Genetic diversity in MyDogDNA tested Samoyeds

The MyDogDNA team has joined forces with Samoyed enthusiasts in preparation for the World Samoyed Meeting 2019 event ( A representative of the MyDogDNA team will give a lecture during the event. The more tested Samoyeds from all over the world, the more exciting the lecture! Please see below for a sneak preview, and order the MyDogDNA test for your Samoyed now through our web shop (, making use of our special campaign code offer (please refer to World Samoyed Meeting 2019 social media channels for more details).

Any and all Samoyed samples arriving at our laboratory before the end of June 2019 will be included in the study. In this way, your dog can contribute even if you are not able to attend the World Samoyed Meeting in person.

We look forward to seeing you in Estonia!

Genetic diversity in Samoyeds

Maintaining and even improving genetic diversity is important for every breed. Genetic diversity, or genetic variation, is essential for maintaining a healthy breed gene pool. Low genetic diversity predisposes dogs to recessive hereditary disorders by increasing the risk for inheriting the same recessive disease mutation from both parents. Low genetic diversity may also predispose to inbreeding depression and increase the risk for autoimmune disorders, like diabetes in Samoyeds, and allergies.

The genetic diversity level of any dog or breed can be estimated through DNA testing. The MyDogDNA test measures genetic diversity by screening thousands of DNA sites in a dog’s genome. Genetic diversity is then expressed as “heterozygosity level”: the number of measured genetic sites at which the dog is heterozygous, i.e. has inherited a different allele (genetic variant) from its dam and sire. The genome wide diversity plots in the MyDogDNA database offer current information about the genetic diversity in the breed as the graphs are updated with every tested dog.

Based on the dogs that have preliminarily been tested, the genetic diversity level in the Samoyed breed seems to be slightly lower than in purebreds in general with median heterozygosity level of 33.2 %. The heterozygosity level ranges between 22.8 % and 40.2 % in tested Samoyeds. The genetic diversity level of Samoyeds can be compared to the overall purebred median of 33.9 %. Mixed breed dogs provide another reference point with median heterozygosity level of 43.2 %.


Samoyed populations differ between countries

Genetic diversity in Samoyed populations differ between countries. The majority of the tested dogs are from Finland), United Kingdom and United States. A few dogs from Australia, Russia and China were also tested. Genetic diversity in Samoyeds seems to be higher the United States (34.1 %) and Finland (33.9 %) compared to the United Kingdom (29.2 %). More tested Samoyeds are needed to provide more detailed and representative statistics, since there are still quite few dogs tested from USA and United Kingdom and no tested dogs from many other countries.

USA 16 34.1 %
FINLAND 45 33.9 %
UK 19 29.2 %




Samoyed populations in the United States, United Kingdom and Finland can also be viewed in a graph illustrating genetic differences within the breed. Each tested dog is represented by a dot in the graph. The graph reflects how similar or different the genomes of the dogs are within breed. Dogs with similar genomes cluster together and are more distant to the dogs that are genetically different from them.

Samoyeds seem to have evident genetic differences between the United Kingdom (blue dots), Finland (light blue dots) and United States (pink dots). (Interactive graphs are available online:

The Finnish population of Samoyeds is genetically more similar to the British population than the American population. This is likely explained by the longer geographical distance, and less imported dogs between continents than in the European region. More tested Samoyeds are needed to make more detailed conclusion on the differences between populations worldwide.



Genetic testing and Breeder tool

The current basal level of genetic diversity in the Samoyed breed has been preliminarily explored. Such information enables breeders to take action in maintenance of the gene pool. Evident genetic differences between Samoyed populations in different countries make it possible to introduce new genetic material to a local population by using foreign dogs in breeding to maintain or even improve the genetic diversity. 

Many Samoyed enthusiasts have already started to use the MyDogDNA Breeder™ tool that can be utilised in the search of potential breeding partners that are genetically different from their own dog, and do not carry the same tested genetic diseases. The Breeder tool supports the making of sustainable breeding plans and identification of potential breeding partners that will maintain or even add to genetic diversity of the breed.

Future genetic testing makes it possible to monitor possible changes in the breed’s overall diversity over time as more dogs are tested, and MyDogDNA Breeder™ can be utilised as an excellent supportive tool in breeding strategies. Up to date information and plots on Samoyeds is accessible online through the breed search portal at

Genetic disease mutations

Several genetic disease mutations have been reported to exist in Samoyeds, such as ones linked to Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Enamel Hypoplasia, Oculoskeletal Dysplasia 2 or Dwarfism-Retinal Dysplasia 2 (OSD2), X-Linked Hereditary Nephropathy (XLHN) and X-Linked Progressive Retinal Atrophy 1 (XLPRA1). Further screening using platforms such as MyDogDNA are needed to learn more about the prevalence and distribution of disease mutations in the Samoyed.