10 Cold Weather Dog Breeds
These Pooches Can Weather the Storm
Just because your dog wears a fur coat doesn't mean he can withstand a cold weather climate. Not all dogs are built for polar vortex conditions, such as the Artic snowstorm currently powering its way throughout the United States and Canada.
While it isn't recommended to take or leave your pets outdoors during extreme cold weather conditions, we wanted to know: Which dogs are some of the best cold-weather breeds?
1. Alaskan Malamutes
Thanks to its dense, double fur coat with a rough outer layer and a thick and woolly, oily undercoat, the Alaskan malamute is able to survive extremely cold temperatures. The breed was famously used as a utility dog during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800’s; members of the breed also accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd on his expedition to the South Pole in 1928 and the breed also served primarily as search and rescue dogs in Greenland during World War II.
2. American Eskimo Dogs
Often mistaken for a miniature Samoyed, the American Eskimo dog is not really from Alaska, nor does it have any affiliation with Eskimos. Skeletal remains of its ancestral Spitz breed in the Arctic suggest the dog is at least 5,000 years old and may have mated with wolves. The breed has a thick, plush white coat. The fur around the American Eskimo dog’s neck is notably thicker—like a prominent mane—due to the combination of a soft undercoat and thick topcoat.
3. Bernese Mountain Dogs
Recognized for its long-haired, weather-resistant coat, the Bernese mountain dog prefers to spend time outdoors with regular activities to burn off excess energy.
A great hiking companion, the breed is fast and agile for its size — a true testament to its Alpine origins.
4. Icelandic Sheepdogs
The Icelandic sheepdog can very well live up to its name, having spent centuries herding flocks throughout chilly Iceland.
The dog from which the Icelandic sheepdog is believed to have originated was brought to Iceland by the Vikings between 874 and 930 A.D.
5. Leonberger Dogs
Hailing from Leonberg, Germany, and nicknamed "Leo," this lovable, 120-pound-plus pup comes from a long line of dogs carefully crafted to resemble a lion and who twice faced extinction during some of the most difficult times in our history. The Leonberger sports a water resistant, double coat and a muscular build and is surprisingly agile and coordinated for its size.
6. Newfoundland Dogs
The Newfoundland dog, known as a gentle giant, takes his name from his place of origin. This breed was a staple on the fishing boats off the icy coast of Newfoundland, Canada. To this day, the “Newf” is a true working breed. Many mistake Newfs as a “black St. Bernard.” In fact, the Newf came first and was bred into the St. Bernard in the nineteenth century.
7. Samoyed Dogs
The Samoyed dog breed was named after the nomadic Samoyedic reindeer herders in Siberia, who bred the dogs to assist with herding and pulling sleds. One of the world's 14 oldest dog breeds, the breed worked hard alongside the hunters and fishermen during the day, and slept by their sides at night to keep them warm from below-freezing Siberian temperatures. In 1911, Roald Amundsen used Samoyed dogs on the first expedition to the South Pole.
8. Siberian Huskies
Well-known for mushing in long-distance sled dog races, the Siberian husky was also one of the first breeds to join a search and rescue team. Used as sled dogs during the gold rush, the Siberian husky became a staple in the annual Nome sled competition after famously delivering diphtheria serum to more than 3,000 ailing residents of Nome from Nenana in 1925, a 674-mile trek through rugged terrain known as the “Great Race of Mercy." The Siberian husky’s fur coat is very thick, with a topcoat that protects the dog from harsh cold conditions as well as extremely warm temperatures.
9. St. Bernard Dogs
The St. Bernard dog can trace it roots to the Swiss mountains, specifically an area called the St. Bernard Pass located in the Western Alps between Switzerland and Italy where it was utilized as watchdogs, hunting companions and guarded and herded livestock for farmers. They are best known for their amazing alpine rescues during which they tirelessly saved people trapped in avalanches.
10. Tibetan Mastiffs
DNA studies have revealed that the Tibetan mastiff—which isn’t technically a “mastiff” by breed—genetically descended from the wolf more than 58,000 years ago, as compared to common dog breeds who trace back to wolves 42,000 years ago. Used maily as a guard dog for nomadic cultures in Central Asia to protect herds, flocks, tents, villages, monasteries, and even palaces, the Tibetan mastiff can have one of two “looks”: Lion head or tiger head. One resembles an oversized chow while the other looks like a super-sized Bernese mountain dog. The breed has a thick double coat which requires routine care in order to maintain good health.