Ah, winter. It's a season filled with snow, ice, and wind. For skiers and snowboarders, it's a time to break out gear and hit the slopes. For the rest of us, it's often a time to stay in with our dogs and snuggle in bed. But, what about our dogs? How do they feel about winter weather? Well, here are seven breeds that absolutely love it.
They live for it; they were bred for it! Learn more about them below.
The Alaskan Malamute is one of the world's oldest breeds and one of the first developed in North America. Inuit tribes in Alaska relied on these powerful dogs to hunt and carry freight through the region's deep snow. The Malamute is the largest of the Arctic breeds. They have a thick and protective double coat that keeps them warm.
The Keeshond’s Arctic origins make it well suited for cold climates. The breed hails from Holland, where it was known as a barge dog and used to patrol barges, riverboats, and farms. Keeshonden have abundant, standoff coats, which are a combination of a long, harsh outer coat and a thick, downy undercoat. Like the Malamute, they have a curled, plumed tail.
The Newfoundland is an all-purpose working dog. Originating in Newfoundland, this breed is known as a superior water dog. Newfs often perform water rescues, as well as pull carts. Their heavy coat protects them from long winters and icy water. Newfs also have large, webbed feet that amplify their swimming ability.
Photo courtesy of Margaret Mott, AKC Breeder of Merit
The Norwegian Elkhound is a Nordic breed used in Scandinavia since ancient times to guard homesteads and hunt moose and bear. Elkhounds are no strangers to cold climates, and they are very adaptable dogs. The breed has a thick, hard, and weather-resistant coat. They also have great energy and stamina, which allows them to hunt all day in the harshest terrain and the most inclement weather.
The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed, originating in the Himalayan mountains, as a protector and guardian of the flock. The breed's immense, harsh-textured double coat keeps them insulated from the cold. These dogs are known as independent and strong-willed. They may well be the source from which most modern large working dogs descend.
The Siberian Husky might be one of the first breeds that comes to mind when you think "cold weather." Siberians are fast sled dogs that the Chukchi tribes of Siberia used for transportation. As a world-class sled dog, Siberian Huskies are highly active, with significant endurance. Like their cold-weather counterparts, they have a double coat to keep them warm. They have a smooth, straight outer coat and a dense undercoat.
The Saint Bernard is known as the heroic, lifesaving dog of the Swiss Alps. This breed has been used as a rescue dog, draft dog, and guard dog. The Saint Bernard is quite at home in cold weather; the dog's broad, powerful shoulders, strong back, and dense coat make him a perfect rescue dog in the snow.
Remember: Just because these dogs were bred to withstand the cold doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions during winter weather. Check out our winter safety tips here.
And learn more about all 190 AKC breeds here!