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Dog breeds that thrive in cold weather

December 2023 | Highpaw stories

As winter covers the world in snow and frost, some dog breeds relish the cold weather. With thick coats, robust physiques, and inborn endurance, these cold weather champions not only tolerate but thrive in chilly climates. Since the temperatures have dropped, there is no better time to delve into the fascinating world of dogs that are tailor-made for winter living.


Siberian Husky

Known for their striking appearance and boundless energy, Siberian Huskies are Arctic athletes with a dense double coat designed to insulate against extreme cold. Originating from Siberia, where temperatures can plummet dramatically, these dogs have a remarkable ability to endure freezing conditions. Their friendly disposition and love for outdoor activities make them ideal companions for winter adventures. Daily walks, runs, or other forms of exercise are essential for Siberian Huskies. They thrive when they have an outlet for their energy and enjoy activities like hiking and jogging.



Alaskan Malamute

Named after the native Inuit tribe, the Malamute is a majestic and powerful breed built for hauling heavy sleds across snow-covered landscapes. With a thick, coarse coat and a plume of a tail that provides additional warmth when curled over their face, Alaskan Malamutes are the epitome of northern nobility. Their strong work ethic and friendly nature make them excellent family dogs in cold climates. And the best part is that you can count on having the best winter memories sliding in sleds with your dog hauling you around.



Bernese Mountain Dog

Originating from the Swiss Alps, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a large and sturdy breed equipped to handle frigid temperatures. Covered in a thick, long coat, they possess a gentle temperament that complements their robust appearance. Bernese Mountain Dogs are not only resilient in the cold but also make affectionate and loyal family companions. They are often good with children and can be very loving and protective of their family. Bernese Mountain Dogs have a beautiful, long, and silky double coat. While this coat is gorgeous, it requires regular grooming to prevent matting and to keep it healthy.




Known as "smiling Sammies", Samoyeds are not only recognized for their friendly demeanor but also for their dense, fluffy coats that provide insulation against the cold. Originally bred by the Samoyedic people of Siberia for herding reindeer and pulling sleds, these white, fluffy dogs make excellent cold weather companions with their cheerful disposition and adaptable nature. Samoyeds often form strong bonds with their families. They may be affectionate and enjoy participating in family activities, making them a true companion.



Norwegian Elkhound

A versatile and intelligent breed, the Norwegian Elkhound hails from Norway and is well adapted to cold climates. With a thick, weather-resistant coat and a curled tail resting on its back, this breed has historically been used for hunting in harsh Nordic terrains. Norwegian Elkhounds are known for their loyalty, making them excellent family guardians in winter environments. Families with an active lifestyle and a love for the outdoors may find the Norwegian Elkhound to be a suitable and loving companion.



Tibetan Mastiff

Originally bred to guard livestock in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau, the Tibetan Mastiff is a formidable and independent breed well-suited for cold climates and known for its majestic appearance. Their thick double coat and distinctive mane around the neck provide insulation against harsh weather conditions. Known for their aloof yet protective nature, Tibetan Mastiffs make excellent guardians in snowy landscapes. Despite their imposing size, Tibetan Mastiffs don't have extremely high exercise needs. Regular walks and playtime in a securely fenced area are usually sufficient.



Finnish Lapphund

Originating from Lapland in Finland, Finnish Lapphunds are versatile herders with a thick, plush coat designed for subarctic conditions. Known for their friendly and sociable nature, these dogs are not only adaptable to cold climates but also make wonderful family pets. Their dense fur and bushy tail contribute to their ability to thrive in winter environments. They have a moderate energy level, which means they generally require regular exercise and play but are not overly demanding.




Newfoundlands, often referred to as "Newfies", are large and gentle giants known for their swimming prowess and water rescue abilities. Originating from the icy waters of Newfoundland, Canada, these dogs have a water-resistant double coat that provides insulation in cold temperatures. Despite their size, Newfoundlands are affectionate, making them excellent companions in chilly climates. Typically, Newfoundlands are good with children. Their patient and nurturing nature makes them suitable for families.


While some dogs may prefer to snuggle up indoors during the winter, breeds built for cold weather eagerly embrace the cold season. From the Arctic tundras to snowy mountains, these cold weather champions exhibit not only physical adaptations but also endearing personalities that make them cherished members of families in chilly climates. Whether you're seeking a playful companion for winter adventures or a loyal guardian for your home, these breeds bring warmth and joy to the coldest of days.