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Top Dogs for Cold Climates

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Although any breed can live in cold climates with proper care and grooming, some breeds tend to fare better than others. Dogs living in areas known for cold temperatures typically are larger dogs with thick hair coats. When selecting a breed of dog, consider your outside environment, especially if he will spend a lot of time outside. For additional information, read Winter Care for the Outdoor Dog.

Below is a list of dogs that can do well in cold climates.

Siberian husky. This beautiful and regal dog has been used to pull sleds in arctic countries for centuries. Originating in Siberia, this breed was very important in the 1925 "diphtheria serum run" that saved the lives of hundreds of Alaskan children. This run later became the Iditarod.

Chow chow. The chow is one of the most easily recognized breeds. Popular because of his thick fluffy coat, the chow is a great guard dog and can readily tolerate cold weather.

Anatolian shepherd. Recently accepted by the AKC, the Anatolian shepherd has an intense devotion and loyalty to his family and flock. Considered one of the best guard dogs around, this dog is slowly gaining popularity in the United States. Used to harsh weather, this dog thrives in cold environments.

Keeshond. A Dutch favorite, the keeshond is a loving and devoted family pet. Related to other Arctic breeds such as the chow chow, samoyed and Pomeranian, the keeshond has a thick coat to protect him in harsh weather.

Samoyed. This big white dog with a smiling face is popular because of his gentleness. Sturdy and covered with a thick coat, this dog can live outdoors as long as there is plenty of contact with his family. Used as sled dogs, they are able to pull about 1 1/2 times their own weight in equipment and supplies

Norwegian elkhound. This dog is descended from canines that served with the Vikings. Brave enough to track bear and moose, the elkhound is also hardy enough to live in the harshest of climates.

Akita. One of the national dogs of Japan, the akita is a dignified and courageous dog. Originally used to hunt bear and guard property, the akita has a thick coat, which protects him from the elements.

Irish wolfhound. This gentle giant was originally developed to hunt wolves in Ireland and readily tolerates cold weather. The massive size of this dog leads him to enjoy the wide open spaces of the great outdoors.

Bouvier des Flandres. The Bouvier originated in Belgium and was originally used to drive cattle and pull carts. His size, strength and coat allow him to live comfortably in cold climates.

Golden retriever. As one of the most popular breeds, the golden retriever is an excellent family pet and can thrive in harsh environments. With a long hair coat, the golden prefers to spend time with his owner.

Old English sheepdog. Easily recognized by his thick white and grey coat, the Old English sheepdog is not as popular as other breeds but he can live anywhere. At home in chilly climates, the OES needs daily grooming to keep his coat healthy.

Saint Bernard. No other dog has been as strongly linked to a barrel of whiskey as the Saint Bernard. Companions of monks, the Saint Bernard has saved many people who have been lost or injured in the frigid Swiss Alps.

Greater Swiss mountain dog. This breed was developed in Switzerland as a working dog. Bred to guard, herd and haul heavy carts, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog enjoys the cold outdoors.

Bernese mountain dog. As with the Greater Swiss Mountain dog, the Bernese was also developed as a draft dog. Hardy and strong, the Bernese is at home indoors or out and thrives in cold weather.

Great Pyrenees. A true shepherd dog, the Great Pyrenees has accompanied many sheep herders and was an invaluable asset when the sheep needed protection and direction. A great watchdog, his thick hair coat lead him to prefer the cooler parts of the world.

Alaskan malamute. Bred to pull sleds over frigid terrain, the Alaskan malamute is ideally suited for life outdoors, though not in hot climates. His heavy coat is better for cold climates.

Bearded collie. The bearded collie may not be as popular as some other breeds but he has plenty of admirers. A hardy dog that thrives as a sheep dog in Scotland, this breed has a thick coat that allows his to thrive in cold outdoor weather.

German shepherd. Nearly always topping the most popular breed lists, the German shepherd has natural guarding and protecting instincts. His double hair coat insulates him in cold weather and he can be quite content spending his days and nights outside.

Shiba inu. Considered one of the smallest of the Japanese breeds, the shiba inu is the most popular companion dog in Japan. Endowed with a thick coat, the shiba inu is used to winter weather.

Newfoundland. Originating in Newfoundland, it is easy to understand why this dog loves the water. A large and strong dog, the Newfie has been used to help fishermen, pull heavy carts and rescue people from a potential watery grave. The Newfoundland's hair coat allows him to tolerate even cold frigid water.

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