If you want sweet, beautiful, adorable, and weather-adaptive dogs as pets, then the Samoyed and Husky have to be high on your list. These Siberian dog breeds have various aptitudes. They are ideal as livestock, for hunting, or even pulling sleds. The Russian dogs are sturdy canines that can withstand the cold of the Russian winter.
So, which one should you choose between these two? The Samoyed or the Husky? In this article, we’ll bring the two Siberian dogs to a comparison and we will see how they both perform in terms of characteristics, character, health, among other criteria. First, we’ll see the story behind the Samoyed and its characteristics and needs, in case you would like to adopt or buy one.
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Distinguished by its magnificent white fur and typical “smile”, the Samoyed is an ancient dog native to Siberia. Very sociable, cheerful, and affectionate, this splendid Nordic is a seasoned athlete who needs large spaces and a dynamic and available family.
History of the Samoyed
The origin of the Samoyed cuts deep into time as it dates back more than three millennia.
This powerful and courageous Spitz accompanied a nomadic people, the Samoyeds, during their migrations in Western Siberia.
The Samoyed was used to keep and lead reindeer herds in freezing temperatures. Robust, it was also used for drafts. A very good family dog, it occupied the tents of its masters, providing them warmth and company.
The English used the Samoyed during their polar expeditions in the Arctic around 1880. In 1890, the first Samoyeds were imported to Great Britain where breeding began.
The first breed standard was written in 1909 and the club was created in 1920. First attributed to the English, the paternity of the breed will definitively return to Siberia under the control of the Nordic Kennel Union. Breeds will be created in the United States from 1906.
Physical characteristics of the Samoyed
The Samoyed is a medium-sized dog with an elegant, flexible and muscular physique. Its back is broad and muscular. Its chest ample and well let down.
The head is wedge-shaped, the skull slightly convex and the stop very marked. The nose is black and the Samoyed “smile” is so characteristic.
Its eyes, surrounded by black, are slanting and dark brown. The ears are small, pointed, and slightly rounded. The tail is long and very bushy, carried curved forward and falling to the side.
Its size ranges from 57 to 60 cm for the male, from 53 to 56 cm for the female.
The weight ranges from 20 to 30 kg for the male, and from 17 to 25 kg for the female.
Its coat is abundant, thick, and supple. There’s the presence of a soft undercoat. The colors are pure white, cream or white, and biscuit.
This magnificent Spitz is wonderfully soft and affectionate. A tireless playmate, it is an accomplice and friendly with children.
Very close to its masters, the Samoyed nevertheless has a fairly independent character. Its kindness and its natural sociability do not make it a watchdog but it can warn its owners in case of a threat.
It is sometimes stubborn and its training requires patience, kindness, and consistency. The Samoyed needs available trainers, who know how to stimulate it mentally and physically because, despite its independence, it does not tolerate prolonged periods of solitude.
An excellent athlete, this Nordic dog naturally indulges in draft sports such as sledding, canivtt, or even karting, but also in other sports such as agility and cani-rando.
The Samoyed is a very robust dog with high longevity. It tolerates the cold very well. Its sublime fur with silvery reflections requires very regular maintenance.
It should therefore be brushed frequently and especially during molts where the amount of dead hair may be really much. Its average life expectancy is 12 years.
The Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is the beauty of the far North. It has been in fashion for several years, especially on the internet. The sublime two-tone fur and their beautiful blue eyes that stand out from their mask, make them look like wild wolves. The word “husky” means “hoarse” in the language of the Chukchi, reminiscent of the sound produced by their barking.
Siberian Husky Physical characteristics
The Siberian Husky has been used as a working dog for decades, especially because of its medium size which makes it skillful in many ways. Its size betrays a flawless balance. Coupled with a somewhat compact body, this makes it a powerful, fast, and enduring sled dog.
Its musculature is firm and well developed, without excess mass. Its Nordic heredity is particularly noticeable on its tail that looks brushed and sickle-shaped.
Its triangular ears are medium in size, set high on the head, and close together. They point to the sky. Her almond-shaped eyes are closely spaced and slightly slanted. The standard accepts the color brown and blue, as well as heterochromia.
Heterochromia is relatively common in the husky: it is this physical characteristic that allows the dog to have one eye of one color and one eye of another color.
Its coat is thick and relatively long, but it should not hide the shapes of the animal. All the natural colors of its coat are allowed, from black to white, including brown, as well as all the shapes that may appear on her mask, unique to the breed.
A husky size ranges between 50 and 60cm depending on its sex and weighs between 15 and 28kg.
Origins and history of the Siberian Husky
As its name suggests, the Siberian husky is originally from Siberia. It appeared 2000 years ago to the Chukchi people. These people lived near the basin of the Kolyma River, in the east of present-day Russia.
The tribe being isolated from the rest of the world, and following a strict dog breeding, the husky has not stopped improving. The Chukchi kept aggressive dogs out of breeding, which ended up producing a dog ideal for sledging and defending homes and property, as well as being playful with children. These dogs were entirely part of the family and lived in the same homes as the men.
Legend has it that the husky was born from a night of love between a wolf and the moon. Its appearance is similar to the wild dog, and its tail is reminiscent of a crescent moon. Still according to legend, if huskies and wolves howl on full moon nights, it is to ask it to come back down to Earth.
One of the first contacts with the outside world will be 1909 All Alaska Sweepstakes race. Nine huskies will be brought there by a Russian merchant to complete the 653km race. Although the dogs were smaller than normal, they finished 3rd.
A Scotsman, impressed by such performance and resistance, imported about sixty to drive 3 different sleds to the race the following year. They finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th.
In 1925, a diphtheria epidemic struck a small Alaskan village, Nome. It is several teams of huskies that will deliver the antidotes. This led to the dogs being considered national heroes.
The breed was recognized 5 years later by the American Kennel Club. The Siberian Husky Club of America was founded in 1938.
Siberian Husky Physical characteristics and health
Following centuries of controlled breeding, the husky is a solid breed. Like all dogs, it is prone to parasites (fleas and ticks), which can be difficult to find among dogs with medium hairs.
Its health is exceptional and the breed is not linked to any specific chronic disease. Hip dysplasia, a common problem in dogs, is relatively mild in huskies. Cataracts are noticed in less than 20% of huskies, although they are of controlled origin.
This disease, when observed, affects very little the field of vision of the dog, who will live a healthy life without problem after sterilization. A rare form of cataract is much more aggressive, progressing so quickly that it can make a dog blind as young as 2 years old.
Also at eye level, the husky can be prone to glaucoma, especially in lines specially bred for racing. This glaucoma can be painful and reduce the animal’s vision. Upstream detection is preferable.
Finally, a husky may experience corneal dystrophy. The dog gradually loses its vision from around 7 years old. Some huskies can even experience severe, and progressive, atrophy of the retina. Again, this is far from affecting all dogs.
The disease is of genetic origin, and the strict selection of breeders has significantly reduced the number of cases within the breed.
Although very rare, it is still a good idea to have your dog’s eyes tested, however. Especially since the majority of possible problems are related to it. The average life expectancy is around 13 years.
Character and aptitudes of the Husky
The husky is known for its kindness and gentleness. On the other hand, it tends to run away. It does not become furiously attached to someone and does not distrust anyone.
Without very irresponsible breeding or education, the husky is not at all aggressive. It will be jovial with everyone it meets. Even if it loves its master, it will claim certain independence.
To avoid these runaways, it will have to be educated before its six months. It should not go for a walk alone, for example.
It is still used as a sled dog, but in Europe, it is primarily a companion dog. Make sure you understand its temperaments before you embark on adoption. It is one of a kind. As the husky is a pack dog, it does not tolerate loneliness very well. This is what makes it run away most of the time. Leave it alone for a few hours and it will get bored very quickly.
When a husky is bored, it often means broken furniture and knickknacks. It needs to be occupied. If you are often absent, it would be good to abstain from adopting it, unless you are adopting a couple.
Samoyed vs Husky: a side-by-side comparison
|Other names||Samoiedskaïa Sabaka||Husky Sibe, Chukcha|
|Dog type||Nordic sled spitz dog|
|Size||from 57 to 60 cm for the male, from 53 to 56 cm for the female||from 50 to 56 cm for female, from 54 to 60 cm for males|
|Weight||From 20 to 30 kg for the male, from 17 to 25 kg for the female.||from 16 to 23 kg for the female, from 20 to 27 kg for the male|
|Coat||Abundant, thick, and supple with a soft undercoat.||dense and finely wavy undercoat with longer, thicker, and straight guard topcoat|
|Life expectancy||12 to 14 years||12 to 15 years|
The Samoyed tolerates the heat. But be careful during winter periods not to overheat the house and in particular the apartment if it does not have a garden to cool off. It should not be forgotten that this rustic old dog lived in the arctic.
The husky is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful breeds of dogs. Its beautiful blue eyes would crack any person who met their gaze. Heterochromia is also fascinating, making this dog a unique being, both physically and psychologically.