Caring for your Samoyed

Bringing Your Puppy Home

Keep your home and schedule as consistent as possible the first week of your puppy’s arrival. Your home and family are enough adjustments and company should be asked to wait. Allow him plenty of time to sleep. Don’t allow the children to play with him unless he comes to them. He is a baby and may be too tired. He should not be fussed with after he eats.  He should not be picked up by a child. He is not a toy!  He is a living creature with feelings–a gift from God.  If your child plays rough with him, he will soon return the rough play.

Train your child to learn gentleness and love. This will be returned tenfold. He wants to please and you express your wishes by the way your family handles him when he is young. See that he is fed on time. Until he is ~4 months old, he should be fed 3 times a day and let out at least once during the day.  He will house train faster and be healthier with this care. Don’t ask a child to take over this responsibility; this is your job, not theirs.  If he must be left in the house during the day, put him in a crate.  This will keep him safe, out of trouble, and help with house training.  Take him out to a designated spot in the yard frequently to help him learn where it is OK to potty.  Take him out first thing in the morning, after each meal, nap or play period and before bed at night.  Don’t punish him for accidents in the house.  Take him to the proper spot if you catch him in the act.

Don’t allow a child to lead him on leash as a puppy.  You leash train him, gently and lovingly, not by roughness. Never drag him; coax him with kind words or treats and he will respond.

If you are not more than willing to accept this puppy for his faults as well as his virtues and to keep him until death, then leave him at the kennel. Someone worthy of him will soon pass by and he will have the home he was bred and raised for.  Be certain that you will forever be worth, to be called his master.



The young Samoyed, in general, is not as hearty an eater as most breeds his size.  If the healthy condition of a puppy is maintained through the first year, it will take much less food to retain his condition throughout his life.   Nothing should be spared this first year as growth is rapid.  He will go from about one pound at birth to anywhere from 45 to 70 pounds as an adult, depending on sex, size, and bone structure.  The care received at this time will set a pattern in eating for the rest of his life.  Each dog is an individual and where one will maintain show condition on one cup of food, another will require three times as much.

Never allow an adult Sammy to become fat.  Cut his rations and increase his exercise.  He will live much longer and be a healthier and happier dog.  Feed a balanced diet – no table scraps except beef or chicken, scraped from the bones.  Keep in mind meals were few and far between in his native land, he survived without eating for several days.  Limit his treats to healthy small doses.  Guard against overfeeding the bitch when pregnant and during nursing.  She will have a tendency to become overly fat because her appetite is keen.  Cut her rations when weaning or she will lose her shape and her health will suffer.  Feed a premium dog food and there will be no need to supplement.

When you purchase a puppy or dog from a reliable breeder you will receive a complete feeding plan as well as advice throughout his life, often whether you request it or not.  See that you have the foods on hand prior to picking him up.  Take a large container for water along, and ask that it be filled.  Change of water can upset a puppy but by slowly mixing this with yours, he will adjust without problems.  See that fresh water is available at all times.  Ice cubes are enjoyed as treats in the hot months by many dogs.


Health Problems

The normal temperature of a dog (taken with a rectal thermometer) lies between 101 and 102° F.  Given his necessary shots and yearly booster, the Samoyed is a hardy dog and not prone to illness.  Most illnesses and injuries are caused by incorrect diets and neglect.

Long coated dogs are subject to hot spots and other skin diseases when not groomed and kept clean, from force feeding rich foods to promote excessive coat, and by not providing a cool place to sleep during the hot months.  He will tolerate the heat if given a shady spot; he can adjust to any climate.

He can become infested with fleas, ticks or worms if not kept clean and if allowed to roam in affected areas.  A fenced in yard, mowed lawn, and prompt removal of all feces will ensure his health against these problems.  Prevention is much easier than cure.  In case of illness or unusual behavior, contact a veterinarian at once.

Do not give him just any bones.  Purchase raw bones which are edible protein or other chew items which will give him the exercise he needs, clean his teeth, and pacify his desire to chew.

Should your Sammy shed constantly, have him checked by the veterinarian.  Unless he has been exposed to sudden temperature changes, this is not normal.  Anal gland problems may cause this as well as other health problems.  The reference material listed at the end of this article provides additional information and detail.


Grooming and Care

Too many new owners have been told that Samoyeds are easy to keep clean, they never get dirty, never shed, never have odor, and need never be bathed!  This is a gross misrepresentation of the breed.  Unless under constant supervision they are not easy to keep clean; they do shed – as much as a bushel in two combings.  Let them run through a barnyard, and they will smell as offensive as one.  A wet, soiled Sammy has the color of filthy, wet, wool, blanket and should be bathed.

A clean Samoyed is a picture of breathtaking beauty, a sparkling silver-tipped coat as fresh and pure as the new fallen snow adds to this charm and people will reach out to touch this striking animal and would welcome it in their home.

The coat can start to soil right after bathing because the wet coat picks up soil much more easily than when dry.  Keep him confined in a small clean area until dry or use a powerful dog or cattle dryer (human hair dryers just don’t cut it).  The coat can be kept quite clean for several weeks by washing the feet after each outdoor romp and rubbing the body down every day with a wet towel, drying briskly with a white Turkish towel.

Brushing helps to remove soil and your dog will look presentable with daily grooming.  The time to bathe depends on your dog, his surroundings, training, and you.   Snowfalls can bathe him for you as he rolls in each new snowfall.  Frequent brushing will not keep the coat clean, but it will keep the lighter dust and dirt out for a while.  However, sooner or later he will become dirty and a bath is necessary.

Bathing is a must prior to a dog show; there is no excuse for a dirty entry.  Your pet should be bathed at least twice a year for his health and comfort .  Bathe right after the wool has been combed out.  This will remove loose, dead hair and clean the skin which stimulates the growth of his new coat.  Use a good dog shampoo that conditions both skin and coat, not a cheap detergent which can and does dry and irritate the skin.  Use lukewarm water.

Trim toenails every week optimally; do not cut into the quick.  If unsure how, ask your vet or a groomer to do it or show you how.  At this time trim the hair beneath the pads, level with the pads.  This is very important as long hair may cause the dog to slip from poor footing.  It will also encourage him to dog ‘down in pastern’ as he will tend to walk on the heel pad rather than the toe pads as is normal.

Check teeth for discoloration which can be removed with a toothbrush and dog toothpaste.  Tarter should be removed by your veterinarian.  Hard dog biscuits and rawhide bones (in moderation) will help prevent and remove it.

Urine stains the coat and bathing will not remove it unless it is done at once.  The sun will burn the harsh outer coat and it will appear a soiled yellow or brown color, especially over the back.  Be sure your dog has ample shade at all times! Never place him where shade is not available.  Ensure your fenced-in area has trees, or that your dog run has a covered area.


Bad Habits

Every breed has bad habits and the Samoyed is no exception.  This is a working breed that enjoys action, herding, and attention.  They can easily become bored with nothing of interest at hand.  They will dig.  They are excellent excavators by nature digging deep into the snow for the protection against the bitter cold winds in their native land.

Samoyeds can get very excited over squirrels hovering above them, leaping from tree to tree and they will bark.  The remedy is to chase off the squirrels or call in the dogs until the teasers find other entertainment.  They are excellent watchdogs but will not keep barking continually while your guests are present.  They bark when company arrives; but after they see who it is and receive recognition that they were heard, they will return to their own pleasures.  It is not natural for them to keep barking unless they are tied, bored, teased, agitated, or ignored.  The very reason he is an ideal pet for their friends and desert him.  Call him in the house, give him attention, and get his mind off being deserted.  In a few minutes he will go out in the yard content to wait for their return.

This is a highly intelligent breed, they do think and have a keen sense of being loved or neglected.  They are not a dog content to lay around satisfied with what you care to hand out–they will demand!!  The more intelligent the dog, the more likely it is he will figure out ways to gain attention, good or bad.  It takes a highly intelligent human to cope with some of them.  No two are alike.  Environment makes a big difference.

Some Samoyeds have a propensity for foreign objects which last past puppyhood.  They must be tried and tested before you can leave them free in the house. Ensure the house is safe when you are away. Many Sams can be given the full run of the house from the time they are puppies while others will be a problem as long as they live. Early training usually conforms the puppy into a well mannered adult. Don’t give the puppy a shoe to play with unless you won’t mind when he chews up your good ones. Never place poison where a child or animal can get to it. Never leave anything around that the puppy should not chew when you leave him alone. Bring out off limit things when you are home, teach him what is his and what must be left alone. An untrained puppy can form bad habits which he will continue throughout his life, spoiling him as a trusted pal when grown.

Chewing hair off the front legs, skirts, and tails is from sheer boredom.  A dog left alone for the day will often do this. A bitter spray is available in pet stores and advertised in dog magazines. The sooner you spray the area, the more apt you will be to break a future habit as this usually discourages it. Give him a raw bone to chew on, he needs something to pass the time.


After You’re Gone

Make out a will at once! Your Samoyed is as much your responsibility as the rest of your family. Should disaster strike your home, know where he will be placed, fed and loved. Dogs have been known to starve when owners were suddenly killed, they were forgotten in the tragedy, nobody was informed to take over and see that they were fed and cared for. Make it known in writing who will receive your pet, see that a substantial sum is set aside for their care. See that this is ready cash, they will need it!!