The Samoyed dog breed is said to be one of the most primitive and ancient of all modern primitive dog breeds.
Both beautiful and smart, the Samoyed dog is easy to fall in love with.
But many a first-time dog owner has discovered only after they brought their Samoyed puppy home that these dogs have a stubborn, independent streak that can be hard to work with.
In this article, learn what canine breeders, experts, and owners have to say about whether the Samoyed is a good choice for first-time owners.
Are Samoyeds Good for First Time Owners?
Samoyeds are not generally recommended for first-time dog owners for one simple reason: these dogs are famously stubborn.
It can be easier to learn the ropes of raising a puppy and training a dog if you pick a breed that has more of a companion canine temperament and is reliably obedient.
However, if you have your heart set on a Samoyed for your first pup, this article will help you prepare for the challenge and opportunity.
Watch Tips for First Time Samoyed Owners
This short video made by an experienced Samoyed owner offers a quick overview of the exact things you need to know before choosing this dog breed.
As the owner explains, while these dogs are famously friendly and sweet, they have some unique traits as a result of their breed heritage as working dogs.
What Is the Samoyed Temperament Like?
As this Reddit Samoyed owner feed highlights, choosing a Samoyed for your first dog is like learning to swim by jumping into the pool’s deepest part!
However, as the owner discussion points out, it is not an impossible task to learn about dog ownership by choosing a Samoyed.
It just depends on how much you enjoy a big challenge.
The Samoyed is a cold-weather dog with a heavy double-layer coat and an intense desire to run and chase and exercise for hours and hours each day.
These dogs are very smart, but they do not have the same type of canine intelligence as more popular “pet type” dog breeds like retrievers.
Samoyeds don’t learn tricks and commands that well unless those tricks and commands make use of this breed’s strengths and genetic heritage.
They have an independent thinking process and this can make the Samoyed appear to be very stubborn.
Finally, the Samoyed has a strong tendency towards developing a stronger bond with only one person in a family, which may mean this isn’t the best breed choice if you want a family pet.
Why Samoyed Dogs Are the Way They Are
As the Samoyed Club of America (SCA) points out, these dogs have a long and ancient breed lineage that can be traced back to the tribal peoples of Russia in Siberia.
Samoyed dogs are sled dogs to their core. They thrive in very cold climates and love nothing more than running and running for hours and hours at a time.
In fact, as the SCA explains, these dogs are considered one of just 14 dog breeds that share the most genetic similarity to wild wolves! That is a pretty amazing fact to consider when choosing a Samoyed for your companion canine.
As sled dogs that also pulled double duty as hunting and herding dogs, the Samoyed is a working dog right to their canine core. When kept for working purposes, these dogs spend the majority of their lives with other canines in tightly-knit packs.
They simply cannot tolerate being left alone on a regular basis. And they cannot tolerate being bored.
As McMagic Samoyeds breeder relates, the Samoyed is a dog breed that will actually chew the fur right off their own legs, tail, and body if they get bored. That is how much these dogs need a job to do to stay busy.
Know the Unique Health Dangers of Samoyed Dogs in Puppyhood
One of the biggest challenges you are likely to face as a Samoyed owner – whether first-time or experienced – happens in puppyhood.
As the Samoyed Club of America so rightly points out, because these dogs live and breathe running, jumping, and exercising, they have to be reined in until their bodies have finished developing and their bones have hardened.
If your Samoyed puppy is allowed to do intense exercise before the growth plates in the leg bones have closed and hardened, this may cause lifelong joint and health issues for your dog.
So you will need to get creative about finding ways to tire your Samoyed puppy out until your veterinarian can do the X-rays to verify that the growth plates have closed and it is safe to let your dog run and exercise more.
What a Samoyed Dog Needs to Be Happy As a Pet Dog
Whether you are owning a dog for the very first time or you are simply choosing a Samoyed for the first time, it is important to prepare yourself before your puppy or rescue dog arrives.
The best way to prepare for your Samoyed to come home is to understand what this dog breed needs to be healthy and happy in the pet dog life.
Exercise and activity
While these dogs were bred through millennia to work, this does not mean they cannot adapt well to the pet dog life.
But as you just learned in the previous section here, a Samoyed really needs to stay busy and active to be happy as a companion canine.
This is definitely not the dog breed to choose if you are hoping for a lap dog companion or if you have a more sedentary life.
Training and socialization
Right from day one, your Samoyed will need a daily schedule and a set structure comprised of short, very positive training and socialization sessions.
Your dog will need mental as well as physical enrichment and activity to exercise the brain as well as the body.
This is especially vital as Samoyed dogs have a stubborn streak and will need repeated positive reinforcement to moderate their tendency towards independent thought and the mischief that often follows it.
Lots of brushing and grooming
One area where first time Samoyed owners are often particularly unprepared is when it comes to that thick double layer white coat.
Because the Samoyed dog breed is a cold-weather working dog breed, these dogs have an adult coat that is double layer. The top layer is coarser and longer hair that has water-resistant properties. The bottom layer is soft, thick, and very insulating.
So once your Samoyed’s puppy coat begins to shed out and the adult coat starts to grow in, you have just signed up for a lifetime of shed dog hair everywhere and anywhere.
It is important to ask yourself if you have enough time and patience in your daily schedule to do at least one brushing per day and more when the seasonal sheds begin.
You will also want to invest in a very good de-lint brush and vacuum cleaner to keep your home and clothing from getting covered in shed white dog hair.
How to Choose Your Samoyed Puppy or Rescue Dog
There is no doubt the process of choosing your Samoyed is one of the most exciting parts of owning a pet dog.
It can also be one of the most challenging. How will you pick just one puppy out of a litter? Or perhaps you prefer to give a rescue Samoyed a new forever home, which is a wonderful gift to you both.
As White Magic Samoyeds breeder explains, your number one criteria for choosing your Samoyed should always be temperament.
One of the best ways to choose a Samoyed puppy that will grow up to have a balanced and even temperament is to be able to meet each parent’s dog personally. This will give you a great sense of how your puppy will behave in adulthood.
You also want to make sure your breeder provides you with verification of pre-breeding health testing, puppy registration papers, proof of all required vaccinations and pest treatments, and an initial guarantee of puppy good health.
If you choose a rescue Samoyed, be sure to find out as much about the dog’s background and history before making a commitment. Adult Samoyeds who did not have enough training in puppyhood can present special challenges even to experienced dog owners.
Consider Working With a Professional Dog Trainer
Finally, since Samoyeds can be challenging to train, it is worth considering whether you may want to hire a professional dog trainer to help you with puppy training.
Working with a professional canine trainer can help minimize obedience training-related frustration. And you will learn how to work with your Samoyed’s traits rather than against them.
This extra investment on your part will help get your new life together with your Samoyed puppy or rescue dog off on the best possible foot.