When the word Christmas is mentioned, happy thoughts come to mind. It signifies a time to slow down from daily hassles and have fun with family and friends. For the lucky ones, Christmas is almost always white. And just like white Christmases the Samoyed dog is snowy white. A Samoyed is the kind of dog you would expect to see on a White Christmas postcard, thanks to the lush white coat.
The Samoyed is affectionately called Sammy, Sam or smiley face. The smiley face nickname is given because they have an almost permanent grin where the corners of their mouths turn upwards resulting in a Sammy smile. This again goes with the happy Christmas mood which is probably why the breed looks like the ideal dog to represent the season to be jolly.
Samoyeds are among the oldest dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They were originally bred by the Samoyede people of Siberia to hunt reindeer, herd, and pull sleds. The breed arrived in the US in 1906 and was recognized by the AKC in the same year.
A typical Samoyed has erect ears and almond-shaped eyes that are either black or brown. The tail curls over the body but falls when the dog is relaxed. Male Samoyeds are slightly bigger than females; they stand at 21 to 24 inches tall while the females stand at 19 to 21 inches tall. The average weight for the breed is 50 to 60 pounds.
The Samoyed’s coat is a pleasant sight to behold but requires a lot of work to maintain. The breed has two coats- a soft undercoat and a coarse outer coat. The double coat means the owner has to be diligent in grooming to avoid tangling. The work is more if the house pet is a male since males have thicker coats compared to females. Although pure white is what is common among Samoyeds, there are other shades such as biscuit, yellow, cream, and white with silver tips. All these shades are acceptable as breed standards.
Samoyeds blend in well with most family setups, although they tend to only fully bond with one specific person in the family. They also need constant bonding and attention and can get depressed, lonely or destructive if left alone for a long time. Since they were initially bred for hunting, Samoyeds have a strong hunting instinct so owners with smaller pets such as cats, hamsters, and birds need to be extra careful because Samoyeds might hunt the smaller pets down.
A Samoyed needs regular exercise to stay healthy and experts recommend agility and tracking exercises as the best kind for this breed. They are adapted to cold weather hence the double coat which serves them well in cold climates. However, if you live in a warm place make sure you only exercise a Samoyed early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cool to avoid overheating.
A Samoyed has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Like most pure bred dogs, Samoyeds are prone to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hip dysplasia. They are also prone to a disease that’s specific to Samoyeds, Samoyed Hereditary glomerulopathy, which is a hereditary kidney disease.Take your Samoyed for regular screening against these diseases to give him a chance at living a full and healthy life up to his old age.