The Samoyed is named for the tribe of nomadic herders that originally bred him, the Samoyede people of Siberia. He was bred to hunt, guard, herd reindeer and pull sleds through the formidable Siberian landscape, but the peaceful Samoyede people also treated him like a family member. Most of the Samoyed strains in North America today are descended from dogs brought from Siberia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to pull sledges on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Today, he has adapted well to living in all kinds of climates, though no matter where he lives, he prefers to be close to his people, and an active member of the family.
The Samoyed — sometimes called the Sammy — has a fluffy, dense, weather-resistant coat that ranges from pure white to cream or biscuit-colored. His coat needs to be brushed weekly, and will need more attention during shedding season, when the undercoat will shed completely. He can range in size from around 35 to 65 lbs., but all display the wide grin and curling lips known as the distinctive “Samoyed smile.”
Although his coat was developed to work outdoors, the Samoyed is at his happiest when he is with his family. Because of his heritage as a family dog, the Samoyed developed a friendly, loyal disposition. He makes a wonderful companion and faithful protector for children, though he may resort to instinctive herding techniques to get them to play! He does love to run and bark, so channeling that energy with plenty of exercise will help keep him from finding mischievous ways to entertain himself.
Arctic heritage aside, the Samoyed is still prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect his health — not to mention your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Sammies are prone to include eye conditions such as glaucoma and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or dry eye); skin conditions such as alopecia X; cardiac problems such as pulmonic stenosis; muscular problems such as muscular dystrophy; and brain conditions such as spongiform leukodystrophy.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Samoyed inherits anything more than an ability to withstand the elements, you’re covered.