by Donna Dannen, President, OWS

The Organization for the Working Samoyed began as an idea of a few sled dog racing enthusiasts in the late 1960's and early 1970's. At that time Samoyeds were seldom seen at sled dog races or other performance events. Then, as now, Samoyeds were considered too willfull, too distractable and too easy-going to be competitive as working dogs. There were a few people, however, who loved the breed and successfully turned the innately carefree Samoyed into a worker of great resolve and joy. These people hoped to encourage other Samoyed owners to work their dogs.

The purpose of OWS is the same today as it was twenty years ago: to be a vehicle of information exchange on training Samoyeds to be good working dogs. A quarterly newsletter, The Yapper, discusses Samoyed training, conditioning, nutrition, and health issues. One charter member of OWS, Mel Fishback-Riley, is indispensible for sharing her vast experience and knowledge of the working Samoyed in The Yapper. She offers solid advice on choosing appropriate Samoyeds to work or to breed for working qualities. Walt and Judy Schirber, also charter members, contribute in The Yapper their experiences of working with the Samoyed. All OWS members may add to the printed body of knowledge about working Samoyeds by submitting letters and articles of their own. Regular columns cover the areas of work OWS recognizes. Other member-written articles appear about the great working Samoyeds of The past and present and their pedigrees.

OWS provides an annual award system to recognize outstanding Samoyeds competing against other breeds that specialize in various performance events. The Annual Awards allow Samoyeds to compete with other Samoyeds from around the country to see who is faring best against the specialists.

OWS recognizes performance events that best exemplify the original uses and qualities of the Samoyed. Because the breed was developed in Siberia by a primative Arctic people, most of the recognized competitive events involve pulling in harness either by wheels or on snow. Annual Awards honor the Top Sled Dog Team, Top Weight Puller and Top Obedience Samoyed, Top Skijoring Team, Top Herding Samoyed and Top Agility Samoyed. All members dogs can earn the 1,000 Point Achievement Medal by tabulating the competition points and submitting them yearly until their dog(s) accrue the necessary 1,000 points.

The Organization for the Working Samoyed is pleased to enter the world of the Information Highway. In training for competition, questions need to be asked and answered immediately instead of waiting for a quarterly newsletter. As a result, OWS is now "on-line" to provide its computer-using members the ability to get answers quicker. The Yapper remains as the printed publication of the organization and reports much of the on-line dialog. It is an exciting time for OWS as it looks to expand its ability to educate and reward the owners of top-notch working Samoyeds.

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