Samoyed vs Japanese Spitz What’s the Difference

If we are dog lovers, sometimes it can be challenging to make a decision when it comes to choosing a particular breed. This problem is further increased when both canines have a similar physical appearance.

All dog breeds have something distinctive that makes them desired by many people. Some will prefer to acquire an animal of this type simply for its physical appearance, while others for the personality and behaviour it can display.

choosing the perfect dog breed

Whatever the case, it is always important to know in depth the breed or breeds that we are interested in bringing home. Today we will talk about two breeds of dogs with a similar appearance: The Samoyed and the Japanese Spitz.

On the one hand, the Samoyed is a beautiful and ancient dog breed born in Russia. Although it was used for hunting, many people used to train them as herding dogs.

Despite their little hunting instinct, Samoyeds are friendly and loyal dogs who love to spend and enjoy time with their human family.

Unlike other dogs, they can get along with people or animals that are not part of their family. The Samoyed has an elegant appearance whose main characteristic is its beautiful white or cream-colored coat.

As for the Japanese Spitz, we can say that it is a canine of Japanese origin that has an appearance very similar to that of the Samoyed. They are mainly characterized by being intelligent, easy to train, and having excellent guard dogs abilities.

They can be excellent family pets as they get along well with children and the elderly, but we cannot say the same about their relationship with strangers. These dogs will alert you through barking about any potential intruder approaching your home.

Samoyed vs. Japanese Spitz Comparison Table


SamoyedJapanese Spitz
Origin CountryRussiaJapan
SizeMediumSmall
Height48 cm – 60 cm30 cm – 38 cm
Weight15 kg – 29 kg5 kg – 10 kg
Lifespan12 – 14 Years10 – 16 Years
Energy LevelHighMedium-High
Coat TypesDouble CoatDouble Coat
Coat TextureStraightStraight, Silky, Wavy
Coat ColorBiscuit, Cream, White, White and Biscuit White
HypoallergenicYesNo
GroomingHighModerate
TemperamentStubborn, Alert, Friendly, Lively, Intelligent, Sociable, PlayfulIntelligent, Affectionate, Proud, Playful, Loyal, Companionable
Shedding LevelHighModerate-High
Health ProblemsHip Dysplasia, Bloat, Pulmonic Stenosis, Diabetes, Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)Runny Eyes, Patellar Luxation

Samoyed vs Japanese Spitz: History

Samoyed History

Samoyeds come from Russia, a country with the perfect temperature for these dogs. They are canines capable of withstanding the cold, and for that reason, they were used for many jobs at that time.

Their owners used them for hunting in the snow, pulling sleds, herding reindeer, etc. Thanks to their abundant fur, Samoyeds were even used to warm their masters during cold nights.

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Keep in mind that the Samoyed is one of the oldest breeds, appearing long before modern dogs began to gain popularity. Among the ancient breeds of dogs, the Samoyed is one of the best companion dogs, especially because it performs well in its tasks.

This breed of dog began to be exported to other parts of Europe, England being the first country, at the end of the 19th century.

Their beautiful physical appearance made them very popular among the English, and soon they became important pets of the upper class. In fact, Queen Victoria proclaimed the Samoyed her favourite breed.

After the Samoyed arrived in the United States, the AKC decided to consider it a fully official breed in 1906. As a curious fact, the first Samoyed that arrived in that country was called the Moustan de Argenteau. From that moment on, this dog breed became more critical and popular.

Japanese Spitz History

The Japanese Spitz is a dog that was born from a mixture of several Spitz-type canines from Canada, Siberia, China, Australia, and the United States.

It originated in Japan, and it is estimated that the date of its first appearance was between the 1920s and 1930s. It should be noted that one of those breeds used in the cross was the Klein Wolfsspitz, a white German Spitz.

After years of crossbreeding the different Spitz types, the Japanese Spitz was classified in 1948 as a petite, fluffy, white Spitz breed. 

The Japanese Spitz began to be recognized as an official breed by several important clubs, which are:

  • The United Kennel Club
  • The Japan Kennel Club
  • The American Kennel Club
  • The Canadian Kennel Club
  • The Fédération Cynologique International

Samoyed vs Japanese Spitz: Physical Characteristics

Samoyed Physical Characteristics

The Samoyed is a small dog whose maximum size and weight can be 48-60 cm and 15-29 kg, respectively.

The first thing we have to highlight is its beautiful and distinctive double coat:

  • Outer layer: Thick, straight, and harsh.
  • Inner layer: Short, velvety, and dense.

Generally, its coat colour can be white and biscuit; white or cream. However, it is believed that these dogs came in a greater variety of colours in the past.

As for the body of the Samoyeds, we can highlight its compact, powerful and elegant body, which maintains good proportion with the other parts such as its wedge-shaped head; wide and deep chest; retracted belly; black nose; small triangular ears; dark, almond-shaped eyes and a coiled tail covered entirely in fur.

Japanese Spitz Physical Characteristics

The Japanese Spitz is similar in appearance to the Samoyed but differs in that it is small in size. The maximum size that a dog of this breed can reach is 30-38 cm, and the weight is 5-10 kg.

Spitz-type dogs are known for their double coat of fur. These canines have a straight outer coat that protrudes from their bodies, covering even their neck and shoulders, and a short, thick undercoat.

Unlike Samoyeds, the Japanese Spitz can only come in pure white. As a curious fact, the ears, legs, and face of a dog of this type are covered with short hair.

The Japanese Spitz has a small, symmetrical body, a small black nose, a distinctive pointed snout, large black-rimmed eyes, triangular ears, and a long, feathered tail.

Samoyed vs Japanese Spitz: Personality and Behaviour

Samoyed Personality and Behaviour

Samoyeds are affectionate dogs that get along not only with their loved ones but also with people and animals that are not part of their families.

In fact, they are considered excellent pets because they love to spend time and play with children, which is a characteristic that we cannot see in all breeds.

You just have to know that it is essential to provide socialisation training so that any interaction with a person who is not part of their family is pleasant.

Why? Although it is not considered a good guard dog, the Samoyed will want to protect its family by alerting them, through barking, of a potential threat or intruder.

Similarly, remember that these dogs were used for hunting in the past. No matter how minimal its hunting instinct is, it can still see smaller pets as prey.

Again, obedience training and socialisation take on great importance. You cannot trust the personality and temperament of any dog ​​because your Samoyed, in this case, might be different from another dog of the same breed, depending on how you have raised it.

Japanese Spitz Personality and Behaviour

Japanese Spitz dogs are highly intelligent, easy to train, and love to learn new things while pleasing their owners. It is normal for this type of dog to want to be the centre of your family’s attention, especially while it plays with other pets or children.

Obviously, they can get along with children, but unless your little ones are well behaved, you cannot leave them alone with the Japanese Spitz as they could hurt it due to its small size.

One of the most interesting characteristics of this breed is that they are always happy. No matter how many times you see its face, you will always notice a smile.

Unlike Samoyeds, the Japanese Spitz is more cautious and aloof from strangers. They won’t trust them as much unless you socialise them from an early age. In fact, they will tend to bark when they notice a threat or intruder.

Although they bark to alert their owners, they are not considered vocal dogs, so they will be excellent pets for people who live in apartments or houses surrounded by neighbours.

Samoyed vs Japanese Spitz: Life Expectancy

Generally, the life expectancy of a pet is directly linked to the care provided by its owner. Obviously, if a person does not take proper care of a dog, it will live less time than expected.

In this case, the life expectancy of a Samoyed is 12-14 years, while that of a Japanese Spitz is 10-16 years.

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