Looking for a canine companion that adores a good romp through the snow as much as you do? These 20 hardy breeds are built for cooler temps.
The Akita isn’t just popular in Japan for its good looks. One of seven breeds designated as a national monument in the country, the Akita is thought to bring health, happiness and long life. The breed’s thick double coat makes it an ideal cold-weather companion.
Who doesn’t love a Samoyed smile? Bright and alert, the Samoyed originated in Siberia where it was bred for herding reindeer, hunting large game, guard work and hauling sleds. Word to the wise, though: That beautiful white coat needs to be brushed weekly (or more) to avoid matting.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog — or “Swissy” as it’s affectionately called — came to prominence in remote parts of Switzerland where it was used for herding, guarding and draft work. The robust breed enjoys work in mountainous regions to this day, but it also loves to relax with its family.
Originally bred in Northeast Asia as a sled dog, the Siberian Husky is a hard-working, agreeable and outgoing dog. Because it comes from the colder climate of the Siberian Peninsula, this breed has a dense coat consisting of a cashmere-like undercoat and coarse top coat.
While also comfortable in warmer temps, the massive Tibetan Mastiff boasts an immense double coat that keeps it expertly insulated in snowy climates. Once isolated in the Himalayan mountains, these rugged pups are extremely intelligent and independent.
Spirited and “vocal,” the fox-like Shiba Inu is a descendant of the primitive dogs of the ancient Japanese. Bred for hunting wild game like boar and bear, this confident breed has a dense double coat, ideal for the mountainous terrain it was developed to inhabit. Fun fact: Shiba in Japanese means brushwood, after the color of brushwood leaves in the fall, and Inu means dog.
The Newfoundland originated in — you guessed it — Newfoundland, where it was used to help pull fishing nets and haul wood. Strong and powerful, the heavy-coated breed is built for traversing icy waters. Although docile, this big guy is active and needs regular exercise.
Not to be confused with the Great Pyrenees, the regal Kuvasz once served as the companion animal of choice for rulers of Hungary and other European empires. Over time the breed branched out from its royal roots, becoming a hunter and herder. The Kuvasz’s striking double coat — coupled with its courageousness and loyalty — makes it an ideal mountain hiking buddy.
An ancient Scandinavian breed, the Norwegian Elkhound hunted elk, bear and other wild animals for the Vikings. This solid silver-gray dog loves its people, so it’s perfect for the outdoor enthusiast who wants to explore the great (chilly) outdoors.
This Goliath breed — they range from 120 to 200 pounds — may not be super-playful, but it’s always willing to work. Originally used to rescue freezing travelers trapped in avalanches, the Saint Bernard would happily trek through miles of deep snow to save someone in peril.
American Eskimo Dog
The adorable American Eskimo Dog may be spry enough to have once been favored as a circus dog, but the “Eskie” is actually better suited to life outdoors. Its white double coat consists of a dense undercoat and longer outer coat for supreme protection against low temps.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The only Swiss Mountain Dog with a long, silky coat, the Bernese Mountain Dog has historically been used for farm work. This large, hardy breed thrives in cooler temps. The breed is considered versatile, smart, easygoing and agile.
Formerly the royal dog of France, the Great Pyrenees used to herd livestock on steep mountain slopes in Europe. The breed’s trademark weather-resistant white coat protects it from even the most frigid of temps.
A descendant of the same arctic strain as other winter-friendly breeds like the Samoyed and Chow Chow, the Keeshond or “Kees” was very popular in Holland in the 1700s where it acted as a riverboat watchdog. Bonus? This furry fellow is super-affectionate, so feel free to snuggle into that downy coat!
Aside from their black tongues, Chow Chows are perhaps best known for their woolly coats, which suit them particularly well in colder climates. Although these fluffy pups were originally working dogs in ancient China, today they are popular companion pets.
When it comes to cold-weather dogs, Alaskan Malamutes are certainly near the top of the pack. The oldest (and largest) of the Arctic sled dogs, the Malamute is known for its great strength, endurance, intelligence and, naturally, beauty.
The rugged Anatolian Shepherd dates back to Turkey more than 6,000 years ago where its powerful build and tenacious temperament made it well-suited to Turkey’s harsh climate. Inherently protective, the Anatolian is loyal and loving with its family — but also known to be very independent.
Believed to be one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world, the Icelandic Sheepdog first arrived in Iceland with the Vikings sometime between 930 AD and 874 AD. These plucky little fellows — whose thick coats keep them toasty in Icelandic terrain and beyond — are considered playful, friendly, inquisitive and lively.
With a profuse coat and lion-like size, the Leonberger isn’t just well-suited for colder weather — it prefers brisk temps. The breed excels as a multipurpose working dog, but these gentle giants love nothing more than making their families happy.
Don’t let the Tibetan Terrier’s petite size fool you. This breed, like the Tibetan Mastiff, is built to thrive in the extreme climate and tough terrain of its home country. Its large, round, flat feet are ideal for trekking through the snow, and its thick coat shields it from the elements.