AKC Working Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Samoyed is named for the Samoyedes, a nomadic Siberian tribe that raised the breed for centuries. The tribe used the dogs for herding, hunting, and bed warming. The breed was not used as a sled dog until the late 1800s and is therefore not bred for sledding as much as the Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute. The Samoyed was first brought to England by fur traders in the late 1800s and later used on polar expeditions, including Amundsen’s successful South Pole attempt. At that time, the breed came in several colors. Today, the Samoyed is a popular companion, therapy dog, and show dog.


The Samoyed is a lively, powerful Arctic dog with a broad wedge-shaped head. The body is just slightly longer than tall, with a typical Spitz build. The long fluffy tail is carried in the characteristic Spitz curl over the back. Built for endurance, this dog’s the chest is deep and the hindquarters well muscled. The eyes and nose are dark, and the erect ears are triangular with a rounded tip. The dark lips should curve upward in a characteristic smile. The large feet are covered with hair for protection from the Arctic’s extreme temperatures. The very thick double coat is white, with pure white preferred, though cream and biscuit colors are accepted. The coat has a lovely silvery sheen. The fur is so weather resistant that Samoyed people made clothes out of it.

Key Facts

  • Height:  21 to 23 1/2 in. (male); 19 to 21 in. (female)
  • Size:  Medium
  • Weight:  55 to 75 lbs. (male); 40 to 55 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Might take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Herding, watchdog, sledding, and carting


Some like to roam. The fluffy double coat needs frequent brushing, but tends to stay white without bathing. Sheds heavily during shedding periods. Has a reputation as a chewer. Might become very destructive if left alone for many hours at a stretch. Generally gets along well with other pets. Tends to bark a lot. Prone to hip dysplasia and PRA. Buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance and current CERF or OFA eye clearance. Also prone to skin problems. A good dog to take backpacking. Though the Samoyed is not in the AKC Herding Group, the breed can compete for titles in AKC Herding trials.


A gentle dog, peaceable, and dignified. Very devoted. Tends to favor one person, but loves everyone. Easygoing, friendly, and quite playful. Highly intelligent but often willfully resistant to formal obedience training. Eventually responds to firm, patient training.


  • Children:  Excellent with children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Somewhat difficult to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  May be aggressive with dogs of the same sex; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness:  Can be a bit dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Very active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Extensive grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Fluffy coat
  • Shedding:  Seasonally heavy shedder
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Prefers cool climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Samoyed Breed Standard

Samoyed Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Samoyed

Samoyed Gifts