Samoyed (appearance, character, training, utilization, movement)
Samoyed dogs are of attractive medium-sized stature. What catches the eye at first glance, is a typical smile, caused by raised corners and long standing hair of snowy white, creamy or white color with a few light brown markings, however, not brown all over the body when in the light. White hair is indeed very attractive, but to maintain the quality of hair and dark pigment, individuals with creamy or yellowish color are demanded in the breed as well. The coat should be rich, dense and elastic.
The top coat is rough, tough and open, smooth and longer than the soft and densely closed undercoat. On the neck and shoulders a mane (collar) is formed, which is especially distinct with males, females often have finer and shorter hair. On the back of the thighs it forms so called panties.
The nose and lips should be black, eyes dark brown and almond-shaped. Individuals of wolf type tend to have a narrower head with little hair. Stop should be well noticeable, but not too prominent. The eye expression is lively, affectionate, friendly. Ears are upright, small and triangular, with a slightly rounded tip. Body should have a square format (slightly longer), back should be straight, slightly slanting. It wears its tail curled and laid to one side over its back. Chest is strong, oval, deep, not barrel-shaped, belly is drawn in, both pairs of legs are strong and straight, wrists are strong, hock low lying. Tread should be light and spacious, with strong spring of hind legs.
Females are smaller 50 (+ -3) cm, males should have a height of 57 (+ -3) cm, weight should be in the range from 23 to 30 kg
Despite common ancestry with other Nordic dogs, Samoyed has just a bit different nature. It is more dependent on its human pack, besides its hunting instinct is still very strong and as the only one of these breeds it barks.
Due to the extraordinary nature of the Samoyeds, it is said among their breeders that none of them would ever turn to a different breed. Given how Samoyeds ancestors lived in perfect harmony with the former Nenets, worked with them, slept in tents with them and played with each other even in the harshest conditions, the breed became strongly fixated on the humans. Samoyeds are nice and friendly not only to those they are acquainted with, but also to foreigners and especially to children of all ages. It is a breed without any signs of aggression. Although we rank vigilance among its qualities, due to its friendly nature we will never be able to train him as a defensive or guide dog.
Samoyed is independent, intelligent and loyal dog, always in a good mood, kind and very affectionate. It has a strong sense of human contact, so it cannot be kept in a pack, neither in a dog pen, because it would destroy its cheerful and social nature.
As dogs bred for comprehensive assistance to reindeer herders – for hunting, herding and also draft, they have industriousness, perseverance and unconditional loyalty en-rooted in themselves. They are nice and lively companions, always willing to play and engage.
Samoyed always worked alone, and it is therefore very independent dog, which likes to argue about commands. Where a service dog would perform even the most nonsensical command, Samoyed firstly proudly considers whether it should slavishly carry out a particular command. It is quite intelligent and perceptive to handle basic training, nevertheless, it has to be consistent and regular training.
Because it loves all people without differences, it is an ideal dog for shows, where (mostly) it likes to show off. It loves when a person is fully dedicated to it, stroking it, talking to it. True Samoyed must not be shy, timid and distrustful, not even to strangers. It never attacks, but is has a healthy self-esteem, it is friendly to other dogs.
It is also said about Samoyeds, apart from superlatives, that they are corrupt and stubborn. Ordinary obedience, however, does not bring any difficulties, however, the dog hates hard training. Even though, it might not look like it, it has a very gentle nature and we are more likely to achieve desired results by choosing an amicable way rather than violence.
We must start training Samoyed at very young age, as soon as possible we should teach the dog to come on call. Samoyeds learn willingly, quickly and easily due to their natural intelligence. Nevertheless, they learn the same quick way even what we, as breeders, do not want them to learn. They hate hard drill, the can be even stubborn. They can easily get bored during training, so it is essential to keep their attention. We should keep on amending the training as often as possible, repetition of the same command would have exactly the opposite effect. We patiently explain what we demand, we never punish physically. We can express authority in a friendly way, because shouting and beating will not provide desired respect. Other forms of punishment are used immediately after the offense, otherwise they have no effect. Positive motivation – and our patience proved to be the best way of training a Samoyed dog.
During the training we should always keep in mind that although we have a sociable dog, it is at the same time very proud and independent, which is not easily subjected.
Therefore, for beginners it is suitable to attend a training course.
Well mannered Samoyed is even-tempered, friendly, with plenty of healthy self-esteem.
When the aforementioned tendency to argue about commands is suppressed by the right leadership, Samoyed can be an example of obedience. We should be aware that Samoyed has deep-rooted hunting instinct, and to avoid later anger, it is better to keep it on a leash when walking in nature.
What is quite important is exhibition training, during which the temperament of the dog has to be coped with, so that it could perform elegantly.
Each Samoyed is an individualist, shared characteristic is their stubbornness and desire for free will in decision making.
Formerly a working dog, used as hunting, herding and sled dog, is now popular cheerful and loyal companion for the whole family including the youngest children. Moreover, as a sociable dog it is highly dedicated to all people and is almost worthless as a guard-dog or dog-defender. It is possible that it would scare off uninformed rapists and thieves by barking and its figure, but it would never attack. It is therefore not suitable for police training.
Samoyeds are a popular breed for dog sports (as will be further discussed in the chapter concerned with Physical activity), although due to their former versatile working usability, they are not specialists on draft, unlike other Nordic breeds. They are not as strong as the Alaskan malamute, nor as fast as the Siberian husky, but they are more docile and very persistent. They love work in harness, we can run with them dog agility, pulling, Canis therapy or just simply hiking in mountains or woods.
There is also an extension in their use as guide dogs. Moreover, as a dog with easygoing nature and friendliness to people, it is also very successful in Canis therapy.
Marginally, we can also mention the use of their combed and spun hair, from which warm sweaters can be knitted.
Samoyeds should have the option of dog paddock, preferably in the garden around the house. Bored dog can indulge physical activity by himself and cause much damage in the garden and further afield by digging up holes, trees, burrowing to the neighbors area and killing their chickens.
Until the full completion of physical evolution of Samoyed puppy, we keep on going for a walk with it, even adult dogs would be grateful for a long walk in the woods or mountains after all. Often, however, hunting instinct prevails over the love to its master, since it is in the nature of this breed. In order to avoid losing the dog as a consequence of intransigence of some huntsmen, or to avoid paying for damages to owners of hens in the village, we should use the leash.
Adult dog can be kept jogging beside a bicycle, but the most natural movement for Samoyed is work, specifically the work in harness. The load has to be proportional to the age of the dog as well as to the season.
Suitable sports, apart from harness in a dog sledding, are obedience, agility, pulling, bikejöring, dog-trekking, but also training for social breeds, hiking, recreational sports, sled draft with children in the winter.
If the dog is kept in a flat, to which it is capable to adapt perfectly, it is advisable to go running with it, let it run beside a bicycle or at least take it for longer walks. In a warmer weather, over 15 degrees, it is necessary to reduce physical activity due to hyperthermia and the dog has to have a bowl of water constantly available.
As we have already mentioned, the very first thing to do is to provide the dog with plenty of contact with people and other dogs. If you spend a lot of time away from home, you should get Samoyed a friend.
Samoyed will easily adapt to both, living in a house with a garden as well as living in a city flat. What is crucial is a sufficient amount of physical activity. What is also essential is to reconcile with omnipresent long hairs, especially during the moulting period.
Samoyed requires regular, though not intensive care of its dense and rich coat. Daily brushing for a few minutes should be sufficient, only in the moulting period it is necessary to brush longer in order to remove loose hair. Samoyed molts once or twice in a year, female also after having puppies. During this time it is loosing a huge amount of hair, which has to be combed out (and possibly utilized via spinning). Only then Samoyed will be truly beautiful. Samoyed coat is waterproof, so it is not necessary to bathe it – only before a show or after a very muddy walk: some individuals literally seek the chance of getting dirty.
Frequent bathing reduces the quality of the hair.
Dog ears must be kept clean, nails short.
Samoyed requires routine care like any other Nordic breeds. Its coat is designed to resist even extremely cold weather. We can let it lie on snow, even when it is extremely freezing outside, since its coat despite its length does not freeze to the ground. The same thing applies for hours spent on direct sunlight, since its coat can protect it from the sunbeams as well.
Most of the Samoyeds do not have health problems. Of course, even with this breed there are certain inheritable deceases and it depends on our care a lot. Typical diseases for this breed include hip joint dysplasia, diabetes and glaucoma and cataract. As with any physically loaded dog, nutrition is extremely important since early age to old age, preferably from one manufacturer and in a special composition for individual development stages throughout its lifetime. Such requirement is fully complied for instance by PRO PAC feed brand.
For good growth and further successful development of a puppy, it is necessary to provide quality food in the form of a complete granulated mixture for puppies. With an adult dog, feeding depends on the amount of strain, its temperament and metabolism. Complete granulated mixtures provide everything a healthy dog needs. With certain feed, it is necessary to pay attention to high content of dyes, which improve pigment, but at the same time they can cause coat yellowing with white dogs. Racing dogs have specific demands. It is advisable to administer vitamin and mineral preparations for hair nutrition and quality no sooner than after consulting with a veterinarian.
With older dogs, it depends a lot on their activity level. If they are already retired, we feed them several times a day with low-calorie feed with lower protein content. Vitamin and mineral preparations are also suitable.
For whom it is suitable
Samoyed is a beautiful and decorative dog, but with a soul of a sportsman. It is certainly not suitable for someone, who does not have a sporting spirit within himself. Samoyed is a dog suitable only for an owner with good physical condition, who has enough time to devote to the dog.
Since Samoyeds need human presence and love and they hate being alone for a long time, out of boredom and lack of attention they often tend to destroy everything they can reach. It is not a good dog for people, who do not have time and energy for long walks, who will scarcely let it out of the house.
It is not suitable for anyone, who wants an aggressive guard dog that obeys commands. A man, who “trains” dogs by beating and tying to a chain, should be entitled to have not only Samoyed, but any other breed in his possession.