While some puppies are better suited for warm, sunny days, cold-weather dog breeds have a thick double coat that helps them thrive in winter. Many of these dogs' ancestors came from the Arctic or other cold regions, although today they can be found all over the world.
If you live somewhere cold, these dogs might be a good choice for your home (but be sure to invest in a good brush for all that fur). That being said, pet owners should always be aware of the temperature and never leave their dog outside when it's too cold. Doing so can expose even the furriest snowdog to frostbite or hypothermia. These breeds also tend to be sensitive to heat, so extra precautions should be taken when temperatures rise.
These are some of the best dogs for cold climates.
1. Siberian Husky
The ancestors of today's Siberian Huskies were developed by the semi-nomadic Chukchi people and have since gained popularity in the US. These tenacious winter dogs thrive in cold climates thanks to their thick double coat that provides a cozy coat of isolation. But the Husky's coat a lotespecially in spring and fall, so expect fur to fly around.
2. Alaskan Malamute
The native Mahlemut people depended on Alaskan Malamutes for survival, trusting them to hunt seals, chase away polar bears, and transport heavy loads on sleds. Although they look very similar to Huskies, Malamutes are taller, weighing about 20 pounds, and have even thicker fur.
3. Saint Bernard
The Saint Bernard is the epitome of the snow dog: for centuries it has been used as a search and rescue dog to find people buried under the snow. While Saint Bernards still work as avalanche rescue dogs today, they are also a popular family pet thanks to their gentle and friendly temperament.
4. Finnish Lapland Dog
It's no surprise that the Finnish Lapphund comes from Finland, nor is it surprising that they have a thick, weather-resistant coat to keep them warm in the cold. This medium-sized breed was originally used to herd reindeer, but they also make good-natured companions for active families.
5. Norwegian Elkhound
Norwegian Elkhounds are cold weather dogs that date back to Viking times. Now the national dog of Norway, the Elkhounds were originally used as hunting dogs. This history means they may have a persistent prey drive and chase smaller animals, such as squirrels, rabbits, or cats. Introductions to cats should be done carefully, and pet owners should keep their Elkhound on a leash or inside a fence when outside.
6. American Eskimo Dog
Despite their name and resemblance to the Arctic fox, American Eskimo dogs are descendants of the German Spitz and are not related to the North American Inuit. But these dogs still thrive in cold climates thanks to their thick double coat and small, thick ears that help them retain heat in low temperatures.
7. Tibetan Mastiff
An ancient breed with written records dating back to 1100 BC. C., the Tibetan mastiff looks less like a canine and more like a lion. The giant dogs are broad and have an ultra-thick, shaggy mane that kept them warm in the Tibetan mountains, where the breed originated. Tibetan Mastiffs can be standoffish around strangers and, as with any breed, need constant socialization.
8. Bernese Mountain Dog
An affectionate, cold-weather dog breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a gentle soul who loves to play. These puppies were bred to be farm dogs in Switzerland and enjoy being outdoors. Their thick double coat protects their skin from humidity and low temperatures.
The Samoyed is an arctic dog breed with an elegant white coat. These dogs were companions of the Samoyed people in Siberia for generations before coming to the United States in the early 20th century. Samoyeds are loved for their friendly personality and face that is shaped like a permanent smile.
10. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees is a great working dog from the Pyrenees between Spain and France. Although not of Arctic origin, this dog is designed to navigate snowy terrain, where they historically protected livestock from predators. Great Pyrenees are friendly, calm dogs that have a reputation for being great with children.
The Keeshond is a hairy breed of dog originating from the Netherlands, where it accompanied its humans on barges and ships. Their thick fur is designed to keep them warm not only in cold weather, but also in the frigid canal waters. Keeshonden (the plural of Keeshond) should be brushed thoroughly several times a week, if not daily.
Along with its physical weight (which can reach over 100 pounds), the Akita is a breed that carries significant cultural weight in Japan, where they are considered national treasures. Although they are typically independent and reserved, Akitas form strong bonds with their close family members. Their plush double coat comes in a wide range of colors.
13. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is one of the oldest dog breeds, as shown on artifacts dating back to the Han Dynasty of China (200 BC to 220 AD). Like other cold-weather dogs, they have a thick, double coat that sheds a lot and needs constant grooming at home. In addition to their fluffy coat, Chow Chows are identifiable by their flat face and blue-black tongue.
Newfoundlands, commonly called Newfies, come from Newfoundland, Canada, and adapt well to winter. These large, powerful dogs were bred to work, helping sailors on ships and pulling carts. Like all double-coated dog breeds, Newfoundlands shed a lot in spring and fall. This is a process called fur blowing, in which the puppy's undercoat is shed in thick clumps to prepare for the upcoming change of season.
Cover Image: Adobe/Happy Monkey