The Samoyed dog
(pronounced with the accent on the first or second syllable) is named for the Samoyed (people)
, who were nomadic reindeer herders who bred the fluffy, white, smiling dogs to help with the herding, to pull sleds when they moved, and to keep them warm at night by sleeping on top of them. The Samoyeds, as a separate people, disappeared after their territory became part of the Soviet Union
, but by then Arctic explorers had brought enough of the Samoyed dogs back to Europe to establish the breed there and in the U.S. The breed is often nicknamed
The Smiley Dog because they usually to have a permanent smiling look that appears they are pleased to see everyone.
The dogs are still sled pullers (most famously in the Iditarod) but are seldom used for herding anymore, and they are too friendly to be good watch dogs -- they are as likely to lick a burglar's face as to scare him off on purpose (although 50 or 60 pounds of strange dog lunging for his face often has that effect), but there is no better dog to have around small children or even other dogs.
All Wikipedia text
is available under the
terms of the GNU Free Documentation License