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Welcome to the online home of Vanderbilt Samoyeds, or as they are affectionately known - "VanSams".  Handed down to us from antiquity via many great breeders who went before us - the Samoyed represents a rather unique and mysterious genetic background.  We have no real history of this breed being man made or created in the fashion that most other purebreds were.  That is - by the mixing of various breeds and strains for the whims, pleasures and needs of humankind.  However it is almost certain that the  nomadic reindeer herding tribesmen we found them with must have employed some sort of selective breeding to produce the working dog they needed to herd the reindeer they followed, in the hunt and pulling their loads as they followed the herd.  When the western world found them in the late 1800's they were a highly efficient and extremely amicable dog and were soon recruited to work on several arctic and antarctic expeditions - with the survivors of these missions finding their way to distant shores.  The English were the ones to ultimately start the breeding of these post expedition dogs and keeping of stud books and developed a breed standard for a hardy, affectionate medium sized white, cream, and/or biscuit coloured spitz dog we know today.   Our goal in modern times is to preserve the Samoyed's noble heritage as developed in a natural work/survival setting of Siberia - but we are also driven to hone, improve and refine it's natural-born best qualities to produce dogs for the pride and pleasure of the discerning fanciers and owners of our dogs today.  


Despite regular work force careers until recent years when we both retired -  we have been actively pursuing Samoyed perfection since 1977.  We obtained our first Samoyeds in that year and immediately began showing them in conformation and obedience competitions falling more deeply in love with their natural charm, good looks and versatility every day.  A "VanSam" is more than just a pretty face and to that end we've also participated in sledding, herding, therapy work and tracking with our Sammies at various points throughout the years.  Whatever our Sams love doing - we love doing it with them!  But perhaps what usually attracts people to us the is the unmistakeable "VanSam" look.  We work tirelessly on our genetics, constantly weaving and braiding the best bloodlines together and sparing no expense in the process to acquire the right genetics to produce dogs in accordance with the breed standard.  Apparently a lot of judges also agree with us as we have bred and/or owned 450+ Champions worldwide and many Best In Show, Best in Specialty (including Nationals) and World Winners.  Vanderbilt dogs and their relatives are often seen amongst the top winners at major shows/exhibitions around the globe.   Think what you like about the frivolity of dog shows - their purpose was and is to reward the best dogs as the breeding stock which most closely adheres to the written holy grail (breed standard) which was developed to describe the ideal specimen of the breed in looks, character, size, coat, etc to serve the purpose to man for which it was developed.  We are extremely selective about our breeding and the breeders/kennels we choose to pass our work forward to must have a quality ethic and vision for the breed similar to our own - but beware!  Some breeders not meeting our standards still sometimes manage to acquire some of our genetics 'through the back door' without our blessing or guidance.  These diluted pedigrees are rarely reliable to produce what we have - as the saying goes "the purest water is at the well"! As we begin to head into retirement from breeding we are judiciously placing our best dogs and puppies into some of the proven best "coachable" co-owners and intend to mentor our bloodlines forward through them. If you seek a VanSam for your pride/pleasure or as part of your breeding program - please check with us for guidance on where to best find what you're looking for.  to carry forward.  Lots of exciting times ahead.  We are happy to "grow the family" with the best people.


We've studied the Samoyed breed in great depth and with a tenacious passion since our beginnings in 1977.  To this end we've traveled the world to acquire the best foundation breeding dogs.  We've gone down a lot of genetic dead end roads over the years, but we refuse to compromise - always forging forward.  The distilling of the best genetics of the breed is our absolute mandate.  All of our breeding combinations have been unique and were meant to be stepping stones in our progressive breeding program.  We also limit the genetic contributions of each of our dogs to usually one or two litters only.  Occasionally a dog will be such an outstanding producer that they are used more than that, but we are forever mindful of a commitment to genetic diversity and consider it one of our top priorities.  Diversity for the sake of diversity however is not our method for if we have to introduce dogs lacking in the eye arresting beauty and temperament for the sake of 'new blood' then this is not good breeding either in our opinion. And while perfection is an impossibility in live animals, we aim to get as close as possible.  First, "the look".  The exquisite heads with oblique, dark eyes; the classic "smiling expression" - and the stance.  VanSams are bred to have overall great looks and structure and it can be seen in their demeanour as well - they know they are beautiful!  Bright, sweet and affectionate - VanSams make great companions for children, seniors - and almost everyone in between.  If you desire a dog pure of heart - you've found it.  All genetic traits like the looks, structure and temperament occur on a bell curve with some differences between puppies.  We do ask our families to let us know if they have any preferences in size, looks and personality type and try to match the right puppy with the right family.


We do hope that you will enjoy your visit to our website.  Don't forget to also visit our facebook page at :)

Our faces

Judi Elford


My lifelong passion has been Samoyeds and I wake up every morning feeling so fortunate to be able to follow this calling!  A retired Labour & Delivery RN, I do miss this work which I loved also, however now the Sammies have me full time.  I travel the globe to exhibit and judge at the dog shows and to access outside genetics, plan the matings, whelp and raise the puppies together with Blair.

Blair Elford

Breeder/owner and chief groomer & pooper scooper

I love Samoyeds a LOT.  I've spent many years sledding with our teams in Fall and Winter.  An injury a few years back means I can't run in the show ring like I used to, but thankfully Judi and our handlers take care of that part.  Puppy snuggler, groomer and chiefpooper scooper are among the many hats I wear!

Extended family breeders

Current breeders/fanciers

As we head towards retirement we are judiciously placing some wonderful dogs into the hands of the upcoming brightest and best breeders.  If you are coachable and have a quality track record/resume in the breed are interested in potentially acquiring some of our genetics, please email us



Most inquiries we receive are concerning the availability of puppies or adult dogs.  If this is what you are interested in, please CLICK HERE for upcoming availability info before contacting. We are heading towards retirement from breeding so will have limited availability but can refer to our working partners.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.




Millbrook, ON


PLEASE refer to this page for info on availability before attempting to contact us.  Thank you!


Direct email: (probable fastest response)

Tel: 1-705-932-2559 (message machine)

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