When you are looking for your new four-legged best friend, it can be important to take into account the climate in which you live. If you live in an area known for cold weather, it is a good idea to make sure the dog you choose can handle those freezing temperatures and snow. Fortunately, there are several cold weather dog breeds for you to choose from, and not all of them are large, long-haired slobbering pups like the Saint Bernard! Dogs that have been bred to excel in cold weather come in various sizes and temperaments so that you can pick the best fit for your lifestyle.
Cold weather dog breeds all have a few common attributes that allow them to thrive in plunging temperatures. These dog breeds have a thick, dense double coat of fur, extra layers of body fat, and thick pads on their paws to withstand snow and icy terrain. Listed below are some of the best dog breeds for cold weather.
The Akita originally comes from the mountainous northern region of Japan and was bred for their extraordinary hunting skills for big game such as bears and boars. This large cold-weather breed is a short-haired dog with a double coat that allows for low-temperature climates. Akitas are known for being a powerful, independent, and territorial breed.
This large, working dog breed originates from the cold climate of the Alaskan regions where they were bred to work as an Arctic sled dog. The Alaskan Malamute has a long genetic history of living in harsh winter environments, and a thick double coat (of over 3 inches!) to keep warm. This large breed is known for being affectionate, loyal, and playful, with a high level of energy.
American Eskimo Dog
The American Eskimo Dog is a small to medium-sized Nordic breed originating from Germany. This breed is known for their happy, protective, and intelligent personality traits. Although the American Eskimo Dog only needs a moderate level of exercise, they need ample mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored. This breed is known for its thick, long white double coat of fur.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Originating in the Swiss Mountains, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a very large, long-haired breed from the working dog group. This breed is often referred to as a gentle giant and is known for its good-natured, calm, strong traits. These hardworking dogs are extremely family-oriented and love outdoor activities.
The Great Pyrenees breed originated from the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. This large white breed has a history of being used as a livestock guard dog in snowy climates. Great Pyrenees are known for their calm, patient, and smart personality traits, and for being great family dogs.
The Keeshond is a small breed from the non-sporting companion dog group. This outgoing, friendly dog breed originated from Germany and was used historically in Holland as a Dutch Barge Dog. These dogs were used as riverboat guards due to their thick, dense undercoat that is reasonably water-resistant and keeps them warm in the winter temperatures. The Keeshond is only slightly active, and is the perfect family lapdog!
The Saint Bernard is a gigantic working dog breed that originated from Switzerland. This breed is gentle, kind, and loving. They are an excellent family companion, often depicted as a “nanny dog” in popular movies. This giant dog can weigh between 140-260 pounds, so a large yard and house are necessary!
This beautiful, fluffy white dog was built for the cold! The Samoyed originates from the Russian province of Siberia where the breed was used as a guard dog for food sources and used for sledding. This breed is very active and energetic, requiring a significant amount of exercise and stimulation from its owner. The Samoyed is known for its distinguishing feature of a curled tail that lies over its back.
The Siberian Husky, as its name suggests, originated in Siberia, Russia until the breed was imported to Alaska to be used for sledding dogs in the early 20th century. This intelligent, hardworking breed has an intense level of energy and love for the outdoors. Be sure to keep a watchful eye out for this breed as their love for the outdoors and curiosity leads them to wander away easily.
The vigilant Tibetan Mastiff, originating from the cold mountainous region of Tibet, India, is a large, working dog breed. These dogs are independent and strong, with a fierce devotion to their family members. This working dog was bred to protect herds of sheep from aggressive wild animals, including bears, tigers, and leopards.
It is important to remember that even though these cold climate dog breeds were built and bred to excel in freezing winter temperatures, they are still vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia and you should use caution leaving your furry friend outside for an extended period of time in cold temperatures!