With great beauty comes great responsibility so to make your Sammy look their best you'll need to know a few things about maintaining that glorious coat.
The Samoyed Coat
A Samoyed (like many snow dogs breeds) has a double coat. A shorter insulating coat which is very soft and fine, and a longer and more coarse fur often known as guard hairs.
As you might have guessed the insulating coat is what keeps the dog warm in winter, and cool in summer. Yes you read that right, this coat will actually help keep your dog cool which means there's no need to shave your Samoyed during summer time.
The longer guard fur is mostly responsible for keeping the dog clean. Often your Sammy can be literally covered in mud from a big day of digging holes, but then after drying (and brushing), his fur will appear surprisingly clean.
Even though they have a tendency to drop more fur than most dogs, they actually produce less dander which is what triggers allergic reactions to dogs and other animals. For this reason they are often described as being hypoallergenic, however technically speaking this is not true. They simply are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
All dogs shed fur just like people shed skin cells (eeew), however you're likely to notice fur on your clothes or around your house a lot more because it's so long, and it's white!
So if you want to maintain a neat and tidy home which isn't all covered in fur 24/7 you just need to maintain a regular brushing schedule. A light brush for 5 minutes every few days, or a more thorough brush of 10 - 20 minutes once a week should be fine but you'll gradually get to know how much brushing is needed.
If you're finding that cuddle time leaves you looking like an albino-Chewbacca, then brush a little more often. If you brush and not much fur is being lifted out, then you can brush a little less often.
Over brushing your dog can cause "brush burn" where the skin gets red and irritated, particularly around sensitive areas like the belly, so only brush as often as you need to.
Grooming a Samoyed Puppy
If you're give your Samoyed puppy it's first bath then take a look at this useful video on how to handle it.
Bath time can be enjoyable or horrific depending on your method, and (most importantly) how well your pooch behaves during the process.
To get a good result, there's a simple 5 step process...
Step 1: Blow the coat
Use a powerful blower or hair dryer (on cold) to blast air through the dogs coat. You can use use a brush at the same time as the blower and while it might seem strange to be using a dryer before we've done the wash, this will help separate the fur and dislodge a lot of loose fur and make the washing process easier!
I recommend this blower because it's a good mix between price and performance, and you'll get the job done 10 times faster than using a hair dryer.
You can use a cheaper model however you won't get the control over the air speed and temperature, which is important if your Sammy doesn't really like being groomed. Having control over those elements of the blowing process can make it a lot more comfortable for the dog, and you can gradually increase the intensity of the air over time as they get more comfortable with the process.
If you've got multiple dogs or want to wash your Sammy more regularly then you might want to consider a professional grade grooming dryer. It'll provide better perofmance and should last longer too.
To make things easier for yourself use a grooming table and a leash so that the dog doesn't squirm too much or jump off the table all together.
Step 2: The Wash
In general it's easiest to stand your dog in a bath tub or large sink and use a host attachment to saturate the dogs fur. Use nice warm water and gently massage the water through so that it soaks down to the skin.
You might notice that it's actually quite challenging to get your dog truly saturated and this is yet another amazing feature of the Samoyed's coat.
If you're using a flexible hose wet their fut from the bottom up, holding the nozzle close to their skin so the water penetrates right to the skin rather than just rolling of the top.
Be methodical and ensure that the coat is nice and wet, especially in those hard to reach spots like where the legs join the body (the doggy arm pit).
Choose a shampoo which is recommended for dogs with long, double coats. You might even be able to find one which is good for dogs with white fur and get a bonus!
Once again be very methodical working from top to tail. Actually I recommend moving from tail to head purely because I like to minimise the amount of time that any shampoo will be near the eyes, nose and mouth. The shampoo you're using should be low irritant anyway, but nobody likes the sensation of having soap in their eyes even if it doesn't sting.
Use your hands and work the shampoo thoroughly through the fur and again down to the skin. You may need to apply some extra water here and there to get a really nice lather going as Sam's fur will dry off quite quickly!
Once he's all soapy, begin the rinse process in the same manner as before, this time starting from the head. We want to rinse away the soap from his head as quickly as possible, and rinsing from the top down will also ensure that you don't have to rinse the same area twice.
If you start rinsing the paws, they'll get all soapy again when you rinse his shoulders so let's not make the task any more time consuming than it needs to be.
Step 3: The Dry
Let the dog shake off some excess water before you start drying him yourself. I actually wait for him to shake about 5 or 6 times before I actually go to work drying him myself. He'll do a great job and shaking out about 80% of the water so not you just have to finish it off!
Use your high power blower again to blast the moisture out of the coat. Put the air on warm so he doesn't get cold.
If you don't have a blower and are using a hair dryer or similar you might like to towel him down first to remove even more excess moisture, however the hair dryer method will take a lot longer regardless.
Once the fur is almost dry you might like to use a brush at the same time as this will help to separate furs which are still stuck together from the water. Brush against the direction of the fur as this will ensure you dry all the way down to the skin and it'll also help the fur to stand up straighter and give them that super fluffy appearance!
Make things easier for yourself when using the dryer with a grooming table.
There are a few different styles but this version with the overhead grooming arm is especially clever.
It has a two-point leads so you can secure their head and tail which minimises the risk of them falling off the table and gives you more control while you're trying to get the blower into all those tricky spots.
That overhead arm also has multiple points to secure the harness so you can adjust it based on the size of your pup, or the position you want them in (i.e. sitting or standing).
They're pretty affordable but definitely worth the investment!
IMPORTANT: Make sure you dry your Samoyed completely so that none of the skin or fur is wet. Otherwise he'll develop skin irritations. Imagine having nappy rash all over your body! Do a thorough job so your Sammy stays happy!
Of course you can't wash your Sammy every time he gets a bit of dirt on him, so how do you keep him clean in between baths?
Regular brushing will help to remove a lot of dirt and dust that will dull the coat, but many people recommend using a light dusting of corn starch (basically talcum powder) to clear stains that can get into that glorious white fur.
Apply corn starch as needed across the coat and then use a brush to distribute evenly. Brush the fur until no corn start falls from the coat onto the ground. You should find that this will keep Sam looking bright white and smelling amazingf for longer!
Ahhh the joys of double coats. Your dog will shed his coat at least once a year (check with your breeder). This isn't just regular day to day shedding. I'm talking about seriously epic amounts of fur clumping up into giant tumbleweeds which spread throughout your home.
A pile of fur removed from a Samoyed.
The number of times and severity of this season molting is impacted by a variety of factors such as gender, age, and whether the dog has been desexed or not. However be prepared for at least one big seasonal shed (sometimes referred to as "blowing coat" as the weather warms up after winter.
During this period you'll need to increase the rate of brushing, and possibly use a slightly different brushing method in order to keep control of the amount of fur the dog is shedding around your home.
Use a metal comb with finely separated teeth which will help to lift out loose fur. NOTE: Make sure the comb you're using has rounded pins so they don't scrape the skin when they make contact!
These combs are cheap and have rounded pins for comfort!
Use your hand to hold down and separate the fur into sections, kind of like if you were trying to part someone's hair.
Comb the fur with firm, gentle pressure and you'll find that you can proactively remove a huge volume of fur from the coat and prevent unnecessary vacuuming (and general mayhem) in your home.
It will be next to impossible to completely stop shedding so a good quality lint brush should be on your list of essential items when owning a Samoyed.
Spinning Samoyed Fur
The copious amounts of fur aren't all bad news. If you collect it you can actually have it spun and turned into incredibly soft and warm rugs which have a texture similar to mohair, and because the fur doesn't smell and doesn't activate allergies it's something that anyone can enjoy during winter!
If you're interested to learn more about clothese made from Samoyed fur, then read our Complete Guide to Samoyed Fur Clothes.