top outdoor dog breeds

Top Dog Breeds for Life Outdoors

Due to space limitations or personal preference, some people choose to have their dogs live the majority of their lives outdoors. Some dogs do better than others as an outdoor dog.

Curly coated retriever. This retriever is a hardy dog that loves water. His thick coat gives him protection from the harshest weather and he is a faithful and devoted guard dog.

Rottweiler. This powerful dog can live indoors or outdoors. Originally bred as a herding dog, the Rottweiler is now best known as a formidable guard dog.

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.

Siberian husky. The husky has historically lived outdoors in the harshest lands. Bred to pull sleds across frozen terrain, this dog is very hardy and quite content to live outside.

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 outdoors.

Mastiff. This giant and imposing dog was used as a hunter and protector. Content to patrol his home and guard his family, the mastiff can thrive outdoors but needs companionship.

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 an apartment or yard, the OES needs daily grooming to keep his coat healthy.

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 outdoor life.

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. The Great Pyrenees is happiest when he has a job to do. Whether guarding sheep, pulling carts or protecting his family, the Great Pyrenees seems to thrive outdoors, especially in winter.

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

Keeshond. With his thick coat, the Keeshond can do well outdoors, as long as his family is nearby and provides daily grooming and companionship.

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.

Australian shepherd. Despite his name, the Australian shepherd is an American made dog. Used in many different ways, the Aussie is very intelligent and craves activity. Outdoor life can work well for this dog, provided there is plenty of things to do.

Australian cattle dog. Unlike the Aussie, the Australian cattle dog is truly from Australia. Developed to herd cattle, this dog needs lots of mental stimulation and physical activiy. Provided he is securely fenced in a very large yard, the Australian cattle dog can do well outside.

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

American Foxhound. As a hound developed to hunt foxes, the American foxhound thrives on outdoor activities. Not the best apartment dog, this breed needs a sturdy fence and plenty of room to run.

Belgian sheepdog. As one of the representative breeds of Belgium, this dog is cherished as a police dog, guard dog, herding dog and companion. With a thick coat, this breed can live outdoors, provided he is given lots of attention.

Chow chow. The chow is one of the most easily recognized breeds. Popular because of his thick fluffy coat, the chow can thrive outdoors, even in the coldest of weather. During the hot summer months, outdoor chows greatly appreciate a drastic haircut.

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

For more information on caring for your outdoor dog, see How to Make Your Dog Feel at Home Outdoors, Summer Care for the Outdoor Dog and Winter Care for the Outdoor Dog.