The Samoyed – awesome dog, but is it the right one for you?

We get a lot of people asking us about our puppy. Whenever we take her out somewhere, she is met with hordes of kids wanting to pat her, and adults treating her like she is a new-born baby. Given, she is fucking adorable, and has the most lovely zelda4nature ever. But, there is a lot to owning a Samoyed, as i have come to learn. If you are thinking about getting a Samoyed, please do lots of research. I hope you find this post useful too, but please i cant stress enough that these dogs are a lot of work, and you need to understand that. Very rewarding for the right family though. 🙂

My partner and i have always been animal lovers. In a strange and unfortunate turn of events, she became allergic to cats and dogs after having our little boy. News to me, i didn’t even know that could happen, apparently it can.

Anyway, we spent months looking online at various dog breeds that are good for allergies. Little fucking yippy dogs and hairless Montgomery Burns looking things, all of them. My apologies to any of you who like these dogs. But, they are not for us. I grew up with a Rottweiler and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, both large dogs, and she grew up with a Rotty and a Red Cattle Dog. Suffice to say, a little yipper was out.

Then we came across the Samoyed. These dogs are fucking beautiful in my opinion, just look at them. All majestic looking and shit, and a medium-sized dog. Ok, let’s do some research shall we. They also produce a surprisingly low amount of dander, which is the allergen in dogs/cats. We also sourced a local person in town with a Samoyed for my partner to meet and play with, just to be sure. Well, all good.

Looking online, there is always a few things that come up consistently about the Sammy:

1. Grooming
2. Barking
3. People Loving
4. Training
5. Grooming

Yes, there are a few other, more specific things you need to look into such as hip dysplasia, and a genetic disease they are prone to called, Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy, which kills them after about a year old. However, these can be mitigated and avoided by going to a good breeder.

1 / 4 / 5. Grooming
Ok, i will start with the grooming. As you can see, these beasts are very, very fluffy. They have a double coat of fur which insulates them from the cold of Siberia, where they originate, and also the heat. If you live in a hot climate like us however, make sure you give them plenty of shade and water as overheating can happen.

Anyway, likzeldae i said, double coat, grooming and such. Our pup is now about six months old. She is not fully grown just yet. At the moment, i spend around half an hour each night giving her a brush. Not so bad right?

Actually, every other night (about three times a week), she also gets a good going over with a steel toothed comb. This session generally takes about an hour. We the Samoyed is shedding its undercoat, like has just happened with Zelda, the combing can take about two hours. That’s right, two hours, three times a week, a brush every other day. AND SHE LIVES INSIDE MOST OF THE TIME!

Now, aside from that, there is the bath. Oh the bath and how she hates it. As Zelda lives inside, we get away with a bath once a month. Luckily, the Samoyed does not really have that ‘dog’ smell. True, no shit. Anyway, a bath is quite an ordeal, not only for me, but for her too. I will cover it in the below steps for you:

i) Brush and comb. Yep, you know that two hour comb, you need to do it now
ii) Bath. I throw her into our bathtub with some warm water and wool wash liquid mixed in. Then use a bucket and some doggy shampoo. To actually get down into her fur you really need to scrub. Who needs a gym?
iii) Blow dry. For fucks sake, you are kidding right? Nope. Sadly, not. She then NEEDS to be blow dried. If not, the fur will mat up and she will be sporting dread locks for life
iv) Brush. I should really comb her too, but fuck it. A brush will do

That’s the bath. It usually takes the best part of a weekend morning to do it. On a good note, you would be surprised to know that the white fur does not get ‘dirty’ as such. It repels dirt and will remain mostly white for a month or so, which is good.

2. Barking
The Samoyed is well-known for its vocal range. No shit, they make all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds! 🙂 But, the downside is they can become nuisance barkers. This needs to be tackled very early on as part of training. Our approach was to train her to ‘speak’ on command. She will still make her sounds and all that, which we love, but it is not an issue. Be warned, you MUST KEEP AN EYE ON THIS.

3. People Loving
Dear god, these dogs love people. This was one of the deciding factors for us, seeing YouTube clips of kids pulling at them and crawling over them, most dogs would hate it. But the Sammy loves it, welcomes it even. We can very comfortably leave Zelda and soccerour little guy alone to play with no concern for either of their well-being. She is just a lovely thing, will not ever hurt him. He has punched, kicked, pulled her hair, tail, ears, and even wrapped an elastic band around her snout to stop her from barking. This was met with nothing but love from Zelda. Of course, we had to scold the toddler though..

There is a downside though. Samoyeds are prone to separation anxiety. They can get very lonely and destructive if left alone consistently, and for long periods of time. If you can’t be around them much, the Sammy is not for you. That said, with some training, you can leave them be for hours at a time with little to no issue.

If you want a guard dog, forget it. These things love everybody, i mean everybody.

4. Training
We read a lot online about the importance of formal puppy obedience training. So much so as we booked her in, but as fate would have it, that afternoon we couldn’t go as we had other more pressing issues to attend to. We have still not sent her, and won’t now.

Given, we are dog people, and know how to train a dog. bubblesThis is not easy with a Sammy though. They are very intelligent dogs, and will try to excerpt their dominance over you while young. You need to make sure they understand where they sit in the pack, and who the leader/s are. Your training also needs to be modified. They need to be constantly challenged, or they will lose interest quickly after picking something up. We had this issue with ‘lay down’, had to change approach, too much to tell. Send me a message if you want the details.

With patience and time, they will become very loyal and obedient dogs. Zelda is lovely, one word commands, all the time. She does have the attitude of a pre-teen girl though, and will ‘grumble’ at you if she does not want to do something. Very cute and funny i think, good to have some personality. 🙂

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56 comments

  1. Hi i really enjoyed reading your blog i have a little samoyed and i want to ask you what kind of training could she received so she can be alone sometime. I have to study in the university and left been alone is the biggest concern i have.

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    1. Hey there thanks for the feedback. I’m not a specialist trainer or anything so I’d suggest you’re first point of call is the vet. They should be able to put you onto some puppy training schools that will give you specific direction. Otherwise I’d recommend spending money on a good crate, we didn’t get a good one early on and regretted it later. Hope that helps

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  2. Zelda is beautiful! I love her name
    I really enjoyed reading your blog
    My husband and I have a sammy too. She is 9 weeks, very cheeky and strong willed. We got her when she was 6weeks. We adore her.
    At the moment we live in a house with a medium backyard(15sqm) .
    Our life circumstances will change in 2018 where we have to move into a unit which has a balcony( 40sqm) 😔😔(we didnt know this when we got mika)
    I was in tears when i saw your blog because my husband and i have our doubts to keep her or not (for Mika’s sake)
    She is 9 weeks now and we are very attached and addicted to her but not sure if its OK / possible to keep her in a balcony when she is a full size dog?!?
    Please help us out
    Thank you

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  3. I just wanted to say that you do not need to bathe your dog once a month! Especially in winter. It will dry their skin out. I’ve also owned a poodle and Bichon Frise so I’m used to the grooming lol. This girl Kait on YouTube (habits of a modern hippie) has really good advice on grooming the natural way. She has two Sammys!

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  4. I am thinking about getting a samoyed and I am in love with samoyeds because first of all THEY ARE ADORABLE! second of all they are really friendly and they love to cuddle and being with their owners, but I have some problems😕. So I am going to be at school everyday from 7AM to 3PM and I cant be at home during that hours so my little sammy will be pretty lonely😭😭 But my Brother is going to buy a Husky so the puppies could be friends with each other and have fun until I go home. Do you think it is a good idea or do you have any ideas or tips?

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  5. I’d like to recommend that you cut down on the swearing, there’s really no need for any let alone 7 in a short post. I found it very tough reading this and I use swear words myself but I just feel that it was very unnecessary as you’re talking about an adorable, loving dog that people may be looking for more information on, not about explosions and guns…
    Anyway, your Samoyed sounds adorable and I really want a dog that I can spend hours brushing and cuddling so your warning to others has really sold them to me! Thank you for the info 🙂

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      1. I found the swearing hilarious and accurate (as to how I feel towards my samoyed at times). I’m now going to pass this on to my partner so he can enjoy it too!

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  6. Hi I have a samoyed puppy and need help! Okay so I got her when she was 3 months old and she is now 6 months. We literally can not keep her loose running around the house because she is a hyper little puppy. She has bad separation anxiety and would always rip her bed, mat, plush toy, or anything that was there even though we have her on the leash before we leave (cuz we did not get a crate). She’d always use the bathroom too alongside when we would go out. Now, she’s calmed from that phase and would try to hold it in for a few hours until we got back but would still rip things near her… even wood! I don’t want her to always be on a leash but don’t want my walls or things chewed apart. And she doesn’t obey anything besides “sit” until we shout at her to stop.
    When we take her out for a walk or use the bathroom, she jumps to grab the leash or will but out leg in her mouth until we let go and will run laps and won’t come to us until we trick her into coming back in the house. 😧 idk what to do she almost got run over by a car this way!

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    1. Withlove…the sammy usually is a mellow dog when exercised and played with. They are smart and get bored. You will get a lot of really great tips from a puppy class that is positive reinforment, not negative. Sammys do not do well at all with yelling, tugging on leashes, or aggressive actions. Food is your friend. Get a couple of good puppy books on how to use treats to get what u want. Examples: teach crate = get xpen put crate in with puppy, toss treats in crate, leave dog to find them, gradually over days dog will eagerly go in crate for treats. Do not shut door for 2 weeks. Feed dinner in crate, etc till dog chooses to lie in her crate (den). Only then can u shut door for a few minutes at a time. If u want more info go to samoyed club of america. Leash: use treats, walk a few steps, if dog acts out, stop wait, she will stop if u dont react, offer treat, hold out in front of her, walk a few steps, repeat this over and over. You may not get far at first, maybe just 50 feet. If she learns that you dont go anywhere if she pulls, or jumps or grbas the leash, but you do walk and give her treats when she walks how u want her to, she will learn. A front snap no pull harness is great. The more aggressive or angry we are with a sammy, the more they act out. My name is elise u can ask polarmist samoyeds for my email. Theres lots more. Classes are great, they bond u with your dog, and get good behaviors from your dog. Puppies are more work than adults, but with education and patience this is pretty much the best dog out theree. Grooming: dont use conditioner. 20 years of sammies, my routine is bath them every coup,e months, serious grooming then. Brush a few times in between, no biggee. No oils in coat means dirt does not stick. Good shampoo only. Temperament: poor breeding and socialization for these guys canmake them aloof. All of mine have snuggled, adored me, eagerly did obedience, and were loving companions. But yeah, they have brains, so the more you work with them, the more they look forwardto you. The “fancy rugs” just need more play time and mental challenges like rally or games.

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  7. Hi how are your wife’s allergies? I also developed light allergies after giving birth. Weird..Does she have any symptoms at all? We are also looking to get the same breed.. Sounds like a lot of work, but we’re definitely interested! Plus being in Montreal Canada, we do a lot of outside activities in minus 20 weather.. It’s gonna be a Blast with a Samoyed!

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    1. Hi Emily, she does fine with the allergies actually. The only time we have issues is when / after I give Zelda a bath. I assume this is because bathing and then drying tends to release more dander. That said though, it is certainly manageable. She actually wants to get another Sammy now! lol

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  8. We love our two Sammys but… their coats are a bear to maintain. Burrs and twigs stick like Velcro and must be painstakenly teased out or they will burrow deeper and deeper. They have a strong prey drive but with training have accepted our cat. They are champion diggers. I’m talking CAVES, not just holes. Must be an instinct from their Siberian ancestry. In the winter its fun to get them started digging into a snow bank. They will take over and soon excavate an area large enough to sleep in. In the summer they substitute dirt. one of our monthly chores is to bring home 10 to 12 bags of topsoil from the home store to fill Samoyed holes.

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  9. How are samoyeds with prey drive? I owned a malamute once, and I could handle the grooming and even separation anxiety. However, I was not a fan of the constant escaping and mauling of various animals. I could exercise that dog all night and day and he still would have the energy to chase and kill ANYTHING that ran. I was hoping to find something with a similar quirky personality that didn’t do this, or at least could listen long enough to resist the urge. I don’t have any breeders in my state, so it’s surprisingly hard to find the info. Thanks for any feedback 🙂

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    1. Hey ken, we also had trouble finding a breeder. Ended up being a two day trip to pick her up. All I can really advise on is what we read.

      Samoyeds were originally bread to hunt and pull sleds, like mallamutes. And from our reading can be prone to chasing smaller animals etc.

      But, I have not seen this behaviour with our samoyed. We recently got a cat and they cruise around together like siblings.

      Hope that helps mate.

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  10. We have a 6 month year old male Samoyed called Sammi. He is a ral character. He went to puppy classes and is also doing obedience classes. He knows Al, the main commands – sit, wait, lie down etc. we also have a 6 year old beagle who is a dominant dog and went through a lot of one to one training with him so we use what we have learnt with Sammi.

    He has been to the dog groomers once but I give him a quick brush around 10 mins once a day with a slicker brush and comb just to untangle is coat. I also have a dog grooming table and pet dryer. As you said to bath, dry and comb hi, can take two hours but I don’t mind as the drying not the bathing -:) can be a quiet time.

    He does get dirty but we just towel dry him and then one minute he looks dirty and next minute suprisingly he looks white again. He has only been bathed twice since we have had him to try and get him used to it but I was advised only to bathe him every 2 to three months so to keep the natural oils in his coat.

    He is a lovely dog with a great nature but I have he can be very independent. He is not a dog that cuddles or covers you in kisses. Yes he wags his tail when he sees you but he is happy just to be in the house with you. I think they are very strong willed as I am sure mine sulks. He gets up in the morning and just lies down and looks at me. If I call him over he just ignores me, not sure what that is about :-). They loved to be praised or they won’t do anything for you 🙂

    He is a work in progress and the only the issues we have with him at the moment are pull on the lead, wants to say hello to everyone by barking 😦 and can ignore you when called but that can be with every dog.

    Samoyeds are bigger than we thought so we also had to buy a bigger car 😦 one the you don’t think about when getting a dog.

    He is stunning and majestic but like you said it’s like kids, consistency and praise will always win. Sammi does not like being told off 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just found this thread and read your comment – our sammy, Ghost, sounds identical to yours in personality!! From the independent nature but loving to be in the house with us, to the barking at others to say hi on walks… He never barks at home with us but suddenly on a walk he wants to be everyone’s best friend! How have you gone about this and has it got any better with time? Our Samoyed is now eight months. Is your Sammi on Instagram?

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  11. We have our fourth American Eskimo Eskimo Dog now. We normally keep two at a time, but this one seems to love being the only baby. He is adorable. I can’t imagine living without a dog. He is heat intolerant and prone to seizures. He sheds, but we can certainly live with that for all the sweetness.

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    1. Nice! I actually think I am slowly winning the battle to get a second samoyed. muuahaha.

      Couldn’t agree more though, having a dog is such a rewarding thing. Prior to getting Zelda neither of us had had a dog since we grew up, too much moving around etc, wouldn’t have been fair.

      Zelda might be a pain in the butt at times, but I actually can’t remember not having her around now. 🙂

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  12. Your post reminded me of my golden retriever. Golden retrievers love water so every Sunday I would take him to the beach in the morning and then when we got back home I would give him a proper bath followed by the hours of brushing and blowdrying him. I loved my Sundays with him. Although it meant I could never make other plans for Sunday or that people I had just met thought I was coming up with feeble excuses to avoid them…

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  13. a) we groom our Samoyed once a week max. The less grooming, the better, and the less hair comes off.

    B) we have never blowdried our Samoyed. We bathe her once/month (we use warm water, the shower head, head and shoulders shampoo, and we do not ever “scrub” her). When she is done we thoroughly dry her with towels then let her air dry. The bath takes 20 min and air drying about3 hours. We have never had hot spots, knots, mats, etc.

    With a Samoyed, less grooming and washing works best, because their fur has natural oils that shed mud dirt etc and keep the fur untangled.

    C) the Samoyed is sociable but not a people pleaser. It is trainable but not interested in tricks. Basically a giant white smiling love-suck Kleenex.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Your Samoyed doesn’t look like too much of a hair bomb. For bathing, we don’t fill the tub. We use treats and make her sit and warm water means she is OK. She likes being bathed. We use the showerhead. Trick: wet and wash head LAST.

        We know people who literally have their Sams groomed and washed weekly. They are like us: the less hair majntenance you do, the better. We brush her maybe 1-2x/week (way more when she’s blowing coat).

        If you use Facebook, the group Planet Samoyed is great for tips pics etc.

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        1. Thanks, and have joined the Facebook group.

          Perhaps it is a climate thing. We live in Australia, very hot and humid where we are. I actually took on board your comments about less is more.

          Sadly, Zelda ended up with a few dreadlocks behind her ear.

          Additionally, we have a lot of burrs and such in our grass, more for her benefit that we brush her daily.

          Interesting though, all of your comments. We did a lot of research and chatted with many Australian breeders, all their information packs are pretty much in line with my post.

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  14. I share your thoughts and I think any one getting any dog should be ready to work hard to raise a good dog and build a great relationship. Raising any pup is hard at times but also very rewarding. You cannot expect to have a dog and not do anything and the dog will turn out fine.
    I feel that with the samoyeds, you need maybe someone who has experience being around dogs to guide you at least as they are very intelligent and sensitive to their entourage and sometimes need to be handled in a certain way. For example, I cannot scold my Ghost: he gets upset and angry and will go sulk. If I say no clearly and ignore him for 2 minutes, he will understand better that his behavior is not desirable. Sometimes he wants to communicate with us something he has seen or he wants and it is important for him that we do so, otherwise he gets frustrated and think we do not understand what he means. His high intelligence is can also be an advantage: he was mostly clean at 2.5 months but it also meant that he understood he cannot chew on dirty kleenexes so he went and hid some in his crate to eat at nighttime to not get caught (He is only 6 mo.!!!). The connection we have with him is already so great, these are definetely special dogs.
    Zelda is a beautiful girl, I looove the name as I am a big fan of the game. Like you said, the sammies are a perfect fit for kids. Ghost is name after Jon Snow’s direwolf so yay for nerdy people’s dogs 😉 I will definetely follow you on instagram if you have an account!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great advice Stef. I agree that having someone experienced with dogs around to either contribute or advise is a good idea. Although, a lot of it is pretty similar to raising a human child. Lots of repetition, consistency and positive recognition. 🙂 I am actually trying to talk the wife into getting a second Sammy, a male. I already have a name too….. Ghost…. For the same reasons as you named your Ghost. Come on, they do look like direwolve’s a little…. 😛

      I don’t have an Instagram, but maybe i will look into it. Will let you know if i end up creating a space there.
      Many thanks.
      Ray

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    2. I just found this post and was so excited to find another ‘Ghist’ direwolf owner! Our Ghost is eight months old and has his own instagram… If you have one too, get in touch on there! @ghostthesamoyed We love to meet new Samoyeds on there (especially if they are nerdy game of theones followers like us haha) x

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  15. Our Laika is 20 months and so much of your post just made me smile, The grumbly preteen girl is still very much alive in our Laika Sh is quite convinced she is in fact the smartest on in the family and therefore should make the rules. She is creative, intelligent and oh the sense of humor (too bad she thinks its funny to trip mommy at agility class) but the joy of having her. She is smart, and sensitive and sweet and oh so funny. That attitude, personality and bouncy love of life cannot be beat. I am glad we did our research and I am confident she wouldn’t be for everyone but for us she is the perfect fit. Your post here made mine and Laika’s night. Enjoy your lovely girl I hear the Sammy is addictive.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Good luck with her – they are beautiful dogs, but definitely aren’t for the everyone. Many years ago we had a beautiful husky – looked more like a wolf, strong willed, rarely barked but loved to howl, ate through 3 layers of kitchen flooring when left alone & once took a dive through the kitchen window when left alone. Separation anxiety on steroids! Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol… Zelda ate my entire herb/veggie garden a few months ago.. grrr… managed to save a few plants though and it has come back ok. I am trying to talk the wife into letting me get another Sammy… (yes, im a sucker for punishment)… But, she will be returning to part time work soon enough, so i think it will be good for Zelda to have some company. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, we named her after the Legend of Zelda series… closet geek.. 🙂 Totally agree with practising mindfulness etc, it is a really good opportunity to bond with the dog. I try to get our toddler involved too for the same reason, but he isn’t quite ready for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Zelda is beautiful! And it sounds like she’s got quite a personality to match. 🙂 Best of lucking with continuing your training. Keeping such a smart pup engaged and stimulated can make you question your sanity haha

    Liked by 1 person

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