The Samoyed Smile: He’s Not Just Happy To See You

Among the hundreds of breed standards in the world, a few have words or phrases so unique to the breed that just by themselves, they might as well be a flashing neon sign naming the breed. Consider this sentence:  Lips – Should be black for preference and slightly curved up at the corners of the mouth, giving a _____ smile.”

Even omitting the breed’s name wouldn’t keep most people from identifying it as the Samoyed. Its standard might be the only one in the world that calls for a smile, and it’s an important enough feature to mention twice because it comes up again in the section on expression: The expression, referred to as “Samoyed expression,” is very important and is indicated by sparkle of the eyes, animation and lighting up of the face when alert or intent on anything. Expression is made up of a combination of eyes, ears and mouth. The ears should be erect when alert; the mouth should be slightly curved up at the corners to form the “Samoyed smile.”

So what’s up with that smile, and why is it so important?  As charming as this feature is on an already beautiful dog, the “Sammy Smile” has a purpose. The upturned corners of the mouth, while making the dog look like she’s smiling, also keep the dog from drooling, something that would be impractical in a dog living in Siberia. Drool would quickly freeze, perhaps even form small icicles. When hair freezes, it becomes less pliable, and is more vulnerable to breakage, and a dog living within the Arctic Circle needs hair!

As an aside, are you saying the breed’s name correctly? It’s SAMmy-ed, not Sa-MOY-ed.


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