skin. 

After bathing, make sure to dry them completely to prevent mildew in their fur. Additionally, trimming their nails regularly and cleaning their ears are important aspects of their grooming routine. Keeping their nails trimmed helps prevent discomfort and potential injuries, while regular ear cleaning helps prevent infections.

Importance of Dental Care

Regular dental care is crucial for your Samoyed’s overall health. Brushing their teeth several times a week and providing dental chews can help prevent dental diseases and maintain good oral hygiene. Dental health is often overlooked, but it plays a significant role in your dog’s overall well-being.

Ear and Eye Care Routines

Regularly checking and cleaning their ears and eyes can prevent infections and ensure they remain healthy. For ear care, use a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner and a cotton ball to gently clean the outer part of their ears. For their eyes, gently wipe away any discharge with a damp cloth. Keeping their ears and eyes clean will help avoid common issues like ear infections and tear staining.

Expert Advice

Laura Bush from Larajus Samoyeds emphasizes the importance of consistent grooming to keep your Samoyed looking and feeling their best: “They are the only breed of dogs that have wool for an undercoat. They don’t have a smell when they’re wet like a wet dog, they smell like a sheep.” She also highlights that Samoyeds should never be shaved, as their coat protects them from both heat and cold.

By following a regular grooming routine and paying attention to their coat, dental, ear, and eye care, you can ensure that your Samoyed stays healthy, comfortable, and beautiful.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Gorgeous Samoyed dog running on snow getting exercise

Samoyeds are an active breed and require several good walks or play sessions each day. They love to chase balls, run, and engage in activities that challenge their physical abilities.

Types of Activities

  • Running;
  • Agility Training;
  • Frisbee; and
  • Fetch.

Mental Stimulation Needs

Samoyeds need mental challenges to stay happy and avoid boredom. Providing puzzle toys and interactive games can keep them mentally stimulated.

Advanced Training and Dog Sports

Engaging your Samoyed in advanced training and dog sports such as sledding, herding, obedience, and agility can help satisfy their need for mental and physical exercise.

Finding a Samoyed

Two Samoyed puppies for sale

When looking for a Samoyed puppy, it is essential to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. Look for breeders who conduct comprehensive health screenings and maintain a clean, caring environment for their dogs. Laura Bush from Larajus Samoyeds advises choosing breeders who perform thorough health testing and provide ongoing support for new owners.

Questions to Ask Breeders

When speaking with potential breeders, consider asking the following questions to ensure they are reputable:

  • What health tests have been done on the parents?
  • Can I see the puppy’s parents and health certificates?
  • What socialization practices do you follow?

Adoption and Rescue Options

If you are open to adopting a Samoyed, consider reaching out to organizations and breed-specific rescues. Some reputable organizations include:

Adopting a rescue dog can be a rewarding experience and provides a loving home to a dog in need.

How Much Does a Samoyed Puppy Cost? 

The cost of a Samoyed puppy can vary depending on factors such as the breeder’s reputation, location, and the puppy’s pedigree. On average, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for a Samoyed puppy from a reputable breeder.

Initial Costs

  • Purchase/adoption fees;
  • Vaccinations;
  • Spaying/neutering; and
  • Supplies (bed, crate, toys, etc.).

Ongoing Costs

  • Food;
  • Grooming;
  • Veterinary care; and
  • Pet insurance.

By carefully selecting a reputable breeder or considering adoption, you can ensure you are bringing home a healthy and well-adjusted Samoyed puppy. Be prepared for the financial commitment and the time needed to care for and train your new furry family member.


Samoyeds are affectionate, playful, and adaptable dogs that make excellent companions for various households. They require regular grooming, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Consider your lifestyle and commitment before bringing a Samoyed into your home. They thrive on companionship and active involvement with their families.

Owning a Samoyed is a rewarding experience filled with love and companionship. With proper care and attention, they make delightful pets that bring joy to any household.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.