Top 10 Cold Weather Dog Breeds

by Anne-Marie Smith
10 Cold Weather Dog Breeds

You can’t change the weather where you live… only Mother Nature can do that. However, you can make sure that your dog breed is the happiest they can be and best suited to the climate where you live. Here are 10 cold weather dog breeds if you live in a cold area, especially somewhere that gets multiple months of snow and below-freezing temperatures.

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10 Cold Weather Dog Breeds

Siberian Husky

siberian husky

This dog is happiest with a lot of physical and mental work! Because they were first used for dog sledding, they’re bred to want to have a job to do. Huskies can be very vocal and loud, often complaining to their owners if they feel cooped up in the house. Their thick coat also means that they shed during the summer, leaving massive piles of fur for their families to clean up. Although this dog can have a lot of upkeep, many families enjoy their protective and unique personalities.



The Samoyed makes a loyal companion, but it will need lots of physical and mental exercise. This is not a dog for someone who is away at work all day. They were originally bred in Siberia for herding reindeer and hunting, along with pulling sleds. These are sweet dogs with what is known as a “Samoyed Smile”, but be prepared to keep up with them!

Tibetan Terrier

tibetan terrier

Although these dogs are smaller than the rest on this list, don’t let that fool you. They were made to be outdoor companions to monks in monasteries in Tibet. Their feet are built like snowshoes… round and flat to provide traction and stay on top of thin ice. They are agile in the snowy terrain and love to climb, but they’re also just as happy to curl up on the couch with you.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

This dog can be comfortable in both cold and moderate climates, but they were once just available in the snowy Himalayas. They have a double coat that keeps them warm but sheds in summer. Most Tibetan Mastiffs are brown or black in color, but the red variety is maybe the most expensive breed in the world! One dog once sold for $1.5 million. You don’t have to spend a fortune to find a good friend, though. These dogs are loyal if you treat them right.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

These dogs have been called “too smart for their own good”! The Shiba Inu is always ready to have a new adventure, wants to see new places, is confident, and has a loud voice. Because of their double coat of thick fur, they tend to love cold snow and winter weather. Try hiding something under the snow for a fun treat.

Chow Chow

chow chow

Maybe best known for their unique face and black tongues, the Chow Chow makes for an interesting pet. They have woolly coats, suitable for colder temperatures. Chow Chows love to hang out with their humans, so they’re happiest when they’re by your side… snuggled up indoors or running in the snow outdoors.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

This dog has the benefits of a draft dog mixed with the gentle nature and low exercise needs of other less active breeds. The Bernese Mountain Dog was bred originally for driving and drafting in the cold climate of Switzerland. It’s large enough to carry its own pack and gear (and maybe some of yours too). Although it’s strong and agile, it’s also able to relax and not always need to run.



This was once a royal breed, owned only by the Imperial family in Japan and originally bred for cold-weather hunting in Japan. However, now anyone can get a protective, loyal Akita. These dogs have a dense undercoat and a thick outer coat, ensuring that they’re able to stand the harsh cold. Just be aware that your Akita can be stubborn if they don’t want to do what you’re asking them to do at the time!

Akita Dog Review

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

These dogs were once known as “the poor man’s horse” because they were able to haul so much weight. They were used by farmers and even during WWII. Now they are better known as companions for hiking and backpacking. Although these dogs are powerful and very large, they are generally very gentle.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Malamutes come from Alaska and were bred to be sled dogs. They are built to haul heavy loads, run for hours, and withstand the cold climate of the Arctic. Their thick coat keeps them warm, but it also sheds during warmer temperatures. Be sure you can handle an energetic, smart dog that will shed handfuls of fluff during the summer.

Final Thoughts

Consider these 10 cold weather dog breeds if you live in a cold climate and want a strong, resilient companion to brave the snowy outdoors with you!

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