The Samoyed is a unique breed which requires specific care and training.
We hope this page provides basic information to facilitate your Samoyed's care and training.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have additional questions.
Photo by Lynda Tusoni
If you love spending lots of time every day with your dog, then the Samoyed is for you. The care of a Samoyed's body and coat is meticulous but necessary, and it is part of the fun of caring for a Samoyed.
Samoyeds require daily brushing to keep their coats free from painful mats in the coat. Brushing also loosens and remove dirt and other environmental contaminants on a regular basis. Lastly, brushing gives you a daily checkup for fleas and other pests that may have found its way into your Samoyed's thick and soft coat.
The frequency of bathing depends on your environment, but it should be done at minimum twice a year to maintain your Samoyed's healthy coat and skin. Many owners find it useful to bathe once every month or every two months. You may choose to bring them to a professional groomer who has experience with Samoyeds, or you can bathe them yourself. Please remember to request or use a high quality shampoo which conditions both the skin and coat, and not one that dries and irritates the skin.
Adult Samoyed (Part 2)
Teeth, Toes, and Feet (Part 3)
Nails should be trimmed once every three weeks or so, and be sure to brush their teeth at least a few times a week with enzymatic toothpastes.
A Samoyed's diet should be high quality and balanced to promote a healthy coat and skin. Check with us before your adoption and/or with your veterinarian before changing your Samoyed's diet to ensure the diet is appropriate and the transition period is monitored.
Never place your Samoyed in a hot or humid area for too long, especially if there is no shade or cool water to lower their body temperatures under their heavy coat. Imagine wearing a heavy, permanent jacket on a hot summer day!
We do not recommend shaving a Samoyed unless it is medically necessary (severe mats, pests, surgery, etc), because it may damage their coat and skin, not to mention affect their temperature regulation mechanisms.
References: Samoyed Club of America
Photo by Chris Chang
You heard right: Samoyeds are stubborn. They are cunning, demanding, and loud. Samoyeds will test your resolve on a regular basis and push you to your limits at times. But with the right training, daily vigorous exercise, and a solid routine, they will enrich your life in new ways.
They are extremely friendly and loyal. They are loving best friends who will always be happy to see you come home and will jump at any chance to snuggle by your side. They are quick to learn basic commands, quick to learn how to play, quick to recognize family members, and quick to sense emotions. They may even be helpful as service or therapy dogs with the right training.
Samoyeds should not be deprived of human companionship. It is inhumane to leave a Samoyed alone in the backyard or alone at home for long stretches of time. Alone, a Samoyed may become miserable and destructive, by digging, chewing, howling, or barking. Some may even chew off their coats from their legs and tails, if driven to boredom.
We cannot stress enough the importance of everyday companionship with your Samoyed. If you work long hours or travel frequently, then finding and vetting a good dog walker, dog sitter, or local dog daycare will do wonders for your Samoyed's health, both physically and mentally. Not to mention, it will save you from potentially costly repairs in your home and yard if a Samoyed is left alone to become destructive.
Samoyeds will easily be one of the best dogs you will care for. Aside from their loving nature, you may find them randomly making goofy faces at you, sprawling all over the floor to find the best nap position, using their paws awkwardly to get your attention, or lazily shaking their heads in confusion when they hear something new. It's never-ending fun in a fluffy package.
We hope you find your friendship with your Samoyed as fulfilling as we do with ours.
Photo by Jennifer Tabsharani
References: Samoyed Club of America
Photo by Jennifer Tabsharani
Photo by Lynda Tusoni
Photo by Lynda Tusoni
Photo by Lynda Tusoni
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Samoyeds hypoallergenic?
The real answer is no.
While Sammies are less allergenic than other dogs, they are not 100% hypoallergenic. They do smell less and do not have dander that other dogs have, which is a trigger for allergies in people.
They are a very clean dog. Those who suffer from dog allergies are also prone to being triggered by many airborne irritants such as dust and pollen both of which can collect on dog hair, thus triggering an allergic reaction.
With proper grooming, a Samoyed can be a great choice. But coat upkeep and cleanliness is a must to lessen any reactions.
We found this blog post helpful in describing the limitations of a Samoyed's coat. If you are considering an adoption, please do arrange to spend ample time with the breed to ensure your allergies do not flare up intolerably.
What do I do if my dog runs away from me or won't come when called?
You can kneel down and start crying! Just fake it: 'boo-hoo-hoo,' and so forth. Sam will probably come slowly back to see what's the matter with a pack member! Be ready with a leash and collar to gently capture the good dog that just returned to help you. Having a treat to reward the loyal dog is a reminder that coming when called is a good thing.
Never punish a dog for failing to come; it just becomes a signal to the dog to stay away from you when you holler 'Come!'
At the same time, the 'Come' command should never be left unfulfilled. If need be, go to the recalcitrant beast and put a collar on him or her. Then lead the dog back to where you were calling out the 'Come' command.
It's very hot this summer, and I'm wondering about exercising my Samoyed in the heat. Is that OK?
It's OK, but you should take it easy and have ready access to water and shade.
An overheated, overworked dog will abruptly lay down and won't budge. If this happens in the cold--say, up in the snow--then the dog has to rest. If this happens in the heat, you should pick up the dog and take it to shade immediately. Do not delay. Provide cool water to drink. A good idea is to bring spray bottles filled with good, clean tap water. Periodically spray a mist onto the dog's snout and into it's mouth. It's a good cooler.
What does a Samoyed dog look like?
There is indeed some variation within the breed. Samoyeds are confused with the American Eskimo, Spitz, Siberian Husky, Great Pyrenees, and even the Chow. Here is a guide to identifying the Samoyed dog.
How do you pronounce 'Samoyed'?
Mostly, we just say 'Suh-MOY-yed, with the accent on the middle syllable.
The breed takes its name from the Samoyed people of Siberia. Samoyed is the name given this nationality by ethnic Russians to the west. The accent is properly on the first syllable, and it sounds something like SAWM-oh-yed. It's better if you don't make a strong 'oh' sound in the middle: SAWM-ah-yed. And it's better still if the 'yed' sounds a little like the 'yit', with a soft, dental 'd' at the end. What Wikipedia has to say.
Why does my Samoyed yawn when I give the 'sit' command?
The yawn means something different in Dog than it does in Human.
When dogs yawn it means that they are stressed, concerned, or anxious. It does not indicate boredom or sleepiness. Yawning may help dogs relieve stress. You can yawn back at the vet's office, especially if you're bored. So with respect to yawning, Samoyeds are no different than other dogs. The Samoyed, however, is a northern dog, and as a survival trait, it is a bit stubborn and willful. Samoyeds are fairly smart, and it is likely that your dog understands the Sit, but just doesn't feel like doing it. The anxiety and consequent yawning probably comes from knowing that it should do something for you that is contrary to the dog's own opinion of what is the most fun. Be persistent. You might not prevail. An alternative is the poodle. The only command that should always be obeyed is Come.
My Samoyed blocks me and my kids as we walk through the house. Does it want something?
This could be the Samoyed herding instinct at work. A Samoyed may run close along side other dogs or people as they walk, bumping and deflecting them. This is probably an exhibition or exercise of the herding instinct that the dogs are bred to have. In their native lands, the Samoyed people used the Samoyedskaya sobaka (Samoyed dog) to herd reindeer. Following, tracking, pushing, and guiding behaviors are very likely manifestations of this genetically instilled trait.
Should my Samoyed stay inside or out?
Samoyeds were companion dogs of their original human family, the Samoyed (now the Nenets) people of Siberia. Samoyeds pulled sleds and herded reindeer by day. At night, they stayed inside with their owners to keep them warm and play with the kids. Dogs that didn't adjust well to inside life and playing with children were not bred. As a selection result, it is the nature of this particular dog to seek close human companionship. You Sammy should be regularly welcomed into the house; it is in their nature to be close to you.
Can you hold a dog for me until I'm ready to adopt it?
What if your plans fall through, and we miss another opportunity to place the dog?
This is not SFSR's policy. We will place the dog with the first family that applies for the dog and has been qualified to adopt the dog. We get quite a few dogs into Samoyed rescue. With some patience, you'll get a chance to adopt another one much like the one you missed. We have very few foster homes; indeed, they are our most precious resource. If we have a good prospect to adopt a dog, we'll take it. It's better for all concerned, especially the dog. This is a charity for dogs.
I want a Samoyed puppy. Do you get many puppies into rescue?
No. Not many puppies come into rescue.
Once in a while we rescue a Samoyed puppy. The circumstances are usually unusual. Our general tendency is to cull very carefully those who are interested in adopting a Sam pup. Has this person had Samoyeds before? Has this family raised puppies before? Is the prospective owner familiar with the many responsibilities incumbent upon a person who raises a dog from a puppy? Will the owner have time to spend with the maturing dog? More often, we get dogs into rescue that were incorrectly raised as puppies and became behavior problems for their owners. This is what we don't want. Because of the nature of the breed, Samoyed puppies require quite a bit more attention and care than other dogs. Part of it is a northern dog thing, and part of it is just the Sammy personality.
What about aggression?
The Samoyed is, generally speaking, friendly to both other dogs and people. However, these dogs do adopt a bit more of a pack hierarchy than other breeds. At the same time too, the Samoyed is quite capable of defending itself.
We recommend your local canine behaviorist, and I can only offer a few broad guidelines. You must establish that you are the Alpha. Puppy socialization classes are essential if you have a young dog. After that, you might find instances of fear or aggression toward strangers. This can be mitigated by giving the dog a treat when a stranger, such as the letter carrier, comes to the door. The same strategy applies with strange dogs. Aggressive dogs should be first controlled and then put into a 'down stay' position. Growling around the food bowl can be dealt with by hand feeding the dog. This drives them crazy at first! It's a way to prove that you are the Alpha; you control the food distribution and consumption.
How difficult is it to care for Samoyed dogs with all that fur?
Not too difficult. The main problem is to avoid matting, where the fine undercoat collects and hardens into mats under the longer guard hairs.
Brush out loose hair once a week and bathe your Sammie every 2 or 3 months. The Samoyed coat is remarkable. The dogs get dirty by digging or laying on dirt, and their coat looks terrible for a few hours. But there is some property of the coat--it's like non-stick cookware, I guess--that repels dirt. Extremely filthy dogs might require a bath, but usually all you have to do is brush out the loose hair on the weekend. The dogs will be healthy and they will look pretty good.
Over several weeks, they gradually get grayer and grayer, though. I recommend that you bathe your Sam or take it to a professional groomer every few months. Make sure it's a groomer that has the patience and knowledge to handle the breed. Some groomers do not brush out the matted undercoat hair or do not properly dry the dog, leaving wet clumps in the coat and close to the skin. This can lead to health problems.
What kind of yard do I need for my Samoyed?
Samoyeds should have a yard with shade, plenty of water, and a high, solid, tight-to-the-ground fence.
It's OK if you have a small yard with a lawn, such as a ground-floor condominium might have. There is adequate space for the dog to exercise, shelter, and relieve itself. You must, however, be consistent in getting the dog out of the yard-pen: walks, inside time, and car trips are essential to socialize and stimulate your eager Samoyed. You have to do prompt poop cleanups and water the lawn dutifully in inverse proportion to the yard size. A Samoyed probably is not a good pet choice if you have no yard; consider a smaller terrier breed, a cat, a bird, an aquarium, or just a lot of plants!
Your fence should be four (4) feet tall as a minimum. We recommend at least a five (5) foot fence, and a six-footer is a comfort to you, us, your neighbors, and your dog. The fence must be solidly anchored, free from escape holes, snug to the ground, and constructed of durable materials. Solid wood pickets, wrought iron, and thick composite synthetic materials are OK. Sammys are problem solving dogs. One standard problem is how to get out through the fence into the intriguing territories owned and occupied by your neighbors. If you're not smart enough to secure your kennel, then rest assured that Sam is smart enough to escape.
If you live in an area bordering wilderness forest, you must kennel your dogs during the day in covered metal pens that cannot be breached by large wild cats--mountain lions and bobcats--and bears. In northern California especially, large cat populations are increasing along with the general growth in the number of deer. Without a resilient chain-link fence and roof covering, your domestic dog is an easy lunch for Big Wild Cats.
Do I have to worry about poisonous plants?
Yes, this is one thing that we look for when we do a home check. Here is a good web site for poisonous plants: Bad veggies
Do I have to have a home check before adopting or fostering an SFSR dog? Why?
Yes, it's our standard policy, and it has proven invaluable.
We want to ensure that the dog you take has adequate protection from the elements, adequate water, exercise space, and that there exist no other household hazards that would endanger you, your family and neighbors, or your new dog's OK if you have a small yard with a lawn, such as a ground-floor condominium might have. There is adequate space for the dog to exercise, shelter, and relieve itself.
What is bloat?
This is an imminently fatal dog digestive disorder where the stomach fills up with gas and then (typically) twists over, preventing the gas from escaping.
You must get the dog to the veterinary hospital immediately. The twisted stomach cuts off blood flow to internal organs. Bloated dogs almost always die if the condition is not caught within a few hours. The symptoms are that the dog can't get comfortable, tries to burp but can't, and--most importantly--has a hard, swollen, round belly. Here is a web site with information: canine bloat
This list is provided as a convenience to those seeking assistance in rescuing a samoyed. The listing of an individual or group does not imply an endorsement or guarantee by the creators or maintainers of this site.
Member of National Samoyed Rescue
National Samoyed Rescue (NSR). This means that we try our best to meet the standards of what NSR deems good rescue practices. NSR has an extensive application process, and they do their best to verify our practices, including getting a veterinary reference.Samoyed Rescue Organizations
United States and Canada Samoyed Rescue Contacts - All other samoyed rescues local and national are listed on this site.
Other California Rescue Groups
Bay Area Siberian Husky Rescue and Referral: (BASH or BASHRR) - The Bay Area Siberian Husky Club (BASH) is dedicated to the Siberian Husky Breed and provides a forum where Siberian enthusiasts can work and show their dogs as well as participate in a variety of fun activities.
Northern California Sled Dog Rescue - Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (NorSled) is an all-volunteer non-profit group dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and finding new homes for unwanted, abused and abandoned Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, American Eskimo and Northern-breed mixes in many Northern California counties including: Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba.
Samoyed Rescue of Southern California
Samoyed and Related Clubs
Samoyed Club of America - A portal to vast information about the Samoyed breed, rescue groups, health information and social events.
Organization for the Working Samoyed - The OWS is an international organization of Samoyed owners interested in working their dogs.
The Samoyed Standard - The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. Read more about the Samoyed standard.
American Kennel Club - This site provides information on specific breeds, breeders, events, education, and health.
Samoyed Health Foundation (SCARF) - Owning a Samoyed is an 'unforgettable' life experience. This site is designed to provide owners, breeders and researchers with an overview of the unique nature, care and health issues of this ancient breed.
Driving With Pets: Car Safety & Travel Tips for Animals - A big thank-you to Brandon in Carrabassett Valley, ME for sending us this great link!