Let’s Talk Breed Education!
is the structure. A Samoyed is supposed to pull a sled and herd on unpacked snow. Th ey need to have enough length of leg to get through the drifts. Th ey need to have a signi fi cant forechest with good fi ll on either side of the breast bone to comfortably pull in a harness. Th ey need to have excellent angulation for the e ff ortless movement that will allow them to work all day. It’s important to have moderate bone–too much bone will cause them to sink deeper in the snow, leading to early exhaustion while sledding. Th e coat in Samoyeds is very important and a correct coat is hard to fi nd. Our standard calls for a weather-resistant outer coat and a soft, downy undercoat. One coat doesn’t need to be signi fi - cantly longer than the other. Many breeders look for an outer coat that feels dry, wiry and coarse. Th e correct outer coat has a weath- er-resistant, almost oily feel. Th is coat is quick to dry. Samoyeds shouldn’t need four hours of grooming time. Th e water should blow quickly o ff of the coat and a dog should be fully dry in just a couple of hours. However, there are other features that may seem less signi fi cant, but are very important as well. For example, Samoyed muzzles must be long enough to warm the air before it gets to their lungs, so they don’t get cold. Th e ears shouldn’t be too big as they need to fold back against the head to hear the musher’s command and stay warm. Th e pigment should be dark to fi ght snow glare. Interest- ingly, the tail is supposed to reach the hock in order to cover the head when they’re curled up sleeping in the snow. However, many short-tailed Sams can still easily cover their faces. Can I speak to my breed’s ideal size? Th ough we don’t have a disquali fi cation for size in our breed, it is very important. We don’t allow too much variation in size as it’s di ffi cult to run a big male next to a small female on the team. Also, we tend to have lots of oversized dogs in our breed. Unfortunately, these dogs sink down in that unpacked snow and have trouble with endurance. A lighter dog doesn’t have to exert as much energy to do the required work. What about that “Sammy smile?” How important is correct expression? Th ere’s a beautiful story told by the Samoyede tribe that developed our breed. Th ey speak of a spirit that possesses each Samoyed puppy when it’s born. Th is kind spirit watches over the dog and whatever is important to it (the people of the tribe). Th e spirit o ff ers safety, protection and comfort to the tribe. However, it is easily scared away. If the Samoyede people were unkind to the Sammies, they would scare that spirit away and danger would come to the tribe. I like to think the Samoyed smile is the indicator that the spirit is still in the dog. Looking at a Sammy should make you feel good and happy. Is there a preference for color in the ring? Th ere should be no preference for color in the Samoyed. I fi nd that the dogs in the Northeast are judged with more bias toward white than the dogs in the Midwest. Does my breed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Th e Samoyed needs lots of physical exercise as well as brain games. I recently was able to fence-in an acre of hills for my Sammies to run on. I’ve noticed more content dogs (they’ve always had fenced-in yards, but never quite this big). Th ey are happy to run all day, with a couple of nap breaks. Th ey also need mental stimulation. Remember, some Samoyeds are meant to be lead sled dogs. Th ey are independent- minded enough to refuse to cross thin ice no matter what the mush- er does/says. If a Samoyed doesn’t have enough entertainment, they will fi nd their own in the form of digging, barking and/or running. Is my breed generally good with other dogs? With other house- hold pets? Samoyeds raised around other species are good with
1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. As a Working Dog, what are the key aspects of breed type for the Samoyed? 4. Can you speak to the breed’s ideal size? 5. What about that “Sammy smile?” How important is correct expression? 6. Is there a preference for color in the breed ring? 7. Does the Samoyed have any speci fi c exercise needs? 8. Is the breed generally good with other dogs? With other household pets? 9. How much does the Samoyed really shed? Are they enthusiastic barkers? 10. Is there a funny story you’ d like to share about your experi- ences showing Samoyeds? SUE BURRELL My fi rst show dog,
Krystal (a Samoyed), was a Christmas gift in 1984. Bill Burrell taught me to handle. We fell in love and married. Now we have two beautiful chil- dren who help us with our thriving business. Between the four of us, we have over 100 years of experience in show- ing and training dogs.
We’ve worked with dogs and their owners in about 25 countries spanning fi ve continents. We’ve won multiple Best in Shows and Best in Specialty Shows, and about fi fteen di ff erent varieties of con- formation championships. We’ve worked with most, if not all, AKC and FCI breeds. Each year, Burrell Handling and its students earn more than 70 titles in conformation, obedience, rally, and more. In addition, we have more than 50 students who have won Best in Show. Our training extends beyond the show ring to virtually all aspects of dog life. Bill is a co-founder of the United States Tem- perament Testing Association, and we’ve tested thousands of dogs. We have titled dogs in rally and obedience. We have experience with tracking, protection work, service dogs, movies and television, problem dogs, etc. We enjoy applying techniques including obedi- ence, massage, strength training, and conditioning to develop indi- vidual programs for each dog to help it achieve the owner’s goals. I live in Southeastern New Hampshire and have shown dogs since 1985. I have worked with dogs since I was a teenager; showing dogs is my passion. Do I have hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I enjoy crafting, but rarely fi nd the time. I work with dogs full-time and care for my aging, ailing husband. What are the key aspects of my breed’s type? Th e Samoyed standard is written describing the ideal working dog for its pur- pose. Each aspect is important. To me, the most important part
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them. Th ey are reindeer herders. Th ough I wouldn’t automatically trust two males to get along, with proper introduction and training, most Samoyeds aren’t overly dog aggressive. Th ey should be able to pull next to others and focus on the task at hand. How much does my breed really shed? Are they enthusiastic barkers? Samoyeds shed horribly, but only once or twice a year. When they aren’t shedding, it really isn’t that bad. When they are shedding, the coat loosens and you can pull it easily o ff their backs. Th e mistake often made is that people don’t get the coat out when it fi rst loosens and lifts away from the skin. Th en the fur mats and the skin can’t breathe. Th e skin becomes unhealthy and the removal of the matted hair is painful. Most groomers get the pet Samoyeds that aren’t groomed when the coat fi rst loosens. Th ose dogs are dif- fi cult to groom and unhappy about it because it hurts! Funny story I’d like to share about my experiences showing Samoyeds? Rather than a funny story, I’d like to share how blessed I feel to breed and show Samoyeds. I show my dogs often internation- ally as my clients’ dogs get preference here in the USA. I don’t breed often for the same reason. I took my last stud dog to the World Dog Show in Mexico in 2007 where he was admired by Norwe- gian Samoyed breeder, judge and FCI representative, Eivind Mjae- rum. Eivind bought one of my dog’s pups. His best friend bought another. Th ey’ve written a book on the Samoyed which has been published in Norway and many of my dogs are in the book, one as the pictorial example for the breed standard! I’ve met friends all over the world through working with this breed that loves to laugh, snuggle and entertain me! Th e breed has truly fi lled my life with joy. DIANE GARCIA Having a special
My breeding philosophy has always been to produce Samoyeds according to our Breed Standard, have working dog structure and movement, and have been health tested for generations. I currently have fi ve generations of CHIC clear health tested dogs that I have bred over the past 26 years. My passion is the Samoyed breed. I live in Massillon, Ohio. I am a retired registered nurse, spe- cializing in cardiac nursing. I have loved and owned dogs my entire life, but have been exhibiting and breeding purebred dogs for 40 years, starting fi rst with Siberian Huskies and then moving onto Samoyeds. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Yes, I used to own horses and enjoy western pleasure trail riding, particularly Arabian horses. I also play piano, enjoy gar- dening, Samoyed collectables and home decorating. My husband is a car bu ff and we enjoy car shows as well. What are the key aspects of breed type for my breed? A Samoyed must have good conformation and movement in order to perform its many jobs such as sledding and herding. A good front end assem- bly is especially important to pull a sled. From our standard, “a Samoyed has bone heavier than one would expect of a dog this size but not so massive as to prevent the speed and agility most desir- able in a Samoyed.” A dog that can herd reindeer must have speed and agility. A proper coat is essential to thrive in arctic conditions (not long and droopy); a coarse, stand-o ff outer coat with soft, dense under- coat. Look for the silver tips on the harsh outer coat to glisten in the sunlight! Eyes are obliquely set, almond-shaped and dark, to fare well in arctic conditions. Ears are strong and thick, well-furred to protect from the cold. Tail must be loose and mobile, moderately long to cover the nose when the dog is curled up sleeping out in frigid con- ditions. Th ese are survival characteristics. Can I speak to the breed’s ideal size? Males are 21-23.5 inches in height; females are 19-21 inches in height. Th ere is no disquali fi ca- tion for over and under size. But when judged, per our standard, “an oversized or undersized dog should be penalized according to the extent of the deviation.” Th erefore, all other things being equal, a dog within standard size is preferred to an over or undersized dog. Because of the depth of chest of a Samoyed, the dog needs approximately 55% leg length of total height to the withers, which is 55% measured from ground to elbow. Another survival charac- teristic is that a short-legged dog will not be able to make its way through deep snow. According to our standard, “a very short-legged dog is to be deprecated.” What about that “Sammy smile?” How important is correct expression? Samoyed expression is made up of erect ears, bright, twinkling eyes, and a tight lip line with the lips curving upward at the corners of the mouth to form the “Sammy smile.” It should be noted that a true Samoyed smile is evident when the mouth is closed. Loose fl ews and lack of underjaw results in the lip line drooping downward in a “frown” with no Samoyed smile. Loose fl ews are a survival characteristic as this will cause drooling that will freeze in the arctic. Th erefore, the Samoyed smile is not only beauti- ful and characteristic of the breed, but functional as well. Is there a preference for color in the ring? Absolutely not. Th e Samoyed can be pure white, white and biscuit, cream or all biscuit. Th ere may be patches of biscuit or cream seen on heads and coat. One coloring is not preferred over another. Any color other than white, cream or shades of biscuit is a disquali fi cation. Does my breed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Th is is an energetic breed that does require energy expenditure. Th ey can be “busy,” intense, noisy and can get into trouble when bored. Th ey enjoy playing fetch with balls and frisbees, going on walks,
attraction to sled dogs, I started fi rst with a Siberian Husky in 1978. I was bitten by the dog show bug, bred a few Siberian litters and fi nished several Champions. My claim to fame in Siberians was my special girl “Cybil” (CH Kontoki Happy Go Lucky) that
I showed myself to a SHCA National Best of Opposite win in 1982. Having always loved Samoyeds, I bought my foundation bitch in 1994 and that was the start of Arctic Fox Samoyeds. I have bred sparingly throughout the years, but have produced Multiple Best In Specialty Show Winners, Group Winners and Top Stud Dog Winners. My “Glacier” (Ch Arctic Fox Glacial Epoch ROMX) was my Once-in-a-Lifetime Dog that acquired eight Best in Specialty Show wins, was a Multiple Group Winner/Placer, a Top 5 and Top 10 Samoyed from 2001-2006, was the # 1 Owner- Handled Samoyed in 2004, SCA Top Stud Dog in 2008 and 2009, a Multiple National AOM winner and SCA Best Veteran in 2009. Always owner-handled, we had a ball. Today we presently have sev- en dogs here at Arctic Fox, all descending from Glacier. I have served as the Buckeye Samoyed Club President for the past six years. I also am the McKinley Kennel Club Show Chairman for the past three years. I am active in SCA on di ff erent committees, most notably the Illustrated Standard and Judge’s Education Com- mittees. I obtained my AKC license to judge Samoyeds and Junior Showmanship in 2017. Currently, I am applying to judge Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes.
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TEMPERMENT IS EVERYTHING.
THIS IS A BREED THAT ADORES CHILDREN.
running and playing with other dogs and children. Most Samoyeds also enjoy sledding, hiking, herding and performance events with their owners. Th ey love to do anything with people. Th ey are very much a people breed. Th ousands of years ago they lived alongside the Samoyed people, slept with them in their tents for warmth, guarded them from predators, and often babysat their children while parents were busy doing chores. Th is personality remains today; loyal and wanting to be with people. Is my breed generally good with other dogs? With other house- hold pets? Yes, they enjoy playing with other dogs under supervi- sion, depending on the age of the dogs. Intact males often do not get along with other intact males, but that can depend on the home situation, the interactions of the “pack” and personalities of the dogs. A male–female combination is usually preferable. Th ey can play rough and this is an energetic breed. So the size of other dogs matters as does age. If raised from puppies with other species such as cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds, etc., a Samoyed usually does quite well. Th ey are more accepting of cats than some breeds, but an adult Samoyed that has not grown up with other species can be risky with small animals. Th erefore, caution and supervision are a must. Th ey can be primitive in nature, particularly the females, and often will chase and kill rabbits, birds and small prey if given the opportunity. How much does my breed really shed? Are they enthusiastic barkers? Yes, they shed pretty much all the time to some degree. An intact female will “blow” coat twice yearly which is felt to be a hormonal change a ff ected by their heat cycle. An intact male will blow coat once yearly, generally. Altered Samoyeds will grow more profuse, thick coats due to the hormonal changes. An altered dog generally requires more frequent brushing and grooming to main- tain a healthy coat. Most Samoyeds are barkers, particularly when excited or bored. I always warn potential buyers of this. Th ey can also be very loud and shrill, depending on the dog. Th ey also like to talk and howl, which can be endearing. A funny story about my experiences showing Samoyeds? Oh, so many! Th ere was the time there was an accident on the Ohio Turnpike, causing stopped tra ffi c on the way to a show. My friend and I took out our grooming tables on the side of the turnpike and began grooming our dogs. (We knew that if we managed to get there before our ring time there would be little time for grooming!) We did make it to the shows on time, but neither one of us won anything that day! Th en there was the time I got a fl at tire in Chicago on my way to the Chicagoland Samoyed Specialty. Luckily, there was a tire shop outside of the fairground gates. I had my tire changed, got to the show on time, and won Best in Specialty with my top-winning dog “Glacier” that day! Is there anything else I’d like to share about my breed? Temper- ment is everything. Th is is a breed that adores children. One of the best things about the Samoyed is its loving nature. Th ey are very intelligent, but can be very stubborn. Th ey will do something “once” when asked, but if you ask them to do it again they will gen- erally walk away! Th ey are notorious for eating things they should not, so they must be supervised or crated in a safe environment when left alone. Th ey will follow you from room to room because they want to be with people. Th ey can su ff er from separation anxi- ety if left alone for long periods of time.
My husband, Andy, and I have owned Samo- yeds since 1976 and estab- lished Jubillie Samoyeds in 1978. Avid Samoyed fanciers, Andy and I have bred and shown many Samoyeds to their Cham- pionships, personally handling them to Breed, Group, and All-Breed Best in Show and Best in Specialty Show wins or
placements, including two Samoyeds we imported from Great Brit- ain. I have had the honor of judging Samoyed Sweepstakes at six Regional Specialties in California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin, as well as serving as the Futurity Judge for the 2012 SCA National Specialty in Gettysburg, and Elements of the Standard Judge at the 2016 SCA National Specialty. I have been an SCA member since 1978: Served on the SCA Board of Governors for a total of 10 years; Secretary of the SCA Judges Education Committee 1999-2015; Chairperson of SCA Judges Education Committee 2020; chaired a number of Commit- tees for SCA National Specialties, including Banquets Chairperson for the 2020 SCA National; Columnist for the Samoyed Quarterly 1991; Associate Writer for Ho fl in Publishing 2000-2014; Guest writer on the breed for the Samoyed feature issues of Showsite Mag- azine, Working Dog Digest & Th e Canine Chronicle , among other ventures, too many to include! I have lived in North Carolina for almost 30 years. I retired last August, and have been in Samoyeds for 44 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? My husband, Andy, and I enjoy traveling! We have been to Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Quebec, Canada over the past year. We also enjoy traveling in our RV, and hope to do some sightseeing along the way to the National Specialty next year in Denver, Colorado! What are the key aspects of breed type for my breed? Th e Samo- yed had to live and work in the most brutal arctic conditions. Th ere are three components needed by these dogs in order to be able to thrive on the tundra: • Type, the survival characteristics needed to endure the subzero temperatures of the long arctic winters. Th ese would include a thick, weather-resistant coat to keep the dog warm during the nine-month-long winter and repel the snow, an almond shaped eye to prevent snow blindness, enough length of muzzle to help warm the frigid arctic air before it reached the lungs, and su ffi cient length of tail so that the dog could curl up and cover its muzzle with it’s tail when resting to warm it’s breath and prevent the dog from freezing in its sleep. • Temperament, the dogs had to be compatible with both the humans and with the animals with which it lived and worked (both the fellow canines working alongside it, as well as the reindeer it herded). If a dog was not capable of getting along
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with others, then it probably ended up as dinner for these nomadic people. On the tundra, it was survival of the fi ttest! • Finally, structure was crucial in order for the dogs to have the endurance to herd reindeer over a 700-800 mile migration pattern each year, as well as to perform other tasks for the nomadic tribe with which it lived. All three of these components were necessary in order for a Samoyed to be able to live and work in the bitter cold of the tundra! If any of these three components were missing, the dog would not have been able to successfully thrive. Can I speak to my breed’s ideal size? I think the Breed Standard is very clear on the size. Th is is a moderate breed: Size is to be deprecated according to the extent of the deviation. Th e Standard states: “ Th e Samoyed should never be so heavy as to appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy. Th e weight should be in proportion to the height.” • Males 21"–23 ½ " • Bitches 19"–21" What about that “Sammy smile?” How important is correct expression? Th e Standard states that expression is very important for this breed...the sparkle of the eyes, the lighting up of the face when alert...expression is a combination of alert ears, eyes and mouth! Th en, of course, there is that famous Sammy smile...the upturned corners of the lip line! Is there a preference for color in the breed ring? Any color other than white, cream, biscuit, or white and biscuit is a disqualifying fault in our breed. Th ere is no preference among the acceptable colors listed: white, cream, biscuit or white and biscuit...we love them all!! Does my breed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Th is is a Work- ing breed, so it is energetic and should be given the opportunity for daily exercise! A daily walk, a time to run around the backyard and chase a ball...any opportunity to release some of that pent-up energy is always welcome by our four-legged friends! Is my breed generally good with other dogs? With other house- hold pets? Yes…generally this breed is very compatible with other animals, due to migrating around the Russian tundra for thousands of years with reindeer as well as with other dogs. Good tempera- ment is a very important aspect of this breed! Occasionally you may run across two individuals who just don’t like each other, for some reason...but we see that in humans as well. Most of the time they learn to co-exist with other animals without any problems. How much does my breed really shed? Are they enthusiastic barkers? Well, the Samoyeds were originally called “Laikas” on the tundra, which means “barkers” in Russian. So, that answers that part of your question. LOL! We call them “alarm dogs” because they will “sound the alarm” in wild abandon when they perceive something unusual approaching their territory. Regarding shedding...the males normally shed once a year...nor- mally in the summer. Th e female shed is more hormonal in nature... I can usually count on my girls to shed approximately four months after they come in season, which is twice a year. Is there a funny story I’d like to share about my experiences showing Samoyeds? Oh, I’m sure there are lots of them. LOL! I’m usually very focused on my dogs when I’m showing, and some- times lose track of my surroundings which gets me in trouble! Years ago, the Milwaukee Specialty was held in an older building with posts running right beside the diagonal mat used for the down and back. I was showing a young dog and was focusing on the puppy to make sure he wasn’t breaking into a gallop on the way back to the judge...and in full trot I ran right into the post. LOL! Booonnnggg! Th e sound reverberated throughout the building, almost stopping the show!
Later that night at the banquet, a friend asked if I was hurt when I hit the post, and I assured him that I was not... he replied, “ Th at’s good, because we’ve been sitting up in the room watching you on video and making you hit that post over and over again, and it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen!” LOL! I guess that’s what they call 15 seconds of fame! CHERI HOLLENBACK I have owned Samoyeds since 1981, started exhibiting in 1984 and bred my fi rst litter in 1991. I have always appreciated the versa- tility and beauty of the breed, enjoying their enthusiasm and antics in all settings. I have worked to learn as much as I can about canine health, particularly those conditions that have a genetic component. With that knowledge, I have worked to breed healthy dogs and pro- mote candid dialogue regarding health issues in the Samoyed breed. I have been a member of the Samoyed Club of Washington State since the late 1980s and served in several positions. I have been a member of the Samoyed Club of America since 1989 and have served on various committees and as a board member and Presi- dent. I am also active in the all-breed Coeur’d Alene Dog Fanciers and the newly-forming Inland Northwest Samoyed Fanciers. I have had the opportunity to run Samoyeds and the occasional Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Husky or other arctic breeds in sled teams and have a great appreciation for canine struc- ture that can do the work for which it is intended. I also have come to appreciate the heart and working ethic of the working dog. I am approved for Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes and I’m working toward approval on several Working and Non-Sporting breeds. I live in Coeur’d Alene, Idaho. I was a registered nurse for over 40 years and currently work part-time as a community liaison. I have owned Samoyeds since 1981, started breeding in 1991 and judging in 2008. Outside of dogs, I love to travel and have had the opportunity to weave dog shows into some of my travels, includ- ing the World Dog Show in Denmark as well as shows in Ireland and Finland. As a Working Dog, what are the key aspects of breed type for the Samoyed? I believe the key aspects of breed type for the Samoyed include correctly balanced structure with the length of leg being 55% of the overall height and “survival characteristics” for the arctic climate of origin. Th ese include: • A heavy and weather-resistant coat; • A dark, deep set, almond-shaped eyes angled slightly oblique- ly toward the base of the ears; • Th ick, well-furred ears; • Medium length muzzle with a strong under jaw; • Tight fl ews and correct lip line; • Large hare feet; and correctly set, well-furred tail; • Ability to move e ff ortlessly in a quick, agile stride with very little wasted motion. Can I speak to the breed’s ideal size? Th e standard calls for dogs to be 21"–23 ½ ", while females are 19"–21". For the original work of the breed in herding reindeer across vast expanses of the arctic, it is important to be attentive to both the upper and lower ranges of the standard. It is critical to evaluate all specimens within that range against the whole of the standard and not eliminate an animal from consideration solely due to being nearer either the lower or upper range. If the specimen is out of the range of the standard, it needs to be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Please note that the top of the bitch standard is the lower range of the dog standard, so there should be some gender distinction in height. How important is correct expression? Th e “Sammy Smile” is critical to correct expression and must be evaluated when the mouth is closed. Th e smile is, in part, a survival characteristic
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encompassing the depth of the muzzle, black pigmented lips that are slightly curved up at the corners of the mouth and the tight fl ews. Heavy or loose fl ews would tend to freeze in the arctic cli- mate. Th e smile, in conjunction with the eyes and ears, all provide the correct “Samoyed expression” and is a hallmark of the breed. Is there a preference for color in the breed ring? Within the range of acceptable colors of biscuit, white and biscuit, cream and pure white, there should be no preference. More critical to discern is the correct weather-resistant double coat and the silver sheen or silver tipping on the ends of healthy, untrimmed guard hairs. Does the Samoyed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Samoyeds are creative and intelligent and need a “job” to keep from becom- ing bored. Owners can be unhappily amazed at their creativity for mischief when left to their own devices and boredom. Th ey do best with some exercise daily, whether it be walking, pack hiking, agility practice, bike-joring or anything else that lets them use their energy. Is the breed generally good with other dogs? Th e breed is usually good with other dogs and household pets, particularly when they are raised together. How much does the Samoyed really shed and are they enthusi- astic barkers? All Samoyeds shed small amounts of fur continuously. Males generally have a major shed annually while females generally have a major shed that cycles preceding their coming in season by a couple of months. Samoyeds can be enthusiastic barkers and learn quickly to respond to the UPS driver pulling up to the house or doorbells ringing. While not suited to being guard dogs due to their friendly temperament, they can be excellent watchdogs. Th e more pleasant vocalization is their wooing. Many Samoyeds can be quite expres- sive with melodious, full-throated “woos” that seem to contain complete sentences and even paragraphs! A funny story I’d like to share about my experiences showing Samoyeds? It’s hard to relate a speci fi c story, but Samoyeds do have a sense of humor and are not hesitant to embarrass their handlers. Th eir favorite lesson to teach their people is that of humility. MARIONMCNEIL I graduated from in genetics working on autoimmune diseases. Th roughout my years in graduate school I bred Samoyeds and competed with them in obedience and conformation. I was also active in recreational sledding while some of my dogs were used on a competitive mid-distance racing team. To date, I have bred or co-bred 36 Champions, completed a number of obedience titles, a Schutzhund endurance title, and fi nished over a dozen Champion- ships in other countries. Some very special achievements have been being awarded two BIS, three BISS, numerous Group One’s, many Group placements, and coveted honors at National and Regional Specialties, and all-breed shows. I am especially proud of the Top Brood Bitch award from the Samoyed Club of America. Professionally, I was the Director of the breeding program at Th e Seeing Eye using a computerized data-based statistical system to select outstanding breeding stock that provided superior guide dogs to the program. I continued working with Guide Dog Schools to develop a cryogenic preservation breeding system available to Vet- erinarians at Guide Dog Schools all over the world. college with a bach- elor’s degree in Animal Science and later com- pleted a Master’s in Microbiology studying bacterial viruses. I then fi nished my academic education with a Ph. D.
I live in Plantsville, Connecticut. Presently, I own a commer- cial boarding, grooming, and training kennel and actively compete with my dogs in conformation, now from my 15th generation. I fi nished my fi rst Champion in 1982 after getting my fi rst Samoyed in 1973. I was very active in obedience, tracking, and sledding with my fi rst Samoyeds. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I am pretty much tied-up with many dog activities, but I do enjoy painting and drawing (but again, most of my subjects are dogs). As a Working Dog, what are they key aspects of breed type for the Samoyed? Th e Samoyed is a strikingly beautiful dog, but the characteristics that make the dog a Samoyed are functionally important. Th e double coat is for survival in the harsh arctic weath- er, the eyes are dark and almond shaped to protect from the sun glare in the snow. Th e ears are moderate in size and thick with fur to endure the cold, and even the charming Sammy smile is important as the mouth holds in the saliva so no freezing occurs. Th e feet are shaped to run in the snow and the dog is built for endurance so it can herd reindeer over large expanses of the arctic tundra. About 15 years ago I spoke with a government o ffi cial who had visited the Arctic Circle in the 1950s. He had Samoyeds of his own and had seen the native dogs work the reindeer herds. He told me that the reindeer are grazing over great distances and when the herder wanted to bring them in for shots or medical care, he would send out fi ve or six of his dogs to circle the herd and bring them into a fenced area. Th e dogs had to go out about fi ve miles to surround the reindeer and they would cast back and forth for hours to push the animals to the fenced area. He described the dogs as having a lot of leg and broad heads and muzzles, thick coats, and ready to run! I wish I had gotten to see that, but it gives me the sense of what the Samoyed’s job was and how they should be built. Can I speak to my breed’s ideal size? Th e ideal size of a female, 19 to 21 inches should not overlap the size of the male that is 21 to 23 ½ inches. We do not have a disquali fi cation for oversize or undersize, but the females should be more feminine than the males in type and size. What about that “Sammy smile?” How important is correct expression? Th e Samoyed really does have that endearing smile. Th eir expression is an important distinction for the breed. Th eir eyes light up. Th e grin sets itself; all their attention is in that expres- sion if they are curious, excited, or developing some scheme. And if you smile at them, they smile back! Is there a preference for color in my breed ring? Th e biscuit- coated Samoyed is of equal quality in color to the white. It is due to a recessive genetic characteristic, so is not as common as white. A great many “white” dogs have biscuit shading on their ears, freck- les on their noses, and subtle, shaded areas on their bodies as they age. I have fi nished quite a few biscuit Champions and exhibited them at Westminster many times and around the world at inter- national shows. Discrimination against a biscuit-coated Samoyed does happen. I was specialing a biscuit Champion who had fi nished quickly. Th e judge commented, “I bet it took you a long time to fi nish that dog!” Th at dog was a Champion in seven countries, went BIS in Bermuda and won the Canadian National Specialty under educated judges! Does my breed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Individual dogs have varied needs for exercise. Th ey do like to have you get out and about with them. It is unwise to leave them up to their own devices, so they are happiest with a big area available for running or a good long walk daily, and will be content watching TVwith you after some playtime. If you are up to it, the same dog canwork up tomid-distance racing (50 miles or more), pulling thousands of pounds in competi- tive weight pull, or fl ying around the Agility course.
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Is my breed generally good with other dogs? With other house- hold pets? Th e Samoyed likes a pack. I have found that they real- ly enjoy other dogs and cats. Th ere may be some that are not so inclined, but I haven’t experienced that. Th ey are also intrigued by children, even if they have not been raised with kids. How much does the Samoyed really shed? Are they enthusias- tic barkers? Th ey do shed their coats, but it is seasonal and it ALL comes out! One positive aspect to “blowing coat” is that the fur can be spun into yarn and knitted into all kinds of clothing...and you won’t have to worry about dog hair on your Sammy sweater. A thorough weekly combing and brushing will keep their coat in good condition. Th e Samoyed has a varied vocabulary and they are not con- cerned about limiting their talking. A good howl always comes after an ambulance siren is heard driving down the road. Th ey do bark to let you know they want something, so it is done with purpose. And they often want something! Is there a funny story you’d like to share about your experiences showing Samoyeds? Th ere are so many funny stories. Remember that smile! But limiting to an experience while showing, I have one. Th at biscuit special, I mentioned earlier, really loved little dogs. He had tripped me numerous times to go say “hi” to a little dog! We were in the ring in Bermuda competing for BIS and he was in front. I glanced behind me and saw that every Group winner in the ring was a small dog. If he turned around he would have been bounc- ing all over the place trying to play with those little dogs. I made sure that I used every trick in the book to keep him focused on me to keep him from seeing who was behind him. I was able to keep his attention and as we went around the ring for the fi nal time, he noticed the little guys following him, but the win was secured. I never showed him so hard in my life...except one other time when a Maltese was in someone’s lap next to the ring right where we were standing. I promised to get him a little dog of his own if he would just focus on being in the ring with me. Th at day he won the Cana- dian National. I guess being panicked about his obsession with little dogs brought the best handling out of me. CLAIRE O’NEILL We have two residences, one in California and one in Ari- zona where we have two and a half acres that give us room for our dogs. Our business is in the fi eld of civil engineering and general contracting. We have been involved in owning Samoyeds for 35 years, but showing and breeding since 2008/2011. Do we have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Our interests/hobbies were collecting antiques and selling them in Southern California antique malls and on the web. We now just sell on a website. As a Working Dog, what are the key aspects of breed type? Strength, correct weather-resistant coat, length of leg, su ffi cient bone, single tracking with good reach, and strong drive in the hind- quarters, not long in back, which would make it weak. Correct ear length and set, and almond-shaped, dark-rimmed eyes. Can I speak to the breed’s ideal size? Males 21"–23 ½ " at the withers and females 19"–21" at the withers. Th at is the standard. How important is correct expression? Th ere is more to that famous “Sammy smile” than people realize. It is important to have both the upturned fl ews and the jet black pigment for survival in the elements. Droopy fl ews allow for icicles to form from drool in below-freez- ing temperatures and the black pigment of the lip line helps prevent sunburn and blisters. Is there a preference for color in the breed ring? Th is is a hot topic. Pure white, white and biscuit, cream or all biscuit are
acceptable for coat color; and it is important to understand “why” biscuit is important to one’s line. I refer back to the black pigment of the lip in the last question. Biscuit/cream coloring helps with darker pigmentation. When you try to breed that out for the “pure white coat” you will fi nd pigment issues crop up; broken lip lines, un fi lled noses, and eye rim breaks. Th is is important to judges education and in educating the general public. I can’t tell you how many requests I get for a “pure white dog.” [Biscuit] can come in many forms: Biscuit ear tips, around the eyes, small splotch behind an ear, a patch on the muzzle (all of these I have in my line), to larger areas around both ears, on the head, to patches on the sides and hindquarters. In the past six years, two of our National winners have had biscuit. You will also see that as dogs age, they get what is called a biscuit saddle. Want to see how much biscuit you actually have on your Samoyed? Look at them wet. Does the Samoyed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Yes! Th ey need exercise. Not only so they don’t become a couch potato, but a Samoyed with pent-up energy becomes a bored, destructive dog. Th ey were bred for hard work and endurance, so having an area where they can run and play is essential...or be prepared for numer- ous long walks every day. A dog treadmill is ideal for those that don’t have a large yard or when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Th ey also need to be mentally stimulated. Give them a job. Th ey will be much happier. Is my breed generally good with other dogs? Th is breed is a pack animal. Th ey need to be able to get along. Th ey get along with all breeds and other household pets. Th is is not an aggressive breed. I have found that aggression in this breed is usually due to owner lack of correction or understanding the issues. A Samoyed wants to please, so correcting undesirable behavior as soon as it happens is important. How much does my breed shed? Are they enthusiastic barkers? Yes, they shed, they are a double-coated breed. Males do a “coat blow” once a year and females twice a year. When they are holding their coat, you won’t fi nd much hair, but when it comes time for them to blow it, it is great for the birds in your area to start making nests. Also, the sooner you get it all out, the sooner it comes back in. Bark? Hmm..notice my kennel name? Yes, they can be very vocal! However, the prettiest sound they make is their talking and wooing. I have two that will lay outside in the early morn- ing and sing. It is fun to get them all (nine) wooing at the same time, since they all have their own unique woo. I like to get them “talking” early. A funny story I’d like to share about my experiences showing Samoyeds? Not so much funny in showing, but homelife. Note: Th ese are all Samoyeds. Back in 2013, I had a litter. I have a great set-up in my garage that is connected to the main house through the laundry room. It was early morning and I was drinking co ff ee at my dining room table. My window looks out to the front of my house. I had the door open to the garage and my dogs were out there visiting the puppies. All of a sudden I see Semper Fi coming out of the window in the garage (it was a low window). Th en, No No followed her and behind her was Nike. I ran into the garage to fi nd Sarge ready to go out. I got the window shut (Semper Fi had popped the screen out), came back in, and went out the front door. I ran to the driveway, which opens into about a 1 ½ acre area. All three of them are run- ning towards the gate that leads to outside of the property. I opened the back of my expedition and yelled “Who wants to go for a ride!” Th ey all came running and got into the car. One by one, I got them back into the house, Semper Fi fi rst, only to have Reba, who is my play police nanny, scold them. When I got the last one in, I came into the dining room and Semper Fi was on my table, drinking cof- fee from my cup. I live in a clown house.
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JIM& ELFIE SHEA
shed once a year and females every time they come into heat. Th e weekly brushing will control the amount of shedding and hair in your house. If you start brushing Samoyeds when they are puppies and get them used to it, they come to enjoy the weekly routine of being brushed. It’s also a special time with you and your Samoyed. As to the barking, the Samoyed will de fi nitely let you know that there is someone at the door, but once that person is inside your house, nothing can stop that wiggly tail greeting the new visitor. MARIONWARD-FANNING I live in the lovely area of Shields Valley just outside the town of Wilsall, Montana. Th e Samoyed is my lifelong breed, although I have had a great deal of success with Shiba Inus (1991-2012). Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I have had horses all my life for pleasure, endur- ance riding, and work. (I rode a Morgan horse while on the LAPD mounted unit, and then on my working cow/calf ranch after mov- ing to Montana from California in 1987. I don’t breed as much as I did in earlier years, but I would breed on average of 1-2 litters every 2-3 years. I bred dogs for “work and show”...conformation, obedience, sledding. In later years, many participated in agility, several did therapy dog work, and I even had one help me work cows and go bird hunting! Th e NOHS was not available when I was exhibiting, I competed with the ‘pros’ and was very successful!! Anyone with a talent to show a good dog can compete with the professionals! Probably the biggest challenge as a B-O-H is/has been fi nding judges that understand the Sammy is a WORKING dog and should be judged accordingly! Our standard calls for qualities necessary for purpose and survival. I’ve never been swayed by “ fl avor of the month” dogs that are often short-lived and don’t do much in con- tributing to the purpose or preservation of the Samoyed! As long as I’ve been doing this, there are several “thrills” I can look back on: Winning the Breed at Westminster four times with three di ff erent bitches and one dog; winning Grand Futurity twice at our National with a dog and a bitch; having a sire produce three BIS/BISS winning sons from the same breeding; winning our National Specialty...with a bitch! And the ultimate is having judged the SCA National four times, the latest last year!! I’ve missed not being able to start a puppy due to this pandemic and my special will probably be a veteran before he is in the ring again! I live on a ranch so there is much to do and keep busy and the dogs just hang out with me. Showing my puppy who might be in 9-12 if we can get started again! Several from this last litter are also ready to get going! Owner-handlers (especially the breeders) are the backbone of our sport! But I have always felt the professional handlers and owner-handlers have much to share with one another. Without the breeders what will the professionals show!? I would like to see better camaraderie with owners and professionals, the way it was 40-50 years ago; we learned from each other!! Most handlers had a job and showed on weekends. Most were already dog people/breeders! Some owners used professionals back then because they worked weekends or just didn’t have the ability to show, but we all competed together! A funny thing... I had a Shiba puppy needing a name. I went to show my Sammy and when I returned, the Shiba pup had shredded a ten dollar bill in the trailer. So I named him ‘Yen Spot’ and called him Hamilton.
We have loved this breed since 1978 when we purchased our fi rst Samoyed. We have met wonderful friends over the years and consider them all part of our family. Our highlight in conformation has been winning a father and son All -Breed Best in Show–BIS GCH Ch Elfenbein Sun Dancer
(“Dancer,” the father) and BIS MBISS GCHS Ch Elfenbein Hud- son Hornet (“Luda,” the son). Th is was breeder/owner-handled which makes it so much more rewarding. Luda was also the 2016 Top 20 Winner at our Samoyed National. He then went on to com- pete at the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club receiving an Award of Merit. Most importantly, we have produced wonderful puppies over the years and have found forever best homes for each of them. We live in Blaine, Minnesota. We are both retired at the present time, but Jim was an Automotive Service Manager and El fi e was a Legal Administrative Assistant. We purchased our fi rst Samoyed in 1978. Our main focus during the years has been caring for and enjoy- ing our dogs in all aspects of the sport, particularly conforma- tion. We also have a cabin “up north” and Jim enjoys fi shing and ice fi shing. As a Working Dog, what are the key aspects of breed type for the Samoyed? Th e Samoyed is a striking breed with its beautiful glistening coat, dark pigment around its mouth and eyes, dark almond-shaped eyes and stature. It should be well-balanced, strong looking and alert. You can see the gentleness in their eyes and the love that they give you unconditionally. We wouldn’t have any other breed (except our two Shiba Inus). Can we speak to the breed’s ideal size? Th e breed height stan- dard for females is 19-21 inches and for males 21-23 1/2 inches. We breed within that standard because an oversized or undersized Samoyed will be penalized when being judged in conformation. How important is correct expression? Th e “Sammy smile” is very important for correct expression. It represents one of the beautiful personi fi cations of the breed. Th at is one of the expressions that attracted us to the breed—always smiling. Th ey look so happy to see you. Is there a preference for color in the breed ring? Th ere should be no preference for color in the breed ring except for pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or all biscuit. Any other colors are considered a disquali fi cation. Does the Samoyed have any speci fi c exercise needs? We believe the most important exercise for a Samoyed is free running. It is a beautiful sight to see a Samoyed running in the back yard at “full speed ahead.” Is the breed generally good with other dogs? Th e Samoyed has a wonderful temperament, whether it is with other people or oth- er dogs. We have two Shiba Inus in our home and we do believe that the Shibas have picked up the wonderful temperament of our Samoyeds. How much does the Samoyed really shed and are they enthusi- astic barkers? Th ere de fi nitely is a lot of shedding with a Samoyed, but a person can control it with weekly brushing. Males usually
198 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2020
...SPARKLE OF THE EYES, ANIMATION AND LIGHT UP OF THE FACE WHEN ALERT OR INTENT ON ANYTHING. “ ”
MARY JOWILLDIGG& LINDSEY RAGSDALE
Th e lips of the Samoyed should be black or near black with small curves at the corners of the mouth, showing an expression of joy. Even though the Samoyed are a very joyful breed, the slight curve in the corners of the mouth represents a heart-warming smile for this breed. Going beyond aesthetics the “Sammy smile” helps pre- vent ice building up when competing in harsh elements. When most people think about the expression of the Samoyed they think about the Sammy smile. However, there is more to it. Th e “Samo- yed expression” is a combo of the Sammy smile, ears and eyes. Our breed standard explains it the best—“sparkle of the eyes, animation and light up of the face when alert or intent on anything.” Is there a preference for color in the ring? When observing the show ring, many may feel that the pure white is the most desired. I understand why. However, there have been many top-winning Samoyeds throughout the decades that were not the perfect pure white. By having these dogs win, it helps showcase our standards of color; pure white, cream, biscuit or white and biscuit. Does my breed have any speci fi c exercise needs? Going back to the purpose of the breed, the Samoyed needs the stamina to sledge, herd, or protect the families which means they can be high energy and alert when the task demands. Also, the breed is intelligent and eager to serve. With all this combined, this breed does need exercise (especially if they are younger Samoyeds). Many Samoyed owners have utilized their Samoyed’s energy and intelligent by working with them on titles in agility, herding, weight pulling and other fun activities. Is my breed generally good with other dogs? With other house- hold pets? My favorite part of the Samoyed breed is their disposi- tion. We have had many Samoyeds go into homes with other pets and be fantastic. We had one family that had a cat that was scared of everything until they introduced their male Samoyed. Th is male let the cat lay on him or near him most of the time. We personally feel Samoyeds make the perfect family dog with their gentle hearts, but alert dispositions. How much does my breed really shed? Are they enthusiastic barkers? I think the most common question we get asked when we are out with our pups is, “Do Samoyeds shed?” Boy, do they shed! I always let them know that this breed needs to be maintained. Our dogs typically shed based on the seasons—spring and fall. Th is helps them prepare their coats for the summer and winter. However, Samoyeds always have some loose hair and need brushing so the hair does not matte down onto the skin. A funny story I’d like to share about my experiences showing Samoyeds? My mother and I believe that each day with our Samo- yeds is a comedy show. Each one of our guys has their own quirks, but always bring a smile to our faces. Th ere are many funny sto- ries that my mother and I could share. My favorite story is when my mother and I were in Winners Bitch together many years ago showing two class bitches. My mother was showing a young puppy female and I was showing a female that won the Open Bitch Class. Th e judge kept comparing our two females together by moving us around and having us free stack our girls. Well, the young female started losing her patients with moving around and the standing pretty part that she began to jump straight up in the air when my mother was looking at the judge. Th is happened several times and my mother fi nally noticed. My mother got so embarrassed. Th e judge cracked up and gave my mother Winners Bitch. Every funny story reminds us why we continue doing this sport, but we also truly feel blessed to be part of this breed and the community of loving Samoyed owners that comes with it.
My mother, Mary Jo Willdigg, lives outside of Denver, Colo- rado, and I recently moved to the East Coast. To support my moth- er’s love for this sport and her breed she worked at a bank, holding many positions over her 35-year career. Now, however, she is enjoy- ing her retirement years. As for myself, I worked in the fi nancial service industry on the marketing operations/project management side until I recently moved to the East Coast. My mother and I have been fortunate to have had a successful breeding program from the start and have produced many top-winning Samoyeds over 44 years. Everyone has to start somewhere. My mother began her love a ff air with this breed in 1976 with her fi rst show dog and our foundation bitch, Ch. Tushina Snow Star. Tushina was a beautiful, balanced and elegant girl that helped bring about our success in Samoyeds. My mom wanted to honor this beautiful girl by naming our kennel after her T-Snow Star Samoyeds (pronounced “Tee Bar Snow Star”). As many people might say, I was raised with the Samo- yeds. I grew up with this beautiful breed and began my showing career at the age of 10 when I entered my fi rst Junior Showmanship competition. I went on to compete throughout the years in Junior Showmanship and conformation, having success in both areas. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Even though competing with our dogs is a big part of our free-time, we also enjoyed a few other hobbies. My mother enjoys her spare time by sewing and crafting. You may have seen her work at one of the shows with our crate covers and my wonderful towel bag. As for myself, I like to go hiking and painting, but I’ve recently been enjoying going to the beach. What are the key aspects of breed type? Both my mom and I see the Samoyed type as an important part of this beautiful breed. We see it as their signature look that sets them apart from other breeds. As breeders, we think about the standard, but also the over- all balance and elegance of the male or female. Breed type should be seen in the head with the expressive and alert almond-shaped eyes and the classic Sammy smile. However, Samoyeds are a work- ing breed and should have a heavy double coat that is either pure white, cream, biscuit, or biscuit and white that can withstand the harsh cold elements like their ancestors before them. Th e body of the Samoyed should have su ffi cient substance, meaning the bone and muscle are well-balanced with the male and female’s frame; with their length of leg proportionate from the ground to the elbow around 55 percent of their total height. Another part of breed type is their movement. A Samoyed should have well-timed movement that is agile, free, and balanced that can single track in the front and rear while showcasing the ability to conserve energy when needing to cut through snow. Th ere are many more aspects of the Samoyed breed type that should be considered when being judged, but these are a few important ones we consider. Can I speak to my breed’s ideal size? Th e ideal size for a Samoyed should be between 19 to 23 ½ inches. To take this a step further, males typically range from 21 to 23 ½ inches and females are 19 to 21 inches. Any male or female out of these ranges are typically penalized. However, each breeder has their preference as to what their ideal size is for a Samoyed based on these guidelines. What about the “Sammy smile?” How important is correct expression? Going back to breed type, the famous Sammy smile is and important part of our breed and the most recognizable trait.
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