Samoyedic peoples have been in Siberia for some 2,000 years. The nomadic Samoyede tribes in Northeastern Siberia, east of the Ural Mountains, north of the Arctic Circle. Their dogs, the Samoyed (SAM-A-YED), were essential to their lifestyle. They would herd reindeer, sometimes pull sheds, and sleep alongside their owners for warmth. Over the centuries they acquired an almost mythical reputation for their abilities and loyalty.
Dog of the ages, with a history and tradition as fascinating as the breed itself! The legend runs that, from the plateau of Iran, man’s first earthly habitat, as the sons of man multiplied, the mightier tribes drove the lesser ones, with their families, their herds, and their dogs, farther and farther away in order that the natural food found there might be ample for those remaining. Onward and still farther northward through Mongolia, then the center of the world’s culture, on and on, went the lesser tribes, until eventually the Samoyed peoples, primitives of the family of Sayantsi, reliably described as a race in the”transition stages between the Mongol pure and the Finn,” found themselves safely entrenched behind bulwarks of snow and ice in the vast stretches of tundra reaching from the White Sea to the Yenisei River. Here for generations they have lived a nomadic life, dependent upon their reindeer herds and upon their dogs as reindeer shepherds, sledge dogs, packing, guard dogs, and household companions.
Here, through the centuries, the Samoyed has bred true. Of all modern breeds, the Samoyed is most nearly akin to the primitive dog-no
admixture of wolf or fox runs in the Samoyed strain. The Arctic suns and snows have bleached the harsh stand-off coat and tipped the hairs with an icy sheen. The constant companionship with man through the years has given an almost uncanny “human” understanding, while generations of guarding reindeer, requiring always a protector, never a killer, has developed through the ages in the breed a disposition unique in the canine world. Something of the happy, childlike air of these primitive peoples is found as well in every Samoyed.
Introduced in England less than a hundred years ago, practically every show sees the Samoyeds in the forefront. There Ernest and Clara Kilburn Scott are credited with bringing Samoyeds before the English public, and both promoting and developing the breed. Queen Alexandra was an ardent fancier, and the descendants of her dogs are found today in many English and American kennels. The dog is found in every region – Samoyeds born in northern Siberia have safely crossed the equator and remained in healthy condition to work in Antarctic snows. Dogs from Antarctic expeditions have survived the suns of Australia to return to England and start great kennels there. Pioneering Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen took a team of 28 over the polar ice in the 1890s, and his praise of the breed influenced other explorers to use it, including Amundsen when he reached the South Pole in 1911.
The first American Samoyed, a Russian import, was registered with the AKC in 1906, although most of the present day American Samoyeds trace their ancestry to dogs imported after the first World War. Different from other arctic breeds, the Samoyed people shared their dwellings with their beloved dogs. Thus developing a dog with friendly, people orientated dispositions. Brought to the outside world from they’re arctic environment in the late 1800’s, they soon became know as the dogs with the smiling faces, or the dogs of Christmas. Samoyeds have a place in history as the sled dogs often used by polar explorers. The first dog to set paw on the South Pole was a Samoyed, the lead dog of Ronald Amundsen’s team in 1911.