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Published on 11 Jun 2021

Samoyed dog standing on rock in autumn park.

Samoyeds are an ancient breed of Spitz dog famous for their luxurious white fluffy coat and “smiling” faces. Independent-minded yet eager to please, a friendly, playful disposition makes the Samoyed a popular family dog.

Samoyeds lived with the nomadic Samoyedic people of Asia, who migrated to Siberia over a thousand years ago. Their dense double coats enabled Samoyeds to survive the bitter cold on the Russian tundra, where they were used for herding and guarding reindeer, as well as for sled-hauling. They were bred to be working dogs but were also revered members of the family. Samoyeds were allowed free access to the family tent, shared the family’s food, and slept with the children to keep them warm. The first Samoyeds came to England in the late 1800’s, and to Australia in the early 1900s. Samoyeds formed part of the sled teams exploring the North and South Poles, and were prized for their strength, stamina and willingness to work. 

Samoyeds range in size from around 46 to 56 cm high and 16 to 29 kg in weight. Females are usually smaller than males.  A pure white coat is most common, but many dogs develop a cream shade as they get older. The Samoyed has an animated expression created by the upturned corners of the mouth, which them a characteristic grin, affectionately known as the ‘Sammie smile’. Their life expectancy is around 12 to 14 years.

Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics


Siberia (Russia)

Also known as 

Bjelkier, Samoiedskaya, Sobaka, Smiley, Sammy 


Medium-large 46 to 56 cm height; 16 to 29.5 kgs weight

Weight Range

16 to 29.5 kgs


White, cream 

Life expectancy

12 to 14 years  


Short and thick, sheds 


Playful, independent, alert

Activity levels


Best suited for

Active households of experienced dog people in cooler climates 

Apartment friendly

Better suited to larger properties 


Known for being friendly, gentle, and playful, the Samoyed makes a loyal family member. This clever, spirited pup has high physical and mental exercise needs, and boredom can lead to nuisance barking and mischief. As such, they are better suited to larger properties than apartment living. With their thick double coat, they may also be better suited to life in cooler climates. Like many working dogs they have an independent streak which can make them stubborn, so early training is important. Overall, the Samoyed can make a great family pet in an active household of experienced dog people. 


Samoyeds have a thick double coat, comprised of a soft, woolly undercoat with long outer guard hairs. Grooming is essential, as the thick coat needs frequent brushing and even more often when shedding which generally occurs seasonally. Flea control all year around is recommend as is tick control if in a tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Samoyed, select a premium large breed dog food appropriate to your dog’s age. Help your fur baby avoid becoming overweight by ensuring that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Samoyed dog in autumn park.

Common health concerns 

The five most common reasons for a Samoyed to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in 2020 included osteoarthritis, dietary indiscretion, eye conditions and skin infections or allergies:

Table: The five most common reasons for Samoyeds to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in the 2020 calendar year:

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
2Ingestion of a foreign body or toxin$1,007$8,537
3Gastrointestinal tract problems, including Canine Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis$334$3,957
4Eye problems, including conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, and keratitis$180$4,675
5Skin problems, including allergic skin disease$162$967

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider


Samoyed dog with puppy in a garden.

Most popular Samoyed names (PetSure data, 2020)

Most popular names

  1. Luna
  2. Bear
  3. Mochi
  4. Alaska
  5. Casper
  6. Koda
  7. Loki
  8. Nala
  9. Amber
  10. Beau

Most popular female names

  1. Luna
  2. Mochi
  3. Nola
  4. Alaska
  5. Amber
  6. Bella
  7. Leia
  8. Mia
  9. Poppy
  10. Portia

Most popular male names

  1. Bear
  2. Casper
  3. Koda
  4. Loki
  5. Beau
  6. Nemo
  7. Ollie
  8. Teddy
  9. Alaska
  10. Archie

Did you know?

Born in 1946, Rex was a purebred Samoyed who started out as a sled dog for the U.S. Postal Service in Montana, but later became legendary as a search and rescue dog. Rex performed over thirty rescues during his lifetime, cutting through blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains. His most notable rescue was in January 1952, when passenger train The City of San Francisco became stranded in poor conditions. Rex transported a doctor to come to the aid of 226 stranded passengers and crew. 

Where can I get a Samoyed?

Although they are a pure breed of dog, breed specific rescues may have Samoyeds for adoption. It may also be possible to find a wonderful medium to large dog for your family at the local shelter or rescue organisation who is looking for a loving home. 


  1. American Kennel Club, Samoyed, Accessed on 10/05/2021
  2. Australian National Kennel Council, Samoyed, Accessed on 10/05/2021 
  3. Wikipedia, Samoyed Dog, Accessed on 10/05/2021
  4. Cheskawich, J 2018, Rex of White Way, the Blizzard King, Accessed on 03/05/2021 is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard); is promoted and distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 38 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partners (including Pet Culture Group Pty Limited ABN: 69 644 613 098; AR 001284860) (PetCulture) and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and PetCulture are authorised representatives of PetSure. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the product disclosure statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Pet Insurance.

Kylie Mitchell

Kylie Mitchell


Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie Mitchell's Pets

  • MeekaMeeka
  • Bei BeiBei Bei
  • NoahNoah