Why Do Samoyeds Curl Their Tails? (What Does It Mean?)

by Sonya | Last Updated:   December 12, 2021

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Samoyeds curling their tail is a genetic quality that has been passed down through many generations. It can help to keep them warm and prevents their tender noses from getting frostbit. It is a common trait seen in other northern dog breeds that were also exposed to cold climates.

There are so many things that make Samoyeds simply adorable, and one of those is their tails.

Samoyeds originated in cold climates. They are members of the Spitz family which includes many northern snow breeds. As Sammies originally come from sub-zero temperatures, they need extra protection against the elements.

Samoyeds were bred in Siberia and lived in arctic-like conditions for hundreds of years. Their furry curly tails were a great choice to wrap around and over their face when laying down. When Sammies settle down to sleep on a cold night, they will curl up in a ball with their front paws folded next to their body and their tail clamped tightly to their body. The shape of a Samoyed’s tail allows it to have the end of its tail over its nose to keep it warm.

Samoyed standing in water with a curl in their tail

Related Reading: Some Samoyeds Fluffier Than Others, Why?

What Causes a Samoyed’s Tail to Curl?

The shape of the vertebrae plays a major role in lots of physical visible aspects of your Samoyed. For Samoyeds, the curl in their tails is caused by hemivertebrae.

The hemivertebrae condition or wedge-shaped vertebrae is a common trait in Samoyeds. This is a genetic or congenital condition in which the vertebrae in your dog’s tail formed it fused together in a curl or a wedge shape.

Did you know: A dog’s tail is a flexible continuation of a dog’s spine and is made up of many small bones.

What Does It Mean When Samoyed Tail Is Down?

Tails are a big way in which Sammies communicate with us. Dogs can’t use words, they use their tails to tell us when they are happy, sad, scared, and even injured. 

When determining how your Samoyed is feeling, pay attention to the height of its tail. If the tail is held high then the dog is likely excited and alert, and when a tail is tucked close to the body might it might mean fear and anxiety. If your Samoyed’s tail is down, there may be a few reasons why. 

  • They are relaxed and comfortable around you and their space
  • Overexertion
  • Exposure to cold weather or water
  • Prolonged confinement 
  • Muscle injury
  • Medical issues

Almost all Samoyeds will allow their tails to fall when they are relaxed and at ease or while eating. However, they will return their tails to a curl when more alert.

Tucking the tail between the legs signals submission and fear in Samoyeds. A tucked tail is equivalent to your dog hiding their face because it covers the genitals which interferes with the sniffing behavior that identifies your Sammy to other dogs.

Oyed Puppies’ Tails Curl?

The Samoyed puppies stay normal and straight at birth. As the puppy grows up, the tail develops a curled shape. You can see Samoyed puppies’ tails slightly curl up at 2 to 3 weeks after birth. 

Over time, the curl in the tail will become more visible. In 5 to 6 weeks the tail should have gotten the signature curl shape of Samoyeds. It usually depends on the blood lineage and the parents of your Samoyed puppy.

If your Sammy puppy’s tail didn’t curl up even after a few months, take it to a vet for a thorough check-up.

Why Is My Dog’s Tail Not Curly Anymore?

A limber tail or cold tail is a condition in which active dogs suddenly develop a limp tail. The condition is usually due to a sprain or strain of the muscle groups supporting the tail. 

Overexertion and strenuous physical activity are considered the underlying problem for the Limber tail. This causes damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons at the base of the tail.

As the tail is also used for balance, a dog with a limber tail may have difficulty getting up after lying down. Some dogs are unable to get comfortable when lying down. Pain is usually associated with a limber tail. So, the tail will droop and a dog won’t be able to wag it.

What Dog Breeds Curl Their Tails Up?

Dog breeds with a curl tail reputation include:

  • Akita
  • Shiba Inu
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Eskimo
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Keeshond
  • Chow Chow 
  • Basenji

Why Are Samoyeds Always Smiling?

The beautiful and charming “Sammy Smile” has a purpose. The upturned corners of the mouth keep the dog from drooling. Drooling would be impractical in a dog living in a harsh cold climate like Siberia. Drool would quickly freeze, becomes less pliable, and be more vulnerable to breakage.

Are Samoyeds Diggers?

Yes, Samoyeds will dig. Digging is an instinctive behavior for dogs and the Samoyed is no exception. In fact, they are excellent excavators and natural-born diggers by nature. 

Sammies dig deep into the snow for protection against the bitter cold winds in their native land. For that case, they can be great “landscapers.”

There are ways to minimize digging to help protect your garden and outdoors. Ensure your Samoyed is getting enough mental stimulation and physical exercise every day. This will help with boredom and provide more appropriate types of fun.

Related Reading: Can Samoyeds Live In Hot Weather?

Final Thoughts

Every dog is unique. Each of them has its own personality characteristics and special looks.

Regardless of Samoyed’s tail shape, there’s one thing for sure: the friendship, loyalty and love your Samoyed gives you can’t be beaten. With their striking white coat, fluffy tail, and sweet face, Samoyeds won’t need to ask for your attention twice.

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.