Samoyed’s were historically bred to move long distances as part of their job to herd and pull sleds for miles at a time across parts of Asia and south-western Siberia, so it’s fair to say that today’s domesticated Sammies have the same high endurance and love of activity. Like their Arctic cousins the Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds have incredible stamina, and owners who love to stay active themselves know these dogs are the perfect breed for keeping up with them as their running partners.
So can Samoyeds run long distances? Yes, Samoyeds certainly have the energy levels to qualify as long distance runners, though Sammies make far better jogging companions than fast runners aka sprinting long distances like greyhounds or similar fast-pace breeds. Sammies were built for endurance instead of speed, so they can comfortably keep up with your jogging pace for around 8 km (5 miles) and possibly more depending on their age and health condition.
Before you hastily recruit your pet Sammy in an upcoming marathon, it’s important to realize that while they are naturally strong and agile, Samoyeds will need to be trained and worked up to running just as human’s need to train and warm up for intense activity, so take care to build your Sammy up if you want them as running mates. Even after training, you must always look out for their health and well-being on runs to prevent overworking them. For everything you need to know about long distance running with Samoyeds, read on.
A Samoyed’s Running History
Samoyeds were originally used by the nomadic group of Siberian ‘Samoyede’ people – where its name hails from – to not only herd and hunt reindeer for the group’s survival but to also haul their sleds over many miles.
So as far back as their ancient beginnings, Sammies have been a working dog that put its energy to good use by building up the stamina to keep up with the pack.
Once Samoyed’s journeyed outside Siberia at the end of the 19th century, they began to be used as sled-pullers on polar expeditions, most notably for explorers like Sir Ernest Shackleton who traveled to the Antarctic in the early 20th century. These excursions were often treacherous for the dogs, and only the fittest survived the long and treacherous journeys.
Endurance of a Samoyed
As they were bred to trek for miles in the snow in bitterly cold conditions, Samoyeds possess plenty of endurance, so a long distance run or jog of multiple miles in the colder months is something they were definitely born to do.
As well as running for long periods, they have great endurance for long hikes of up to 10 miles (sometimes more in highly-trained breeds), making them great companions if you love to go cross-country skiing or on snowshoeing expeditions.
Background That Led to High Endurance
Their history as working dogs for nomadic tribes led them to build up a high endurance and tolerance for long runs and journeys in brutal weather conditions. It’s thanks to centuries of hard work as sled-pullers, hunters and herders that the modern Samoyed has developed and maintained its stamina and exceptional endurance.
How Fast Can Samoyeds Run?
At their fastest, Samoyeds can have a top speed of around 50 km an hour (around 30 miles per hour). However, since endurance – not speed – is their specialty, Samoyeds can maintain a consistent speed of around 10 miles per hour for several hours.
How Long Can a Samoyed Run at One Time?
The endurance of your Samoyed in a single running session will depend largely on the weather – if the temperatures are low enough, your Samoyed may be able to comfortably complete a 5km run (roughly just over 3 miles) with you in winter before tiring out.
How Far Can a Samoyed Run?
If they are running somewhere between their steady average and top speed – between 15 and 20 miles per hour – Samoyeds can easily cover over 100 miles a day, presuming they are at their fittest and make regular stops for rest and water.
Should You Run Long Distance With Your Samoyed?
Yes, your fully grown Sammy will enjoy long distance runs with you – just make sure it is the right time so they can run safely and avoid injury. Intensive exercise like long distance running will only be suitable when they are between 1 and 2 years old and have been suitably trained (more on training them below), but it is generally recommended to wait until they are at least 2 years of age.
At around 12 months, your Samoyeds growth plates close so there will be less chance of damaging their elbow and hip joints. With larger than average Sammies (over 21 inches tall) you may need to wait until around 18 months as their growth plates will take longer to close.
You can always consult your local vet about when to start safely running long distances with your dog.
Health Problems Associated with Running Long Distances
Samoyeds are prone to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia which causes the joints to develop improperly and lead to arthritis, so it’s vital to feed them a nutritious joint-supporting diet and get them checked regularly at the vet as they mature if you are planning to continue taking them on runs. Other health issues that can arise from long distance running include:
- Gastric Dilatation (running immediately after eating)
- Volvulus Syndrome (bloat)
- Breathing difficulties
- Damaged, cracked paws (from hot pavements)
Keeping Your Samoyed Safe on the Run
As agile and high-endurance as Samoyeds are, they still need care and attention on long runs, so here are a few ways you can keep them safe and healthy:
Stay hydrated – after running 3 miles or more in a row, your Sammy will need to replenish their energy and hydrate so pack a portable, foldable dog water bowl with you on runs.
Stay protected – don’t let your Samoyed puppy run on hard surfaces like pavement and tarmac until he is at least 18 months to 2 years old since his paws will be quite sensitive and his joints won’t have fully formed yet.
Stay cool – due to their thick, fluffy coats, intensive exercise like long distance runs and jogs should always be scheduled during cooler times of the day during summer, but winter is the best time to exercise them if you want to run for long, consistent periods.
Stay alert – owners can get into the zone of running and forget to check on their dog – make sure you are monitoring them regularly on your run for signs of slowing down, labored breathing or any other signs that he is struggling to keep up with you.
How Much Exercise Should My Samoyed Get?
Samoyeds need to work off their high energy levels with around 40 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. This includes having plenty of space to roam in a fenced backyard to run off steam at home and plenty of walks during the day.
As for weekly exercise, you should keep things interesting for this intelligent breed with long jogs, runs and hikes each week of around an hour at a time, but this can gradually build up to longer times as you train them.
How Do I Know if I am Overworking My Samoyed?
Sammies may have impressive agility and stamina, but you must be careful not to make the mistake of overworking them during exercise. Samoyeds will let you know they feel overwhelmed from runs by showing signs like sluggish movement around the house, refusing to walk up and down stairs, and a general appearance of fatigue when it’s time for a walk or playtime.
Physical signs like red or swollen paw pads or tears on the skin are also indicators that running has begun to wear away their paw’s tough outer layer, making them vulnerable to blisters and eventual rupturing causing pus and infections down the line.
It’s important to give them a few days rest in between long distance runs to recover their joints and energy as they age. Be sure to call your vet immediately if they display some of the more severe symptoms of ongoing fatigue and dehydration such as panting, red gums, rapid heart rate, body temperature above 103 degrees etc.
How to Train a Samoyed to Run With You
Once you’ve checked with your local vet that your Sammy is fit and mature enough to go running with you, start slow with long walks of a couple of miles once a week and then you can start gradually building this to multiple long walks a week before you start introducing a jogging pace.
Once your Samoyed seems comfortable at a jogging pace on your weekly stretches outdoors and without any of the above signs of struggling, you can then move on to a running pace and increase the miles per run from there – always being sure to give them a few days rest in between.
While Sammies are smart, fast learners, they can become bored with repetitive training, so be sure to mix it up by throwing in some agility and tracking sessions for them to practice at home – these give him ‘thinking exercises’ to keep things interesting and ensure he absorbs your teaching.