Samoyed Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Samoyed General Conformation : (a) General Appearance -The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility, dignity and grace. As his work lies in cold climates, his coat should be heavy and weather-resistant, well groomed, and of good quality rather than quantity. The male carries more of a "ruff" than the female. He should not be long in the back as a weak back would make him practically useless for his legitimate work, but at the same time, a close-coupled body would also place him at a great disadvantage as a draft 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 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. A very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Hindquarters should be particularly well developed, stifles well bent and any suggestion of unsound stifles or cowhocks severely penalized. General appearance should include movement and general conformation, indicating balance and good substance. (b) Substance -Substance is that sufficiency of bone and muscle which rounds out a balance with the frame. The bone is heavier than would be expected in a dog of this size but not so massive as to prevent the speed and agility most desirable in a Samoyed. In all builds, bone should be in proportion to body size. The Samoyed should never be so heavy as to appear clumsy nor so light as to appear racy. The weight should be in proportion to the height. (c) Height - Males: 21 to 23½ inches; females: 19 to 21 inches at the withers. An oversized or undersized Samoyed is to be penalized according to the extent of the deviation. (d) Coat (Texture and Condition) - The Samoyed is a doublecoated dog. The body should be well covered with an undercoat of soft, short, thick, close wool with longer and harsh hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which stands straight out from the body and should be free from curl. The coat should form a ruff around the neck and shoulders, framing the head (more on males than on females). Quality of coat should be weather resistant and considered more than quantity. A droopy coat is undesirable. The coat should glisten with a silver sheen. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it is softer in texture. (e) Color - Samoyeds should be pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or all biscuit. Any other colors disqualify. Movement: (a) Gait - The Samoyed should trot, not pace. He should move with a quick agile stride that is well timed. The gait should be free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there should be a strong rear action drive. Moving at a slow walk or trot, they will not single-track, but as speed increases the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are finally falling on a line directly under the longitudinal center of the body. As the pad marks converge the forelegs and hind legs are carried
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straight forward in traveling, the stifles not turned in nor out. The back should remain strong, firm and level. A choppy or stilted gait should be penalized. (b) Rear End - Upper thighs should be well developed. Stifles well bent-approximately 45 degrees to the ground. Hocks should be well developed, sharply defined and set at approximately 30 percent of hip height. The hind legs should be parallel when viewed from the rear in a natural stance, strong, well developed, turning neither in nor out. Straight stifles are objectionable. Double-jointedness or cowhocks are a fault. Cowhocks should only be determined if the dog has had an opportunity to move properly. (c) Front End - Legs should be parallel and straight to the pasterns. The pasterns should be strong, sturdy and straight, but flexible with some spring for proper let-down of feet. Because of depth of chest, legs should be moderately long. Length of leg from the ground to the elbow should be approximately 55 percent of the total height at the withers-a very short-legged dog is to be deprecated. Shoulders should be long and sloping, with a layback of 45 degrees and be firmly set. Out at the shoulders or out at the elbows should be penalized. The withers separation should be approximately 1 to 1½ inches. (d) Feet - 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. Feet should turn neither in nor out in a natural stance but may turn in slightly in the act of pulling. Turning out, pigeon-toed, round or cat-footed or splayed are faults. Feathers on feet are not too essential but are more profuse on females than on males. Head : (a) Conformation - Skull is wedge-shaped, broad, slightly crowned, not round or apple- headed, and should form an equilateral triangle on lines between the inner base of the ears and the central point of the stop. Muzzle - Muzzle of medium length and medium width, neither coarse nor snipy; should taper toward the nose and be in proportion to the size of the dog and the width of skull. The muzzle must have depth. Whiskers are not to be removed. Stop - Not too abrupt, nevertheless well defined. 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 corners of the mouth. Ears - Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and "bear-eared." Ears should conform to head size and the size of the dog; they should be set well apart but be within the border of the outer edge of the head; they should be mobile and well covered inside with hair; hair full and stand-off before the ears. Length of ear should be the same measurement as the distance from inner base of ear to outer corner of eye. Eyes - Should be dark for preference; should be placed well apart and deep-set; almond shaped with lower lid slanting toward an imaginary point approximately the base of ears. Dark eye rims for preference. Round or protruding eyes penalized. Blue eyes disqualifying. Nose - Black for preference but brown, liver, or Dudley nose not penalized. Color of nose sometimes changes with age and weather. Jaws and Teeth - Strong, well-set teeth, snugly overlapping with scissors bite . Undershot or overshot should be penalized.
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(b) Expression - The expression , referred to as "Samoyed expression," is very important and is indicated by sparkle of the eyes, animation and lighting up of the face when alert or intent on anything. Expression is made up of a combination of eyes, ears and mouth. The ears should be erect when alert; the mouth should be slightly curved up at the corners to form the "Samoyed smile." Torso: (a) Neck - Strong, well muscled, carried proudly erect, set on sloping shoulders to carry head with dignity when at attention. Neck should blend into shoulders with a graceful arch. (b) Chest - Should be deep, with ribs well sprung out from the spine and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. Should not be barrel- chested. Perfect depth of chest approximates the point of elbows, and the deepest part of the chest should be back of the forelegs-near the ninth rib. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width. (c) Loin and Back - The withers forms the highest part of the back. Loins strong and slightly arched. The back should be straight to the loin, medium in length, very muscular and neither long nor short-coupled. The dog should be "just off square"-the length being approximately 5 percent more than the height. Females allowed to be slightly longer than males. The belly should be well shaped and tightly muscled and, with the rear of the thorax, should swing up in a pleasing curve (tuck-up). Croup must be full, slightly sloping, and must continue imperceptibly to the tail root. Tail : The tail should be moderately long with the tail bone terminating approximately at the hock when down. It should be profusely covered with long hair and carried forward over the back or side when alert, but sometimes dropped when at rest. It should not be high or low set and should be mobile and loose-not tight over the back. A double hook is a fault. A judge should see the tail over the back once when judging. Disposition : Intelligent, gentle, loyal, adaptable, alert, full of action, eager to serve, friendly but conservative, not distrustful or shy, not overly aggressive. Unprovoked aggressiveness is to be severely penalized. Disqualifications : Any color other than pure white, cream, biscuit, or white and biscuit. Blue eyes.
Approved August 10, 1993 Effective September 29, 1993
JUDGING THE SAMOYED by JEANNE NONHOF
A bout 25 years ago, while watching a judge make a total hash of judging our Samoyeds, I thought, ‘Good grief, even I can do a better job than that.’ That judge put up a very pretty, but cow-hocked dog, obviously forgetting that this is a working breed. There were other, more acceptable, choices in her ring. Do you think she ever got another entry from me or the knowledgeable observers ringside? Judges should realize that the spec- tators, especially those sitting in the “breeder’s corner,” are judging the dogs right along with them. To a newbie, that breeder’s corner can be rather intimi- dating, and so it should be. Make friends of those serious breeders and seek their knowledge of the breed. There is a lot to learn from some of those experienced fanciers. You can find a mentor there. Most judges judge for the love of dogs. Breeder judges are fully aware of the assets and faults of their breed. We need to try to be even handed and bal- ance the faults and virtues. Sometimes we have to forgive a minor fault in order to reward a very important virtue. Remember that this is the “Handy- man of the North.” He has to be able to handle anything asked of him. A Samo- yed is the triple threat of the Arctic, a dog who does Herding, Hunting and Hauling, plus whatever else his people needed him to do, such as sleeping in the tents with the people to keep them warm and to guard them. No way can the Samoyed be called a specialist. To help you remember, the Alaskan Mala- mute is the large, dependable freight hauler. The Siberian Husky is the speedy runner and the Samoyed is the dog in the middle who does it all. Could the fact that he spent time in the reindeer hide tents with the Samoyed people be
Bark Star, BIS, BISS Am. Can Ch. Moonlighter’s Ima Bark Star TT, Can ROM
responsible for the current wonderful temperament we enjoy? The breed originated basically from twelve dogs imported from the Arc- tic. They were not all the same, hav- ing come from different areas around the Arctic Circle, mainly in Siberia. Therefore we have a plethora of accept- able types or styles within the breed. Some of the original dogs were brown or black, however, it has been said that the whitest ones came from the farthest North. As to temperament in this smiling breed, it is helpful to remember that they originated with a subsistence level people. If the dog couldn’t contribute or get along with the other camp dogs, he ended up in the soup pot. That’s not a pretty picture, but I have to think it was an efficient way to cull out the dogs with the traits we don’t want per- petuated. We are the benefactors of that practice. Samoyeds have a real drive to
please their people. Just look at a weight pull where the dogs are pulling their hearts out. They have no reason to do this other than they know it will please us. Look at the joy of dogs doing Agility with their people. The most successful dogs have a driving need to work with their humans. While you cannot com- pletely judge temperament in the show ring, you can sure see the dogs who want to please their people. Keeping in mind the environment around the Arctic Circle and purpose of the breed, we can address the type issues. Medium sized, well furred,
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Pam Landers team in northern Minnesota. L to R: Ch. Sylvan’s Avalanche CD, NA, NAJ, WSX— Stanley son, Mithril-Sylvan’s Fly Away WS, Moonlighter’s Elegance on Ice AX, AXJ, WS— Stanley daughter & Ch. Sylvan’s Skylark CD, WSX—SCA Best in Sweeps—Stanley daughter
rounded tip ears stand up to Arctic blasts better than bigger, pointy ears which are not well furred and are more susceptible to freezing. Well set almond eyes are better in a blizzard than a round or protruding eye. Eyes should be “dark for preference” but I would point out that a dog can see perfectly well with a slightly lighter eyes. That is a cosmetic thing. Actually the standard doesn’t say dark brown, so would dark green be acceptable? I think not. We need to tighten the standard up a bit there as well as include “cream with biscuit” in the color section. Speaking of color, there was a truly scrumptious bitch shown in the upper Midwest who had a golden biscuit body with a stark white tail and neck. Looked like a pal- omino. She could have found kennel space at my place any time. Feet which are hare foot and slightly spread get better grip in the snow. A thick, double coat allows them to sleep in the snow and be perfectly comfort- able. A proper tail is essential as when curled up with his tail over his nose to, it filters the cold air, therefore a good tail is important. That same tail will be used as a rudder when making quick turns to head off an escapee from the herd. Do yourself, and the breed, a favor and just judge the dogs. Judges who look at the wrong end of the lead are destroy- ing the whole sport of dog shows. We cry that we don’t have enough new
people coming into the sport. Well, if you went to a dog show and saw bla- tant favoritism towards some handlers or exhibitors, what would be your reaction? Too often, it is, “Oh no, I am not playing this game where the cards are stacked against me.” Just judge the dogs. It is up to you to find the best dog even if it is not handled to perfection. You are not looking for the best handled dog, you are looking for the best dog. Yes, you need to see the dog properly, but sometimes a little extra time sooth- ing a nervous exhibitor and the dog is well spent. Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Bring the dogs in, check them off in your judge’s book and have them stack up so that you can take an overall view
of your entry. You are looking for a dog that is just off square, about half a bub- ble off. You might see one that has the proportions of a giraffe, one that looks as though it lacks the substance called for in the standard. One has a gorgeous neck which makes you want to check to see if that shoulder is really as laid back as that neck would indicate or is it just a good sculpting job. A good num- ber of them look well balanced. It is a nice entry so this is going to be a plea- sure to do, as any judging assignment should be. Send them around to check for any that are limping. Might as well get over that hurdle right at the beginning. The first thing you will encounter in the individual examination is the head.
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The perfect dog hasn’t been born yet; however, I have seen a few who come mighty close. Every once in a while, in the midst of the usual run of the mill, an animal appears with this splendid thing called true quality. It is so fine and strong and clear that it is like a sudden bright light. It is a combina- tion of true type and soundness. Once seen in a living thing, it is not easily for- gotten. But no dog is perfect. In balanc- ing faults and virtues, you may have to forgive a minor fault in order to reward a great virtue. Judging this breed is pure pleasure. The Samoyed is the dog that Jeanne and her husband Wayne, acquired their first Samoyed in 1960. Mals, Labs, Goldens, English Setters and Cockers decorated their lives. The Samoyed captured their hearts. They owner-handled their Samoyeds to the top national rankings while also creating top producing dogs. Jeanne has been judging the Arctic breeds as well as Bernese Mt. Dogs and Aus- tralian Shepherds for about 25 years, was President of the Samoyed Club of America for 5 years. “Moonlighter” was chosen as their kennel name as a moonlighter is someone with more than one job. A charter member of the Gr. Milwaukee Samoyed Fanciers and member of the Fond du Lac County Kennel Club. Conformation competi- tion is the main interest but she also participate in Weight Pulls, Agility, Obedience and recreational sledding. will smile at you... and mean it. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The standard quite specifically says, “Samoyed expression is very impor- tant.” It calls for a “lighting up of the face” and the famous “Samoyed Smile” which is made up of proper eyes, ears and lip line. There should be a well defined stop. Sometimes when you see that smiling face, you just want to smile right back. The Samoyed smile can be seen even while he is sleeping. This is a very natural breed. Of course we want a clean coat with its silvery sheen which is called for in the breed standard. When shown outside, you will see actual silver tips on the coat. This is more difficult to discern under artificial lights. The male car- ries more of a ruff than the female. The thick double coat is a survival issue. However, a dog in full bloom in August is simply dumb. Males will throw out the undercoat in the summer but bitch- es are hormone driven and will do a coat dump about 4 months after their season whether she had a litter or not. This would be when her pups would be 8 weeks old. In spite of his huggable appearance, this is a working dog, not a lay-around- on-the-couch-and-be-a-decoration dog. Therefore he needs to be balanced. We want a good shoulder layback and balancing bend of stifle. We want that strong straight top line. You will have to get into that coat and feel if the top line is really as it looks or a good groom- ing job. Your hands will tell you what is under there or if there has been cre- ative grooming or scissoring. When checking the rear configuration, again,
you need to feel. Some groomers cre- ate “stifle puffs” to fool the judge’s eye. The handlers and groomers job can be to fool the judge. Your hands will tell the truth. And the ultimate truth will be revealed when the dog moves. A good Samoyed has a confident, well timed working trot which is very effi- cient. Coming, going and side gait are equally important. If he has a wonder- ful side gait but bobbles coming at you or going away, efficiency is destroyed. The rear does not overreach the front at a working trot. For efficiency, this breed single tracks to get the support under the center of gravity.. We want to see a “V” shaped column of support from the feet to the shoulder or hip when moving quickly. The faster the dog is moving, the more the feet will con- verge under the center-line of the dog. The well put together Samoyed shows strong rear drive and good reach in the front. There must be follow-through in the rear, however, extended time off of the ground is inefficient. Any dog which falls within the 21"- 23 ½ " for males or 18"-21" for bitches is correct. Penalize only for the extent of the deviation. Interestingly, the top size for a Siberian Husky male is exactly the same as for the Samoyed male. The perceived difference is that a Samoyed can carry a 4"-6" ruff at the withers. Get your hands in there and see where the withers really are. The same thing for elbows. You must feel to know where that elbow actual- ly is as the hair hanging down on the under-body can deceive you.
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JUDGING THE SAMOYED
By Judy Mears Chair Judges Education; Samoyed Club of America
S amoyeds are judged by many people for many reasons. A good breeder judges each dog or bitch that is used for breeding for health, tem- perament, pedigree and the qualities in the Samoyed that meet our written standard. A conscientious puppy buyer looks for that breeder who has a puppy with parents that were tested for all the requirements the Samoyed Club of America lists, has the temperament to live in a family situation with children, friends and other pets, and whose parents exhibit the qualities of our written standard. Hopefully that breeder has raised the puppy in an environment that starts the development of good mental and physical health. Dog shows were originated to judge each dog against the AKC standard to help select breeding stock. We, as AKC show judges, do not have the ability to spend hours finding just the right dog. We must make our deci- sions based on a few minutes going over the dog in the ring and watching it move in a limited space. Our standard begins with the statement: “ Th e Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility”. If you have read the first por-
ing to do with height, but is all about pro- portion. Th e neck should be moderately long and set well into sloping shoulders. Th e dog should be alert and interested in what it happening around it. While moving the dogs around the ring we look for gait that is e ffi cient and ground covering. Legs that fly up in the air or twist are never correct, just as a firm level topline is a sign of e ffi cient, correct movement. Th e Samoyed is a moderate dog, therefore over extension of side gait is not desired Heads come in a range of style from slightly long and narrow to shorter and broad. Either style is ok as long as the essential qualities of type are met: Th e lip line should be tight and hopefully curve up slightly at the corner when the mouth is closed. Th e eye should be deep set, almond shaped and set slanting up with the outside corner of the eye pointing to the base of the ear. Ears should stand erect with thick leather and be well covered with fur inside and out. Th e muzzle should be deep, the stop slightly sloping with the back skull wedge shaped and slightly crowned. When judging a Samoyed, you must get your hands into the coat and feel the bone and muscle. Coat that is scissored and over groomed is rampant in the AKC show ring. Th e coat should be clean and well brushed. It is a double coat with coarse
tion of these articles, you know why and how this essential Samoyed was developed. Proportion is critical to a proper Samo- yed to insure strength and agility. To see proper proportion, you must stand back with the dog in side profile. Many dumpy, short-legged dogs are put up because the judge wants to “save steps” and not move to the center of the ring to see proper pro- portion. When the dogs walk in the ring, look for that dog that appears long legged with the front legs set well under the with- ers to support the body and the rear legs set very slightly behind the ischium. A dog that is 5% longer than it is tall will appear almost square. Even on a coated dog, the elbow is visible, use that point to visualize depth of body and length of leg. A dog that is 55% leg length will appear leggy when you are accustomed to working dogs that are 50% leg length. A leggy dog has noth-
“Our standard begins with the statement: ‘THE SAMOYED, BEING ESSENTIALLY A WORKING DOG, SHOULD PRESENT A PICTURE OF BEAUTY, ALERTNESS AND STRENGTH, WITH AGILITY’.”
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“‘THE SAMOYED IS A BREED TO BE PRESERVED, NOT A BREED TO BE DEVELOPED AND IMPROVED. Please keep this in mind and help us to preserve the wonderful breed nature developed for us.’”
stand o ff guard hair and a thick wooly undercoat. Th e coat should not be so long as to hide the shape of the body. Sibe- rian Huskies, Malamutes and most other northern breeds were developed for the same bitter cold climate that formed the Samoyed. Th e guard coat must be weather resistant. Th at dog that gets wet from snow packing into a soft coat will die in arctic winter weather. Samoyeds were developed to spend long days working in a harsh environment. Th e
feet and legs must be strong and straight, elbows must set next to the body. Th e true test of a correct Samoyed is in its e ffi cient, clean movement. When trotting down and back, the legs must tend to a single track front and rear. Th ere should be no twisting in any of the joints. Wasted motion would be life threatening to a dog that must live on minimum food in a harsh environment and work all day. Th e ideal is that light graceful movement that gives the impres- sion the dog could go all day long and come home happy and in good health. We all love the sweet
breed. “ Th e Samoyed is a breed to be preserved, not a breed to be developed and improved.” Please keep this in mind and help us to preserve the wonderful breed that nature developed for us. BIO Judy Mears purchased her first Samo- yed in 1970. She has bred or owned over 55 Champions with a very limited breed- ing program that is always owner/handled. Since then, Judy has bred 11 dogs/bitches with multiple group placements, always owner/handled; 3 Best in Show dogs, own- er/handled; 2 Champion/UD bitches; 3 Champion/MACH bitches; 4 dogs that have worked on racing sled teams, including one lead dog; and 3 dogs exhibited to CD. Judy has been a member of the Samo- yed Club of America since 1971. She is the past President of SCA and has spent many years on the Board of Governors of SCA. She was the Ad Hoc Commit- tee Secretary and Trophy Chair for the 1984 National, Show Chair for the 1991 National and Trophy Chair for the 2001 National. She was the Chief Ring Stew- ard and Judges Hospitality Chair for the 2011 National and the Show Chair for Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club, an all-breed club. Judy has judged at the SCA’s Nation- al Specialty on four different occasions and she has been an AKC licensed judge since 1999. A past business owner and associate edi- tor, for the past 20 years Judy has been and continues to work as a fingerprint techni- cian. Th is includes analyzing fine detail and patterns in ridge skin to identify people for Je ff erson County Sheri ff ’s O ffi ce in Colorado.
happy face of a baiting Samoyed. Th ey usually look like they are ready for mischief and play. But do not expect a Samoyed to stand and bait for a long time, they should be intelli- gent and interested in what is going on around them. Th e ears will flick back and forth to get all the “news”. Th e tail will go up while they are gaiting, but may wag in glee while stand- ing or the dog may be so interested in what is going on around that the tail drops down. As long as the dog does not look spooky, please do not penalize that one that drops its tail while standing in line. Many years ago, a student in a judges edu- cation seminar made a comment that I feel is one of the most impor- tant when judging our
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JUDGING THE SAMOYED
by JUDY MEARS
S amoyeds are judged by many people for many reasons. A good breeder judges each dog or bitch that is used for breed- ing for health, temperament, pedigree and the qualities in the Samoyed that meet our written standard. A conscientious puppy buyer looks for that breeder who has a puppy with parents that were tested for all the requirements the Samoyed Club of America lists, has the temperament to live in a family situation with children, friends and other pets and whose par- ents exhibit the qualities of our written standard. Hopefully that breeder has raised the puppy in an environment that starts the development of good mental and physical health.
Dog shows were originated to judge each dog against the AKC standard to help select breeding stock. We, as AKC show judges, do not have the ability to spend hours finding just the right dog. We must make our decisions based on a few minutes going over the dog in the ring and watching it move in a limited space. Our stan- dard begins with the statement: “The Samoyed, being essentially a working dog, should present a picture of beauty, alertness and strength, with agility”. If you have read the first portion of these articles, you know why and how this essential Samoyed was developed. Proportion is critical to a proper Samoyed to insure strength and agil- ity. To see proper proportion, you must
stand back with the dog in side profile. Many dumpy, short-legged dogs are put up because the judge wants to “save steps” and not move to the center of the ring to see proper proportion. When the dogs walk in the ring, look for that dog that appears long legged with the front legs set well under the withers to support the body and the rear legs set very slightly behind the ischium. A dog that is 5% longer than it is tall will appear almost square. Even on a coated dog, the elbow is visible, use that point to visualize depth of body and length of leg. A dog that is 55% leg length will appear leggy when you are accus- tomed to working dogs that are 50% leg length. A leggy dog has nothing to do with height, but is all about proportion.
“THE SAMOYED, BEING ESSENTIALLY A WORKING DOG, SHOULD PRESENT A PICTURE OF BEAUTY, ALERTNESS AND STRENGTH, WITH AGILITY.”
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The neck should be moder- ately long and set well into sloping shoulders. The dog should be alert and inter- ested in what it happening around it. While moving the dogs around the ring we look for gait that is efficient and ground covering. Legs that fly up in the air or twist are never correct, just as a firm level topline is a sign of efficient, correct move- ment. The Samoyed is a moderate dog, therefore over extension of side gait is not desired Heads come in a range of style from slightly long and narrow to shorter and broad. Either style is okay as long as the essen- tial qualities of type are met: the lip line should be tight and, hopefully, curve up slightly at the corner when the mouth is closed. The eye should be deep set, almond shaped and set slanting up with the outside corner of the eye pointing to the base of the ear. Ears should stand erect
Many years ago, a stu- dent in a judges education seminar made a comment that I feel is one of the most important when judg- ing our breed. “The Samo- yed is a breed to be pre- served, not a breed to be developed and improved.” Please keep this in mind and help us to preserve the wonderful breed that nature developed for us. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Judy Mears purchased her first Samoyed in 1970. She has bred or owned over 55 Champions with a very limited breeding program that is always owner/ handled. Since then, Judy has bred 11 dogs/bitches with multiple group place- ments, always owner/ handled; three Best in Show dogs, owner/han- dled; two Champion/UD bitches; three Champion/ MACH bitches; four dogs that have worked on rac- ing sled teams, including one lead dog; and three
with thick leather and be well covered with fur inside and out. The muzzle should be deep, the stop slightly sloping with the back skull wedge shaped and slightly crowned. When judging a Samoyed, you must get your hands into the coat and feel the bone and muscle. Coat that is scis- sored and over groomed is rampant in the AKC show ring. The coat should be clean and well brushed. It is a double coat with coarse stand off guard hair and a thick wooly undercoat. The coat should not be so long as to hide the shape of the body. Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and most other Northern breeds were developed for the same bit- ter cold climate that formed the Samo- yed. The guard coat must be weather resistant. The dog that gets wet from snow packing into a soft coat will die in arctic winter weather. Samoyeds were developed to spend long days working in a harsh environ- ment. The feet and legs must be strong and straight, elbows must set next to the body. The true test of a correct
dogs exhibited to CD. Judy has been a member of the Sam- oyed Club of America since 1971. She is the past President of SCA and has spent many years on the Board of Governors of SCA. She was the Ad Hoc Committee Secretary and Trophy Chair for the 1984 National, Show Chair for the 1991 National and Tro- phy Chair for the 2001 National. She was the Chief Ring Steward and Judges Hospitality Chair for the 2011 National and the Show Chair for Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club, an all-breed club. Judy has judged at the SCA’s National Specialty on four different occasions and she has been an AKC licensed judge since 1999. A past business owner and associ- ate editor, for the past 20 years Judy has been and continues to work as a fingerprint technician. This includes analyzing fine detail and patterns in ridge skin to identify people for Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.
Samoyed is in its efficient, clean move- ment. When trotting down and back, the legs must tend to a single track front and rear. There should be no twisting in any of the joints. Wasted motion would be life threatening to a dog that must live on minimum food in a harsh envi- ronment and work all day. The ideal is that light graceful movement that gives the impression the dog could go all day long and come home happy and in good health. We all love the sweet happy face of a baiting Samoyed. They usually look like they are ready for mischief and play. But do not expect a Samoyed to stand and bait for a long time, they should be intel- ligent and interested in what is going on around them. The ears will flick back and forth to get all the “news”. The tail will go up while they are gaiting, but may wag in glee while standing or the dog may be so interested in what is going on around that the tail drops down. As long as the dog does not look spooky, please do not penalize the one that drops its tail while standing in line.
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THE ESSENCE OF THE SAMOYED BREED
BY CAROL HJORT, CHAIRPERSON AND SCA JUDGES EDUCATION COMMITTEE
T he year 2 020 was known as the Year of the COVID lockdown. When AKC sent a request to the SCA asking for its participation in the AKC Working Breed Seminars being offered at the AKC/Royal Canin Show in December, our Judges Education Committee (JEC) was ready to take on the chal- lenge! The topic assigned to our Committee was to define the Essence of the Samoyed Breed. I decided to toss the topic out to the SCA Judges Education Committee for discussion, and the entire committee quickly dove into a lively conversation on the topic! “Essence” is a polysemic term used as a designa- tion for the property or set of properties that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity and without which it loses its identity. So then, what makes up the Essence of the Samoyed Breed? Our first most obvious element was the Breed Type, or the physical characteristics of the breed. The Samoyed is an Arctic breed that lived and thrived around the Arctic Circle where tempera- tures could plunge to -50 degrees during the long winter months. So the Samoyed had to be equipped to not only survive in these frigid temperatures, but to also work in these extreme conditions as well. Everything about the Breed Type for the Samoyed is designed for its survival and comfort within the Arctic Circle, where it lived for thousands of years before being discovered by outside explorers. Let’s examine a few of the key features that are an inte- gral part of the Samoyed’s extreme weather gear, or Breed Type. The Head: First and foremost, let me state that the Samoyed is not considered a “Head Breed.” However, the head contains many of the character- istics that enabled this breed to successfully survive and thrive in the extreme weather conditions of the Russian Arctic region, and these characteristics should be preserved, as they are part of the Essence of this Breed.
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the upturned lipline served a functional purpose in the frigid Arctic region! The Feet: Pasterns should be strong, sturdy, and flexible, with some spring for proper let-down of feet. The pasterns are the “shock absorbers” of the dog when moving, and they contribute to its endur- ance when working. The feet are the dog’s running gear and should be long and slightly flat... a hare foot with two elongated central toes. The foot should be slightly spread, but not splayed, with arched toes, thick and tough pads, and a protective growth of hair between the toes. The hare-shaped foot helped the Samo- yed make quick turns when herding the reindeer on the tundra, much as a rabbit can quickly change directions in times of danger. Faults are feet that turn in or out, round or cat feet, and splayed feet. You can check the thickness of the foot pad when you get to the rear assembly by picking up a rear foot... and while you are there, check the bottom of the foot, which should be well-furred between the pads. The Polar Bear, another mammal of the Arctic, also has feet that are heavily furred around the pads. The heavily furred foot pads provide natural protection for the feet during the frigid Arctic winters, although in warmer climates the fur tends to form ice balls between the pads if left untrimmed. The Coat: The Samoyed is a double- coated breed with a soft thick wool under- coat, which provides warmth for the body, and a longer and harsher hair growing through it to form the outer coat, which is weather-resistant, stands straight out from the body, and should be free of curl. The outer coat protects and shields the under- coat from snow, and with a good shake a Sammy can remove the snow from its body. A droopy coat is undesirable. The quality of the coat should be considered more than the quantity. The silver tips on the coat that causes the coat to glisten with a silver sheen is actually caused by the hair shaft turning clear on the ends of the outer coat, and it enhances the Teflon effect of the outer coat in the snow. The female does not usually carry as long a coat as most males and it is softer in texture. The Samo- yed should be pure white, white and bis- cuit, cream or all biscuit. Any other color is a disqualification. The Tail: The tail should be moder- ately long, with the tail bone terminating approximately at the hock when down. It should be profusely covered with long hair. The tail was important to the dog’s survival on the tundra as the dog would curl up in a ball when sleeping, with the
Eyes: Should be dark for preference; should be placed well apart and deep-set; almond shaped with lower lid slanting toward an imaginary point approximately the base of the ears. Dark eye rims for preference. Round or protruding eyes penalized.
The skull should be broad, but not round, and form an equilateral triangle between the inner base of the ears and the central point of the stop. Eyes should be dark for preference, placed well apart, and almond- shaped, with the lower lid slanting towards the outer corner of the ear. This is a survival characteristic of the breed, and it is inter- esting to note that most creatures living on the tundra, both human and animal, have this almond-shaped eye. Evolution has created this eye shape, as a round eye has been shown to cause snow blindness from the many months of exposure to the sun’s glare on the Arctic snow. Please note that blue eyes are a disqualifying fault in this breed! The muzzle must be of medium length, neither course nor snipy, and must have sufficent underjaw to give depth to the muzzle. This is a survival characteristic, as the muzzle must be of sufficient length and depth to warm the frigid Arctic air before it reaches the lungs. The nose should be black for preference, but a brown, liver or Dudley nose is not to be penalized. The teeth should snugly overlap in a scissors bite. The lips should be black for preference and should curve up at the corners in a “Sammy smile,” even when the mouth is closed. Expression should consist in a “lighting up of the face” when alert or intent on anything. Ears should be erect and alert, eyes should sparkle, and the mouth should form the “Sammy smile!” There should not be droopy flews at the corners of the mouth, as this would cause saliva to accumulate and freeze around the mouth on the Samoyed, causing dis- comfort to the dog while it is working. So, there is an important reason as to why the Samoyed evolved with a smile on its face… Feet: 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.
The ears should be thick, well-furred and mobile, which protects the ears from freezing on the tundra. The ears should be in proportion to the size of the head and the dog. If you think the ears look too long or too short, fold the tip of the ear towards the outside corner of the eye... the tip of the ear should end close to this point, if it is the correct size. Ears should be set well apart, but positioned within the border of the outer edge of the head, and be slight- ly rounded at the tips. Think about the exposed vascular areas of the body where a human might get frostbite; the ears, the fingertips, and the nose. Mother Nature, in all her wisdom, rounded the tips of the Samoyed’s ears and made them heavily furred and mobile to protect them from frostbite or freezing. The head should form a wedge... the width of the wedge can vary, depending on breeder preference, and the stop should not be too abrupt, which enhances the aerodynamics of the dog when moving and also enhances the wedge shape of the head.
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THE ESSENCE OF THE SAMOYED BREED
Color: Pure White, White and Biscuit, Cream, and All Biscuit. Any other colors are disqualified.
heart and lung room for working on the tundra. As breeders, we also like to feel “elbow pockets,” which are slight inden- tions in the rib cage under the elbows that allow more freedom of movement for the front legs without causing the Samoyed to move out at the elbows. The shoulders should be long and slop- ing with a layback of 45 degrees. Also, check the upper arm, which should be approximately the same length as the shoulder blade. The withers separation, which indicates the lay-in of shoulder, should be 1 – 1-1⁄2 inches wide, or two to three fingertips apart, depending on the width of your fingers. The lay-in of shoul- der tends to influence how the dog will put its front feet on the ground when in motion, and generally a Samoyed whose shoulders are not laid-in towards the spi- nal column will not converge into a single track when moving. The shoulder angles and lay-in of shoulder contribute to the dog’s endurance while working in the large open spaces of the tundra. Next, run your hand down the front of the chest where you should be able to feel the prosternum. The legs should be parallel and straight to the pastern, and approxi- mately 55 percent of the dog’s height at the withers. Length of leg is important when working in the deep tundra snow. You will need to push the hair back on the chest at the elbow to determine the true length of leg, since this is a double-coated
another for survival on the tundra. For this reason, the Breed Standard reflects the original Arctic explorers’ observations of the tribal people with their dogs in respect to Temperament. The third and final element that the JEC felt characterized the Essence of the Breed was Structure. The neck should be of good length, strong, and well-muscled. The neck should BLEND into the shoul- der and topline with a graceful arch, and any other neck should be depreciated. An arched neck is thicker at the base and has stronger neck ligaments, which offers more power for the dog’s shoulder blades and front assembly while the dog is work- ing. A ewe neck, for example, is positioned upright, perpendicular from the shoulder, and lacks any indication of an arch. This type of neck has weaker neck ligaments, and because of that weakness, has less support for the shoulder blades and front leg muscles. While this type of neckline might appear flashy in the show ring, it does not offer optimal functionality for a Working Dog. The chest should be deep, with the ribs well-sprung from the spine and taper- ing at the sides to allow movement of the shoulders and freedom for the front legs. The chest should be heart-shaped and not barrel-shaped. Perfect depth of the chest should be at the point of the elbow, and the deepest part of the chest should be behind the forelegs, which provides more
tail covering its muzzle and nose, helping to warm its breath while asleep. The tail should be carried forward over the back or side when alert, and is sometimes dropped when at rest. The tail should be mobile and loose… not tight over the back. The arch of the tail should balance out the arch of the neck when the dog is alert and stand- ing at attention. A double hook is a fault. A judge should see the tail over the back once when judging. The second breed characteristic that our JEC felt was part of the Essence of the Breed was Temperament. The Samoyed was an Arctic breed that was expected to work off-lead on the vast Russian tundra, herding Reindeer. It had to have sufficient intelligence to make split-second, inde- pendent decisions. For this reason, it was also required to work in harmony with other animals and with man. At night, the dogs sometimes slept in the chooms, or tents, with the tribal people. If a dog was a troublemaker and could not get along with others, it was eliminated, probably ending up in the stew pot or being worn as a fur hat, as nothing was wasted by the tribal people on the tundra. The standard states that the Samoyed should be intel- ligent, gentle, loyal, adaptable, alert, full of action, eager to serve, friendly but con- servative, not distrustful or shy, and not overly aggressive. Unprovoked aggressive- ness is to be severely penalized. The dogs and people were co-dependent on one
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THE ESSENCE OF THE SAMOYED BREED
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Carol Hjort and her husband, Andy, have owned Samoyeds for 45 years and established Jubillie Samoyeds in 1978. Avid Samoyed fanciers, Andy and Carol have bred and shown a number of Samoyeds to their Championships, personally handling some to Breed, Group, and All-Breed Best in Show and Best in Specialty Show wins or placements, including two Samoyeds that they imported from Great Britain, and via frozen semen, from Australia. Although Carol’s focus in the sport has primarily been exhibiting in conformation, she has had the honor of judging Samoyed Sweepstakes at eight Regional Specialties around the country, as well as judging the Puppy Futurity at the 2012 SCA National Specialty, the Elements of the Standard at the 2016 SCA National Specialty, and the Carolina Working Group Association Sweepstakes in 2021. She served for a total of ten years intermittently on the SCA Board of Governors and has also served over the years as a Chairperson for various SCA National Specialty Committees. Carol has spent a cumulative total of 16 years on the SCA Judges Education Committee, working under five different Chairs, serving the past two years as Committee Chairperson. Over the years, she has written a number of articles on the Samoyed for various national all-breed publications and she’s covered the Westminster KC Dog Show for 15 years for Hoflin Publishing. It is Carol’s hope that you enjoy this article and are able to take with you an appreciation and better understanding of the essence of this beautiful and very ancient breed... the Samoyed!
Torso: A to B 5% longer than E to C
E to D 45% of height D to C 55% of height
side, then it is not a balanced animal. This affects endurance when working on an open tundra. The Samoyed should also single-track on the down and back. Moving at a slow walk or trot, it will not single-track, but as speed increases, the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are finally falling on a line directly under the longitudinal cen- ter of the body. This results in an efficient gait that can be maintained for hours. If you move a single-tracking dog through snow, it will leave one line of pawprints in the snow, instead of two. So, to summarize, our SCA Judges Education Committee concluded that the Essence of the Samoyed Breed is three- fold: The essence of our breed consists of Type, Temperament, and Structure… all elements originally shaped by the environ- ment and by evolution. Any two of these elements without the third would not con- stitute a good representation of the breed. A good representative of the breed must have all three elements. Like its ances- tors, the Samoyed today is a versatile and diverse breed… if you strive to find the Essence of the Breed in your judging, or breeding program, you will be on the right path towards preserving the integrity of the Samoyed Breed for future generations to enjoy!
breed. Pasterns should be strong, sturdy, and flexible, with some “spring” for proper let-down of feet. The withers form the highest part of the back. Run your hand down the back from the withers to the loin to make sure it is level and not roached or dipped. The loin is the distance between the last rib and the pelvis, and should be strong, slightly arched, and neither long nor short-cou- pled. The croup must be full and slightly sloping to the tail root. Upper thighs should be well-developed. Palpate the upper portion of the thigh behind the stifles to check the muscle mass. Stifles should be well-bent... approximate- ly 45 degrees to the ground. Hocks should be well-developed and set at approximately 30 percent of the hip height. Straight sti- fles are objectionable; double jointed hocks or cowhocks are a fault. Cowhocks should only be determined after a dog has had the opportunity to move. The Samoyed should trot, not pace, and should move with a quick, well-timed side gait! The gait should be free, BAL- ANCED and VIGOROUS, with good reach in the front and equally good driv- ing power in the rear. The back, or topline, should remain strong, firm, and level, without a lot of up-and-down motion. If there is more reach than drive, or more drive than reach when viewed from the
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