Samoyed takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. An alternate name for the breed, especially in Europe, is Bjelkier. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy, white dogs to help with the herding, to pull sleds when they moved.
The average lifespan for a Samoyed is 12 to 16 years. Being a working breed, they have high stamina.
They share a common resemblance with an American Eskimo dog.
Males typically weigh between 20-32.5 kg (55-71 lbs) and stand at a height of 54–60 cm (21–24 in) , while females typically weigh 17–25 kg(40-55 lbs) and stand at a height of 50–56 cm (19–22 in) .
Samoyeds’ friendly disposition makes them poor guard dogs; an aggressive Samoyed is rare. With their tendency to bark, however, they can be diligent watch dogs, barking whenever something approaches their territory. Samoyeds are excellent companions, especially for small children or even other dogs, and they remain playful into old age. When Samoyeds become bored they may begin to dig. With their sled dog heritage, a Samoyed is not averse to pulling things, and an untrained Samoyed has no problem pulling its owner on a leash rather than walking alongside. Samoyeds were also used to herd reindeer. They will instinctively act as herd dogs, and when playing with children, especially, will often attempt to turn and move them in a different direction. The breed is characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned the nicknames “Sammy smile” and “smiley dog.
Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy
Samoyeds can be affected by a genetic disease known as “Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy”, a renal disease. The disease is known to be caused by an X-linked dominant faulty allele and therefore the disease is more severe in male Samoyeds. Carrier females do develop mild symptoms after 2–3 months of age, but do not go on to develop renal failure. The disease is caused by a defect in the structure of the type-IV collagen fibrils of the glomerular basement membrane. As a consequence, the collagen fibrils of the glomerular basement membrane are unable to form cross-links, so the structural integrity is weakened and the membrane is more susceptible to “wear-and-tear” damage. As the structure of the basement membrane begins to degenerate, plasma proteins are lost in the urine and symptoms begin to appear. Affected males appear healthy for the first 3 months of life, but then symptoms start to appear and worsen as the disease progresses: the dog becomes lethargic and muscle wastage occurs, as a result of proteinuria. From 3 months of age onwards, a reduced glomerular filtration rate is detected, indicative of progressive renal failure. Death from renal failure usually occurs by 15 months of age.
As yet there is no genetic screening test available for Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy. If a carrier female is mated with a healthy stud dog, the female offspring have a 50% chance of being carriers for the disease, and any male offspring have a 50% chance of being affected by the disease.
Other health concerns
Hip dysplasia is also a concern for Samoyeds as are eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma and other retinal problems. Samoyeds are prone to diabetes and other diseases if their owners are not careful. Life expectancy is about 12–15 years.