Samoyed Temperament: Do They Make Good Family Dogs?

Samoyed dogs are kissing on the red luxury couch
© infinityyy/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Katarina Betterton

Published: January 9, 2024

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The fluffy white or cream coat of a Samoyed with a curly, spitz-like tail enchants many potential dog owners — but the dog breed’s striking appearance isn’t the only consideration you need to take into account when picking a family dog. If you’re looking for a dog breed with an active lifestyle, a love of the cold, and a gentle personality in adulthood, a Samoyed might be the perfect family dog for you.

Backed by an expert animal behaviorist’s opinion, discover if a Samoyed’s temperament makes them a good family dog for you and your home.

Do Samoyeds Make Good Family Dogs?

Most Expensive Dog Breeds: Samoyed

The well-bred Samoyed is an intelligent, gentle, and loyal dog. He is friendly and affectionate with his family, including the children, and thrives on being part of household activity.

©Kwadrat/Shutterstock.com

Yes, Samoyeds make incredible family dogs for any household with active members and a dedication to companionship. 

The Samoyed breed draws its lineage to Russia and Siberia as an ancient reindeer herding dog. It was first used as a companion and worker alongside tribesmen of the Samoyede — Samoyeds would control livestock, pull sleds, hunt, provide warmth, and even give up their coats to warm their owners in the worst winters. As it’s part of the working group, Samoyeds thrive on activity and will happily take a walk for longer than two hours a day. 

Today, Samoyeds work less but play more. They’re an active dog breed that needs mental and physical stimulation to live a happy, fulfilled life. These dogs want to play or work, meaning on- and off-leash exercise for owners. However, the thick coat of a Samoyed can cause them to easily overheat in the summer, so managing a Samoyed’s playtime with health becomes a delicate balancing act for some busy owners.

An Expert’s Opinion

“With the Samoyed being an arctic breed, they are very driven and built for a cooler climate,” said Joey Morris, expert animal trainer and co-founder of OverWatch K9 Academy, a dog training academy offering obedience training solutions and behavioral expertise in Atlanta and Columbus. “They will be happiest in an active family environment due to their higher energy levels, thanks to their sled dog origin. As with most breeds, early introduction to children is always beneficial. With proper socialization and structure, they can be a fine addition to the family. Although the shedding from their long coat could be a problem for some.”

Samoyeds are good family dogs for active, loving owners with time to dedicate to training and who plan to either stay home or bring the dog with them on trips. Samoyeds, especially in single-dog households, can get bored quickly if left alone for several hours. It may turn to destructive tendencies if not adequately exercised or engaged.

What Makes a Samoyed a Good Family Dog?

Samoyed running in the snow

The Samoyed was bred to herd reindeer and hunt prey.

©iStock.com/Abramova_Kseniya

Families come in all shapes and sizes, just like dogs, so the Samoyed remains better suited for some family lifestyles over others.

General Temperament

When well exercised and provided for, Samoyeds have patient, gentle, and fun-loving personalities. Outside of their puppyhood, Samoyeds can enjoy relaxing at home as well as long walks. They’re generally very good with children — though both need to first learn respect for and boundaries with the other. Across the board, Samoyeds tend to exhibit an affectionate nature to their owners and enjoy being included or involved in any activity the family decides to partake in.

Temperament, unlike physical characteristics, remains a little less reliable. Breed individuals may have a proclivity for certain personality traits but true temperament lies in the training and upbringing of a dog rather than its bloodline. 

Young Samoyeds

Funny fluffy white Samoyed puppies dogs are playing

Use the first few months of a Samoyed’s life to teach it vital commands and skills.

©Zanna Pesnina/Shutterstock.com

Puppyhood for a Samoyed remains a critical time for training. Samoyeds, like other spitz and working breeds, can have a ton of energy they’re unequipped to channel as a new dog in an unfamiliar house. That’s why, despite an adult Samoyed’s gentleness with children, young Samoyeds can accidentally injure kids until they learn the boundaries of jumping on humans. 

The first cues a Samoyed puppy should learn are sit, stay, and come. While foundational to all dog breeds, these three commands help set the groundwork for a mutually respectful relationship built on trust and safety between the Samoyed and its family. As Samoyeds like to dig and run, stay and come are helpful when external stimuli excite your Samoyed.

Finally, Samoyeds need a lot of grooming. Their luscious coat sheds white fur everywhere, and bathing can be a full-day experience. As such, experienced dog owners may have an easier time handling the Samoyed’s enhanced grooming needs at home. 

Positive Temperament Factors

Samoyeds remain sweet, good-natured playmates with love and companionship to spare. Some of the best temperament traits Samoyeds have that make them excellent family dogs include:

  • Friendliness.
  • Protectiveness.
  • Gentle with children.
  • Playful.
  • Loving.
  • Ready for adventure.
  • Goofy.

Samoyed Temperament Challenges

Samoyed puppy chewing on toy

Samoyed dogs have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

©iStock.com/Roman Bjuty

Every breed individual differs — and many negative traits or unwanted behaviors can be trained out of dogs. However, families without time to dedicate to training may want to reconsider adopting a Samoyed if any of the following sounds like a dealbreaker:

  • Consistent training in puppyhood to discourage digging holes, jumping on people, and tugging on a lead.
  • Limits on the amount of time the Samoyed is left alone in the house. 
  • Extensive indoor and outdoor exercise every day.

Siberia’s Sweetheart Pup 

For families of all sizes with active members who don’t mind a little hair, lots of love, and even more exercise, the Samoyed makes a great family dog. It will love you unconditionally, slobber a little, and snuggle on the coldest nights to stay warm. Just don’t leave your Samoyed alone for too long — they have a serious case of FOMO and may exhibit destructive tendencies if long stretches of alone time become the norm.

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About the Author

Katarina is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on dogs, travel, and unique aspects about towns, cities, and countries in the world. Katarina has been writing professionally for eight years. She secured two Bachelors degrees — in PR and Advertising — in 2017 from Rowan University and is currently working toward a Master's degree in creative writing. Katarina also volunteers for her local animal shelter and plans vacations across the globe for her friend group. A resident of Ohio, Katarina enjoys writing fiction novels, gardening, and working to train her three dogs to speak using "talk" buttons.

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