The Samoyed dog (pronounced /ˈsæməjɛd/ SAM-ə-yed or /səˈmɔɪ.ɛd/ sə-MOY-ed; Russian: Самоедская собака) takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. An alternate name for the breed, especially in Europe, is Bjelkier. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy, white dogs to help with the herding, to pull sleds when they moved.Appearance The average lifespan for a Samoyed is 12 to 16 years. Being a working breed, they have high stamina. They share a common resemblance with an American Eskimo dog. Temperament Samoyeds' friendly disposition makes them poor guard dogs; an aggressive Samoyed is rare. With their tendency to bark, however, they can be diligent watch dogs, barking whenever something approaches their territory. Samoyeds are excellent companions, especially for small children or even other dogs, and they remain playful into old age. When Samoyeds become bored they may begin to dig. With their sled dog heritage, a Samoyed is not averse to pulling things, and an untrained Samoyed has no problem pulling its owner on a leash rather than walking alongside. Samoyeds were also used to herd reindeer. They will instinctively act as herd dogs, and when playing with children, especially, will often attempt to turn and move them in a different direction. The breed is characterized by an alert and happy expression which has earned the nicknames "Sammy smile" and "smiley dog."
History The Samoyed was used for sledding, herding, guarding and keeping their owners warm. Fridtjof Nansen believed that the use of sled dogs was the only effective way to explore the north and used Samoyeds on his polar expeditions. His plan to feed the weaker dogs to the stronger ones as they died during the expedition ultimately consumed nearly all of his dogs. Roald Amundsen used a team of sled dogs led by a Samoyed named Etah on the first expedition to reach the South Pole. Recent DNA analysis of the breed has led to the Samoyed being included amongst the fourteen most ancient dog breeds, along with Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, the Chow Chow, and 10 others of a diverse geographic background. The first Samoyed was brought to United States by fur traders in 1906. The Samoyeds have been bred and trained for at least 3,000 years. Like the former two other dog breeds, the Samoyed also has a wolf-like appearance, and has also sometimes crossbred to wolves to produce a wolf-dog hybrid.