The top dog breeds for cold weather

Quina Baterna

When choosing a new family member, prospective pet parents should be aware of the little details that make them right for you and your lifestyle. Whether it’s how active they are or what they need to be comfortable, many factors should be considered before adopting a dog.

With winter getting colder every year, dog parents who love the outdoors are wondering what breeds are best to take with them in the cold. Similar to humans, many dogs love the thrill of adventure in the snow. From the cool temperature to the soft texture, winter is an experience of a lifetime.

In addition, the cold season lets some breeds get the most out of their playtime outdoors. With coats built for winter, these breeds get to run and play to their heart’s content with fewer worries about overheating. If you’re wondering if your canine is built for the cold, here’s a list of seven dog breeds that love a little (or a lot of) snow:

Siberian Husky

Hailing from the freezing towns of Siberia, Siberian Huskies absolutely adore the cold. With an almost unlimited supply of energy, this active, this independent breed has a powerful but graceful gait.

Unfortunately, their inherent friendliness does not make them great watchdogs. However, Siberian Huskies are working dogs known for pulling sleds for great distances in cold weather. If you want a playful, mid-sized dog that can carry a few things for you on long, snowy walks, a Siberian Husky may be right for you.

Alaskan Malamute

The more commanding version of the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is another popular sled dog best known for hauling things across the arctic. Named after the nomadic Mahlemiut tribe of Alaska, Alaskan Malamutes are believed to be descendants of wolf-dogs.

Bred for both strength and endurance, they have heavy bonds, deep chests, and weatherproof coats. Despite their incredibly large size, Alaskan Malamutes are playful, loving, and gentle. If your job needs you outside for long periods in the cold, the Alaskan Malamute would love to keep your company.


With their thick, all-white coat that blends in perfectly with snow, the Samoyed is a dog that thrives even in the harshest climates. Bred for work in some of the coldest parts of Siberia, the Samoyed can handle extremely low temperatures with a stride.

Known for its perpetual smile, the Samoyed’s mouth has evolved to prevent drool from turning into icicles. Alternatively, it is also a clue to their personalities – smart, loving, social, and inherently mischievous. If you’re a dog lover looking for a slightly chaotic partner to explore the winter terrain, the Samoyed may be for you.

Saint Bernard

The St. Bernard was bred for rescue work by a hospice from the Italian-Swiss border. Commonly remembered with the iconic barrel on their neck, St. Bernard dogs have a natural ability to detect scents and are known to find stranded travelers and save countless lives.

Despite their imposing appearance and size, St. Bernard dogs are famous for their gentleness, intelligence, and patience. Several depictions show the St. Bernard with a barrel of alcohol on its neck to keep stranded hikers warm, this breed is perfect for people who a drink or two in the cold.


Weighing up to 150 pounds, the Newfoundland is a large, powerful dog that is best famous for its sweet temperament. Bred in the Canadian winters, they have water-resistant coats that have helped them rescue several people. However, they’re not exactly known to use it very often.

Newfoundland dogs are great as both service dogs or family pets, but just not for people who enjoy exercise. They are known to be incredibly lazy and would much rather cuddle at home. Referred to as nanny dogs, they are known to be perfect companions for families with small children.

Japanese Akita

Originating in feudal Japan, the Japanese Akita was fearless guard dogs that were said to guard the noble class. The Japanese Akita hails from the cold mountains of Honshu island. With a thick double coat, they have no issues with high altitudes and freezing temperatures. Due to its aggressive nature, the Japanese Akita is banned in several cities in the United States.

Because of their territorial personality, the Japanese Akita is not for first-time dog owners, families with other small pets, or children. However, they are also capable of being incredibly loyal, affectionate, and respectful. Once a Japanese Akita chooses its human, it will protect them and serve them for life.

German Shepherd

Most German Shepherds have a medium-length outer layer and a thick undercoat that are water-repellant and well-insulated for moderate exposure to the cold. Coming from Germany, German Shepherds are known to be highly trainable dogs that find a lot of joy in doing a variety of work such as herding, tracking, and protection.

German Shepherds are some of the best dogs for people who live in places with extreme temperature changes. A famously adaptable breed, the German Shepherd can do well in almost any climate - hot and cold, if acclimated properly.

Keep Your Dog Safe During Snow Season

While these breeds are born to be in winter temperatures, there are several other factors that you should consider when adopting a cold-weather dog.

For example, age plays a huge role in a dog’s ability to regulate its body temperature. While puppies may have a predisposition to enjoy cold temperatures, their muscles and coats may not be fully-developed enough to survive the same temperatures as an adult. Alternatively, older dogs may struggle to keep warm because of various illnesses.

When it comes to dogs, acclimatization also matters a lot. Most dogs can handle freezing temperatures better if they have spent most of their in cold climates. The cold itself may not be a problem for many of the dogs on this list, but they are still prone to accidents, poisoning, and loss. Always supervise your canine friend when they are out in the snow and bring them inside if the weather becomes too harsh.

Lastly, it’s also worth noting that all cold weather is the same. Aside from temperature, precipitation and wind speed count matter when it comes to the real feel of the weather. While some breeds can stand cold weather in general, not all dogs have water-resistant coats that will help them avoid instances of hypothermia.

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Quina is a writer, cat mom and artist. Her greatest joys in life are creating remarkable experiences and writing about them.


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