Living With An Allergy-Friendly Dog: Our Samoyed
I’ve waited until our Samoyed, Indy, is about 18 months old before writing this post so I could give a proper reflection on what owning a Samoyed is like. I had not even seen a Samoyed before we got Indy, and even though I had owned a dog before, every dog is different and they all need different care.
Here are a few pics of Indy from the day we brought him home. He has only just arrived so he looks a little confused. He eventually went to sleep in that position next to the fridge. Like most puppies, they stay this size for a nanosecond. I honestly can’t even remember holding him at that size, that’s how short it was.
Good Things About Samoyeds:
- They don’t smell, they are devoid of typical doggy odour.
- Their breath doesn’t stink, so when they open their mouth and smile, stick their tongue out and breathe all over you, it’s not so gross.
- Despite all the fur, they are pretty much self cleaning and don’t need to be bathed all that often (once or twice a year, or just hosed down if they get all muddy). They don’t need as much grooming as you might think. (A good brush once a week works for us).
- They are very friendly and don’t have an aggressive bone in their body, so great for children (but not very small children, as they are quite a big dog and very boisterous).
- They are perfectly happy to sleep outside. Many people say they love people so much they can’t bear to be away from them, but keep them outside from very early on and they will have no trouble feeling comfortable with that. When we brought Indy home he howled for 2 nights outside then we never heard a peep from him again.
- They talk to you a lot. You can have entire conversations with a Samoyed.
- When the Samoyed blows coat (loses the undercoat), you can save this fur and have it cleaned and spun into yarn for knitting!
- Despite their size, they don’t eat a great deal more than a smaller dog.
- They love kisses and cuddles.
- Finally, their fur is hypoallergenic, so people with mild pet hair allergies can cope with them. Tim gets hayfever-like symptoms from most dogs and cats, but has never had a reaction to Indy (or his fur being on his clothes).
Slightly Not-So-Good Things About Samoyeds:
- They do like to talk, which although is usually a lot of grumbling, it means they do like a good bark too. They don’t really bark for the sake of it though, they are usually trying to say something. It can be very annoying when you’re having a cuddle and they decide to bark right in your ear, which really hurts. You need to work on this in training from an early age.
- They are quite independent, so training can be hard. You can see their mind ticking over thinking “Why would I want to sit? I’m perfectly happy standing. No I don’t think I will sit, but thanks for asking.” They do ignore commands sometimes and just do what they want. In saying that, they are moderately good at training – not hopeless, but not working dog standard.
- They leave a LOT of fur around, especially in the car, and your washing machine and vacuum cleaner will be full of it. You will need to buy lint rollers in bulk. Luckily for us, none of it sticks to our lounge! Carpets and floors are usually okay too, but clothes will be covered in it. Indy loves to squeeze himself between my knees whenever I am wearing black leggings, and he never does it at any other time. He just knows..
- Like a child, you might have a few dirty bums to clean – if they get an upset stomach and have runny poop, some of it will get on the fur. It’s easily fixed though, you just let it dry then brush it out or snip it off with hair scissors.
- Indy had trouble blowing his first undercoat and it got all matted in the new fur. When they blow the coat it is good to increase the frequency of brushes, but since Indy didn’t blow it properly we missed the ‘signs’ (should have been lumps of fur coming out) and left it too late. We’ve been gradually combing and cutting out the knots and although this is tedious, it can happen with any medium to long haired breed.
Overall, Samoyeds make a wonderful family pet. People I know with other breeds that appear low maintenance actually spend every week bathing them, their floors and furniture are covered in hair, and everything the dog touches stinks. This is not the case with a Samoyed and while they are not ‘no care’ they certainly aren’t as high maintenance as their appearance would lead you to believe.