Lifestyle Needs


The Samoyed is a Spitz type breed previously used for herding and guarding livestock.  He is a large dog with a prodigious coat which needs a great deal of specialised grooming.  For this reason he is not a suitable dog for a busy family.  He is high spirited, needs to handled firmly and can be rather vocal.  Ideally he needs to live in a house with a garden and be given plenty of exercise.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 8.5% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • The thick, bushy coat of the Samoyed is intended to keep him warm in an arctic climate, so he will have a tendency to overheat in warm weather.  He will suffer if not provided with cool places to rest.  His coat will also cause welfare problems if it is not kept scrupulously groomed.
  • Medial canthal pocket syndrome (upper and lower lids on the inside corner of the eye roll inwards creating a ‘pocket’ in which irritating substances, such as dirt and dust, can collect – due to head shape)

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 12.3 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease:  Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (gradual loss of vision) (annual testing); Multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRD) (litter testing) (can be mild but some dogs’ sight is severely impaired)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy X-linked (PRAX1)
  • Retinal Dysplasia / Ocularskeletal Dysplasia (OSD)
  • Hereditary Nephritis HN)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

Breeders should give grooming advice.

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Heart disease: Pulmonic stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary artery)
  • Diabetes (type 1 diabetes mellitus)
  • Uveodermatological syndrome (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome) (autoimmune disease – tissues are progressively destroyed leading to blindness and death)
  • Adult onset growth hormone responsive dermatosis (skin inflammation)
  • Cancer: perianal gland tumors; oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • Cataract
  • Nasal depigmentation (Dudley nose)
  • Glaucoma
  • Dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
  • Lacrimal punctal atresia (malfunction of the tear ducts)
  • Deafness
  • Chronic hepatitis (autoimmune liver disease)
  • Hereditary glomerulopathy (progressive kidney failure)
  • Myopathy (muscle weakness and wasting)
  • Hypomyelinating neuropathy (generalised tremors)
  • Hyperadrenocorticism (excessive corticosteroid secretion causing thirst, excessive urination, hair loss)
  • Sebaceous adenitis (skin disease) (autoimmune disease)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds