Conformation / Obedience / Agility / Pet Therapy / Sledding / Flyball

Skijoring / Herding / Pack Hiking / Weight Pulling / Working Dog Titles


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Activities You Can Do 
With Your Samoyed

The Samoyed is one of the most versatile dog breeds around so there are many activities you can do together.  Some show their dogs in competition, others sled, and some are interested in learning how to spin Samoyed fur into yarn.

Regardless of your current interest in Samoyeds, you may want to expand the number of activities you currently enjoy with your Sam.  Hopefully, you can get some ideas here of the many different activities that are available for you and your dogs to enjoy together.


American Kennel Club (AKC) sanctioned dog shows are the forum for exhibiting all of the AKC recognized breeds.  In each breed's ring, a judge determines a Best of Breed (BOB), a Best of Opposite Sex to the Best of Breed (BOS), a Winners Dog (WD), a Reserve Winners Dog (RWD), a Winners Bitch (WB), and a Reserve Winners Bitch (RWB).  These placements are made on the judge's subjective assessment of each dog and bitch entered and how closely each exhibit matches the breed standard, the characteristics of the breed.  When a dog obtains 15 points including two 3-5 point majors, the dog becomes a champion.


The AKC also has sanctioned obedience shows in conjunction to most all-breed conformation shows.  For the dog owner who wants to take basic obedience with his AKC or ILP-registered dog one step further, obedience competition may be just the ticket.  Dog and handler do not compete against other teams of dogs and handlers.  Instead, they perform basic obedience commands as error-free as possible in order to gain the highest scores on the required exercises.  The team with the fewest mistakes wins the highest score.

To complete an obedience title, dogs must attain three qualifying scores, called legs.  There are several different levels of obedience titles.  Each higher level requires more difficult exercises for the dog and handler to achieve.  The levels are: Novice, Open and Utility.  For the dog owner who only wants a well-behaved dog, most kennel clubs, Parks and Recreation departments, and many humane societies offer basic obedience classes that teach your dog how to heel on leash, sit, lay down, stay, and come on verbal command.  These classes are also good for helping novice dog owners with dogs who have bad manners, such as barking and jumping on people.


This is an activity that Samoyeds dearly love.  It's obedience with a twist. (Isn't that the way most Samoyeds go through their obedience routines.) 

Agility training and competition is a team effort between handler and dog.  The handler verbally directs the dog through a series of obstacles, such as jumping through tires, jumping over bars, walking across balance beams, scaling an A-frame, running through tunnels, weaving through poles, a down-stay on a table, etc.  The goal is to complete the obstacle course in the correct order, with the fewest performance errors, in the least amount of time. 

Pet Therapy

If your dog is a Canine Good Citizen, there are many ways you and your dog can volunteer in society.  There is are two primary organizations called Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and Delta Society that tests dogs to see if they are suitable for volunteer therapy work in rest homes and hospitals.  The test requires that the dog be comfortable around wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches, be calm around elderly people and young children, and be reliably obedient to voice commands.  More and more, the medical field is acknowledging that pet therapy is helpful for people.  In some cases, people respond to dogs where they won't respond to people.

Sledding / Carting

This activity is for the Samoyed owner who has several Sams (or several friends who own Sams). This activity requires a sled for snow (or a cart in warmer climates), a gangline to attach the dogs to the sled, and harnesses to attach the dogs to the gangline.  When you first begin training, it must be in a controlled environment.  Sammies love to run, and may not respond to verbal commands.  It is recommended that dogs wear buckle collars to keep from being strangled with a slip collar.  Until the dogs learn and respond to the verbal commands reliably, additional trainers can control the dogs by running along side the team with leads attached to the buckle collars.  If you like competition, many of the states in colder / snowier regions offer competitive dog sled races.  Excursion sledding is the  same as sledding / carting, only it is strictly recreational involving no racing.


This is another activity that Samoyeds enjoy.  Flyball is a relay race for a team of Samoyeds.  The object is for the Sams to run, one at a time, in a straight line over low jumps to the flyball box.  The Sam pounces on the spring which pops a tennis ball into the dog's mouth.  The dog then returns the ball back to the starting line and the next Sam in the relay team makes his run.  This continues until all the dogs on the team have completed their run.  the team that completes the relay run first, wins.  Several heats are run and the team with the best overall time wings, in this case.  


If you like to ski and your dog likes to pull in harness, this may be the activity for you and your dog.  A gangline with a bungee attaches the dog in hardness to the handler who is on cross country skis.  Similar commands are used to guide and direct the dog in skijoring as are used in guiding and directing a sled team.


There are herding instinct tests to determine where or not your Samoyed has the inclination to herd stock animals.  The ancestors of the modern-day Samoyed were used to herd reindeer.  If you are truly serious about your training you Sam to be a stock herding dog, the AKC has a series of herding events where you and your dog can compete for herding titles.

Pack Hiking

For those people who enjoy hiking with their dogs in the great outdoors, but don't like to carry all the supplies in their backpacks, there's another option.  Your dog can be equipped with his own pack and carry up to 25% of his weight in supplies, such as food, water, clothing, etc.

Weight Pulling

Weight pull competitions require that your dog be in excellent physical condition.  Depending on the location of the competition, dogs will pull carts or sleds loaded with weights a specified distance.  After each successful pull, more weight is added to the cart.  Some Samoyeds have been known to pull up to 20 times their own weight.


Working Dog Titles

(Reprinted in part from the Samoyed Club of America (SCA) Bulletin, At Your Service, 1995)


  • To encourage Samoyed owners to provide opportunities for their dogs to work in the many ways in which Samoyeds are capable of providing physical service, and thereby enable dogs and owners to know the joy and honor of working together. 

  • To provide certification at accelerating levels for those Samoyeds who perform these task. 

  • To encourage those Samoyed owners who do not exhibit in conformation shows to work with their dogs, and by means of these activities find benefit in taking part in the SCA.

Types of Work in Earning Degrees:

  • Sled Racing

  • Weight Pull

  • Packing

  • Sled Excursion

  • Skijoring

  • Herding

  • Therapy

  • Special work, such as retrieving, search and rescue, seeing eye, hearing ear, assistance, and the like shall be considered by special application to the working dog degree committee on an individual basis.

With any type of strenuous exercise or training, remember, it's a good idea for both you and your dog to gradually work yourselves into good physical condition prior to doing all-out in any of these physically demanding activities, such as sledding, skijoring, pack hiking, and weight pulling.

(last modified 5/98)

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