Samoyeds Intelligence: How Smart Are They? (Explained)

Samoyeds Intelligence: How Smart Are They

The Samoyed is an incredible beauty to behold. It is fluffy, with a thoroughly white coat, adorned with an ever-present “smile”, which prevents the formation of icicles on their face. This dog has loads of energy and barely tires out. This dog is famed for its herding instincts, also being an excellent watchdog. It has a height of about 19-23 inches, measuring from the shoulder. Indeed, Samoyed is an intelligent dog.

The Samoyed has high levels of instinctive and adaptive intelligence. On a scale of smartness, Samoyeds rank 33rd out of 138 breeds. Samoyeds are relatively quick to pick up new instructions and commands – well above average. The Samoyed yet retains that inherent aptness to do as it likes. More interestingly, the intelligence of your Samoyed can be improved with consistent training.

The Samoyed is one of the loveliest dogs you can have. Of course, you should be rightly curious about how well it can learn, how trainable it is, and what its intelligence levels are. In this guide, we will teach you all that even up to how smart Samoyeds are compared to other famous dog breeds like Golden retriever, corgi, or Shiba Inu.

The Intelligence of Samoyeds

The Samoyed is a smart dog. Its capacity to decipher its way out of complex situations and also pick up new routines is not common among many dogs.

The Samoyed is a great communicator with impressive levels of expressiveness. Samoyeds also stand out for their memory. They grasp concepts, and it stays with them sustainably.

To a large extent, the Samoyed can be as smart as its owner wants it to be. It is always ready to learn, so long you don’t give it mixed signals, which may end up confusing. Indeed, their premium intelligence makes them a bit too self-reliant and almost stubborn.

Instinctive Intelligence

By instinctive intelligence, we mean the Samoyed’s capacity to execute its primary responsibilities for which it was bred in the first place. Initially, the Samoyed was bred for herding purposes.

The breed originates from a Siberian tribe that primarily deployed the Samoyed to herd and guard their livestock.

Till this day, the Samoyed retains its herding genius. Its alert and curious demeanor largely facilitate this. The Samoyed is also very protective mixed with a fair amount of aggression, making it a good “lieutenant” to station around livestock.

When on its herding duties, the Samoyed is a courageous warrior, eager to fight off predators and keeping its designated family away from danger.

Samoyeds are excellent watchdogs too. They tend to bark when they notice things not going to plan. When they are convinced all is well (say the supposed intruder is someone they are acquainted with), they will stop barking.

The Samoyed’s instinctive intelligence also finds application in service duties. Their high levels of loyalty and smartness to figure things out independently makes them befitting for those with disabilities.

Obedience Intelligence

Aside from instinctive intelligence, the Samoyed has remarkable obedience intelligence. This intelligence majorly borders on how well it picks up new commands.

Once, a renowned canine psychologist, Stanley Coren, ranked 138 dog breeds based on obedience intelligence. Most of these dogs were popular dog breeds in North America.

What was the Basis for the Ranking?

This test was centered around how well a dog could perform a command on their first time. Understandably, it would take a pretty smart dog to catch a command, routine, or trick very early. When you have a dog that could catch a command within 30 times of repetition, it is fairly smart.

For the Samoyed, it could execute a new command correctly within 15-25 times of repeating it. This means that within hours, your Samoyed can correctly learn a new command. Mathematically, the Samoyed has a 70% success rate when trying new routines.

Put all these together, and you see that the Samoyed is the 33rd smartest dog among the 138 dog breeds that were tested for obedience intelligence.


Given their high levels of intelligence and capacity to learn new things, it is relatively easier to train the Samoyed. This doesn’t, however, discount the innate canny of the Samoyed to do as it likes. Samoyed love being their own masters.

However, such stubbornness can be significantly downsized if you consistently train, and more importantly, socialize it early enough.

This may take time and persistent application. If you feel you don’t have the stomach for all that, you could as well hire a professional trainer to put your Samoyed through its obedience training.

Your Samoyed will readily submit to your authority if you take the place of its pack leader. Excessive display of meekness and passiveness may not work for the Samoyed as it could develop negative behaviors.

Samoyeds are extremely active and energetic. This can be attributed to their herding heritage, making them excellent working dogs. Exercise (which may be in the form of physical or mental stimulation) forms a core part of the training of your Samoyed.

We recommend that you train your Samoyed daily – or at least every two days. As always, moderation is key. You don’t work to overwork your Samoyed or put in under sustained stress. When stressed, it struggles to catch instructions or follow routines.

Make sure that training is not overly concentrated at once in a day. You can spread the practice across small portions throughout the day, ensuring your Samoyed is fresh, alert, and receptive.

It is not ideal to train your Samoyed for more than 45 minutes at once – especially at the start. If you notice better acclimatization to training on the part of your Samoyed, you can up that training span to 60 minutes at most.

More importantly, the Samoyed learns better when it is having fun alongside the training process. It will form an inherent reluctance to train if it perceives it as too difficult.

Make sure it is pleasurable for them too. You can integrate treats as well into the training to reward they are getting things right. They are smart enough to want to get it right if they are convinced they will get a treat from you.

Can Samoyed Intelligence be Improved?

Firstly, Samoyeds have superior instinctive intelligence. Yet their overall intelligence can be improved, especially the adaptive intelligence. When you socialize your Samoyed highly determines how well you can improve its cognitive ability.

We highly recommend socializing your Samoyed before it is 4 months old. This amount of early exposure will go a long in making it more receptive.

The first 4 months of a Samoyed’s life are very sensitive and will largely shape its learning journey across its later life. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can yet socialize your Samoyed if you got it as an adult.

One excellent way to improve the intelligence of your Samoyed is to expose it to problem-solving exercises.

Mome Ideas

You can procure food bowls that could make it use its intelligence before it can get to the food. In a bid to avoid starving, your Samoyed could get more inventiveness channeling more of its creative powers and smartness.

Also, don’t cease in teaching your Samoyed tricks. The more it learns, it is easier it is to take on relatively advanced techniques, ramping up its overall smartness.

Don’t be stingy with your approvals when your Samoyed is getting it right. Feel free to lavish them with praise when they display remarkable intelligence. Of course, treats make it all jollier. Trust me, you can never know the length your Samoyed can go for treats.

Different Aspects of Intelligence

There are three notable aspects of intelligence when it comes to dogs. These are adaptive intelligence, instinctive intelligence, and working intelligence.

If your dog will excel at developing new skills, it has to have high levels of adaptive intelligence. Dogs with low adaptive intelligence are pretty dumb at taking on other duties than that which they were originally bred for.

For a dog like Samoyed with impressive adaptive intelligence, it can perform complex tasks that would require it to combine several commands they have learned before.

A Samoyed also has excellent instinctive intelligence. For its primary functions like herding, retrieving, and protecting, it is almost spectacular.

While not as excellent as other aspects of its intelligence, the Samoyed also has working intelligence that enables it to take on high-level tasks like guide dogs or service dogs.

Samoyeds Intelligence in Comparison with Corgis, Shiba Inus, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes and Golden Retrievers

If we were going to measure the relative intelligence of the Samoyed, we would see that it is smarter than other dogs, while others equally are smarter than it.

To start with, let us explore some dog breeds that are smarter than the Samoyed.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent dogs alive, with an intelligence ranking of 1. Indeed, it is fair to say the Border Collie is a genius among dogs.

A border collie will take relatively complex tasks (where other dogs would struggle) as a piece of cake, catching new commands within 5 times of trial!

It mixes its premium smartness with empathy and energy. It makes the best of its activeness and athleticism in its herding duties. They have the unique gaze, with a rare aptitude to stare down other animals, herding them.


This is another dog whose intelligence levels supersede that of the Samoyed. When it comes to brilliance, the Poodle is ranked the 2nd smartest dog breed in existence.

That is way more than the 44th the Samoyed occupies. They can be readily trained (to retrieve and track) in addition to being hypoallergenic.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is undoubtedly smarter than the Samoyed. It is a wonderful hunter and lovable companion. Its high level of intelligence explains why Golden Retrievers are popularly deployed in search and rescue missions.

Similarly, the Welsh Corgi is smarter than the Samoyed, but the Samoyed is more intelligent than the Akita, Shiba Inu, and Alaskan Malamute.

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