A white Samoyed walking through the snow in a forest.

According to legend, the phrase “three dog night” describes a night so frigid that early hunter-gatherer people needed three dogs to sleep with them to stave off the cold.

Although where the phrase originated is unclear, it could very easily have originated with the semi-nomadic Samoyed people of Siberia and their namesake Samoyed dogs. In a region where the temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit and lower, those thick-coated dogs snuggled in to keep plenty of families toasty warm at night.

Subsisting on hunting and fishing, the Samoyed people depended on their strong dogs to herd reindeer, hunt for bear, fight off wolves, haul sledges and even tow fishing boats. The dogs’ exemplary work ethic, in freezing temperatures, attracted the attention of Arctic and Antarctic explorers.

Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen took a team of Samoyeds on his 1893 expedition to the North Pole. The breed was also tapped to lead explorers such as Amundsen and Shackleton to the South Pole. The conditions were extremely harsh, and some dogs didn’t make it home.

In 1906, a dog named Moustan of Argenteau became the first Samoyed registered to the American Kennel Club. The dog came from St. Petersburg, Russia, and was originally owned by Grand Duke Nicholas, a brother of the Czar. Today, Samoyeds compete in obedience and agility events and can still be found herding sheep and cattle.

An interior graphic detailing seven fun facts about Samoyeds.

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The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.