A History of the Breed

Samoyeds are an ancient working breed, descended from the Nenets herding laika, a spitz-type dog from Siberia They have lived in Siberia with hunters and fishermen known as Samoyeds, hence where the breed received its name.

The Samoyed people used the dogs to pull their sleds, guard their property and for herding reindeer. Its gene pool is closely related to the primitive dog with no wolf or fox mixed in. The dogs slept with the people to keep them warm. Robert Scott, an explorer, brought the dogs to England in 1889. It was in England that the breed was further developed and from there it spread throughout the rest of the world.

Samoyeds' friendly disposition makes them poor guard dogs; an aggressive Samoyed is rare. With their tendency to bark, however, they can be diligent watch dogs, barking whenever something approaches their territory. Samoyeds are excellent companions, especially for small children or even other dogs, and they remain playful into old age. When Samoyeds become bored, they may begin to dig. With their sled dog heritage, a Samoyed is not averse to pulling things, and an untrained Samoyed has no problem pulling its owner on a leash rather than walking alongside. Samoyeds were also used to herd reindeer. They will instinctively act as herd dogs, and when playing with children, especially, will often attempt to turn and move them in a different direction. The breed is characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned the nicknames "Sammie smile" and "smiley dog. The Samoyed is a gentle dog. Very devoted, easygoing, friendly and quite playful, it loves everyone. It will gladly be friendly to all, including intruders. It is too friendly to be of much use as a watchdog, although its bark will alert you to the presence of strangers. It willingly adapts to family life and gets along well with children. It is highly intelligent, and will respond to firm, patient training, which should be started at an early age. Make sure you are this dog’s firm, confident, consistent pack leader to avoid potential behavior issues such as, but not limited to, obsessive barking. The Sammy is accustomed to working in teams, and shows outstanding qualities. When this dog is given what it needs to be a stable-minded dog, i.e. enough mental and physical exercise, along with clear leadership, it proves itself to be outstanding, good-natured, lively and sociable. It never seeks trouble but can handle an adversary if necessary. These dogs have a reputation of being chewers. If the Sammy is lacking in leadership and/or exercise it can become very destructive if left alone for many hours at a stretch. Samoyeds can get along with non-canine pets when raised with them from puppyhood or when properly trained to do so, however they do have an instinct to hunt and caution should be taken around other small animals. They can get along with a family cat. This breed has an instinct to herd.

Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat. The topcoat contains long, coarse, and straight guard hairs, which appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. This top layer keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. The under layer, or undercoat, consists of a dense, soft, and short fur that keeps the dog warm. The undercoat is typically shed heavily once or twice a year, and this seasonal process is sometimes referred to as "blowing coat". This does not mean the Samoyed will shed only during that time however; fine hairs (versus the dense clumps shed during seasonal shedding) will be shed all year round, and have a tendency to stick to cloth and float in the air. The standard Samoyed may come in a mixture of biscuit and white coloring, although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common. Males typically have larger ruffs than females.

Extensive grooming is needed. They are seasonally heavy shedders. The fluffy double coat needs frequent brushing, but tends to stay white without bathing. Some people with allergies have reported that the coat of the Samoyed did not bother them. However, the Samoyed is NOT a hypoallergenic dog.

The Samoyed has a life Expectancy of 12-15 years with some. They need a reasonable amount of exercise, including a daily walk or jog. Take it easy during warm weather because the woolly undercoat inhibits loss of the heat built up during exercise.
OFFICIAL CKC BREED STANDARD FOR THE SAMOYED (Revised Standard CKC approved September 1992, effective January 1, 1993)


The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As their work lies in the cold climate, their coat should be heavy and weather resistant, and of good quality rather than quantity. The male carries more of a "ruff" than the female. They should not be long in the back as a weak back would make them practically useless for their legitimate work, but at the same time a close-coupled body would also place them at a great isadvantage as a draught dog. Breeders should aim for the happy medium, a body not long but muscular, allowing liberty, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, strong arched neck, straight front and especially strong loins. Males should be masculine in appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness; bitches feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required, the legs should be moderately long.
Hindquarters should be particularly well developed, stifles well bent and any suggestion of unsound stifles or cow hocks severely penalized. General appearance should include movement and general conformation indicating balance and good substance.


Intelligent, gentle, loyal, adaptable, alert, full of action, eager to serve, friendly but conservative, not distrustful or shy. Unprovoked aggressiveness is to be severely penalized.


a) Height
- Dogs - 53 to 60 cm (21 to 23 1/2 inches) at the withers. Bitches - 48 to 55 cm (19 to 21 1/2 inches) at the withers. An oversized or undersized Samoyed is to be penalized according to the extent of the deviation.
b) Weight - in proportion to size.
c) Substance - The bone is heavier than would be expected in a dog this size but not so massive as to prevent the speed and agility most desirable in a Samoyed. In all builds, the bone should be in proportion to body size. The Samoyed should never be so heavy as to appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy.


a) Coat
- type and texture - The Samoyed is a double-coated dog. The body should be well covered with an undercoat of soft, short thick closed wool with longer, harsher hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl in the adult dog. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and shoulders, framing the head (more on the males than on the females). Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more important than quantity. a droopy coat is undesirable. Length of coat is unimportant when compared to type of coat and texture. The coat should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it may be slightly softer in texture.
b) Colour - They must be white, white and biscuit, white and cream, cream or all biscuit. All of these colours should be considered equal. Any other colours disqualify.
c) Faults - Curly, wavy, flat, droopy, soft or silky outer-coat is extremely undesirable. Excessive coat length should be viewed as an exaggeration of type and is a fault. Extremely short, smooth coats are not typical. Lack of undercoat (with seasonal consideration). Coat parting down back.


a) Skull
- The skull is wedge-shaped, broad, flat, not round or apple-headed, and should form an equilateral triangle on lines between the inner base of the ears and the center point of the stop. The stop should not be too abrupt, nevertheless well defined. In profile the top line of the skull should parallel the top line of the muzzle.
b) Muzzle - Muzzle of medium length and medium width, neither coarse nor snipy; should taper toward the nose and be in proportion to the size of the dog and width of skull. Length of muzzle should be slightly shorter than length of skull. The muzzle must have depth with a strong under-jaw. Whiskers should not be removed.
c) Nose - Black for preference, but brown, liver or snow-nose not penalized. Colour of nose sometimes changes with age and weather.
d) Mouth - Lips should be black for preference and slightly curved up at the corners of the mouth, giving the "Samoyed Smile". Lip lines should not have the appearance of being coarse nor should the flews drop predominantly at the corners of the mouth. The teeth should be strong, well-set, and snugly overlapping in a scissor bite. Overshot or undershot should be penalized.
e) Eyes - Should be placed well apart and deep-set; almond shaped rims set with lower lid slanting toward an imaginary point approximating the outer base of the ear. both eye rims and eye colour should be dark. Round or protruding eyes penalized. Blue eyes disqualify.
f) Ears - Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and "bear-eared". Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog. They should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be the same measurement as the distance from the inner base of the ear to the outer corner of the eye.


Strong, well muscled, moderately long, well arched; carried proudly when standing, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when at attention. Neck should blend in to shoulders with graceful arch. When moving at a trot, the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly forward.


a) Shoulder
- Shoulders should be long and sloping, with the shoulder blade well laid back at an IDEAL angle of 45 degrees to the ground. In the correctly constructed and balanced front assembly, the forelimbs are placed well back on the ribcage, with the point of the sternum (breastbone) well ahead of the front of the shoulder joint (point of shoulder). The length of the shoulder blade is approximately 1/3 the height at the tip of the withers.
b) Upper Arm - The upper arm (humerus) angles backwards from point of shoulder to elbow, ideally forming a 90 degree angle with the shoulder blade, and is never perpendicular to the ground. The measurement from tip of shoulder blade to point of shoulder should equal measurement from point of shoulder to elbow.
c) Lower Arm (radius & ulna) - When standing and viewed from the front, the legs are moderately spaced, parallel and straight, with elbows close to the body and turned neither in nor out. The angle at the elbow joint should be approximately 135 degrees. Because of depth of chest, legs should be moderately long. Length of lower arm should be 1 to 2 inches longer than length of scapula. Length of leg from ground to elbow should be approximately 55% of the total height at the withers.
d) Pasterns - should be strong, sturdy and flexible. The pastern slopes at approximately 15 degrees from the vertical, allowing for spring and agility, and should not be more than 1/3 the length of the shoulder blade.
e) Feet - Large, long, flattish, a hare-foot, slightly spread but not splayed; toes arched, pads thick and tough, with protective growth of hair between the toes. In natural stance, feet may be turned very slightly out - but excessive turnout, pigeon-toed, round or cat-footed or splayed are faults.


a) Top line
- The withers forms the highest part of the back. The back should appear level to the loin, medium in length, very muscular, neither long nor short coupled. The ideal length of the Samoyed from tip of sternum (breastbone) to end of pelvis is 10% more than the height at the withers.
b) Chest - Should be deep, with moderate spring of rib and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. Should not be barrel-chested. The deepest part of the chest should be near the 9th rib. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width.
c) Loin - The loin is strong and slightly arched.
d) Croup - must be full, slightly sloping and must continue imperceptibly to the root of the tail.
e) Abdomen – The abdomen should be well shaped and tightly muscled and with the rear of the thorax, should swing up in a pleasing curve (tuck-up).


a) Hipbone
- The pelvis is set at 30 degrees to the horizontal and the length of the pelvis is equal to the length of the shoulder blade measurement.
b) Upper Thigh - The femur or thigh joins the pelvis at the hip socket, ideally forming a 90 degree angle. The measurement of the femur is equal to the length of the pelvis. Muscle attachments must be very powerful, broad and evenly distributed.
c) Lower Thigh - The lower thigh, comprised of the tibia and fibula, is ideally set at 90 degrees to the femur or upper thigh and is approximately 1/3 longer than the pelvis. This length is very important to the gait.
d) Hocks - Should be well developed, sharply defined and set at approximately 30% of hip height. The rear pasterns should be parallel and perpendicular to the ground in natural stance and forms an angle of about 120 degrees with the lower thigh or fibula and tibia.
e) Stifle Bend - Stifles are well bent, approximately 45 degrees to the ground.
f) Feet - A hare-foot, same as the front feet, although may be slightly longer and narrower than the front. If present, rear dewclaws are to be removed.


The tail should be moderately long with the tail bone terminating approximately at the hock when down. It should be profusely covered with long hair and carried forward over the back and draped to either side when alert but sometimes dropped when at rest. It should not be set high or low, and should be mobile and loose, not tight over the back. A very tight, immobile tail or a double hooked tail is a fault. A judge should see the tail over the back once when judging.


The Samoyed's characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effortless. They are quick and light on their feet and when on a loose lead at a moderately fast trot, exhibiting good reach in the forequarter and powerful drive in the hindquarters, allowing them to cover the most ground with the fewest number of steps, expending the least amount of energy to perform the job for which they were bred. Side gait is extremely important in assessing the desired reach and drive in the Samoyed. When viewed from the front or rear, when moving at a walk or slow trot, they will not single-track, but as speed increases, the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are falling on a line directly under the longitudinal center of the body. As the pad marks converge, the forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned out. The back should remain strong, firm, and level, with very little lateral or vertical displacement. A choppy or stilted or restricted gait should be penalized.


The foregoing description is that of the ideal Samoyed. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Since the Samoyed is a working breed any faults of soundness should be considered serious.


Any colour other than white, biscuit, white and biscuit, white and cream, cream; blue eyes, dewclaws on the rear legs.

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