How To Breed Samoyeds – Health, Litter Size, Background & FAQ

how to breed samoyeds

Originally, Samoyed breeding was done only for herding reindeers. Samoyeds are large dogs from the Spitz family, with a lush thick double coat and their adorable physical features. They are sweet and devoted family dogs.

The Samoyed is also known by a lot of other names, native to Russian dialects. Some of the names are Bjelkier, Samoiedskaya Sobaka, and Nenetskaya Laika. Closer to home, these dogs are also nicknamed as Sammy or Smiley – apt names for dogs whose mouths are curved into a perpetual smile at all times.

In fact, you will rarely ever find a Samoyed who is aggressive or bitter. Of course, this makes them the least preferred choice for guard dogs, considering they’ll wag their tails and show affection towards anyone who approaches them.

Background of Samoyed Breeding

Local to Siberia, Samoyed dogs were primitively kept and bred by Samoyedic peoples of the region. Apart from hiking with the owners and keeping them company at all times, these dogs were bred to do herding for the locals.

Fun fact, Samoyeds had an interesting ad-hoc task too. On top of all their other duties, Samoyeds had to keep their owners warm when they go hiking by sleeping on top of them! We can only imagine how snuggly and warm that would be.

Origins

Samoyed dog breeding is believed to have been carried out by nomadic Samoyede tribes, who used them for sled pulling and herding. To be precise, these elegant looking dogs were first found in Oymyakon. It is a pristine village in Russia where average temperature clocks in at -60 degrees. Oymyakon is one of the coldest places on earth to have a permanent human settlement. It was these humans and their ancestors, who first realized the potential of these sweet natured, agile and hard working dogs.

The nomadic Samoyedic peoples used these dogs to haul their sleighs and to herd reindeer for them. They treated them like their own family. It explains why Samoyed offspring across the globe are so sweet-tempered and family-friendly.

Soon enough, the world woke up to this fabulous breed and they were finally brought out from Siberia, sometime around the 2000s. Their warm coat and agile bodies were put to use for Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. It is noteworthy, that while these dogs endured extreme weather conditions and many more extremities valiantly, only a few returned. But the breed was forever entrenched in the hearts of mankind.

The veteran dogs that survived these expeditions were brought to America and England. These are believed to have fathered the entire bloodlines of American & European Samoyeds, who have today taken very well to the warmer climates of Southern California and Texas.

Another fun fact: the first American Samoyed was brought in from Russia in 1906 and registered at the American Kennel Club as an official import.

Popularity

From breaking the Internet to winning championships and hearts – the Samoyeds are pretty popular as pets. However, what usually holds people back from adopting or breeding Samoyeds is the fact that they are huge dogs. They also shed quite a lot (ancient nomadic tribes used the shed fur to keep themselves warm – so a lot of shedding!).

Besides spatial concerns, the nature of Samoyeds is still pretty primitive and they will chase smaller animals. But apart from these worries, it is a showstopper breed, to say the least! Why else would they inspire a horde of manga and anime characters?

Appearance

Their appearance is what makes them stand out as adorable, elegant, gentle giants. They boast of beautiful black or brown-colored, almond-shaped eyes, triangular, attentive ears.

Samoyeds also have a rich pristine coat of snow-like white fur that protects them from harsh weathers. Their tail is what sets them apart from other similar looking dog breeds.

Their tails are curled up so that they touch their back when they are alert. But when at ease, the Samoyeds let their tails drop down straight, letting their guard down.

Temperament

Those who breed Samoyeds or keep them as pets will definitely couch for their sweet-tempered and absolute charm. But this intelligent dog breed also needs its share of exercising. It is primitively a mountain dog, after all.

Samoyeds are great with babies and could potentially be left alone with them too! However, failing to provide them with the right kind of exercise and diet could result in a frustrated, angsty, and frustrated dog. If you find your Samoyed chewing away at your furniture or gnawing at your slippers, it’s a definite sign.

Working dogs

Samoyeds, as mentioned before, were bred for herding reindeers by the nomadic tribes in Russia. While they may have evolved into warm weather, beach strutting dogs, they have still retained some of those primitive attributes.

Indeed, Samoyeds will never be lazy dogs. They seek constant stimulation, be it physical or mental. A short walk around the neighborhood doesn’t cut it either. You need to give them enough space to run around, chase squirrels or a ball and play with them a lot. Samoyed brains are wired to believe that they are herding dogs. They need enough brain exercise to flex their intelligence.

Make sure you breed Samoyeds in an environment where they can act on intuition and reflex. You do not want to turn an active Samoyed into a lap dog – there are other breeds for that!

samoyed smile
The beautiful smile that is on every Samoyed’s face.

An active dog breed

Just like herding reindeer was a full-time activity for them, sled pulling is ingrained into their instinct. While they may not want to pull a sled per se now, they would be inclined to pulling something – most likely their leash. Anything that could provide them with the required weight-pulling sport is a good activity for them.

Lack of time and efforts in helping them exercise their bodies to the fullest could also trigger mental problems. You could very likely turn a gentle, happy and good-natured dog into a gloomy, depressed and angry beast, only by lack of exercise.

Health Concerns While Breeding Samoyeds

Samoyeds are generally a very healthy breed. They can live for 12 to 14 years if given proper nutrition and a good amount of exercise. Samoyeds can grow til up to 30 kilograms in weight. They can reach an average height of 2-2.5 ft.

Highly intelligent, extremely adaptable and trainable and well adjusted to humans, Samoyeds are all in all a fit breed to keep.

However, it is noteworthy that as Samoyeds are an evolutionary breed, they have undergone some genetic alteration. Primitively too, the breed is known to have some health concerns that must be dealt with.

Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy

Glomerulopathy is essentially a kidney disease that Samoyeds are genetically predisposed towards. The Glomeruli is a network of blood vessels through which the waste in the body is carried to be disposed of. When these become inflamed, they stop working properly. The obvious result is that the waste does not leave the body and gets entrapped within the vessels, wreaking havoc on the rest of the body.

Early symptoms of this disease are as subtle as weakness and weight loss which could be caused by innumerable conditions. So it is practically impossible to catch a whiff of this disease unless a urine analysis is conducted. Additionally, the blood of the dog must be checked thoroughly for evidence of inflammation.

In severe cases of ailment, the dog may suffer kidney failure. Which would, in turn, give rise to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, respiratory difficulties. In the worst cases, these symptoms may cause complete renal failure and sudden blindness in dogs.

While we may look for a sign or a trigger to this disease, it is genetically wired into Samoyeds and can rear its ugly head whenever it feels like. The only way to protect your dog is to keep getting regular checkups done and being alert at all times for signs and symptoms of glomerulopathy in Samoyeds.

Sadly, no vaccines have been discovered to protect and immunize Samoyeds against this painful disorder. It is genetic in nature and just something that they are born with. You can, however, pay extra attention to their food and water intake and exercise to make sure that it lies dormant within them.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is something that affects both humans and dogs. The symptoms and effects are very different in dogs, and Samoyeds. Usually, the onset of diabetes mellitus happens around the time your dog reaches its middle age. If not cared for earlier, it can even force your dog into having to take insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar levels.

This uncomfortable disease can destroy your dog’s insulin production completely, rendering them to be dependent on external insulin for support. A highly diabetic dog will have blood sugar levels shoot up to 700-800 mg/dl whereas normal levels are between 80-120 mg/dl.

If you are breeding Samoyeds, you must at all times keep a lookout for symptoms like:

  • increased thirst,
  • increased urination, and
  • unexplained weight loss.

A dog with developing diabetes generally shows a decreased appetite or becomes a lot pickier.

While breeding Samoyeds isn’t very high maintenance, if your dog develops diabetes later in life, it can prove to be expensive. Indeed, you would have to give them insulin injections twice a day and adapt their nutrition. Monitoring a diabetic dog’s diet is extremely important. Be very prepared for a transition.

While there aren’t any pills or vaccines you that can avert this deadly condition, there are a lot of ways you can prevent this from happening. Amino acids are excellent promoters of metabolism in dogs and can act against diabetes mellitus. You can supply these via vet approved supplements or natural food sources like beef. Chromium and Omega 3 fatty acids also play a pivotal role in preventing disease, as does zinc. However, zinc can also turn toxic in canines and so only a small, vet-approved amount should be administered.

Col2A1

The Col2A1 is a gene responsible for a lot of health complications in dogs, and Samoyeds particularly. From retinal failure, retinal detachment, and blindness to dwarfism, the COL2A1 locus could have repercussions that are discomforting to most dogs.

The Col2A1 Genetic Defect has ties with Diabetes too – it is all inter-related somewhere. However, the visible effects and discomforts caused by each are different.

Short forelegs or hind legs, coupled with cataracts and blindness are rampant results of Col2A1. Samoyeds with these defects usually end up with dwarfism, sometimes complicated versions of it. They may also duffer from a partially developed retina that renders them blind as they grow up.

This genetic defect is also powerful enough to weaken the arteries of the Samoyeds, turning them to mush over a period of time.

Sadly, these have no vaccines and cannot be prevented as they are wired into their genetics from the start.

Other Diseases

Cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failures, and cataracts are just some of the most reoccurring health issues in the breed. Being from a colder region and domesticized in other parts of the world may have altered some genes. Resulting in multiple problematic disorders, some of which have no cure. Hip dysplasia, a painful condition that most dogs are affected by in their old ages, is also widespread amongst Samoyed breeds in particular.

Their many diseases, give rise to symptoms such as shortness of breath, various autoimmune diseases, and even sebaceous adenitis. The latter slowly takes the fur off the dog leaving them with scaly dark patches on the body.

They are also prone to glaucoma, hypothyroidism, and cancer, but these diseases aren’t just limited or as specific to the Samoyed breed.

How To Breed Samoyeds

Samoyeds may be disease prone, but they make for absolutely fabulous pets. It is a gentle breed, close to their favorite humans, great with kids, and always sweet-tempered. Puppies are intelligent, playful and always on the go.

Here is some practical advice you’ll need before you decide to get into Samoyed breeding.

Litter Size

Samoyeds go into heat every six to eight months. A Samoyed litter consists of about four to six puppies. The breed is relatively regular for its estrus cycle and they are not known to have higher rates of phantom or false pregnancies. Remember that litter size is defined by several factors including the mother’s size, health, diet as well as the stud’s sperm quality.

Regimen

When you breed Samoyeds, make sure you have enough running ground for the litter. For such a litter of very active puppies, you might want to consider a garden, farmland or anything where they can run free.

Nutritionally, Samoyed puppies can pretty much adapt to any healthy diet you give them. However, taking care of their nutritional needs form such a young age may lessen the chances of the diseases mentioned above. So take extra care of their diet, especially their carb intake, to prevent diabetes.

Hybrid Vigor

The lack of genetic variation in Samoyeds has long been known to cause some complications in their health.

Samoyeds, as we had established earlier, was brought in from nondescript cold regions of Russia. There was already a small and limited gene pool, to begin with. The ones who survived the harsh weathers and obstacles of the North and South Poles were then bred to start a community of the Samoyed breed. And these were then inbred to produce more.

While the good outcome of this was that we now had a Samoyed breed that was adaptable to hot weathers and warmer climates. They had evolved into a breed that was comfortable with being around humans, anywhere. As a consequence of repeated inbreeding and by restricting their gene pool, Samoyeds developed complications also.

As a breeder, you will also get your Samoyed bred with another Samoyed of equal stature, thus resulting in an offspring born of incest. Since, essentially, all the Samoyeds are from the same original group of dogs. Therefore, make sure you do as much health testing as possible to only breed healthy Samoyeds.

Birthing Difficulties

When dogs have abnormal or difficult labor, it is called dystocia. This could occur for a number of reasons and put your dog into a lot of discomforts. While Samoyeds are no exception to dystocia, they do have a certain predisposition towards painful labor.

Samoyeds have a higher chance of dystocia because their genetic defects are more likely to produce a litter with birth defects. These defects, mostly physical, can make the pregnancy and birthing process painful.

The most common reasons for dystocia are an inappropriately size and shape of the uterine canal (defect in the mother) or position or shape of the puppy in the birth canal. Symptoms of dystocia in dogs are vaginal discharge, vomiting, extended or early labor etc.

If you notice any of these abnormalities when your dog is giving birth, call for a vet immediately. Your doctor may administer medicines to support and strengthen the contractions. In the worst cases, the vet may manually assist the labor. If all else fails, an emergency cesarean may be considered, but in very rare and urgent cases.

Pricing

Pedigree Samoyed puppies start from $1,000 and can reach multiples depending on the lineage. A stud service fee from a decent male will cost generally cost you the price of a puppy or less.

For those looking to breed Samoyeds for the price they will fetch, you’re in luck. Samoyeds, being wonderful dogs, can fetch extremely high prices, especially adult dogs. Puppies can also go for good rates, but they need to have been sired by a proven stud.

Samoyed standard chart
A chart showing the key characteristics of the standardized Samoyed breed.

Samoyeds FAQs

We have rounded up common questions about Samoyeds and decided to answer them quickly. Feel free to leave a comment below to ask further questions.

Do Samoyeds need to exercise daily?

Yes, they do. Samoyeds are mountain dogs from extremely cold terrains of the world. They are used to being extremely active all the time. So Samoyeds not only need daily exercise, but they also need extremely vigorous exercises. A stroll around the park just does not cut it.

What are the grooming needs of a Samoyed?

Samoyeds have very thick fur to protect themselves from the winter cold. This fur sheds a lot and so needs constant upkeep and maintenance. Nail clippings are also required.

A Samoyed does not need trimming of hair, as the coat sheds and renews on its own. However, the thick fur obviously means that the dog is more prone to attracting fleas and ticks. So those problems need to be dealt with regularly.

What is a primitive dog breed?

A primitive dog breed is a breed that has not interacted with any other breed and has remained within the same gene pool. Primitive dog breeds have uncorrupted gene pools, unlike other dog breeds that have been crossbred with various other dogs to create an entirely new breed, which has characteristics from the two dogs.

To put plainly, these are dogs that survived through natural selection and have come this far without any traces of spillovers into other breeds.

How much cold can Samoyeds handle?

Samoyeds can handle -60 degrees Celsius without any problem. Samoyeds originally belong to a region that has -60 degrees Celsius as average annual temperature. In fact, due to their thick and dense coat, a warm climate is unnatural to them.

Their coats are designed to keep them warm in the coldest of winters. And while they may have evolved into being able to adapt warmer weathers now, they can thrive and do better only in the cold.

breeding Samoyeds
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