Samoyeds are active, playful, social, and usually friendly. Along with their dense coat, these traits made them natural sled dogs and reindeer herders. However, this athleticism means they need plenty of physical and mental stimulation, including participating in dog sports such as sled or cart racing, packing, skijoring (where a dog pulls a skier), agility, flyball, and obedience as sport. Because of their social nature, Samoyeds are usefulness in animal-assisted therapy. Although Samoyeds have been described as stubborn, this can be avoided by using motivational tools such as treats and favorite toys in reward-based obedience training. Their reputation as a good family dog means Samoyeds can be around children; however, as with all dogs, extremely close supervision is needed to prevent accidental injury to the child or dog and to avoid the dog's subsequently developing fear-based defensive aggression.
The Samoyed was developed by the Samoyedic people of Siberia. They are a long established breed which recent studies have placed among the fourteen most ancient breeds in existence. The Samoyed was developed by nomadic herders to pull sleds and herd reindeer. They were first introduced to England by Robert Scott in 1889. It was in England that the breed's modern traits were developed. The Samoyed was finally introduced to the United States in 1906 when Russia's Grand Duke Nicholas presented one of the dogs as a gift to the United States; the Samoyed was recognized by the American Kennel Club the very same year. Their reputation as sled pullers is unmatched and a team of Samoyeds led Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen on his journey to the South Pole in 1911. Samoyeds are sometimes called "The Smiley Dog," because they seem to have a permanent smile on their face. The breed is no longer used to herd and they are rarely used in sled pulling, as they have been supplanted by breeds like the Alaskan Husky which have been specifically developed for the task.