What are the best dog breeds for cold climates?

November 27, 2023

As the temperature starts to drop and the snow begins to fall, it might bring delight to some of our four-legged friends. Dogs react to cold weather differently depending on their breed, size, coat type, and overall health. A dog’s breed is a primary factor that determines how well it can cope with cold weather. Some dog breeds have been bred in cold climates and have adapted well to the cold weather. These dogs possess characteristics such as a thick double coat that provides ample insulation, high energy levels to keep them active during winter, and certain physical traits that help them navigate through the snow.

In this article, we will share detailed insights into the best dog breeds for cold weather. These breeds not only enjoy but also thrive in low temperatures. We will explore their specific characteristics, including their coats, energy levels, and training requirements. Learning about these breeds will be beneficial whether you are contemplating getting a new family member or simply interested in knowing more about these amazing creatures.

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Dog Breeds Bred for Cold Climates

The dog breeds discussed in this section have deep historical roots in cold climates. These breeds were developed in regions characterized by extreme winters. Their distinctive features and traits have been honed over generations, enabling them to withstand the chilly weather conditions exceptionally well.

Siberian Husky: Originally bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia, these dogs were used for transportation across vast snowy landscapes. They have a thick double coat which acts as an excellent insulator against the cold. Their high energy levels and stamina make them great pets for active families.

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Bernese Mountain Dog: Originating from Switzerland, these dogs were used for herding cattle and pulling carts in the Swiss Alps. They have a heavy, weather-resistant coat and robust energy levels that help them thrive in cold climates.

Alaskan Malamute: These dogs were bred by the native Alaskan Inuits for sled pulling and hunting. They have a dense double coat and are well-equipped to handle harsh winter conditions. Their high energy levels make them excellent companions for outdoor winter activities.

Dog Breeds with Thick Coats

A thick, dense coat is a common trait among dogs bred for cold climates. The double coat consists of a dense undercoat that traps body heat and a longer, weather-resistant outer coat that shields them from snow, ice and wind. Here are some of the best dog breeds with well-insulated coats:

Newfoundland: Known as "Newfies," these dogs were bred to help Canadian fishermen. They have a water-resistant double coat that protects them from icy waters and cold weather. While they are high-energy dogs, they are also wonderfully gentle with family members.

Keeshond: This breed is known for its thick double fur that acts as a protective shield against harsh winter conditions. They are energetic dogs, which aids in generating body heat during cold weather.

Samoyed: Samoyeds were bred in Siberia to herd reindeer and pull sleds. They have a dense, double layer coat that acts as a perfect insulation. Known for their high energy levels, they are playful and make great family dogs.

Dogs with High Energy Levels

High energy and activity levels contribute to a dog’s ability to stay warm in cold weather. Active dogs generate more body heat, which keeps them warm even during intense cold spells. Here are some high-energy dog breeds that are great for cold weather:

Border Collie: Known as one of the most energetic breeds, Border Collies also have a thick double coat that aids in cold weather. They are intelligent dogs and respond well to training, making them great working dogs in cold climates.

Shiba Inu: Originating from Japan, these dogs are known for their boldness and high energy levels. They have a thick double coat that helps them withstand cold weather. They are independent dogs and require vigorous exercise to stay content.

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are high-energy dogs that love playing in the snow. They have a water-resistant double coat that protects them from the cold. They are known for their trainability and are great family dogs.

Training Dogs for Cold Weather

When you have a dog breed that is well-suited for cold weather, it is equally important to train them properly. Training will help your dog adapt to the changing weather conditions, and teach them how to safely navigate through the snow, ice and cold temperatures.

Start by introducing your dogs to colder weather gradually. This will give them time to acclimatize to the lower temperatures. Make sure they are comfortable before allowing them more time outdoors.

Regular exercise is essential for dogs during winters. It keeps their energy levels high, which in turn helps keep them warm. However, ensure that the duration and intensity of the exercise is appropriate for the weather conditions.

Train your dog to respond to specific commands that will keep them safe in snowy conditions. These include "leave it" for potential harmful items hidden in the snow and "come" to prevent them from wandering off during a snowstorm.

Finally, remember to check their paws regularly for signs of frostbite or ice accumulation. Training them to tolerate booties or paw wax can be beneficial in protecting their paws from the cold and ice.

Whether you live in a region with cold winters or enjoy visiting snowy destinations, having a dog breed that enjoys and thrives in cold weather can make the experience more enjoyable for both of you. Be sure to consider these breeds when choosing a new canine family member.

Dogs Adapted for Cold Climates

Dogs that have been bred in cold climates have certain distinctive characteristics that equip them to excel in the snow and ice. Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernard, and Norwegian Elkhound are some of these breeds.

Great Pyrenees: Often seen guarding flocks in the Pyrenees Mountains, these dogs are built for cold weather. They have a thick double coat that keeps them warm and they possess the strength to navigate through snow-filled terrains.

Saint Bernard: Saint Bernards were originally bred for rescuing travelers in the Swiss Alps. They have a dense double coat and a large body mass that helps retain body heat. Their calm and patient demeanor makes them excellent family pets, especially if you live in a colder region.

Norwegian Elkhound: Bred in Norway, these dogs were used for hunting and guarding properties. Their thick double coats and high energy levels help them battle the cold. Despite their reputation as hunting dogs, they’re known for their loyalty and friendliness, making them a great fit for families.

Conclusion: Choosing the Best Cold Weather Dog

Selecting the right cold weather dog breed depends on various factors such as your lifestyle, the dog’s energy level, and its specific care requirements. If you’re an active individual or family who enjoy outdoor activities, a high-energy breed like a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute might be a good fit. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed lifestyle, a Bernese Mountain Dog or a Newfoundland could be a better choice.

When choosing a dog breed, it’s also important to consider the dog’s coat type. Dogs with double coats like the Saint Bernard or Norwegian Elkhound provide them with natural insulation against cold weather. However, they also require regular grooming to maintain their coats, especially during shedding season.

Training is another crucial aspect to consider when owning a cold-weather dog. Ensuring your dog understands basic commands like "leave it" and "come" can prevent potential dangers in snowy conditions. Moreover, their paws should be routinely checked during winter to avoid frostbite or ice accumulation.

In conclusion, various dog breeds are well-adapted to cold climates. From the energetic Siberian Husky to the gentle Bernese Mountain Dog, the protective Great Pyrenees to the friendly Norwegian Elkhound, there’s a cold-weather dog for everyone. Remember to consider your lifestyle and the dog’s characteristics when choosing your canine companion. With the right care, training, and love, these cold-weather breeds can make fantastic additions to your family.