The Samoyed (according to the Canadian Kennel Club - Breeding Standard)
Origin and Purpose
One of the oldest domesticated breeds of dogs, the Samoyed was bred
and developed by the nomadic Samoyed tribes in Northeast Siberia,
north of the Arctic Circle. Rather than being bred for a specific purpose,
they were bred and are noted for their versatility as a sled, herding, guard
and companion dog. They made a tremendous contribution to the Arctic
and Antarctic expeditions as a strong and dependable sled dog. They
were used by the Samoyed people as a sled and draught animal as well
as to guard and drive reindeer herds from one feeding ground to another.
Their importance to the Samoyed people, who depended largely upon
their dogs for survival, caused them to be regarded as members of the
family and companions, as well as tough, sturdy work animals, which
contributed to the unique Samoyed disposition of today.
The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture
of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity, and grace. As
their work lies in the cold climate, their coat should be heavy and
weather resistant, and of good quality rather than quantity. The male
carries more of a “ruff ” than the female. They should not be long in the
back as a weak back would make them practically useless for their
legitimate work, but at the same time a close-coupled body would also
place them at a great disadvantage as a draught dog. Breeders should
aim for the happy medium, a body not long but muscular, allowing
liberty, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, strong arched neck,
straight front and especially strong loins. Males should be masculine in
appearance and deportment without unwarranted aggressiveness;
bitches feminine without weakness of structure or apparent softness of
temperament. Bitches may be slightly longer in back than males. They
should both give the appearance of being capable of great endurance
but be free from coarseness. Because of the depth of chest required,
the legs should be moderately long. Hindquarters should be
particularly well developed, stifles well bent and any suggestion of
unsound stifles or cow-hocks severely penalized. General appearance
should include movement and general conformation indicating balance
and good substance.
Intelligent, gentle, loyal, adaptable, alert, full of action, eager to serve,
friendly but conservative, not distrustful or shy. Unprovoked aggressiveness
is to be severely penalized.
Canadian Kennel Club Official Breed Standards
GROUP III WORKING DOGS III-25
III-25.1 GROUP III WORKING DOGS
(a) Height - Dogs - 21 to 23-1/2 inches (53 to 60 cm) at the withers.
Bitches - 19 to 21-1/2 inches (48 to 55 cm) at the withers. An
oversized or undersized Samoyed is to be penalized according to the
extent of the deviation.
(b) Weight - in proportion to size.
(c) Substance - The bone is heavier than would be expected in a dog
this size but not so massive as to prevent the speed and agility most
desirable in a Samoyed. In all builds, the bone should be in
proportion to body size. The Samoyed should never be so heavy to
appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy.
Coat and Colour
(a) Coat (type and texture)
The Samoyed is a double-coated dog. The body should be well
covered with an undercoat of soft, short, thick closed wool with
longer, harsher hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which
stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl in the
adult dog. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and
shoulders, framing the head (more on the males than on the females).
Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more
important than quantity. A droopy coat is undesirable. Length of coat
is un-important when compared to type of coat and texture. The coat
should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry
as long a coat as most males and it may be slightly softer in texture.
They must be white, white and biscuit, white cream, cream or all
biscuit. All of these colours should be considered equal. Any other
Curly, wavy, flat, droopy, soft or silky outercoat is extremely undesirable.
Excessive coat length should be viewed as an exaggeration of
type and is a fault. Extremely short, smooth coats are not typical.
Lack of undercoat (with seasonal consideration). Coat parting down
The skull is wedge-shaped, broad, flat, not round or apple-headed,
and should form an equilateral triangle on lines between the inner
base of the ears and the centre point of the stop. The stop should
not be too abrupt, nevertheless well defined. In profile the topline of
skull should parallel the topline of muzzle.
Canadian Kennel Club Official Breed Standards
GROUP III WORKING DOGS III-25.2
Muzzle of medium length and medium width, neither course nor
snipy; should taper toward the nose and be proportion to the size of
the dog and width of skull. Length of muzzle should be slightly
shorter than length of skull. The muzzle must have depth with a
strong underjaw. Whiskers should not be removed.
Black for preference, but brown, liver or snow-nose not penalized.
Colour of nose sometimes changes with age and weather.
Lips should be black for preference and slightly curved up at the
corners of the mouth, giving the “Samoyed Smile”. Lip lines should
not have the appearance of being coarse nor should the flews drop
predominately at the corners of the mouth. The teeth should be
strong, well-set, and snugly overlapping in a scissors bite. Overshot
or undershot should be penalized.
Should be placed well apart and deep-set; almond shaped rims set
with lower lid slanting toward an imaginary point approximating the
outer base of the ear. Both eye rims and eye colour should be dark.
Round or protruding eyes penalized. Blue eyes disqualify.
Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips;
should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and “beareared”.
Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog.
They should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full
and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be same
measurement as the distance from the inner base of the ear to the
outer corner of the eye.
Strong, well muscled, moderately long, well arched; carried proudly
when standing, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when
at attention. Neck should blend in to shoulders with graceful arch. When
moving at a trot, the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly
Shoulders should be long and sloping, with the shoulder blade well
laid back at an IDEAL angle of 45 degrees to the ground. In the
III-25.3 GROUP III WORKING DOGS
correctly constructed and balanced front assembly, the forelimbs are
placed well back on the ribcage, with the point of the sternum
(breastbone) well ahead of the front of the shoulder joint (point of
shoulder). The length of the shoulder blade is approximately 1/3 the
height at the tip of the withers.
(b) Upper Arm
The upper arm (humerus) angles backwards from point of shoulder
to elbow, ideally forming a 90 degree angle with the shoulder blade,
and is never perpendicular to the ground. The measurement from
tip of shoulder blade to point of shoulder should equal measurement
from point of shoulder to elbow.
(c) Lower Arm (Radius & Ulna)
When standing and viewed from the front, the legs are moderately
spaced, parallel and straight, with elbows close to the body and
turned neither in nor out. The angle at the elbow joint should be
approximately 135 degrees. Because of depth of chest, legs should
be moderately long. Length of lower arm should be 1 to 2 inches
longer than length of scapula. Length of leg from ground to elbow
should be approximately 55% of the total height at the withers.
Should be strong, sturdy and flexible. The pastern slopes at approximately
15 degrees from the vertical, allowing for spring and agility,
and should be not more the 1/3 the length of the shoulder blade.
Large, long, flattish, a hare-foot, slightly spread but not splayed; toes
arched, pads thick and tough, with protective growth of hair
between the toes. In natural stance, feet may be turned very slightly
out but excessive turn-out, pigeon-toed, round or cat-footed or
splayed are faults.
The withers forms the highest part of the back. The back should
appear level to the loin, medium in length, very muscular, neither
long nor short coupled. The ideal length of the Samoyed from tip of
sternum (breastbone) to end of pelvis is 10% more than the height
at the withers.
Should be deep, with moderate spring of rib and flattened at the
sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for
Canadian Kennel Club Official Breed Standards
GROUP III WORKING DOGS III-25.4
the front legs. Should not be barrel-chested. The deepest part of the
chest should be near the 9th rib. Heart and lung room are secured
more by body depth than width.
The loin is strong and slightly arched.
Must be full, slightly sloping and must continue imperceptibly to the
root of the tail.
The abdomen should be well shaped and tightly muscled and with
the rear of the thorax, should swing up in a pleasing curve (tuck-up).
The pelvis is set at 30 degrees to the horizontal and the length of the
pelvis is equal to the length of the shoulder blade measurement.
(b) Upper Thigh
The femur or thigh joins the pelvis at the hip socket, ideally forming
a 90 degree angle. The measurement of the femur is equal to the
length of the pelvis. Muscle attachments must be very powerful,
broad and evenly distributed.
(c) Lower Thigh
The lower thigh, comprised of the tibia and fibula, is ideally set at 90
degrees to the femur or upper thigh and is approximately 1/3 longer
than the pelvis. This length is very important to the gait.
Should be well developed, sharply defined and set at approximately
30% of hip height. The rear pasterns should be parallel, and
perpendicular to the ground in natural stance and forms an angle of
about 120 degrees with the lower thigh or fibula and tibia.
(e) Stifle Bend
Stifles are well bent, approximately 45 degrees to the ground.
A hare-foot, same as the front feet, although may be slightly longer
and narrower than the front. If present, rear dewclaws are to be
The tail should be moderately long with the tail bone terminating
approximately at the hock when down. It should be profusely covered
III-25.5 GROUP III WORKING DOGS
with long hair and carried forward over the back and draped to either
side when alert but sometimes dropped when at rest. It should not be set
high or low, and should be mobile and loose, not tight over the back. A
very tight, immobile tail or a double hooked tail is a fault. A judge should
see the tail over the back once when judging.
The Samoyed’s characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effortless.
They are quick and light on their feet and when on a loose lead at a
moderately fast trot, exhibit good reach in the forequarter and powerful
drive in the hindquarters, allowing them to cover the most ground with
the fewest number of steps, expending the least amount of energy to
perform the job for which they were bred. Side gait is extremely
important in assessing the desired reach and drive in the Samoyed.
When viewed from the front or rear, when moving at a walk or slow trot,
they will not single-track, but as speed increases, the legs gradually angle
inward until the pads are falling on a line directly under the longitudinal
centre of the body. As the pad marks converge, the forelegs and hindlegs
are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned out.
The back should remain strong, firm, and level, with very little lateral or
vertical displacement. A choppy or stilted or restricted gait should be
The foregoing description is that of the ideal Samoyed. Any deviation
from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the
deviation. Since the Samoyed is a working breed, any faults of soundness
should be considered serious.
Any colour other than white, biscuit, white and biscuit, white and cream,
cream. Blue eyes. Dewclaws on the hind legs