Samoyeds are medium-sized dogs with big white coats and a friendly, playful attitude. The breed was first developed in Siberia to pull sleds, herd reindeer and livestock, and hunt. Their coats protect them from the harsh cold climate and while they are considered medium breeds, they have a big requirement for exercise and stimulation.
You need to provide an hour of good exercise a day, at least. Ideally, you should provide 2 hours of exercise, combining leashed walks with more intensive forms of exercise. The breed particularly excels in sledding and other pulling events but will take to most canine sports. It will also enjoy playing with adults and older children, although its thick coat is very grabbable which makes it a target for toddlers and small children. The thickness of its coat means that very early morning or evening exercise is best, when temperatures are cooler.
The Samoyed is classed as a working breed, having first been bred by Siberian tribespeople called the Samoyede. The nomadic people used the dog to pull sleds, herd livestock, and hunt. The dogs would sleep in tents with the Samoyede and were essentially treated as members of the family. The breed was then discovered by European explorers in the 19th Century and made their way back to England. After becoming a popular breed with English nobility, word of their worth spread through the rest of Europe before eventually making their way to the US.
Its history as a working dog means that the Samoyed is intelligent. A skilled handler should find it relatively easy to train the dog to a basic standard, but they aren’t going to be competitors in obedience training events! They love to run and pull, so events like CaniCross can be excellent for them.
If its owners can provide enough exercise and mental stimulation for their dog, the Samoyed makes a great family pet. Samoyeds were raised to be members of their owners’ families. They slept in close quarters with their humans in Siberia, and usually get along with all family members as pets. The breed is easy-going and outgoing, which means that it will also usually get along with strangers while providing a fun companion for older children who treat the dog with respect. Its size means the Sammie can live in medium sized to larger houses but they are quite vocal dogs, so an apartment is likely not appropriate. They are best suited to rural living.
Samoyed Care Requirements
The Sammie does have quite high care requirements. That thick double coat needs plenty of brushing and the dog’s desire to be outside, and its love of running and playing means that it can be a full-time job to keep the coat looking good. Owners also need to provide an absolute minimum of one hour of exercise a day, with two hours being considered an ideal amount of daily exercise.
The 5 Best Forms of Exercise for Samoyeds
As well as providing the required amount of exercise each day, it is a good idea to offer Samoyeds a variety of different tasks and types of exercise. It helps provide mental stimulation and it also keeps things interesting for you and the rest of your family. Some options include:
1. Long Walks
The Samoyed ideally needs around 2 hours of exercise a day, including its walks. This means a quick walk around the block isn’t going to do much except get a Sammie excited for more. Consider hour-long walks—the Samoyed can handle a brisk walking pace and will benefit from it. You can also take them out on your weekly or daily hikes, and they will do well uphill or on the flat. But remember that the Samoyed is bred for cold climates and may struggle in the heat.
Half an hour of chase or fetch is a great way to burn off your dog’s energy and it will build a bond between you. You can also use this playtime as a great opportunity to enhance your training efforts by incorporating some basic commands into the game and working on recall in your yard. Hiding treats around the garden can be a fun way to spend some time. Your Sammie will enjoy sniffing the treats out and gobbling them down.
One of the Samoyed’s primary tasks, as part of the Samoyede tribe, was to pull sleds laden with people and goods. If you live in a cold climate and there are regular sledding events near you, this is a great way to exercise your furry friend. Alternatively, get your own sledding equipment and turn it into an activity you can enjoy whenever you like.
4. Urban Mushing
Urban mushing, also called snowless sledding or dry sledding, is similar to sledding except the sled has wheels or tracks and is run on dry ground. Its similarity to sledding means that a Sammie is well suited to this sport, and it presents an excellent opportunity for suitable exercise.
If you’re a regular runner, you can teach your Samoyed to run with you. Check local laws regarding the use of belt leashes and harnesses, because it may not be allowed in certain areas, but you can harness a Sammie and have them run alongside you. You can also take part in organized “CaniCross” events. Sports like CaniCross can be an excellent way to exercise both you and your dog and Samoyeds can be great at it. However, always bear in mind that this is only suitable in a cool climate as Samoyeds can overheat easily.
The 3 Dog Breeds That Need Less Exercise Than a Samoyed
Samoyeds do need a lot of exercise. Without adequate physical and mental stimulation, they can become destructive and may show other unwanted behaviors. If you don’t have the time to provide 1–2 hours of good exercise every day, you may want to consider a dog that needs less exercise.
The Greyhound is renowned for its running abilities, but, specifically, for its intense bursts of incredible speed. The Greyhound is known as the world’s fastest couch potato because while it can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, it isn’t known for its stamina and after a burst of running, it will be happily sprawled out on the sofa with its owners. However, a Greyhound may not be suitable if you own cats, or if you want a dog you can let off its leash because it has a high prey drive and is very difficult to catch.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small spaniel breed that needs less exercise than most other spaniel breeds. An hour’s exercise a day should be more than enough to meet this little breed’s requirements, and as well as its modest exercise requirements, it is a friendly and loving little dog that will happily spend time with its owners and usually gets along with other dogs and even cats.
At the other end of the exercise chart from the Samoyed is the Mastiff. It has minimal daily exercise requirements, typically being happy with 30 to 60 minutes of slow ambling. The Mastiff is affectionate with family but aloof around strangers. It needs a lot of socializing as a young pup, and the size of the breed means that the Mastiff has a short lifespan of around 11 or 12 years.
Do Samoyeds Need a Lot of Grooming?
Samoyeds have a thick, double coat, that is designed to protect them from the cold. The breed benefits from daily brushing, which will help remove dead hairs and prevent knots and matting. This, combined with the high exercise requirements of the breed, means that it does take a lot of daily care.
Do Samoyeds Suffer Separation Anxiety?
Sammies were bred to be around humans. They would sleep in the same tent as their families and spend most of the day working with their handlers. As such, while they are working dogs, Samoyeds need human interaction, and they can suffer separation anxiety if left alone for too long. If you do need to leave your dog for long periods, consider getting a family member or friend to visit, or pay a dog walker to come and exercise them. Always ensure that your Samoyed has had plenty of exercise and is provided with mental stimulation while you’re out.
Is the Samoyed a Good Family Dog?
The Samoyed makes an excellent family dog that will get along with all family members. It will be especially close to those that provide exercise and are willing to play, as well as those that take the lead in training.
Recognizable for its fluffy white coat, the Samoyed is a working dog breed that makes a great family pet because it is affectionate, loving, and fun. However, it does have some high care requirements. That luscious coat needs daily brushing to ensure it doesn’t get knotted or messy, and the Samoyed ideally needs 2 hours of exercise each day, including some form of intensive exercise beyond casual strolls around the block.
They can take up a lot of your time but if you have the time and are an activity-loving family, they are a good choice of family pet.
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