|Other names||Bjelkier, Samoiedskaya Sobaka, Nenetskaya Laika|
|Country of origin||Northwest Russia and Western Siberia|
|Patronage||Nordic Kennel Union|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Samoyed dog (// SAM-ə-yed or // sə-MOY-ed; Russian: Самоедская собака) takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy white dogs to help with the herding and to pull sleds when they moved. An alternate name for the breed, especially in Europe, is Bjelkier.
Males typically weigh between 23–30 kilograms (51–66 lb), while females typically weigh 17–25 kilograms (37–55 lb).
AKC Standard : 21–23.5 inches (53–60 cm) at the shoulder for males, 19–21 inches (48–53 cm) for females.
UK Kennel Club Standard : 51–56 centimetres (20–22 in) for males, 46–51 centimetres (18–20 in) for females.
Samoyed eyes are usually black or brown and are almond in shape. Blue or other color eyes can occur but are not allowed in the show ring. It is in the "brown and black section" in its family, the Spitz family.
Samoyed ears are thick and covered with fur, triangular in shape, and erect. They are almost always white but can often have a light to dark brown tint (known as "biscuit"), usually around the tips of ears.
The Samoyed tail is one of the breed's more distinguishing features. Like the Alaskan Malamute, their tail is carried curled over their back; however, unlike the Malamute, the Samoyed tail is held actually touching the back. It should not be a tight curl or held "flag" like, it should be carried lying over the back and to one side. In cold weather, Samoyeds may sleep with their tails over their noses to provide additional warmth. Almost all Samoyeds will allow their tails to fall when they are relaxed and at ease, as when being stroked or while eating, but will return their tails to a curl when more alert.
NZKC Standard: Tail: Long and profuse, carried over the back when alert; sometimes dropped when at rest.
UK Kennel Club Standard : Tail : Long and profusely coated, carried over the back and to side when alert, sometimes dropped when at rest.
Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat. The topcoat contains long, coarse, and straight guard hairs, which appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. This top layer keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. The under layer, or undercoat, consists of a dense, soft, and short fur that keeps the dog warm. The undercoat is typically shed heavily once or twice a year, and this seasonal process is sometimes referred to as "blowing coat". This does not mean the Samoyed will shed only during that time however; fine hairs (versus the dense clumps shed during seasonal shedding) will be shed all year round, and have a tendency to stick to cloth and float in the air. The standard Samoyed may come in a mixture of biscuit and white coloring, although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common. Males typically have larger ruffs than females.
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Samoyeds' friendly disposition makes them poor guard dogs; an aggressive Samoyed is rare. With their tendency to bark, however, they can be diligent watch dogs, barking whenever something approaches their territory. Samoyeds are excellent companions, especially for small children or even other dogs, and they remain playful into old age. When Samoyeds become bored, they may begin to dig. With their sled dog heritage, a Samoyed is not averse to pulling things, and an untrained Samoyed has no problem pulling its owner on a leash rather than walking alongside. Samoyeds were also used to herd reindeer. They will instinctively act as herd dogs, and when playing with children, especially, will often attempt to turn and move them in a different direction. The breed is characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned the nicknames "Sammie smile" and "smiley dog."
Samoyeds can compete in dog agility trials, carting, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, mushing and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Samoyeds exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
Samoyeds can be affected by a genetic disease known as "Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy", a renal disease. The disease is known to be caused by an X-linked dominant faulty allele and therefore the disease is more severe in male Samoyeds. Carrier females do develop mild symptoms after 2–3 months of age, but mostly do not go on to develop renal failure. The disease is caused by a defect in the structure of the type-IV collagen fibrils of the glomerular basement membrane. As a consequence, the collagen fibrils of the glomerular basement membrane are unable to form cross-links, so the structural integrity is weakened and the membrane is more susceptible to "wear-and-tear" damage. As the structure of the basement membrane begins to degenerate, plasma proteins are lost in the urine and symptoms begin to appear. Affected males appear healthy for the first 3 months of life, but then symptoms start to appear and worsen as the disease progresses: the dog becomes lethargic and muscle wastage occurs, as a result of proteinuria. From 3 months of age onwards, a reduced glomerular filtration rate is detected, indicative of progressive renal failure. Death from renal failure usually occurs by 15 months of age.
Also known as Hereditary nephritis, it is caused by a nonsense mutation in codon 1027 of the COL4A5 gene on the X chromosome (glycine to stop codon), which is similar to Alport's syndrome in humans. The disease is simply inherited X-linked dominant, with males generally having more severe symptoms than females. Clinically, proteinuria is found in both sexes from the age of three to four months; in dogs older than this, renal failure in combination with more or less pronounced hearing loss occurs swiftly and death at the age of 8 to 15 months is expected. In heterozygous females, the disease develops slowly. The disease can be treated to slow down the development by use of cyclosporine A and ACE inhibitors, but not be stopped.
If a carrier female is mated with a healthy stud dog, the female offspring have a 50% chance of being carriers for the disease, and any male offspring have a 50% chance of being affected by the disease. A genetic test is available for this disease.
For the Samoyeds in the veterinary literature several breed-specific hereditary diseases are described:
Life expectancy is about 12–13 years.
Samoyeds were used for sledding, herding, guarding and keeping their owners warm.
Fridtjof Nansen believed that the use of sled dogs was the only effective way to explore the north and used Samoyeds on his polar expeditions. His plan to feed the weaker dogs to the stronger ones as the former died during the expedition ultimately consumed nearly all of his dogs.
Recent DNA analysis of the breed has led to the Samoyed's being included amongst the fourteen most ancient dog breeds, along with Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, the Chow Chow, and 10 others of a diverse geographic background. The Samoyeds have been bred and trained for at least 3,000 years.
Shed Samoyed fur is sometimes used as an alternative to wool in knitting, with hypoallergenic properties and a texture similar to angora. The fur is sometimes also used for the creation of artificial flies for fly fishing. Samoyed fur sweaters have been reported to handle temperatures well below freezing.
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