The Samoyed has been identified as a basal breed that predates the emergence of the modern breeds in the 19th Century.It belongs to the spitz or northern dog group, specifically the laikas, a Eurasian dog type used for a variety of purposes, namely hunting, herding, guarding, and sledding. The Samoyed is descended from the Nenets herding laika, a dog that comes in not only white, but also a wider variety of colors. Like many breeds, the Samoyed was bred from a small number of founders (in this case, from Siberia).

Samoyeds were originally used for hunting, herding reindeer, and hauling sledges for the Samoyede people in Siberia. Fridtjof Nansen believed that the use of sled dogs was the only effective way to explore the north and used Samoyeds on his polar expeditions.

Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat. The topcoat contains long, coarse, and straight guard hairs, which appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. This top layer keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. The under layer, or undercoat, consists of a dense, soft, and short fur that keeps the dog warm. The undercoat typically sheds heavily once or twice a year, and this seasonal process is sometimes referred to as “blowing coat”. This does not mean the Samoyed will shed only during that time however; fine hairs (versus the dense clumps shed during seasonal shedding) will be shed all year round, and have a tendency to stick to cloth and float in the air. The standard Samoyed may come in a mixture of biscuit and white coloring, although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common. Males typically have larger ruffs than females. While this breed is touted as “hypoallergenic”, it does shed a fair amount and needs frequent grooming. While the breed may produce fewer allergens, care should be taken for severe allergies.