A Samoyed sitting by a lake and some fishing rods.

Are Samoyeds Good Hunting Dogs?

8 mins |

For centuries, humans have used dogs for hunting. Samoyeds are energetic dogs and were used for hunting by the nomadic tribes of Serbia. The question is though: are Samoyeds good hunting dogs?

Samoyeds are good hunting dogs. Their muscular and compact body, combined with swift movements and agility, made them excellent hunters. Also, their high stamina and high prey drive helped them follow prey for miles. 

Evolution Of Dog As A Hunter

Humans have been using dogs for hunting since around 15,000 years ago. This dates back to times when early humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies. These societies thrived by hunting prey and moving from one camp to another in search of game. 

There is a theory that suggests that some friendly and submissive wolves began living close to these hunting camps and even bred with some local dogs. These dogs were reared and trained to hunt alongside humans. With the passage of time, these dogs were bred and domesticated as companions of humans.

What Qualities Make A Good Hunting Dog?

Dogs evolved as hunters, and almost all dogs have some degree of prey drive. However, some breeds have a better sense of smell, agility, size, strength, and speed that helps them find, attack, and retrieve prey. 

Still, no matter the ability of a breed to hunt, the only thing that helps transform a dog into a suitable hunting companion is training.

With that in mind, the following are the qualities that make a good hunting dog.

Sense Of Smell And Tracking 

The most crucial part of a hunt involves finding the location of prey. Here, a dog’s strong sense of smell comes into play. 

A dog’s nose has 300 million olfactory receptors that help it to detect scent signals from miles away. This trait of dogs is 40 times better compared to humans and plays a pivotal role in the discovery of prey. Retrievers like labradors, golden retrievers, pointers, German shepherds, and Samoyeds are well known for their sense of olfaction.

Sharp Reflexes And Agility

Hunting is not easy. It involves running behind prey, avoiding obstacles that require stamina, speed, and sharp reflexes to take abrupt turns, and analyzing the terrain while chasing the prey. Greyhounds and Doberman pinschers are among those breeds that are known for their speed. Samoyeds are also among those breeds that are highly active and agile.

High Prey Drive 

Breeds with a high prey drive are ideal candidates for a hunting companion. A high prey drive is the instinctive need for predation (the act of hunting prey by a predator, as in the wild). These dogs are high in energy and sniff around to find prey. If trained carefully, they can prove to be excellent hunters. Examples of such dogs are border collies, terriers, Samoyeds, and more.


Another important trait is intelligence. The breed of dog that qualifies as a good hunter must be intelligent, and with training, it can read the environment and act on its own. Hunting can be challenging, and a smart dog as a companion can make the task easier.


Lastly, obedience is the most important factor that determines a dog’s performance on a hunt. A dog breed that has a tendency to be obedient and take instructions is easy to train.

A successful hunt involves a great deal of communication between the human hunter and the dog. A dog that doesn’t respond well to a hunter’s command may ruin the hunt by unexpectedly attacking and alerting the prey. 

Use Of Samoyed As A Hunting Dog By Nomads

The dogs of the nomadic Samoyed people, who traveled from central Asia to Siberia thousands of years ago, are the ancestors of the modern Spitz-type breed known as Samoyeds. To ensure a steady supply of food, the Samoyed people followed herds of reindeer, and their dogs assisted in guarding and managing the animals.

So, hunting is not something new for a Samoyed. As strong-willed working dogs, Samoyeds have been used as hunting companions by the nomads of Serbia. These people relied on hunting to survive in extreme temperatures.

Also, the Samoyed people, who lived off of hunting and fishing, relied on their powerful dogs to herd reindeer, hunt for rabbits and deer, fend off wolves, drag sledges, and even tow fishing boats. 

What Makes Samoyed A Good Hunter?

A pair of Samoyeds sitting outside next to each other.
These Samoyeds are ready!

A Samoyed has many qualities of a good hunting dog. For instance, Samoyeds have a high prey drive, are strong-willed and highly energetic, and have great stamina and agility. Moreover, these breeds have an exceptional sense of smell and are quite intelligent. 

Also, their stamina, agility, and high prey drive enable them to spot and chase prey for miles without getting exhausted. Moreover, these dogs are ideal companions for hunting in harsh climatic conditions like severe cold. In addition, these dogs are quite adept in working in harsh climates.

Lastly, Samoyeds are good with kids, which makes them the perfect hunting dog for a family

How To Train A Samoyed For Hunting?

Although dogs have a natural instinct to chase and catch prey, commonly understood as prey drive, owners still need to train them to follow their commands. 

Samoyed puppies should be trained in the early life stages of their lives to follow basic commands like sit, stay, fetch, etc. If a dog doesn’t obey basic commands like ‘sit,’ it is unlikely to patiently wait for the right time during the hunt. During training, use positive reinforcement with treats and petting to encourage your puppy to obey these commands.

Also, it is recommended to start basic training at 8 to 10 weeks of age. The retriever training should be started at about 5 to 6 months as well, as at this age, the puppy has gained the physical strength and ability to perform demanding tasks involving strength and stamina.

In addition, most trainers suggest using quartering drills, which involve running the dog in a zigzag pattern rather than a straight line. This method can help train your dog in flushing out more game hiding in corners.

Simulating a hunting setting with decoys is also a great approach to training your hunting dogs to retrieve game. Make sure to perform the drills both on land and in the water. A Samoyed can become accustomed to many types of terrain because of this training.

Nutritional Requirements For A Hunting Dog

A hunting dog is a working dog and has more energy and protein requirements compared to an inactive sedentary dog. Energy requirements for a working dog can be calculated using this formula. When it comes to feeding a hunting dog, there’s a formula for this too.

Exercise Requirements For A Hunting Dog

If you are planning to raise a hunting dog, you must ensure optimal exercise alongside training. Samoyeds are high-energy dogs and need a lot of exercise to keep them fit and active. Given below are some of the tips for exercising your Samoyed hunting partner.


Take your dogs for long walks of at least a mile. You should preferably walk your dog on vegetation, soft field, dirt, or some other soft soil surface. Avoid hard asphalt surfaces whenever possible, as it may put pressure on their soft paws. Go to parks and places where your dog gets to socialize with people and other animals. This encourages self-confidence and prepares the dog to face the animals in the wild during the hunt.


In the initial phases, start with a slow, short-distance jog and increase the pace and distance incrementally over a period of time. This will not only improve the speed of your dog but will also boost its stamina, preparing it for the hunt.

Field Play

Take your dog out on the field one or two times per week for some simulated hunting practice. Set up with your dog trailing behind you, just as you would in the field. When you want your dog to turn, use your whistle. 

Whistle a few times to tell your dog to come running when it is seated. Working on various whistle and hand cues at this time is highly recommended. When your dog responds unusually quickly, remember to give it a positive reward.


It’s crucial you train your dog to swim because retrieving on both land and water is a part of both hunt exams and actual hunts. Your dog will feel more at ease in the water and get a terrific workout while swimming. 

Also, swimming is a weight-free activity that is gentle on your dog’s bones and joints. Start out slowly and gradually increase the distance, just like with any other activity. 

Conclusion: Are Samoyeds Good Hunting Dogs?

Samoyeds make great companion dogs. They are strong-willed and have all the qualities of a good hunting dog. They have the agility, muscular strength, and sense of smell to spot and chase prey.

Moreover, they have a high prey drive, and they were used as hunting dogs and for pulling sleds by the nomads of Serbia. If trained and given proper nutrition, exercise, and guidance, Samoyeds can prove to be quite useful as a hunting companion.

So, do you plan on using your Samoyed as a hunting dog? Let us know in the comments below!

Shahzaib is a qualified veterinarian and professional writer. He is from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. He did his DVM from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. Being a Veterinarian, Shahzaib has technically sound knowledge of pet health, nutrition, breeding, and housing. He has more than two years of experience in small animal medicine and surgery. Currently, he is working as an Associate Veterinarian in a renowned pet hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan.