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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Samoyeds are such beautiful dogs and so loving and friendly. So why are they described as difficult to own?
    Samoyeds do have plenty of bad habits such as digging, barking, making up their own minds about what they want to do, being easily distracted, having a high prey drive, pulling hard on the lead… and their beautiful fluffy coats shed all over the house! If these traits are likely to be an issue, ask yourself very honestly whether this is the breed for you: living with them can involve putting up with, on a daily basis, - A lot of loud shrill barking (will your neighbours fall out with you?). - Hair and fluff in your mouth, nose, eyes, clothes, and food. - Holes in the garden. - Being pulled off your feet and dragged when your Samoyed spots a rabbit/playmate/nice-smelling lamp post. - A dog who chases small (and large) animals and cannot be let off the lead in many situations. - A dog who works out very inventive escape routes from your garden and takes itself off for a walk. - A dog who only needs more skilled and patient training - from the start - than your neighbour's sedate mixed-breed.
  • Can I train the digging, pulling, barking, selective hearing, etc. out of my Samoyed?"
    Short answer: in some Samoyeds, maybe. Others, no. Being a primitive breed, Samoyeds are indeed harder work than some other breeds, especially more modern and "man-made" breeds, or breeds bred simply for companionship, and more effort toward consistent training/reinforcement and management is needed. Not to mention abundant patience and a good sense of humour! As a general rule be prepared for any and all breed-typical traits (i.e. pulling hard on the lead, barking, digging, prey drive, among others) arising in your dog to varying extents: they did each serve a valuable purpose to the breed in its native form, in terms of their survival and working ability, and therefore have been bred in and selected for, for centuries, before Samoyeds became our pets and the traits that served them well in the tundra are no longer convenient! It's unfair to judge a dog as a "good dog" or "bad dog" simply for being the breed it is - the dog has no choice but to be who he has been bred to be, but you have the choice to appraise yourself of breed traits and make an intelligent and informed decision about whether you can live with them or not. Although training is very unlikely to "cure" your Samoyed of being the breed he is, it will certainly improve your bond and communication with your dog, and increase your dog's ability to understand what is wanted of her and what isn't. But if your owning a Samoyed depends on being able to train typical breed traits out of your dog, then I would strongly advise considering a different breed, because these traits tend to be as inherent in the breed as their smile or coat. You could end up spending a fortune and becoming very frustrated trying to make your Samoyed something it isn't – why bother? There are plenty of quieter and more sedate breeds, equally beautiful in their own way and just as loving! If you have decided it is a Samoyed you want, be prepared to accept, appreciate, and love the whole package!
  • Your Samoyeds have achieved a lot in competition. If they are such a stubborn breed how did you get them to do all this?
    Samoyeds love working with their owners as a team, especially if you are a kind and patient teammate and generous with your rewards and praise. This is not the same as robotic compliance with commands - not something the Samoyed is known for! We also make sure we attend appropriate training classes from an early age and work hard to build confidence and a love of learning in our dogs.
  • What are their grooming needs?
    Samoyeds have large and heavy coats that can be prone to tangling if not groomed regularly. Males drop their undercoat once a year, normally in the summer, and females shed theirs twice a year. On top of this, they shed small amounts of undercoat throughout the year. Neutered males and females develop much bigger coats that are cottony and even more easily prone to matting. Samoyed coats must not be left to mat and should be dried down to the skin to avoid skin infections. Trimming the coat is not a solution to these problems - the guard hairs of the outer coat of the Samoyed play a very important role in repelling dirt and water, and insulating against heat as well as cold. If this is trimmed off the dog is likely to get filthy, wet, smelly, and suffer in the heat. Shaving down to the skin must be avoided unless for surgery or medical reasons, as the Samoyed's skin lacks pigment and is prone to sunburn. They are not an ideal breed for the very houseproud - or those who don't like grooming - as no matter how much you clean, hairs and wispy undercoat gets everywhere, including into food and embedded in rugs and carpets. So the extensive grooming and coat care needs of the Samoyed must be borne in mind when considering this breed.
  • I work long hours in the office. Is this likely to be a problem?
    Samoyeds do need company and are prone to boredom and separation anxiety if left to their own devices for too long. A bored Samoyed can become destructive, develop compulsive behavious such as chewing its own coat and ripping out hairs, and howl or bark constantly. Having a second dog does little to help this, two bored Samoyeds are a recipe for trouble! We definitely do not recommend daycares for Samoyeds - they are a boisterous and impulsive breed often prone to hyperarousal, they like to play rough which is rarely appreciated by other dogs, and young Samoyeds, males in particular, can be poor at reading distance signals from other dogs. We therefore do not recommend Samoyeds for people who are unable to spend large amounts of time interacting with them or keep them within the house as part of the family.
  • Why should I get a KC registered Samoyed? I just want a pet – I have no intention of showing.
    There are many good reasons to get a KC registered dog, even if you have no interest in showing. For one, you know you are getting a purebred Samoyed whose lineage can be traced. Even more importantly, the Kennel Club website records health testing information for your KC registered puppy’s parents, allowing you to check the results. You can also check the ages at which your puppy's parents were bred, how many previous litters they have had, and how closely related they are to each other. The Kennel Club will also refuse to (unless permission from a veterinary surgeon has been given, in some cases) register litters from females that are under 12 months old, over 8 years old, those that have had two previous Cesarean sections or four previous litters, or from parents who are siblings or themselves parent and offspring. This gives you some reassurance that your puppy has been ethically bred.
  • How long will I have to wait for a puppy?
    We announce our puppy plans six months to a year in advance to give ourselves plenty of time to find the best homes for our pups and build up a relationship with their owners beforehand. Starting this early also allows potential owners plenty of time to “cool off” - this safeguards our pups from people who have decided to buy a pup on a whim. So you would generally have at least six months of preparing and looking forward to, potentially more. We think our puppies are worth the wait!
  • How long does your vetting process take?
    Our vetting process starts with an informal chat over the phone and/or a questionnaire. We then arrange for you to come visit us a few weeks later. The visit is important as it allows you to meet us and our dogs and decide if we are the right breeder for you, and if our breeding would be the right fit in your homes and lives. All visits will need to be completed well in advance of breeding to allow us to finalise waiting lists. We then follow up with a homecheck (in person or virtual) where we go through considerations such as puppy proofing, possible hazards to puppy joint health such as stairs and slippery flooring, etc.,- depending on your level of dog owning and Samoyed experience this could be very useful. While this all sounds quite intense, our vetting process is based on the procedure reputable dog rescue organizations follow, and having volunteered as a rescue homechecker myself I find it works very well in matching owners and dogs. Please note we would never place anyone on a waiting list based on an email or call or payment of a deposit, we don’t operate a puppy click and collect service! We also do not work on a first come, first serve basis.
  • How much do your puppies cost?
    As ethical breeders we follow the price guidelines and code of ethics of the Samoyed Breed Council. The puppy price is however only a very small fraction of what you will spend on food, veterinary costs (even for a very healthy dog), leads, collars, harnesses, crates, grooming, bedding, adaptations to the house, car, and garden, toys, etc. - these can easily add up to tens of thousands over the dog's lifetime. We are aware there are breeders charging much higher prices without being able to justify these based on training, showing, and competing expenses or extensive health testing; we would advise puppy buyers to beware of such breeders.
  • How much is your deposit and how will it be kept safe?
    We do not take a deposit at any stage – we don’t see deposits as serving any purpose as we do not want to “financially bind” anyone into having a puppy from us. If you have changed your mind or are unable to have a puppy, we would never encourage you to make the wrong choice by having one anyway just because you have paid a deposit! We do however ask that you let us know as soon as possible if you are on our waiting list but change your mind about getting a puppy.
  • Can I visit the puppies?
    This would depend both on the prevailing COVID-19 situation and our vet’s advice regarding the status of infections such as kennel cough and parvovirus at the time. In the very unlikely scenario that puppy visits are not possible we will organise Zoom meetings/Skype and send you lots of photographs and video of the puppies. When visiting us, we require that any dogs you own are strictly left at home: this is to avoid exposing the dam or young puppies to infections such as kennel cough, gastroenteritis, or canine herpes, all of which can be carried by adult dogs without harming them but be severe or potentially lethal in puppies. We ask that you do not bring shoes into the house and wash your hands up to the elbow before interacting with the pups, and observe social distancing/Covid-safe measures during visits for your safety and ours.
  • Can you guarantee I will get a puppy if I go on your waiting list?
    Unfortunately we cannot guarantee whether our litter plans will be successful or how many puppies (or boys and girls) there will be in a litter. We do however have close friendships and connections with other reputable Samoyed breeders in the breed community and can pass you on to them should our own plans not work out.
  • What sort of look do you breed for?
    We aim to breed a Samoyed that is true to breed type in appearance and character, in accordance with the Samoyed Breed Standard, and whose physical traits such as a dark almond eye, wedge-shaped head, tight flews, and harsh standoff coat are essential for polar survival and fitness for intended function. Our preference is for cream and biscuit coats as these are more likely to have the stand-off weather-proof correct Samoyed coat texture, but we take all the qualities of the dog into account - type (appearance), health, temperament, and soundness - when making breeding decisions. We will not be aiming to breed any non-typical traits, such as soft coats, round eyes, lack of working ability, or oversized dogs, regardless of pet market preferences or trends.
  • Can I breed from the puppy I buy from you?
    All our puppies are sold with Kennel Club endorsements against breeding. Our puppy sales contract which was created by Wheldon Law additionally prohibits breeding from the puppies we sell as pets. In rare cases we may lift breeding restrictions when conditions including (but not limited to) are satisfied: satisfactory health test results of the dog; achievements of the dog in showing and working; history of owning and raising both genders of the breed to adulthood on the part of the owner; history of showing/working on the part of the owner; experience of owning multiple dogs at the same time; demonstrable knowledge of breeding, whelping, and puppy rearing; standards and ethics equivalent to ours; and the ability to take back or otherwise suitably rehome any puppies bred should this ever be required. Co-ownership is also an absolute condition for lifting breeding endorsements on any of the pups we have bred.
  • How do I spot a bad breeder?
    Some of the content below (in italics) is from my friend Joan Sheehan's (Amaqqut Malamutes) website (copied with permission!) There are websites out there advertising puppies for sale. In general, my advice would be to steer well clear of these "Free Ad" sites as these are favourite places for disreputable breeders to sell their puppies. "Can deliver", "teddy bears", "snow dogs", "fox/bear heads", "many champions in the pedigree" (but no achievements of their own!) are just some of the terms which send alarm bells ringing! Some websites such as Champdogs have a list of breeders and amongst them are some extremely reputable breeders as well as some who are unfortunately not. It is up to you to do your homework* and to ensure you are armed with the information you need to get a good quality puppy. A reputable breeder will expect you to visit them at home to meet them and allow them to ask you questions about your lifestyle, your home and your family before considering you for a puppy. If you arrive at a breeder's home and they show no interest in you or your background and offer you a litter of puppies to buy from, then as hard as it is, walk away. These people are not interested in you and so obviously show no interest in their puppies. The (Samoyed Breed Council) has a code of ethics by which all breeders should abide. This will give you a good list of questions to ask breeders when contacting them. Should the breeder be unable to answer a question or start giving reason why they don't health check etc. you should simply look elsewhere. Please be aware of the terms "Registered Breeder", "Licensed Breeder" and "Accredited (Assured) Breeder". A Registered/Licensed Breeder is simply someone who breeds more than a minimum number of litters a year, generally for profit. Once a breeder reaches that minimum number of litters annually they are classed as a business and require a license to operate. An Accredited (Assured) Breeder is somebody who pays the Kennel Club to go on a list. Unfortunately, the Kennel Club seems unable to monitor the ethics of breeders on this list and so this is not a guarantee of a good breeder! *Ensure you check the health testing results for the parents and other ancestors of a litter you are interested in, on the Health Tests Results Finder page of the Kennel Club website. Please note that the Kennel Club only records the results of hip scoring and eye testing for Samoyeds at the moment. If the breeder you are considering has done additional health tests, ask to see the certificates. Scroll down on the Health Test Results Finder entry for the dog and check the age of the dam (and sire) when they were mated (this will be about 9 weeks before the litter was born). Males can sire litters at almost any age with no adverse effects to themselves or their puppies (although the minimum age for hip scoring is a year old and so a male who has sired a litter before that age will not have been hip scored at the time of breeding!). Very young females however can lack the physical and mental maturity to be mothers, with potential risks to themselves and their pups. Old dams are at higher risk for birthing complications. Therefore, breeding from a very young (below 18 months of age) or old dam (generally above 7 years) should be a red flag. Absolutely avoid any breeder who seems clueless about health testing and tells you things like "yes I took her to the vet last week and he said she was absolutely fine" or refuses to show you the health testing certificates/results. A general vet check is not the same as specialised pre-breeding screening for the risk of passing on genetic conditions. Ask to see the sire's health tests results as well as the dam's. Even if the breeder does not own the sire, they should still be able to show you his health testing results or put you in touch with his owner - either way, insist on seeing them! And of course simply health testing is not enough, you need to check that the actual results of the health tests are acceptable - there are a few breeders of Samoyeds who will health test, get a failed/poor result (e.g. a failing gonioscopy grade or high hip score) and then quietly go and breed from that dog anyway! However, not all health issues can be tested for. Even if the breeder has done all the required health tests, check whether previous litters from the dam or sire, or siblings/parents of the dam and sire, have had health problems. Clear health tests for some conditions is no excuse to breed from dogs that have previously produced puppies with other health problems. Ask about the health and longevity of the grandparents and other relatives. These factors should all be taken into account in addition to health testing. Whilst some degree of inbreeding is by definition necessary for a purebred dog, check for consistently high coefficients of inbreeding (COIs) for the litter, individual parents, grandparents and previous generations. Closely breeding relatives over multiple generations is a poor breeding practice with impact on health and genetic diversity. A good breeder will be brutally honest about the challenges and pitfalls of owning the breed, rather than just telling you what you want to hear or making unrealistic claims about their dogs or breeding, especially when these don't match what you know about the breed. Ask the breeder their motivations for breeding. A breeder who is aiming to preserve the breed (rather than one who is simply breeding to sell puppies) will put in the time, resources, and effort to prove the worth and suitability of the dogs they breed, in terms of their - temperament and ability to do the job the breed was bred for (e.g. by competing in activities such as obedience and harness work) -breed type (by having the dog's conformation to the breed standard evaluated by breed experts at breed shows). - health and low risk of passing on genetic conditions (via pre-breeding screening such as the BVA hip dysplasia testing scheme, BVA eye testing and gonioscopy, DNA testing, and so on). Beware of breeders who make excuses when you question them on things that don't feel right, e.g. lack of health testing, breeding from dogs that have failed their health tests, or breeding from a very young or old dam. Fact-check any explanations they give you, don't just take their word for it. Check whether there are any temperament-related issues (e.g., incidents of serious aggression against other dogs/people) among the parents or close relatives (i.e. grandparents/uncles/aunts) of the litter you are interested in. Don't assume that all Samoyeds have gentle temperaments, unfortunately this is not the case. Beware of breeders who breed litters from Kennel Club registered parents but sell the puppies without registering the litter. Such breeders are generally attempting to fly under the radar for some reason, most likely not a good one. Observe how well looked after and content the breeder's dogs seem when you go visit, and the conditions they are kept in. The same goes for the litter - check that they are raised within the home in an appropriate environment with adequate attention, care, and interaction from the breeder. Ask the breeder what protocols they have in place for early habituation and socialisation. Beware of breeders who raise pups in outbuildings with little interaction with people or a normal household. Find out whether the breeder has been the subject of any action or is under investigation due to animal welfare-related issues or poor breeding practices. Avoid puppy farms or "licensed establishments" churning out many litters a year from multiple breeds. Be wary of breeders who try and "upsell", i.e. get you to buy multiple pups. Raising a puppy is an enormous commitment and drain on time, resources, and effort, and two are more than twice as hard as one - not to mention issues with rivalries and disagreements between siblings (littermate syndrome). Beware of breeders who ask for a deposit over the phone or a "vetting fee" or any kind of payment before meeting you; scams and "greeders" are everywhere. If it feels like a business transaction rather than the start of a relationship, and you suspect you will never speak to the breeder again after you have bought one of their pups, look elsewhere. A good breeder will want to keep in touch and be available to offer support throughout the dog's lifetime, including taking the dog back or finding him a suitable new home if you can no longer keep him. Finally, it's worth avoiding breeders who are selling pups at inflated prices, especially if they cannot justify their pricing against investment in training, competing, showing, health testing, or looking after multiple dogs.
  • What kind of temperaments can I expect?
    Being preservation breeders we aim to breed Samoyeds with temperaments typical for the breed. These will include - Being highly affectionate towards people and needing close contact with their owners: the "native" Samoyed lived with their owners in their chooms and were a part of everything they did. The modern Samoyed expects to be able to do the same! - Being quite independent-minded and not inclined to hang on to your every word (Samoyeds are descended from ex-polar expedition sled dogs whose lives relied on their ability to make their own decisions out there on the ice). - A love of novelty and adventure, being easily prone to boredom (bear in mind the native and ex-expedition Samoyed was a “rolling stone”, covering many thousand miles of frozen ground with the Nenets as their companions, herders, and sled dogs). - High intelligence and good work ethic that thrives under kind, consistent, patient, reward-based training rather than punishment, "dominance", or fear. Please note that we cherish the working ability of the Samoyed and aim to preserve this characteristic in our breeding. We therefore hope that our puppies will be highly intelligent and motivated - whether that is for distractions in the environment or for working with you will be down to what you put in in terms of training/relationship-building starting from very early on! We hope for them to have the physical construction and stamina to do a day's work and then some, and to maintain their instincts to do the jobs the breed was originally intended for.
  • Do males and females have the same temperaments?
    Although both genders show the characteristic "affection to all mankind" & smiley demeanour, and remain playful and light-hearted into old age, there are some important differences between male and female Samoyeds. I've described the more difficult traits below as it's these that potential owners tend to be less aware of and unprepared for. The difference in temperaments between males and females is most marked during early adolescence to adulthood (typically 8 months old to anything up to 4 years or even older!), during which time males tend to be more "stubborn", more insecure, more easily distracted, fixated on other dogs, lack social graces (e.g. tend to run up to other dogs and people, and annoy them), and more prone to hyperarousal and developing reactivity & other behavioural problems such as separation anxiety and a tendency to wander. Although male Samoyeds are rarely aggressive, they can become reactive/defensive as a result of receiving a "telling off" from other dogs. Neutered older male dogs in particular tend not to respond well to young male Samoyeds. Interactions with other dogs should be carefully monitored to ensure that the young male Samoyed does not have negative experiences that could affect his good nature. Males can be unsuited to group situations with other dogs, e.g. group walks, daycares, or living with other males, for the above reasons. Males can also be more physically powerful than females, which combined with their tendency towards overexcitement, can make them a handful for the novice owner. Careful and thoughtful socialisation and training - and a lot of patience and kindness - is needed from very early on. Too many unskilled trainers and owners impatient for a "quick fix" will label this behaviour "dominance" and insist that the dog needs "a firm hand". Harsh training methods will however worsen behaviours that should be addressed through building confidence and owner focus. Males can also be quite picky about food, especially as they enter adolescence. Around this age they can seem to go off food quite suddenly, which owners often find stressful! Females in contrast are often more food-motivated (which can make them more trainable!). Early neutering is harmful from a health point of view and can make the very behaviours you are trying to avoid much worse. There are no short cuts over appropriate and dedicated training, management, and good decision-making when choosing breed and gender, sorry. It's not all bad, as males grow older they do "settle down" and they tend to be very soft and affectionate (as are the females really, but the boys tend to be soppier and sillier and more effusive with their affection!) Females in contrast seem to mature earlier, have better focus and trainability, are more secure, recover better from negative experiences, and are less likely to find themselves in awkward and unpleasant encounters with other dogs. In other words, they're more sensible! They do have a higher prey drive in general and can be slower to toilet train as puppies. Females of any breed can show uncharacteristic temperaments during and (especially for a few weeks after) their seasons - ranging from clingy and mopey at the start of the season, to being more prone to guarding behaviours, irritability, and nesting (associated with phantom pregnancy) after their season. Intact males and females are very motivated to get to each other during seasons: both genders will scale fences etc. and have been known to escape through open windows to find a mate. Although Samoyeds generally co-exist peacefully with other dogs in the household, disagreements can arise between males, and less commonly between females. Please note however that in any breed, arguments between females can escalate to very serious levels. Although there will be females who show the former traits described and males who show the latter ones, these seem to be the most common patterns observed across many different lines of Samoyeds, according to numerous owners, breeders, dog trainers, and behaviourists. Your choice of gender should be based on your lifestyle and priorities, level of commitment to training and management, your own personality (e.g., how patient you are, how biddable a dog you expect), and the genders/temperaments of the existing dogs you own.
  • The only absolute health testing requirement for a litter is hip scoring of the parents. So why you have you done all these other health tests – ophthalmologic examination, gonioscopy, cardiac auscultation, and DNA tests?"
    It would be great if bad hips were the only affliction that ailed Samoyeds. Unfortunately, eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma also affect Samoyeds, as do heart murmurs in adult dogs and genetic conditions such as familial enamel hypoplasia and Samoyed hereditary nephritis. Some of these conditions are sadly quite common in the breed, and absolutely debilitating if not lethal. Doing the bare minimum token hip scoring required to be able to say health testing has been done is, in our opinion, just a tick-box exercise. We are keen to do our best to meaningfully reduce the risk of health problems by making use of the various health tests that are available to us, not just tick a box to be able to register and sell pups.
  • Does all the health testing you have done guarantee a perfectly healthy dog?
    No, but along with knowledge of the pedigrees of parents and incidence of conditions that affected the ancestors, health testing does go a long way toward reducing the possibility of the health conditions tested for arising in your puppy. There are, however, also unfortunately other conditions that could affect Samoyeds, such as cancer and diabetes, for which there are currently no tests available. In addition, the precise way in which some of the conditions are inherited is not known - e.g., hip dysplasia can arise due to a combination of genetic risk (the parents having it or carrying genes for it) and environmental factors (being overweight as a puppy, receiving inappropriate exercise, and being raised on slippery floors). Owning a dog or any other pet means being emotionally and financially prepared for the possibility of illness or injury, and taking ample precaution as an owner to ensure good health regardless of how well the dog has been bred.
  • What can you do to help us prepare for our puppy?
    We like to build up a relationship with our puppy owners well before breeding, and, depending on level of experience, we offer extensive written advice both beforehand as well as in puppy packs, on grooming, training, socialization, diet, exercise, neutering, and health. Our homechecks are designed to help you get set up for having a puppy and give you any advice you need on preparing your house, garden, and car for safely housing and transporting a Samoyed. We are always available to answer questions or offer advice at any stage of the dog’s lifetime. If for any reason you’re no longer able to keep your Samoyed at any stage of its life, we will assist with finding a suitable new home or have the dog back so that there is never any risk of it being inappropriately rehomed or ending up in rescue.
  • How will our puppy be raised before he or she comes home?
    In accordance with the law in the UK, our puppies stay with us until they are at least 8 weeks old. In that time, they will be raised inside our home on appropriate slip-proof and insulated bedding, with their mum having constant access to them, and with one of us present at all times. Once they are old enough they will be introduced to our garden, and exposed to a variety of sights and sounds such as vehicles and livestock. We plan to start early neurological stimulation, toilet training and crate training at a few weeks of age, and expose the puppies safely to a variety of surfaces and experiences, including being driven around, bathed, and groomed. As they grow older they will also have access to our other dogs and meet a variety of people. We introduce our pups early to reward-based training and interaction/handler focus based on protocols and concepts from Puppy Culture, Avidog, Pupstarts, and Suzanne Clothier.
  • We would like to try doing performance/activities that you have done, e.g. rally obedience, with our Samoyed, or showing him or her. Can you give us any advice on this?"
    We would be most happy to support you and your pup in working/competing – having trained and competed in several dog sports and breed showing with our Samoyeds we will always be at hand with advice on training, explaining how the sport/activity works and how to prepare for it, entering competitions, what to avoid, and so on.
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