Every dog has the good fortune of wearing a built-in fur coat, but as our review of the kinds of dog coats has proven, not all fur is created equal. Some dogs were bred to be distance runners in warm climates, necessitating thin coats to keep them cool and offer maximum agility, while others have dense double layers of fur designed for durability in rough weather conditions. For families living in the chillier regions of the world, here are the best dog breeds suited for you. Don’t subject a shiver-prone Chihuahua to harsh north winds when an Akita Inu would be a better match!
Samoyed: These beauties originated in Siberia for the purpose of herding reindeer, and are descended from wild northern wolves. These white-coated pups match the snow they enjoy playing in and are a great breed for low-temperature areas.
Bernese Mountain Dog: The name of this breed says it all, as even mountain ranges in warmers parts of the world can get chilly due to the high elevation. Bear-like and wooly, these dogs are an ancient breed (dating back many centuries) that used to drive herds through rough mountain terrain and unpredictable weather.
Huskies: Breeds such as the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky are landrace dogs from the spitz family. They were descended from sled dogs similar to those of the Inuit people, the Chukchi tribe of Asia, and the indigenous people of the Arctic. These Husky breeds were made to run for miles across snowy, icy and rocky terrain, and are excellent companions for those living in extremely cold climates. (Other breeds closely related, are the Sakhalin Husky, American Eskimo dog, American Akita and the Alaskan Klee Kai dogs).
Newfoundland: The Newfoundlands are a unique cold weather breed, in that they are not only able to trek through mounds of snow, but they also have been known to swim and rescue drowning victims from icy waters. These heroic dogs became beloved pets to several presidents of the United States, and we can see why!
Akita Inu: This double-coated dogs hail from Japan, are known to be tireless working dogs, and are the smallest of the spitz family. Their outer coat is coarse and stiff to the touch, and their under coat is soft and downy, helping retain the necessary body heat to function comfortably in harsh winter storms.
Chow Chow: Though Chow Chows can be aloof and sometimes aggressive, there is no doubt that they would be a great pet for anyone living in the frigid climates. These wooly dogs have some of the thickest fur coats of any breed. Chow Chows would pull carts and sleds in their native China, or act as guard dogs aboard sea vessels or in estates, and are used to working hard to earn their keep.
Tibetan Mastiff: Many regard the Tibetan Mastiff as fearsome hounds with ferociously protective instincts. These dogs are also known for their distinctly thick manes, long fur coats, and curling tails. Though they are not for everybody, these dogs are comfortable in cold parts of the world such as China, Tibet, and Nepal where the highest mountain in the world is located.
Great Pyrenees: Another breed named after the mountains, these dogs are reliable herders accustomed to spending long hours working outside. The Great Pyrenees have been thriving in America since the early 1800’s, and have double coat to keep them warm.
Alaskan Malamute: The Malamute is one of the oldest sledding dog breeds to exist today. The erstwhile pets of the Inuit people appear heavier and shaggier than their Husky cousins, and have fluffy, curling tails. Alaskan Malamutes are sturdy dogs that may be challenging to train, but are well-equipped to live comfortably in the cold.
Norwegian Elkhound: This breed not only has notably impressive stamina (being able to hunt large game such as moose, elk, and even bears!) but they also are incredibly resilient. The Norwegian Elkhound is believed to have been the hunting companion and devoted guard dog of the ancient Vikings, nearly 5,000 years ago. These elkhounds can survive ruthless Scandinavian winters, and are superior pets for people living in icy countries.
Other breeds: Bearded collie, Anatolian Shepherd, Keeshond, Old English Sheepdog, Golden Retreiver, St. Bernard, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Japanese Spitz, Bouvier Des Flandres, the Great Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Airedale Terrier, among others.