Health Matters

Samoyed Breed Council Health Survey Results 



Serena E. Brownlie PhD BVM&S MRCVS Cert SAC

Samoyed Cause of Death /illness forms

The Samoyed has been recognised by the Kennel Club as a Category 1 breed for judges, ie a breed with no health issues which can be identified by a judge in the show ring.

As named collator of the Cause of Death forms over many years, I still receive a trickle of these through the post. In 2011, an online form was also introduced which it was hoped would make it easier for people to report their dogs’ problems. This resulted in 8 replies shortly after the form was introduced but none since.

We are fortunate that Samoyeds are considered to be a relatively long – lived breed compared with some breeds, and it is not unusual for them to live to their mid – teens.

We now have Cause of Death information on 77 dogs – not a huge number after all these years, but a good sample nevertheless. These cases can be divided into categories. The most frequent cause of death was cancer, of many different types.

Untreatable cancer: 35 cases

Nasal – 2

Chest – 2

Lung – 2

Mouth – 2

Mammary – 9

Liver – 3

Spleen – 1

Bone – 3

Intestinal – 2

Stomach – 1

Thyroid – 1

Pancreatic – 2

Skin – 1

Unspecified – 3

The average age of death from cancer was 10 years (range 5 – 14). The youngest dogs to die had pancreatic and liver cancers. Both dogs with pancreatic cancer also had diabetes mellitus. In other breeds of dog, certain types of cancer can occur much more frequently than others, suggesting the possibility of an inherited predisposition eg haemangiosarcomas of the spleen in German Shepherd dogs. The wide variety of types of cancer above suggests that the Samoyed is not particularly prone to any one type. The most frequent tumour, mammary carcinoma, is fairly common in most breeds, and is often surgically treatable, although in some Samoyeds it appears to be very aggressiv



Kennel Club Health Survey Results 2006

The Kennel Club (English) has recently completed a Purebred Dog Health Survey for many pure bred breeds including the Samoyed. The full survey for all breeds included can be seen on the Kennel Club Site on
Some breeds are not there due to insufficient data being made available.

The Samoyed Breed Council held a Health Seminar in October 2004

Mr Malcolm Brearley, one of only five Oncology Specialists in Europe, spoke about Cancer in the Dog. He informed the meeting that 1 in 4 dogs would get cancer, often before old age. A Charity called The Animal Cancer Trust was started to effectively give education and information about Cancer to owners and veterinary surgeons, and to offer treatment to pets. Research is also carried out here, which is important to improve our understanding of Cancer.
The Trust is dependant on everyone to raise funds. Further details are available from their website

Brian Catchpole talked about his research into diabetes at the Royal Veterinary College. It was discovered that samoyeds were 12.9 times more likely to develop diabetes than any other breed of dog. The aim at the RVC is to try and predict which dogs will go on and develop diabetes later in life and so develop a genetic test for this.
Brian and his team have set up the UK Canine Diabetes Register and vets have been sending blood samples to him. He asks for all owners of diabetic samoyeds to attend their own veterinary surgery, requesting that a blood sample can be taken and forwarded to Brian at the Departmant of Pathology and Infectious diseases at RVC, North Mimms, Herts. Email to authorize this.
A form can be found on this site

Hip Dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint) is a condition which can be found in Samoyeds. It can cause lameness & pain in severe cases or produce no noticeable symptoms in minor cases. HD does not have a simple pattern of inheritance (it is a polygenic condition meaning it is controlled by several different genes) and whether an animal will develop HD is also influenced by external factors such as diet and exercise. Our Code of Ethics advise breeders to X-ray all breeding stock and have them scored by the BVA so a true picture of HD in the breed can be assessed. More information on the Kennel Club/BVA Hip Scoring scheme can be found at

MRSA – the deadly hospital superbug can affect dogs and cats as well as humans. The following link explained what happened to Jill Moss’s samoyed ‘Bella’ when she contracted MRSA.


The Samoyed Breed Council ask owners to complete a ‘Cause of Death’ questionnaire to enable them to monitor the causes of death within our breed. We would appreciate your help. Forms ,in PDF format, can be downloaded HERE.for printing out.