You’ve decided to get a dog. Great! While your life will change for the better, you’re also taking on a whole lot of new responsibility as well. Adding the right kind of dog for you and your family is an issue many dog owners, particularly new ones, struggle with.
As this is a blog about Samoyeds (as you’ve probably guessed), I’m going to focus on them. And our Samoyeds have been purebreds so keep that in mind as you continue reading my thoughts on comments.
My wife and I have been pet parents to three Sammies over the past 18 years. A female named Zoya, and two males Ramius & Sacha. For Sacha’s thoughts on things, be sure to check out Sacha’s Diary by clicking here.
Samoyed Temperament & Personality
In my opinion, Samoyeds may be the friendliest dog breed of all time. They love people and they’re always excited when you come home from a long day at the office. When someone comes over to a visit, it’s hard to keep them from jumping up on our guests out of pure excitement. So be aware of that if you have friends and family who are a little uneasy around dogs. Samoyeds aren’t subtle! They greet people with a vengeance!
In fact, even if someone just rings our doorbell Sacha runs to the door and just starts barking as loud as he can. Which on the one hand is darling, but on the other hand, it is a bit annoying if you’re on a conference call trying to get some work done. Especially if you’re not expecting any visitors and it’s just the FedEx driver ringing your doorbell by mistake.
But it’s when you’re taking your Samoyed for a walk that you truly see their temperament in action. They’re smiling constantly, with tail wagging, and curious about everything. I’ve talked before about the importance of walking your Samoyed with a strong harness, so be sure to check out my review of the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness.
You’ll want a good, strong harness to keep control of your Samoyed on your walk, and to keep him out of harm’s way, especially if you live in a big city like we do. Samoyeds aren’t too good about waiting for the traffic to clear before they attempt to cross the street, so you’ll need to keep a firm hold and escort your dog with great care.
Here’s a quick video we took of Sacha on Saturday when we walked him down to Wrigley Field. You can see how happy and curious he is; a great example of his temperament.
The other thing you’ll notice as you take your Samoyed for a walk is how many times you’ll see someone’s eyes light up as you walk past them down the block. They’ll smile, tell you how cute your dog is, and often ask to come pet him. If I take Sacha for say a half hour walk, more than a dozen people will come up to me and ask if they can pet him and rub his ears. This happens almost without fail. Sometimes, people will even ask to take their picture with him. My wife and I are usually happy to oblige, but it does always strike us as a bit odd. I mean, who wants a picture of somebody else’s dog right?
But then again, that is the power of the Samoyed!! 🙂
Males vs. Females
Another thing to consider of course, if whether you want to introduce a male or female Samoyed into your home. Both are great, but there are some subtle differences that I’ll share with you.
Female Sammies tend to be much more independent than males. When Zoya was still with us, she went wherever she wanted to go in the house whenever she wanted to go there. Sometimes, that would be on the floor next to us. Other times, she’d be hanging out upstairs and if we called for her to come downstairs with us, sometimes she would, sometimes she wouldn’t. It was always her choice.
When we got Ramius, our first male Samoyed, we noticed a big difference in behavior. Males tend to be a little more needy than females. I guess in that way, male Samoyeds are similar to male humans. 😉
He wanted to be around us constantly. If we walked into the kitchen, he walked to the kitchen. If we went downstairs, he followed us. Ramius went wherever we did.
And ironically, Ramius’s behavior began to influence Zoya and she became more likely to hang out with us as opposed to going off by herself somewhere. You see Zoya was the Queen of the household, and the Queeen could get a bit jealous from time to time. So she had to make sure that all of three of us, my wife, Ramius, and me, never forgot that she was the Alpha dog and got the lions’ share of the attention.
And then of course, there’s Sacha! Hopefully you all know Sacha by now.
Sacha is unique in many ways, and he’s actually got a little bit of Zoya and Ramius in him. Usually, like the male Samoyed he is, he hangs out with us. But not always! Sometimes he’ll go off into a corner of a room somewhere by himself to just hang out for hours. We say he’s having “Sachi time.” (Sachi is our nickname for Sacha). Also, if Sacha is upstairs and we’re downstairs and we call him, he will come down every time (unlike Zoya). But, a lot of the time, he’ll just hang out for a few minutes and then head right back upstairs to do whatever it is he was doing (unlike Ramius).
In any case, we always say our Samoyeds are the ones in charge. The don’t live in our home, we live in theirs. That’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when choosing to parent a Samoyed!
They’re Good with Families and Children
Samoyeds are well known to be great with children and this is something we’ve seen firsthand. For as big, strong, and rambunctious as they are, Samoyeds seem to have a great sense of their own presence. Remember, they were originally bred by the Samoyed Peoples in Siberia to be contributing members of the household. They herded reindeer and pulled sleds, but also, they were there to help keep the people warm. It’s cold in Siberia after all!
So the breed itself is very conducive to getting along with children and all members of the family. We’ve even seen it where they take a very protective stance. When our niece Lauren was very young and would visit, it wouldn’t be too long before Zoya would be curled up right next to her crib or carriage. And she made sure that if somebody wasn’t paying attention and get too close to Lauren or something, she’d let you know about it.
Caring and Upkeep
There’s no way around it, Samoyeds need a lot of upkeep and they’re not always easy on the wallet. Ours have usually varied between 90 and 100lbs in weight which is considered big for the breed. So they eat. A lot! We’ve used lots of different dog food over the years including both wet and dry.
These days, we’re big fans of Grain Free Fromm products. But these bags aren’t cheap, and we feed Sacha two cups in the morning and two in the evening. So a 26lb pound bag might last us 4-5 weeks or so.
Then of course, there’s grooming! Yeah, you’re going to have to get used to white tumbleweeds rolling across your floor. Their fur is never-ending, but it’s also very soft and pretty. And as long as you keep your dogs clean, Samoyeds don’t have much of a smell at all.
But, frequent brushing is a must! It should be done with a strong wire brush at least 2 or 3 times per week. Quite frankly, we don’t do this nearly as often as we should. We both work and we’re busy so it’s hard for us to find the time sometimes. But that’s not an excuse! They do need to regular brushing.
But even with regular brushing you’ll need to wash your Sammie on occasion and sometimes trim up his fur. For this, we take no chances, we go to a professional groomer. Fortunately in Chicago, there are many great groomers in our neighborhood. But beware, if you show up to to the groomer’s
with your Samoyed looking like this, you’re likely to see a great expression of horror on their face.
In fact, Sacha has also been known to make some groomers rethink their career choices. 🙂
Other things you’ll need to provide your Samoyed with include a monthly heartworm pill, and flee and tick medication. Then there are toys, treats, dental bones (Sacha is very concerned about his dental health!), water bowls, poop bags, and a whole bunch of other stuff. With their thick coats, it’s important to keep your Samoyed cool in the warm weather. A dog cooling bed/mat is something you may want to considering investing in as well. I reviewed a few dog cooling beds in an earlier post which you may want to check out.
Of course, as you’re doing your budgeting don’t forget about visits to the veterinarian, at least annually. It’s important that your Samoyed get excellent medical care, and of course, he’ll need his shots for rabbies, kennel cough, etc. You’ll probably want to invest in some sort of training too if there is a qualified dog trainer in your area. For all of their great qualities, Sammie’s can be quite stubborn and difficult to train. It’s important to ensure you start your training during the puppy stage, and having a professional dog trainer working with your pet can be very beneficial.
I strongly recommend you get pet health insurance too! This can be a controversial subject and I’ll be discussing pet insurance in greater detail in a subsequent post. But Samoyeds are prone to several diseases like diabetes, which both Zoya and Ramius developed when they were about 8 years old. And sadly, they both also passed away of cancer. On a side note, Sacha is under strict orders not to contract either of these diseases!
Now hopefully of course, that won’t happen to your dog. But if it does, having good pet health insurance can make all the difference in the world. Just like with humans, medical costs for dogs are very expensive, but if you have good health insurance for your pet, that at least takes cost out of the equation and you can focus exclusively on their care. And that’s the important thing to focus on. This is another topic that will be covered in greater detail in the coming weeks.
Samoyed Ownership – The Right Choice for You?
To sum it up, Samoyeds make wonderful pets and are likely to be a great addition to your family. They’re fun, happy, and they get along great with people and children. But they do require quite a bit of upkeep and care so much sure you’ve budgeted for that accordingly.
If you have any questions about whether or not a Samoyed might be right for you, please leave me a note in the comment section. I’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP!