Grooming a Samoyed can be done by you or it can be done by a pro, but it must be done, and it must be done in a timely fashion. These are high-maintenance dogs, and keeping their coats clean is required for their health and well-being. Weekly or even near-daily brushings are essential. You should be prepared to make sure this will always be done. On this page, you will learn many tips about grooming your Sammy.
Although Samoyed grooming is simple in description, it can be time-consuming in practice. Learning how to groom a Samoyed is all about combing and brushing so as to keep the coat clean, free of tangles and easy to bathe. The thick double-coat is nothing to tangle with, yet it must be done properly. It also helps distribute the natural oils, massages the skin for healthy blood circulation and allows for inspection and extraction of any little critters. Along with the typical Samoyed grooming tools such as combs and slicker brushes, you should have a de-tangler spray to prevent coat damage.
Learning how to groom Samoyeds also includes what not to do, and the number one rule is to never shave a Sammy unless it is an emergency. Their coats help to regulate the dog's temperature and prevent skin damage and diseases, and shaving it can be bad.
When it comes to grooming these dogs, it's all about Samoyed brushing. This is what needs to be done a few times weekly if not daily. There's no single Samoyed brush, either, and you should buy at least three basic, high-quality types of brushing tools: a slicker (or pin brush), a comb and a shedding blade. You should also get a good de-tangler for the inevitable mats and tangles. You should avoid rakes as they damage dense doggy double-coats.
Because of the nature of the Sammy's soft coat, one of the best brushes is the Chris Christensen Slicker Brush. With this, you can get the dead hairs out and the topmost dirt off and help fluff out the coat. Then the fur can be combed to get out the mats, tangles and deeper debris. One of the best combs is the All Systems Ultimate Metal Comb.
To get your Sammy's coat looking its best, here are some tips for brushing and combing:
Mist the entire coat with de-tangler
- Get any obvious tangles or mats out with your fingers
- Start with the slicker
- Go to the comb
- Last is the shedding blade
- Have a large trash bag or barrel for the hair
- Brush from the coat outward
- Don't forget to brush under the tail
- Expect severe matting during puppy-to-adult coat
- Have a treat for when it's complete!
Tangles or mats in your Samoyed's coat can be quite a headache. These dogs shed regularly (and profusely during shedding season), and tangles often develop when dead hairs from the undercoat become entangled with the outer coat. So the first defense against Samoyed tangles: consistent brushing!
Another way to avoid tangles is to not let them develop in the first place--which is why many Samoyed owners use de-shedding tools on their dogs. The tool's fine sharp teeth reach down into the undercoat to grab any dead hairs. Use a de-shedding tool weekly for most of the year, and once every day or two during shedding season. With a tool like a Furminator, Samoyed dogs will shed much less--and therefore the coat is less likely to tangle.
The problem with de-shedding tools is that they often remove healthy hairs along with the dead ones, which can make the coat look uneven. So if your Samoyed's coat does have a tangle, the best way to remove it is with your fingers. Doing so is more difficult than using scissors or your de-shedding tool, but it's the preferred method because it's less damaging to the coat. Simply separate the hairs using your thumbs and forefingers, going strand by strand if necessary; you can spray the tangle beforehand with de-tangling solution if you like. For extra-stubborn tangles, you can use scissors to cut them in half (or even fourths) to start the untangling process.
Bathing your Samoyed is something you should do once every 4-6 weeks, if she gets visibly dirty, or if she is having a coat blowout. It should be noted that she may appear clean, but it is not unusual for a Samoyed to be a bit dirtier than she looks. There's more to bathing these dogs than merely selecting a good Samoyed shampoo.
Place a non-slip mat in the tub and a cover for the drain so it doesn't clog. Use a detangling spray over the entire coat and then brush it. Now put some cotton balls carefully into the ears. Next, a gentle rinse to get a lot of the dirt out. Make sure there are no mats or tangles. Brush them out if possible or cut them if they are difficult. Such knots tend to harden once wet, and they will cause problems afterward if allowed to remain.
Use only a good de-tangling, dog-only shampoo. The head and face should be done with a damp cloth so the soap doesn't get in her eyes. The main bathing is easy, but the rinsing after needs to completely wash out all the shampoo. If you have an extendable shower head or a hose with a strong spray feature, this is best.
Don't rush the drying process. It has a few steps and may take a while. A large, heavy towel over her will help soak up a lot of water while you use a second towel to get her head, legs, tail, and belly. If you want to blow-dry the coat, set it no higher than warm. Brushing while blow-drying can speed up the process.
Samoyed tear stains are perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of grooming. The white coat will register tear stains very quickly, and if the stains are spread — through licking — then there may be a health problem. It's always best to have a vet diagnose this, but there are some things you can do to lessen or perhaps even resolve tear stains.
Try a grain-free diet, and replace plastic water bowels with metal ones or even a large water dripper. Use filtered water instead tap water. Check for eyelash or eyelid problems, as this may affect the tear ducts. If the staining is yellow or brown and there is a bad smell, it may be a yeast infection. If the staining is red, it may be a genetic condition and can be triggered by too much iron in the diet or an environmental factor.
As for trimming your Samoyed's nails, this should be done when you hear them clicking loudly on the floor or sidewalk. Not doing so may cause pain and injury, so be sure to have them trimmed by a pro or learn how to do so yourself. There are many steps in trimming your Sammy's nails. Watching a pro can help you learn. Be surety know all about the quick and what to do if you happen to cut into it. Finally, look into a grinder if you are uncomfortable with nail clippers.
There are no formally accepted haircuts for Samoyeds. Unless it's a medical emergency, they should never be shaved. A shaved Samoyed not only looks bizarre but can quickly allow the dog to be sunburned, to overheat (the coat regulates the dog's temperature) and cuts that cause infections. Samoyed shaved coat pictures may look funny, but they are no laughing matter.
The Sammy Cottonball is perhaps the one haircut for Samoyeds. The effect is to make the body all the more, well, cottony. Carefully trimming the feathering on the rear legs (called the "hocks") works to great effect. Trimming the hair on the tail underside is not so much for the visual effect as for health, as it keeps debris from collecting in the fur. You can go just a wee bit further and also trim the tops and bottoms of the feet. This too, is to keep debris from easily collecting on top of the feet as well as for allowing better traction on non-carpeted floors.
You can easily learn to trim your Sammy. You should pick a calm place, a sturdy table and a rounded pair of dog-trimming scissors. Always cut parallel to the dog's body, and be prepared for her to want to play with the scissors or to make sudden movements. Never let the tips of the scissors (or trimmers) disappear into the fur. And always have a treat ready for when the trimming is done so she'll know that good behavior results in doggy treats!