Born and bred for the icy tundras of Russia’s Siberian region, the Samoyed (pronounced “sam-oid”) is a cold-weather pup with a sunny disposition that can melt even the frostiest heart. Intelligent, protective, and unbelievably playful, these pups with snow-white thick coat make excellent family companions.
Though Samoyeds were raised as working sled dogs, they’ve since become more familiar with the couch than the frigid wastelands of the Arctic. Still, these fluffy friends are bursting with energy and a desire to stay busy. With a Samoyed, a leash, and a wagon, you may just have a modern-day sled dog team on your hands…
Also Known As…
Samoiedskaya Sobaka. Bjelkier. Sammie/Sammy. The floofy goofball. Puller of sleds, lover of snow, enemy of black pants everywhere. “I think that dog is smiling at me?”
What Is The History Of The Samoyed?
The name “Samoyed” comes from the original keepers of these great, floofy beasts. The Samoyede people were a group of semi-nomadic hunters who traveled to the Siberian North hundreds of years ago.1 With them, they brought big, fluffy white dogs to hunt reindeer, pull sleds, and snuggle for warmth.
As the remote corners of Siberia became more and more accessible, the Samoyed caught the eye of Western travelers in the region. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, intrepid adventurers looking to explore the uncharted Arctic and Antarctic brought Samoyeds along to tow their sleds and keep them company.1
Eventually, the Samoyed made its way to Europe and the United States, where this fluffy dog breed has spread far and wide. These days, there are as many Samoyeds knee-deep in Alaskan snow as there are sunbathing on a Florida beach.
How Big Do Samoyeds Get?
Height: 19–24 inches
Weight: 35–65 pounds
How Long Do Samoyeds (Generally) Live?
The average life expectancy for a healthy Samoyed is between 12 and 14 years.
What Is A Samoyed’s Temperament & Personality Like?
The vaguely angelic appearance of a Samoyed is a pretty solid hint at how they are on the inside, too. The Samoyed temperament and personality is total sweetheart. The Samoyed is one of the most snuggly dog breeds. They might have a stubborn streak but they’ll cozy up to a stranger on the street as eagerly as they’ll cuddle with you.
With all those face kisses and naptime snuggles, it’s easy to forget that the Samoyed was originally a working dog. Behind that playful, personable spirit is the heart of a protective guard dog. Though they rarely rile themselves up, The Samoyed dog is quick to use its voice to tell you when someone’s around.
Are Samoyeds Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
The Samoyed is a pack dog, so anyone in your pack is a member of the extended family. These fuzzy white teddy bears will quickly become best friends with your little ones.
As for cats, it’s worth remembering that Samoyeds spent hundreds of years hunting reindeer before they landed on your living room floor. So, even though kitties don’t have antlers, your Samoyed may see Garfield as more of a light meal than a loved one. As such, it’s best to socialize your Sammie with cats as soon as possible—early exposure should all but guarantee a friendly bond between your pets.
Samoyeds are relatively relaxed around other dogs, but once again, exposure at a young age is key. Ultimately, whenever your dog meets another canine, cat, or kid for the first time, keep a close eye on them.
Are Samoyeds High Energy?
The former sled dog breed has oodles of pent-up energy. To keep a Samoyed healthy, occupied, and out of trouble, pencil in around two hours of exercise per day.
Are Samoyeds Hard To Train?
Sammies are the perfect candidates for training. Their intelligence, eagerness to please, and adaptability make them quick learners.
Even so, it’s rare to see a Samoyed win the prize for “most obedient.” Despite—or perhaps because of—their big brains, Sammies can become bored with obedience classes. Overall, the trick to having your pup do tricks is plenty of patience (and a generous helping of treats).
Do Samoyeds Have Health Issues?
As a breed, Samoyeds enjoy relatively good health. After all, they were raised in the -50º weather of Siberia—how much tougher can you be?
Still, like all dog breeds, Sammies come with their share of common health conditions. Ask your vet to pay close attention to their:2
- Heart – Issues like aortic stenosis and pulmonic valve stenosis can occur. These conditions restrict blood flow, leading to heart and lung problems over time.
- Eyes – Cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and glaucoma can affect Samoyeds, especially as they age.
- Joints – Sammies are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia (excessive joint wear that can cause arthritis).
Do Samoyeds Need To Be Groomed?
The Samoyed has a reputation for being a “dirt-proof dog.” Spend a few days with one, however, and you’ll see that this is far from the truth—Samoyeds will roll in the mud like any other pup, and dirt definitely shows on their thick coat.
With that said, you won’t need to bathe your Samoyed more than a few times a year. Even better, your trips to the groomer won’t include a haircut—Samoyeds are moderate shedders. Remember to brush your pup every week or so, and you’ll keep the household piles of white fur to a minimum.
Beyond that, Samoyeds have all the classic grooming needs. Semi-regular nail trimmings, ear cleanings, and tooth scrubs should all be part of your schedule.
How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Samoyed?
While expenses are variable, you can expect to spend around $1,800+ per year caring for your Samoyed.
As one of the medium size dog breeds, the Samoyed has an appetite. As an adult dog, this canine eat 2.5–3 cups of dry dog food per day, placing your total costs at roughly $35/month.
If you want to ensure your Sammie eats right without breaking the bank, consider a custom meal plan from BARK Eats! Every month, you’ll find a bag of nutritious dog food on your doorstep, designed just for your Samoyed. And now, get 50% off your first month!
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
Even if your Sammie is as healthy as can be, it’s wise to pop into the vet clinic every six months or so. Stick to that schedule, and you’ll spend $250–400 per year on vet fees, vaccines, and recommended tests.
Preventative Medications For Samoyeds
To give your floofy friend the long and happy life they deserve, consider asking your vet about preventative medications like:
- Flea and tick prevention ($100/year)
- Heartworm medication (~$100/year)
- Glucosamine chondroitin supplements for joints ($90/year)
Depending on the size of your Sammie, expect to drop between $60 and $150 at the groomer.
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
Ah, the best parts of doggy life. If you plan to spoil your Samoyed (and let’s face it, you probably do), factor in some extra cash for the fun stuff. Start with the basics, like:
- Toys ($80)
- Treats ($40/year)
- A leash ($20)
- A large dog bed ($40–90)
For some extra fun for your furry friend, sign up for a monthly BarkBox subscription! The $23/month tier gives you 2 unique toys, 2 treat bags, and a chew every four weeks. Upgrade to $29/month, and you’re looking at 2 mega-durable toys, 2 full-size bags of treats, and 2 yummy chews. Double your first box for free, and watch that telltale Sammie smile spread from ear to ear!
- Samoyed Club of America. Breed Origin and History. https://www.samoyedclubofamerica.org/the-samoyed/in-depth/breed-origin-and-history/
- Samoyed Club of America. Health Issues. https://www.samoyedclubofamerica.org/the-samoyed/health-and-care/health-issues/