We’re in the dog days of summer right about now, and you’re probably spending most of your time sweating it out and wondering when fall will come. You can’t even imagine how your poor Samoyed feels, what with that fur and all. Then, you have an idea. Can you shave your Sammy?

You should never shave your Samoyed, as you can accidentally destroy their coat. Sammies typically have an undercoat covered by an exterior layer of guard hair. The undercoat sheds when the seasons change, but the guard hair maintains itself. Their undercoat is their means of insulation from the cold. By shaving it, their undercoat cannot serve its primary purpose anymore. It can also take up to three years for the guard hair to grow back. Until it does, your Samoyed’s fur can get very wet and dirty fast since the undercoat isn’t made for much more than insulating. It’s much better to trim or groom the fur instead.

Wow, that was a lot to take in at once, we know. In this article, we’ll describe the fascinating fur of a Samoyed in more detail, including what happens when you shave it. We’ll also recommend some smarter grooming methods.

Let’s begin!

Should You Shave Your Samoyed?

Before we can get into why shaving your Sammy is ill-advised, we should have an in-depth discussion about the coat these dogs possess. We’ve touched on this topic on our shedding blog before, but we’re going to get into all the nitty-gritty stuff now.

As you may know, Samoyeds have two layers of fur. There are the undercoat and the guard hairs or exterior layer. Those guard hairs always show up white, but sometimes the undercoat may have a brownish tinge or some other light color.

When you look at your Samoyed, it’s their guard hairs you’re seeing. You may spot their undercoat while brushing them and sometimes when petting them, but it’s otherwise purposely obscured.

As your Samoyed grows their fur, they’ll generate a few undercoat hairs and one guard hair per hair follicle. The guard hairs may take a while to sprout up, but they last a lot longer, too. On the shorter end, they have a lifespan of a year, but they can stick around for up to three years.

Now, you may wonder, how can that be so? You know for a fact your Sammy sheds like a beast seasonally. Yes, they do, but what they lose at that time isn’t the guard hairs. Instead, they shed their undercoat.

With their origins in the frosty land of Siberia, where temperatures in the negative digits are very common, Samoyeds must have some form of protection from the cold. Indeed they do, and it’s in their undercoat. It insulates them and keeps them comfortable when romping around in the snowy tundra.

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Knowing what you do now about the way a Samoyed’s fur layers work, what do you think would happen if you shaved your dog?

The undercoat will restore itself fast, typically in six months or fewer. The guard hairs will take much longer to come back, typically twice the time if not more.

Some people liken this state of a Samoyed as them being a stuffed animal with exposed filling. Sure, they have their insulation layer or at least some form of it, but no outer protection. What does this mean for your faithful friend? Nothing good.

Both layers of a Samoyed’s fur work in tandem to keep the dog comfortable, healthy, and safe. We said that the undercoat insulates, but what about those guard hairs? Well, just look at the name. They guard your Sammy against a lot. For instance, if your dog goes running around in the rain with just their undercoat, they’re going to come back soaked to the bone. They’ll also probably have black streaks all over them from the mud.

If we continue comparing a Samoyed’s undercoat to stuffed animal filling, what does that filling do if you take it out? Not much, right? It’s the same with Sammy’s undercoat. It’s designed to keep them toasty, but that’s about it. It does not protect them from water, dirt, mud, and other debris they’ll inevitably come across outdoors. Thus, you find yourself having to clean your dog more often and maybe even patch them up.

That’s why they need the guard hairs, as these can repel water and filth a bit better. However, now that you shaved them, you’ll have to wait at least a year, sometimes three years, for them to come back. It’s not like an awkward haircut for your dog. You put them in an uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous predicament that could last for years by shaving them. Please don’t do it.

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Which Grooming Methods Can You Rely on Instead?

We just taught you never to shave your Samoyed and now you know better. Which other grooming methods can you try that are safer?

Trimming

While you can trim your Samoyed’s fur, we don’t recommend it unless completely necessary. When you get gung-ho with the trimmers, you could again strip your Sammy of their guard hairs. Minor spot trimming here and there is okay, such as for fur mats, but refrain from doing too much.

Combing

Combing will brush out a lot of the tufts and puffs of undercoat. Maybe you’ll comb free a few loose guard hairs from time to time, but this isn’t anything to worry about. If your Samoyed’s coat has other guard hairs around, then your dog will be just fine.

Brushing

The same goes for brushing. You might use a myriad of tools for precise grooming. You come away with mountains of hair but a shiny, nice-looking Samoyed.

Just because you have to limit some grooming habits doesn’t mean you can get lax with brushing. You should still brush your Samoyed daily. It’s only shaving and clipping, a more aggressive form of trimming, that you should avoid. The rest is all good.

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Taking Them to the Pros

If this article has made you nervous about picking up the brush or the grooming scissors, don’t stress. You can always pay for a groomer to care for your Samoyed. With their years of experience, your groomer knows how to handle your dog’s luxurious coat without ruining its layers.

Once more, keep brushing your Samoyed between appointments. Well, unless you have the budget to see your groomer for services every single day.

Related Questions

Q: What’s the difference between clipping and trimming?

A: You’re sitting in the living room with your Samoyed. You’ve got blankets or towels laid out and plenty of trash bags to collect all the ensuing fluff. In your hand, you hold a pair of grooming scissors.

The technique you choose matters here. With trimming, you cut small portions of the dog’s fur. You may do this because the fur on their face or body has grown uneven. Fur mats may have accumulated, which will happen if you don’t brush your Samoyed often enough.

You can use the same tool for clipping, but it’s a different method entirely. When you clip the fur, you’re taking out greater pieces. These may even be chunks.

Like you shouldn’t shave a Samoyed, dog experts don’t recommend clipping them either. It causes the same damage to their fur, in that you strip the guard layer. For years, your Sammy could be a ball of fluff that’s at risk of getting soaked and dirty each time you take them outside.

Many dogs have dual layers of fur like Samoyeds, so avoid clipping and shaving any canine you own.

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Q: What can you do for your Samoyed in the summertime to beat the heat?

A: Each time you try taking your Samoyed outside in the summer, they start panting almost immediately. You understand as you’re sweating in minutes. Now you know you can’t shave or clip them, but there’s got to be something you can do for their comfort, right?

Absolutely! Try these methods that don’t involve you touching your dog’s fur at all:

  • Get choosy about the times you take your Samoyed out. It gets hottest from noon to 2 p.m., but the heat can linger in the times before and after that period. Either wake up early to beat the heat or take your Samoyed out at sunset or even dusk. They’ll appreciate it!
  • Turn on your air conditioner and keep it running. If you’re feeling sticky and uncomfortable in your own home, then more than likely, your dog is as well. You may have a higher energy bill, but that’s pretty much unavoidable in the summer.
  • Treat your Samoyed to something cold. You can put ice cubes in their water bowl, buy them doggy yogurt and freeze it, or even give them some doggy ice cream. They’ll feel refreshed in no time.
  • If you’re spending the afternoon outdoors with the family, buy an inflatable kiddy pool. Fill it with water and encourage your Sammy to splash around. Don’t use chlorinated water for the pool.
  • Invest in a collapsible water bowl. Keep a bottle of water with you when you walk your Samoyed. If you notice they’re getting hot, stop, fill the bowl, and let them rehydrate. You can use this time to take a break yourself!

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Should I Spay or Neuter My Samoyed? What’s the Benefit?

Should I Spay or Neuter My Samoyed? What’s the Benefit?

Unless you plan on breeding Samoyeds, then we strongly encourage you to consider a spay/neuter. De-sexing surgery benefits your dog in many ways, such as:
• Saving you money since you don’t have to raise puppies (and pay for their food and vet bills) or care for a pregnant mother
• Improving bad behavior as sexual urges disappear
• Reducing the chances of your dog running away to find a mate
• Lessening their risk of getting certain cancers
• Improving their longevity