7 Things To Know Before Getting A Samoyed Puppy
Samoyeds are beautiful dogs with a terrifying name – but are they good pets? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Do you love spending time outside and play with your four-legged pal? Would you enjoy “talking” with your dog at home all day? How do you feel about brushing your dog’s hair for half an hour every day? If all this sounds interesting, then read on.
What are the key characteristics that make Samoyeds special?
The word Samoyed is often thought to mean “self-eater” in Russian because it sounds like the Russian words for “same” and “eat”. However, it’s actually believed to come from the old Saami (Finish) language where it meant “Land of the people”. So, Samoyed can probably most accurately be translated as “A dog from the land of the people.”
Samoyeds are one of the oldest working dog breeds in the world. They come from the deep Siberian tundra where they were used by Mongolian tribes to herd reindeers. As such, they are highly intelligent, very energetic but also quite social!
A Sammy’s signature feature, however, is their long, glorious white hair. It’s actually a double coat too as it was meant to protect these dogs from the freezing Siberian temperatures. And while it is beautiful, it requires lots of maintenance too!
So, is a Samoyed right for you? Let’s go over the 7 key points below.
The 7 things you should know before getting a Samoyed
1. This is a highly intelligent breed and that can lead to certain challenges
As a working dog, the Samoyed has been bred to be as intelligent as possible. The idea was for the dog to be able to perform complex tasks and follow convoluted commands – herding reindeers in North Siberia is not easy work, after all.
And it worked! Samoyeds are highly intelligent which is as great for a working dog as it is for a pet. With a Sammy as a pet, you can play lots of games, teach the dog to solve puzzles, or even perform some household tasks. This makes Samoyeds great for children and for anyone who loves to have fun with their pet.
There are a few notable drawbacks to that intelligence too, however. Samoyeds are very prone to boredom if you don’t give them enough attention and mental stimulation. If you want a dog that just chills all day and snuggles in your feet without bothering you, getting another breed (or a cat) might be a better choice.
A Sammy would need at least a couple of hours of focused attention per day in addition to the couple of hours of daily outdoor playtime. And, there should be enough toys and fun stuff around for the Sammy to do alone too.
Why is this so important?
For one, you want a happy dog, right? What’s more, a highly-intelligent but bored dog can easily develop anxiety, depression, become disobedient, or even develop destructive tendencies. You know all those memes online about dogs destroying couches? That’s what we’re talking about.
2. Training a Sammy requires a bit of experience
Because of their high intelligence, Sammy dogs can be quite independent thinkers too. While this is great and fun, it does mean that they are a bit stubborn. It makes training them somewhat complicated, much like it is with cats – it’s not that they don’t understand your commands, it’s that they’d rather do something else instead.
Of course, they are still dogs so a couple of tasty treats and some pets should still do the trick!
3. Samoyeds are very loving and social dogs
One of the best features of Samoyeds is that they are incredibly social and gentle dogs. You kind of have to be if you’ve grown up in the frozen tundra where everyone was always together under the same roof.
This is fantastic for large families who want a dog that would love everyone equally and passionately. It’s not so fantastic, however, if you want a guard dog – Samoyeds do not work for that. If a burglar comes into your home your Sammy will be more likely to lead him to the dog toys rather than chase him away.
4. Grooming a Samoyed is basically a part-time job
If you like the sound of everything up until now, you should read this point carefully – Sammy dogs are VERY high maintenance. Dog shelters and rescues are full of Samoyeds who’ve been thrown out of their homes because their owners didn’t realize how much work it is to maintain their glorious white coats.
Here are a few pointers:
- Samoyeds’ gorgeous white hair you see on pictures and exhibitions can only look that way after a bath and hour-long grooming. Most of the time it will be beige/yellow/brown due to all the stuff your playful Sammy will get into. Especially after a walk outside, your Samoyed’s hair will be anything but white.
- Samoyeds mat very easily due to their double coats. Keeping such a coat clean, neat, and mat-free is a LOT of work. It’s important too as mats can cause hotspots and skin irritations.
- Daily 20-min brushings are a must, as is a more extensive hour-long brushing once or twice a week.
- You’ll need to get some advanced tools for these brushings as a simple comb won’t do. You’ll have to invest in high-quality undercoat rakes, a slicker brush, a pin brush, a greyhound comb, and other accessories.
- Regular baths will also be necessary.
- Most importantly, you should NOT clip or shave your Samoyed’s coat as it’s meant to protect them against both cold and hot water. Sammy dogs also have very sensitive skin and the coat is important for that as well.
Last but not least, keep in mind that even after all that, A Samoyed’s home will still be full of loose fur 24/7. These dogs blow their coats once or twice a year which means even more hair in the air. But even during the other 10 months, you can expect to have to vacuum and sticky-roll entire handfuls of dog hair out of your home almost daily.
5. Don’t be fooled by their beauty – Samoyeds are a working breed and have energy to spare
Most people get their Sammys for their looks but forget that this is a working dog breed. This means that Samoyeds have lots of energy and therefore need lots of exercises to stay healthy and happy.
In other words – this is an outdoors-type dog.
Samoyeds need two prolonged walks per day as well as a daily visit to the dog park. This breed loves to explore new spaces too so changing up the scenery by going to different dog parks or going on hikes is also advisable.
Simply put, if you like to chill at home and not spend too much time outside, you’d better pick a different breed.
6. Samoyeds love to talk!
Do you love the idea of chatting with your dog as you’re doing stuff around the house? Then the Samoyed might be a good breed for you!
Samoyeds love to communicate and they don’t hesitate to “talk back” at you as you’re trying to train them or get them to do something.
Want your Sammy to roll over? Expect her to tell you to roll over.
Want to postpone the morning walk by half an hour until you finish your coffee? Your Sammy will have something to say about that!
Want her to bring you your left shoe so you can go to work? She’ll tell you to go get it yourself.
This can certainly be fun but it can also be tiresome at times so keep it in mind.
7. This is a relatively healthy breed but vet visits can be costly
As a very old and pure breed, Samoyeds are relatively healthy. They can develop certain ailments, however, so you should be mindful of that. Here are some conditions to keep an eye for and consult with your vet about:
- Hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Skin infections (very common when grooming is lackluster!)
- Dental problems
- Diabetes and others
To make matters worse, Samoyed vet bills are usually quite unpleasant due to the “luxurious” status of the breed.
The best way to avoid all that is to do the following:
- Take good care of your dog with high-quality food, extensive exercises, and proper grooming
- Look out for early symptoms of any of the above conditions
- Go to routine vet check-ups
- Get your Samoyed puppy from a reputable breeder and ask for a health certificate for both the pup and its parents
Who are Samoyeds “right” for?
As they are a very energetic breed, Samoyeds are ideal for people who love to have fun outside. And, as a very high-maintenance breed, Sammy dogs also need an owner who would love to take care of their coats. And if you don’t mind the excess hair and enjoy talking with your dog, you just might be the perfect owner for a Samoyed!
How to prepare for getting a Samoyed?
The preparation for a Samoyed pup at home revolves around coat management. You’ll need to acquire lots of tools to take good care of your Samoyed’s beautiful mane. Investing in a new and better vacuum cleaner might also be a good idea.
Aside from that, Samoyeds are relatively easy to take care of. You’ll need to get some know-how on how to train stubborn and willful dogs but that’s about it.
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