The Samoyed is one of the most attractive breeds of dogs.
Its characteristic white fuzzy fur and coal black eyes make it look almost like a toy. The Samoyed was first bred in a remote area of northern Siberia, by the nomadic tribe of hunter gatherers called the Samoyed, from which the dogs borrowed their names. Several thousand years of complete isolation purified the dogs gene pools, so there is very little variation among the breed. The Samoyeds are one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world and are by far the most unchanged.
The Samoyed may look pretty, but it is a sturdy work dog. The thick fur of the Samoyed developed to protect it from the fierce conditions of its natural habitat. The Samoyed tribe used the dogs for several jobs, including pulling sleds, hunting and laboring. The Samoyed people lived as reindeer herders in the harsh Arctic tundra and the dogs lived along beside them. The Samoyeds were more to the people than dogs though, they were members of the family. The dogs shared the beds, food and other resources with the dogs. It was these thousands of years of close contact with humans that gave the Samoyed the gentle and understanding nature that they are known for today.
Before the 1930s, Russia did not allow any non-Russian anthropologists to study the native Siberian people, and the Samoyed dogs were unknown. The only information we have before this time is the writings of a few polar explorers, who used Samoyeds on their sled teams, who reported that the Sammies were intelligent, resourceful and kind animals. Some of these dogs eventually ended up in Britain, either in zoos or owned by private dog breeders, who set the standards for Samoyeds.
The Samoyedic people from Western Siberia also bred and raised Samoyed dogs, but these were often brown or black in color. These dogs had been mixed with other breeds because the Western area was more accessible to visitors. Dog breeders favored the dogs of the Northern Samoyed people though, whose genetics were more pure and always produced white or cream colored coats. A total of twelve Sammies were imported to Britain that were determined to be purebred and those few dogs are responsible for the full line of Samoyeds today.
Samoyeds are very good working dogs, but they do not make good guard dogs. Samoyeds do not know strangers and are very friendly to everyone they meet. Sammies can be restless and destructive when they are bored and they need lots of exercise and physical challenges. Of course, they thrive in cold climates. A winter sled ride can be both fun for people and beneficial to the Samoyedâ€™s body and spirit. They are very playful dogs and are very gentle and loving to children. Samoyeds do not do well with punishment, but if their owners make obediance training into a game, they respond very well. Samoyeds seek love and attention from their owners, and when they receive proper care, they become irreplaceable members of the family.