This month’s breed pick is the Samoyed. When I saw a picture of this dog I was overcome with its simplistic beauty. The Samoyed is a cute little puppy, but a majestic looking large breed dog and has a coat that is as white as the purest snow. My husband also appreciates a larger dog to hug, pet and roughhouse with within an inch of their doggie lives and we figure only large breeds can really put up with that. In all seriousness, the beautifully majestic, pure, loyal, working pup is a great addition to that outdoorsy, energetic family.
The Story Behind the Samoyed
The “Sammie”, named for their smiling appearance
(the Sammie-smile), originates from Siberia, Russia and is named after the Samoyed people of that region. The Samoyed is known as a “spitz” type of dog. I had to look that up. Spitz refers to dogs that have long, thick white fur with pointed ears and muzzels and originate from the Artic. It is a large breed hearding dog, particularly reindeer, and also bred to pull sleds, guarding and keeping their owners warm by sleeping atop of them. Fun fact (and you know I love my fun facts!) the fur from the Samoyed is actually used as a substitute for wool to make clothing as it has similar texture to that of angora! Not sure if Luis Vuitton, has the Samoyed market cornered, or if I’d wrap myself in pooch on a cold winter’s day, but if you’re gonna get covered in dog hair anyway…
Keeping on with the beautiful coat, or shall I say double layer coat; top coat and underlayer. The top coat is thicker, longer and more coarse and protects the undercoat from debris. It appears as white but at closer range has a hint of silver to it. The undercoat, on the other hand, is softer, denser and shorter fur that keeps the Sammie warm during those unforgiving Arctic nights. As you can imagine, a double fur lining does not stay intact; it sheds twice a year, and if my own mane is any example, it has a daily shedding quota as well. Some tout this breed as being hypoallergenic, but you’ll still see stray strands flying through the air or sticking to your pants even if it is not officially shedding season.
They Way They Are…
Choosing a pup companion is something that deserves a lot of time and investigation to make sure that they are the pup-partners you desire. We do not choose our life mates lightly, and choosing your furry besty should be no exception. The breed’s temperament reputation should carry a lot of weight in your decision making. Samoyed’s are happy, playful and friendly which makes them poor guard dogs but excellent companions for families and even other pups. They are very energetic and require abundant amount of exercise. They love to jump and even have a sense of humour (i.e. disobey because they think that’s funny – in which case my Berner is a class A comedian which I do NOT think it’s funny). If they have nowhere to channel all this love and energy they do get bored and restless they may resort to digging or other destructive behaviours; remember this breed was made to work, so keep them busy. One kind of annoying trait is their bark. It can be high pitched and grating. They may do this if left in the yard by themselves or are trying to heard the squirrels. Theses pups need to pull, heard and play so keep them busy! I read that their bark is so awful that some get surgically “debarked” – I hope that that is not as awful as I think it sounds… but then again I never heard a Samoyed bark! All in all, this pup is a great companion for children and families and is sure to keep them active. Frequent trips to the groomer are a must to maintain that beautiful coat. They are smart, attentive and very trainable, and as far as keeping them around as part of the family, their life expectancy is around 14-15 years!
A Healthy Pup
Samoyed will be prone to all large breed dog ailments such as glaucoma, his dysplasia, hypothyroidism, diabtes, progressive retinal atrophy, subvalvular aortic stenosis and cancer. They do seem to have a genetic propensity to glomerulopathy, which is a kidney disease. Wikipeadia goes into great detail explaining all the mishaps at the genetic and physiologic level which I will not bore you with as kidney are complicated. Suffice it to say that this is a slow, progressive disease and can be slowed further with medications. There is no cure but there are genetic tests that can be done.
Do you have a Samoyed? Tells us about your experience and what kind of person a Sammy would be a great companion for!