White as the Driven Snow?

In the course of casual research, we came across a source that wrote that when Samoyeds first gained attention in the modern era (around the 1900s), few dogs had the brilliant white coat we’ve come to associate with the breed today.  In those days, “Sammys” ranged in color from the rarer frosty white, to cream, beige, biscuit, and even a dingy, dishwater white.

According to the source, a funny thing happened on the way to selectively breeding for gleaming white coats generation after generation: Pigment faded, eyes lightened, and the preferred black noses, lips and eye-rims became tan, and eventually pink. Brilliant white colored dogs bred to white colored dogs often produced softer coats, while “biscuit” dogs not only often carried the harsh coat texture, but inky black nose and eyes, as well.

Breeders learned that cream and biscuit colored dogs were needed to preserve pigmentation and other breed characteristics which is why the AKC standard today states, “Samoyeds should be pure white, white and biscuit, cream, or all biscuit.” Today, show dogs with darker biscuit color tend to have it limited to their ear tips or the tips of the overall coat. 

We always defer to breed experts here, and we hope to get the input of Sammy breeders and fanciers about the history of color in their breed.

Image: Samoyed Pencil Drawing by Jennie Truitt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Optionally add an image (JPEG only)