Puppies:  A Buyer’s Guide

The Samoyed


If you have decided that you want a Samoyed puppy, we would like to help you find one that was responsibly-bred and responsibly-raised.  We want to help you avoid inadvertently supporting “puppy mills” — high-volume operations where dogs are bred indiscriminately, suffer neglect, and puppies are denied the kind of loving care that provides a foundation for a healthful life.  We want to guide you toward those breeders whose puppies are the progeny of sires and dams who were properly health-tested.   We want you, your puppy and the Samoyed breed to benefit from the exhaustive efforts of Samoyed fanciers whose bottom-line is the healthiest possible environment for Samoyeds for the entirety of their lives.

A responsibly-bred and responsibly-raised Samoyed puppy will, by definition, never be available for purchase in a retail pet store.  You also should take great care to avoid the Internet-equivalent of puppy-retailing pet stores.  No responsible breeder would advertise puppies for sale on Craigslist.  There are also slick-looking websites where you can have the instant gratification of buying a puppy with ease.  They will get you a puppy faster, but their indiscriminate breeding practices, poor-care and crowded facilities are just as deplorable as the old-fashioned, puppy-selling strip-mall retail pet store.     

Hallmarks of Responsible Breeders

PVSC does not endorse specific breeders but we can help guide you in making an informed decision.  

Fundamentals of responsible breeding include:  1) health tests performed on the sire and dam prior to breeding, with the results publicly viewable on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website;  2) post-natal care emphasizing high-quality nutrition, socialization, exercise and cognitive stimulation3) requiring that  buyers sign a contract which includes certain stipulations, including that the puppy be returned to the breeder if at any point in the dog’s life the buyer is unable to care for them, and;  4) providing prospective buyers with a 3-generation pedigree that allows them to research the puppy’s lineage.

Responsible breeders are distinguished not just by their puppies’ pedigree, but also by how they care for the puppies during the weeks they are in their care (which should be for at least eight weeks after they are born).  Are the puppies being raised in the breeder’s home, where they benefit from frequent human contact and the sensory experiences of a household?  At what age are the puppies being weaned and what are they being fed afterward?  How sanitary is their situation?  What kind of veterinary care will they receive and what vaccinations? These are some of the questions for which you will want the answers.

You should be able to visit the premises, talk with the breeder in person and meet the dam and puppies.  Be aware that it is common for the sire to not be on the premises because he may live with a different family.  In any event, you need to learn as much as you can about the health and temperament of the dam and sire because these factors affect their puppies.   

Health Testing

Responsible breeders have the sire and dam undergo certain health tests that are certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and then publicly viewable on the OFA website.  Before you seriously consider any puppy from any breeder, you should see the puppy’s pedigree and search the OFA website for the health test results of that puppy’s dam and sire, grandparents and great grandparents.  It is also desirable to know test results of aunts and uncles.   

Samoyed testing currently focuses on three areas:  hips, eyes, heart.  Hips:  according to the Samoyed Club of America (SCA), prior to breeding the sire and dam should be evaluated via a hip radiograph (x-ray) submitted to OFA or PennHip.  Hip dysplasia is an inherited, polygenic disease in which the ball and socket joint is malformed.  It can be extremely painful and debilitating.  Early onset hip dysplasia can present in young dogs, usually after four months of age.  Symptoms can present later in the dog’s life, due to osteoarthritis.  Eyes:  SCA advises that all Samoyeds who are going to be bred should have their eyes tested annually, by a veterinary ophthalmologist.  SCA also advises that all Samoyeds who are going to be bred should also undergo the genetic screens for x-linked progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia/OSDCardiac:  SCA advises that, prior to breeding, all sires and dams be evaluated by a veterinary cardiologist to minimize the risk of passing on congenital cardiac abnormalities to their offspring.

“CHIC” Number & Report

Sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) is a database resource which participating breed clubs, including the Samoyed Club of America (SCA), support to assist in establishing protocols for breed-specific health screening and recognizing dogs tested in accordance with these protocols.  A Samoyed is issued a “CHIC number” after all the Samoyed-specific test results are entered into the database and if the dog owner allows the results to be made public.  The collective CHIC data is provided quarterly to the relevant parent breed club (for Samoyeds that is SCA).

Issuance of a “CHIC number” does not mean that the dog’s test results were good (i.e. “normal”).  The CHIC number means only that the tests were performed and are public.  In addition, the dog must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo.   Simultaneous to the issuance of the CHIC number, a CHIC report will be released consolidating the test results, the dog’s age when the tests were performed and the test results.  These test results are invaluable to puppy buyers and can be accessed on the CHIC website by using its multi-faceted search function.

The “CHIC-testing” regimen for Samoyeds currently entails the following exams:

  1. Eyes - by a boarded ACVO opthalmologist.  Dog must be at least 1 year old and the test must be performed every year.

  2. Hips - OFA, OVC or PennHIP evaluation

  3. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (X-Linked PRA) DNA test

  4. Cardiac evaluation - congenital cardiac exam by canine cardiologist

  5. Retinal Dysplasia (RD)/Occulo Skeletal Dysplasia (OSD) - Optigen DNA test for RD/OSD with results registered with OFA.

Protect Samoyeds -- Be a Responsible Puppy Buyer

By being a responsible puppy buyer (i.e. obtaining your puppy from a responsible and conscientious breeder) you will be a key part of the ongoing effort to improve the health of the breed.  And you will be helping save individual Samoyeds from the abuse of indiscriminate breeding. 

If you would like to discuss this subject with a representative of Potomac Valley Samoyed Club, we welcome your attendance at a club event.  You can also contact PVSC’s Information Officer, Janice Lynch.


Orthopedic Foundation
 for Animals   (OFA)http://www.offa.org/

Hip Dysplasiahttp://www.offa.org/hd_info.html
Genetics of 
Inherited Eye Diseasehttp://www.offa.org/eye_genetics.html

and Worminghttp://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2115&aid=960

Dr. Karen Becker: 

BEFORE you Bring Your
Puppy homehttp://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/04/02/5-steps-to-welcome-new-dog.aspx?utm_source=petsnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160402Z1&et_cid=DM101469&et_rid=1425066035

for Samoyedshttp://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=SA


Canine Genome

What is the
Canine Genome?http://research.nhgri.nih.gov/dog_genome/info_for_dog_owners/primer.shtml

Heart Diseasehttp://www.ofa.org/cardiac_about.html

Puppy Stages

Your Puppyhttp://www.petmd.com/dog/puppycenter/potty-training/evr_dg_crate_training_for_puppies

Whole Dog

Puppy Culturehttps://www.puppyculture.com/index.html

Dr. Jean Dodds’ 


Timing Puppy Vaccinationshttp://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/post/78666367482/maternal-antibodies-vaccines#.VzHylSjWxS9


The Puppy Chronicles: 

One Litter, 
In Real-Timehttp://www.potomacvalleysams.com/Samoyed_Puppies.html

Pet Insurance?https://www.avma.org/public/petcare/pages/pet-insurance.aspx


@ 7 weeks