It’s officially summer time now, but you can’t help but feel over it already. You prefer the colder weather, which is why you decided to get a Samoyed in the first place. You’re already envisioning winter days with inches of snow covering the ground, the kids outside being pulled on a sled dog by your Sammy. Can this ever become a reality? Of course! This is the best winter sport in our family. You could find their sled video at the end of this post.

With the sled dog nature of Samoyeds, they can absolutely pull your children around on a sled. It’s in their instincts and their DNA. This breed is also adept at scootering and skijoring, two more outdoor activities you might consider for the whole family.

Wait, what’s scootering? And skijoring? You’ve never even heard of that before. Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll elaborate on all the fun your Samoyed and your kids can engage in together. You’ll soon be dreaming of winter! check out another post talking about how to take care of samoyed in the wintertime. 

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Are Samoyeds Sled Dogs?

Dogs receive differentiations all the time based on their skills and abilities. For instance, on another blog, we’ve discussed the differences between guard dogs and watchdogs. In an only semi-related vein, certain breeds get referred to as sled dogs.

What is a sled dog? These canines were first utilized centuries ago to guide us, humans, in exploring the frozen tundra around us. Sled dogs were instrumental in the success of the gold rush in Alaska. They also let people better understand the north and south poles, which were both previously unexplored. With the guidance of these dogs, the world became a more well-defined place.

In parts of the world like Greenland and some areas of Canada and Alaska, residents keep modern-day sled dogs. While their exploring and discovering days may have passed, today’s sled dogs will race. Pups like these have competed in the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod Trail. While most people are familiar with the Iditarod Trail, the Yukon Quest is an international sled dog race that spans a thousand miles. That’s quite a commitment for these sled dogs, but they don’t even break a sweat.

Wherever in the world, it’s cold, there’s a need for sled dogs, or at least there was at one time. This includes Antarctica, Alaska, parts of North America, Greenland, and, of course, Siberia.

Which dogs would one consider sled dogs? Only certain breeds can live up to the responsibilities of this job. They need layers of thick, fluffy fur to protect themselves from the biting cold that can sometimes dip down well into the negatives. If you remember from this blog, it’s not unheard of for it to reach -60 degrees Fahrenheit in Siberia.

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So which dog breeds make the cut? Here’s a list:

  • Siberian Husky
  • Greenland Dog
  • Chinook
  • Canadian Eskimo Dog
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Alaskan Husky
  • Samoyed

In some instances, St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Irish Setters, and even some breeds of Poodle have done sled dog duties. That does not make them sled dogs, though. These breeds aren’t acclimated to the cold weather; therefore, they couldn’t consistently endure it.

There are two very well-known and beloved sled dogs that achieved household-name status. The first, Balto, was bred by Leonhard Seppala and owned by Gunnar Kaasen in the 1920s. Balto, a Siberian Husky, did amazing work. He had a diphtheria serum he had to transport to save lives, and indeed he did.

Seppala also had another sled dog to his name, Togo. A second Siberian husky, Togo also led an antitoxin for diphtheria with a team of 150 other dogs. His work is known as the Serum Run or the Great Race of Mercy and occurred in the mid-1920s as well.

Samoyeds, who are very much sled dogs, are in great company, then!

What Other Cold Weather Activities Can the Kids Enjoy with the Dog?

Okay, so it’s well-established that a Samoyed is a sled dog. If you’re thinking ahead to wintertime thrills, how will your dog and the kids have mountains of fun? There are many ways, so let’s cover them now.

Sledding

You bought a vintage sled with a wooden base and shiny metal legs. You’ve attached a pull rope to it. Now you get to surprise your kids with your thoughtful gift. Once your Samoyed sees the kids awaiting a run around the yard on their sled, your pup will be more than happy to oblige.

If you recall from this blog, Samoyeds also have a past of herding animals like reindeer. You might find your dog herding the children as well, pointing them in certain directions your Samoyed wants them to go. If this situation doesn’t turn aggressive, then you can let your dog do its thing. They’re just acting on their heritage, after all.

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Scootering

If your kids get bored of sledding, don’t distress. You have another means of getting your pup some exercise and keeping the children outside for more than 10 minutes. For instance, why not do some scootering?

What is scootering? With this activity, instead of the kids sitting on a nice sled, they use a large scooter instead. This has wheels attached so it can move more freely and easily than a sled. Your dog then pulls the scooter along. You can connect your Sammy to the scooter by their leash or harness. Just make sure you’re not accidentally choking your Samoyed with your setup.

This is a really fun sport to try, especially if it’s been a dry winter with no snow. In fact, we don’t recommend you take the kids out scootering with the dog in the snow. Scootering is referred to as dryland racing for a reason, after all. It’s dangerous to do in slick conditions like icy or snowy roads.

Your Samoyed should take to scootering immediately since it’s so much like pulling a sled. If your kids like it, too, then they can continue scootering into the spring, summer, and autumn.

Skijoring

Your third option is what’s known as skijoring. Exclusively a wintertime activity, with skijoring, the rider has skis on. Instead of propelling themselves, their dog pulls them. If you have more than one Samoyed, a team of dogs can participate at once.

Your Sammy will need a harness for this sport. Attach their leash to the harness and then connect the leash to one of the ski poles and you’re off to the races, literally and figuratively! In the past, people have skijored with cars and horses, but we don’t recommend it.

Before you get the kids their very own skis, you should make sure they have at least some basic training in skiing. Sometimes a Samoyed can get ahead of itself and accidentally pull with too much speed and gusto. An inexperienced skier might get scared and end up injured in such a situation.

Once your kids have some skiing experience under their belts, we’re sure both them and your Sammy will find skijoring a wonderful way to bond and play together.

Do You Have to Train Your Samoyed to Pull a Sled?

As born sled dogs, will your Samoyed automatically know how to pull a sled or will you have to help them along a bit with training? This breed definitely knows how to pull, but sometimes training can show the dog know what’s right to pull and what isn’t. If, for instance, your Sammy tugs constantly on their leash during your daily walks, that’s something you can fix with training.

If you give your Samoyed a ski rope or attach their leash to a ski pole, most dogs of this breed should know what to do.

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Related Questions

Q: What equipment should you have if your Samoyed is pulling a sled?

A: The most important gear your Samoyed needs for wintertime towing is a harness. You should make sure this fits your dog’s body well. A harness that’s too loose can slip right off during vigorous activity. One that’s too tight will dig into the dog’s skin and hurt them, shortening your outdoor sessions.

Some harnesses for sledding cross over the dog’s back in an H shape, others an X. We recommend you shop around and maybe try a few harness types until you find one you and your Samoyed both like.

For real cold-weather sledding, you might get a pair of dog booties. These are also useful in icy conditions. Booties provide better traction while keeping the dog’s feet safe from injury. Try to buy waterproof booties if you can. This way, if the shoes get wet with snow, they don’t soak through to the dog’s feet.

Q: Which commands should you teach your Samoyed for sledding or skijoring?

A: To ensure the safety of your children and reduce the risk of injury during winter sports, you must make sure your Samoyed will obey a slew of commands. These include:

  • “Easy,” which tells the dog to reduce speed
  • “Pick it up,” aka go faster
  • “Wait” or “stay,” which means your Sammy should stay where they are
  • “Haw” or make a left turn
  • “Gee” or make a right turn
  • “Hup,” “let’s go,” or “hike,” which is code for go, go, go!
  • “Stop or whoa,” which tells your dog to stop right away

Your kids might not know all these commands, so as an adult, it’s your responsibility to oversee their outdoor activities with your Samoyed and moderate the dog’s behavior accordingly with verbal commands.

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