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Winter-ready dog breeds are as diverse as they are versatile, coming from all around the world in a variety of shapes, sizes and temperaments. For pet lovers living in areas where the temperatures likely to take a seasonal dip, here’s a quick look at some of the most popular cold weather dog breeds:
Famous for their use in dog sledding, the Siberian Husky is the first breed many folks think of when they hear the term “snow dog.” Just as renowned for their majestic appearances as they are for their frigid weather endurance, this is a popular cold weather dog breed all across the world. They’re built to withstand freezing temperatures, as evidenced by everything from the interiors of their ears, which have thick layers of hair to protect their ear canals from relentless cold winds, to their almond-shaped eyes which safeguard their sensitive ocular tissues from the flying ice and snow. The fur and pads on their feet are also incredibly thick and leather-like, which helps as they cross harsh snow-covered terrain. If you’re planning on becoming a husky owner, be prepared to take many walks no matter what the weather’s like outside—they need to stay active to remain happy and healthy!
This small, genial dog’s origins date back many years to when they were dependable herders of reindeer for the nomadic Samoyed people. They love being outside and getting their fill of exercise, no matter what the weather’s like. Like many herding dogs, they need a loyal human companion to satisfy their need for guidance and leadership, even if they’re not out herding cold weather livestock. Their thick double coats are made up of two layers, a woolen undercoat and a straight outer coat, which gives them twice as much insulation. In fact, their fur is such an effective insulator that the Samoyed people would often make clothing from their hair.
With their thick layers of fur, these increasingly popular Japanese-bred dogs thrive in the cold. Their red-tinted, fox-like coats and small size make them very appealing to many dog lovers, but they’ve also got deceptively tenacious personalities to go with those cuddly exteriors. This makes them a challenging breed to train and discipline, especially for first time dog owners. Still, any Shiba Inu owner can confirm that there’s nothing quite as adorable in this world as seeing their little pup’s small frame excitedly bouncing through even the deep layers of snow.
The American Eskimo comes in three different sizes, which are toy, miniature and standard (“standard” is still only medium sized). This cordial pup has a beautiful white coat and is, as its name implies, perfectly suited for the types of temperatures that an eskimo would be accustomed to. It may be small to medium-sized, but it has a lot of energy to burn off, especially with that thick, snowy coat. Just like the Siberian Husky, frequent walks are a must with this cold weather dog breed!
These loyal dogs were believed to be the small but faithful companions of the legendary European vikings of old. That alone is indicative of this breed’s overall resilience and ability to withstand the colder elements. Fortunately, you don’t need a longboat to acquire their companionship, as Icelandic Sheepdogs have hearts that are as warm as their fur is. They simply love spending their time playing with their humans, whether in the snow or not! Still, their dense, weatherproof double coats mean that they feel right at home in the even the most frigid environments, while their long, bushy tails ensure that they stay warm from head to tail—literally.
Originally from the more bitter, mountainous regions of Japan, this large breed comes prepared for winter with a dense double coat of varying color combinations. A hard-working dog breed at heart, the Akita has no issues playing around in the snow with a human companion for fun, but unlike some of the other dogs on this list, it doesn’t care for being left out too long!
A farm dog with a thick, fluffy coat, this cold weather canine was bred to thrive in the bitter Swiss Alps, meaning they’re more than ready for the oncoming snows! Unlike most breeds with similar origins in the colder parts of the world, the Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat isn’t snowy white. In fact, it’s actually a deep black, which helps it to absorb sunlight and maintain its body heat. Because of this, Bernese Mountain Dogs greatly dislike even the most moderately warm temperatures, frequently going out of their way to find shade and fend off the heat any way they can. As such, they’re better choices for people who live in areas that are cold throughout the year.
The uniquely wooly coat of this distinctive-looking, black-tongued dog helps keep it well insulated year round. Though they might be fluffy and huggable looking, Chow Chows are also known to be standoffish and untrusting of strangers. This has led them to be humorously compared to cats by many owners since, as a result of their independent nature, many are not big fans of prolonged cuddling or excessive affection. Regardless, Chow Chow dogs are much more adaptable and tolerant of cold weather than most cats.
Even though many of these cold weather dogs were bred to withstand frigid temperatures, that doesn’t mean they can (or want) to stay outside for prolonged periods of time by themselves! Every dog needs to come inside before succumbing to the cold, no matter how resilient it is, so it’s best to never, ever take any chances!
Plus, with this winter showing no signs of stopping its bitter cold streak, now is a great time to take necessary precautions to ensure your pet stays safe, warm and healthy until the spring arrives. A great place to start is by winterizing its paws!