Samoyeds are large dogs, easily distinguished by their dense, fluffy coat of white fur. They’re known for being energetic and playful, and their default facial expression is often a big, happy grin, which is why you’ll sometimes hear Samoyeds referred to as “Smiley dogs”.
While Samoyeds are known for having a lot of energy, they are almost never an aggressive breed. However, they are often pretty noisy, and you may find their exuberance to be a bit more than you can handle if you’re not used to it.
In this article, we’ll be taking a thorough look at Samoyed aggression, and share with you what you might want to know about your Samoyed’s temperament and how to manage it.
Are Samoyeds Ever Aggressive?
Samoyeds are not known for being a particularly aggressive breed, especially compared to a lot of other large dog breeds. As such, Samoyeds are generally considered to be good companion dogs for kids, and they also get along with other dogs, especially if you raise the two dogs together.
Being that Samoyeds are not very aggressive, they don’t make for very good guard dogs despite their sometimes imposing size; Samoyeds are known for being quite friendly, even towards complete strangers. However, Samoyeds are fairly reactive dogs and will bark when they see a stranger approaching, so a Samoyed can potentially be a very effective watchdog.
In addition, while Samoyeds aren’t usually aggressive, they can sometimes be quite destructive, especially if they’re not being provided with enough opportunities to exercise or if they are left alone for too long. For this reason, they’re probably not going to be the best breed for you if you’re a first-time owner.
Samoyeds were originally bred for hunting and sled pulling, which means that not only are they quite strong but they also have a tendency to chase after small animals like squirrels and such. You should be prepared to deal with being pulled along by the leash if you take a mostly untrained Samoyed out for a walk.
What Can Cause Aggression in Samoyeds?
As we’ve stated, Samoyeds are not aggressive in general, but there are some situations that can potentially cause a Samoyed to act aggressively. It’s important to note that not every Samoyed is going to act the same way; the environment the Samoyed was raised in will have an effect on their behavior, as will their individual personality.
In truth, it’s possible for any dog to act in an aggressive manner, as long as the circumstances are right. These are some of the instances that might cause your Samoyed to act unusually aggressive towards you:
If your Samoyed has never shown aggression before but is all of a sudden snapping or growling at you, it could very well be that your Samoyed has some kind of injury or illness that is causing them pain.
Aggression as a response to pain is pretty common among dogs of all types. Pain can obviously be caused by any number of things, including broken bones, internal injuries, or conditions like arthritis. Dogs can suffer from mental illnesses and brain diseases too, and this can cause them to act aggressively also.
If your Samoyed is suddenly acting a lot more aggressive than normal, the first thing you should do is take them to a vet. The vet will be able to diagnose the issue for you and advise you on the right course of action going forward.
Attempting to Assert Dominance
Dominance-related aggression isn’t too common in Samoyeds or any dogs for that matter, particularly if your dog has been socialized well. However, if this isn’t the case, your Samoyed may try to assert their dominance over you or other dogs by growling or biting.
It’s important to note that being dominant is a behavior of dogs, rather than a personality trait. Dogs aren’t inherently dominant or submissive, and whether a dog acts dominant or not is likely going to be determined by the specific situation they’re in.
If your Samoyed is frequently displaying dominant aggression, it helps to maintain a calm yet assertive attitude when dealing with them. You should also make sure to have firmly established rules and boundaries, and as hard as it may be, try not to heap excessive affection on your Samoyed, as this can make them feel like they’re the leader of the pack instead of you.
Poor Socialization or Trauma
Dogs often display aggression in situations where they feel fear. There are plenty of situations that can cause a dog to feel fear; for example, if a dog thinks they’re about to be struck or if they’ve been backed into a corner with no clear means of escape.
However, if your Samoyed seems to be acting way more fearful than normal given the context of the situation, there could be something else at play. It could be that your Samoyed wasn’t properly socialized as a puppy, they may have been abused or neglected for a period of their early life, or they may have gone through a traumatic event.
If your Samoyed is aggressive as a result of previous trauma, positive reinforcement training can do a lot to help them overcome their trauma and live a relatively stress-free life. Depending on the severity of your Samoyed’s trauma, you may need to reach out to an instructor who specializes in working with abused or traumatized dogs.
Are Male Samoyeds More Aggressive than Females?
Regardless of whether you get a male or a female Samoyed, it’s highly unlikely that they will act aggressively towards you or other dogs. But does your dog’s gender have any effect at all on how likely they are to be aggressive?
In general, no, although there are a few small differences in how male and female Samoyeds tend to act. For example, male Samoyeds tend to be more energetic than females overall, but are generally more stable emotionally and are a bit more welcoming towards strangers than females are.
While female Samoyeds can be a bit moodier than males, they tend to mature faster than males, meaning they’re a bit easier to train and are a little more independent. They’re also a bit more affectionate than males, but for the most part, female Samoyeds won’t clamor for your affection; they’ll get as much as they need for you and then be on their way.
Regardless of whether you get a male or female Samoyed, however, you can help prevent the possibility of aggressive behavior by having them neutered or spayed.
How Do I Calm an Aggressive Dog?
If your Samoyed is being overly aggressive, you’re going to want to try and calm them down as soon as possible. More importantly, you’re going to want to address the source of their aggression to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Here’s what you can do to calm your Samoyed down if they’re being aggressive, and what you can do to prevent your Samoyed from acting so aggressive in future situations:
Try to Relax Yourself
Dogs are pretty good at picking up on people’s emotions. This means that if you’re clearly distressed when your Samoyed is acting aggressive, they’re probably going to continue acting aggressive. They may not be able to understand that they themselves are the source of your distress, so if they see you acting agitated, it will only make them more nervous.
Instead, when your Samoyed starts acting up, take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and address your Samoyed using a calm yet assertive tone. With any luck, this will help your Samoyed come to their senses and settle down a bit.
Consider the Situation
Aggression in dogs is always caused by some kind of external factor, so consider what else is going on if your Samoyed is acting too aggressive. If you can determine what exactly is setting your Samoyed off, this will help you avoid similar situations in the future.
Get Advice from a Professional
An aggressive dog can’t be “cured” per se, but an expert may be able to help you figure out how to better deal with an aggressive Samoyed. A trainer or a behaviorist may be able to come up with behavior management techniques that are particularly effective.
You should also be sure to take your aggressive Samoyed to the vet to rule out the possibility of aggression caused by illness or injury.
Neuter/Spay Your Samoyed
Having your Samoyed neutered or spayed can potentially do a lot to make them less aggressive. This is because the sexual organs in both male and female dogs produce hormones that can make them act out in certain situations.
Give Them Exercise
It’s possible to mistake an overabundance of energy for aggression. If you’re not sure whether your Samoyed is being aggressive or is just feeling restless, try exercising them a bit more. A Samoyed that gets enough exercise is far less likely to exhibit aggressive or destructive behavior.