21 Dog Breeds That Thrive in Cold Weather & Snow

Some dogs are naturally better equipped to deal with the cold weather. Typically, they have long hair and double coats. They are usually bred in cold countries, so they will have needed these coats to survive in this kind of environment. At home, this type of dog may struggle with temperatures that are too high and they will not usually do well in warmer climates.

Below are 21 breeds that not only cope with cold weather but thrive in it.

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1. Karakachan Bear Dog

Karakachan Bear Dog in the snow
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The Karakachan Bear Dog, or Bulgarian Shepherd, is a livestock guardian. He is used to roaming with his herd and has to be patient and kind with cattle but prepared to fend off predators that pose a threat to his animals. He still makes a great family companion, although he does enjoy sleeping outdoors in the snow.


2. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog in the snow
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The Bernese Mountain Dog is strong, has plenty of energy when he is working, and he will be completely devoted to his owner, enjoying spending time curled up asleep just as much as being outdoors and exercising. His strength means that he is even used to carrying his and his owner’s equipment through snowy and mountainous terrain.


3. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd
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The Anatolian Shepherd has shorter hair than a lot of the dogs on this list, but that does not mean that he is any less capable of surviving harsh cold weather. He was a flock guardian and originally worked in the mountains of Turkey. He does not have high energy requirements but he can be very protective, so he is only suitable for experienced owners.


4.  German Shepherd

German Shepherd in the snow
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The German Shepherd is well known around the world. He is commonly used as a service dog, rescue dog, and he loves the cold weather and snow. He will learn quickly and can be a loving and affectionate member of the family. Choose a dog from a reputable breeder to avoid the health problems that are sometimes associated with this breed.


5. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in winter
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The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a multipurpose working dog. He is strong, agile, and rugged. He is used to herd, protect, farm, and to carry equipment. He is also a giant breed and can weigh more than 100 pounds when fully grown. He has a gentle attitude when at home with his family.


6. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute in the snow
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The Alaskan Malamute comes from Alaska, which means that he loves the cold weather and snow. He is used as a sled dog and his dense coat keeps him warm in the cold and snowy weather. He can be difficult to train so he may not be suitable for first-time owners.


7. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees in deep snow
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The Great Pyrenees kind of looks like a large Retriever, but he hails from the Pyrenees mountains in France and loves the cold and snow. The breed was once the Royal Dog of France and was used as a guarding dog. He is very gentle and makes a great family pet, but he will need time outdoors and will appreciate the opportunity to roam.


8. Kuvasz

Kuvasz sitting in the snow
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The Kuvasz comes from Tibet and to be considered a true purebred of this breed, he must have pure white hair. This makes him very difficult to spot when he is in his favored conditions of deep snow. He has a double coat, is easy to train, and makes a fearless protector and guardian.


9. Newfoundland

Newfoundland playing in the snow
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The Newfoundland is a huge giant of a dog, and his size and stature are only increased by the amount of long hair he has. This heavy coat protects him from the icy cold waters. Potential owners should be aware that, although he barks very little, the Newfoundland is known for being a heavy drooler.


10. Saint Bernard

St. Bernard in winter
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When it comes to heavy drooling, though, very few breeds can compete with the incredible St. Bernard. This gentle and loving dog was used as a rescue dog. He can trek across miles and miles of snow and will provide plenty of affection even after such an arduous journey.


11. Akita

Akita lying on ground covered with snow
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The Japanese Akita has become increasingly popular but was once reserved solely for ownership by the Japanese Imperial Family. He has a dense coat that protects him from snow, but as a family pet, he can be difficult because he is challenging to train and displays a very stubborn side.


12. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound in winter
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The Norwegian Elkhound unsurprisingly comes from Norway. He was used as a hunter and is well equipped for hunting in the challenging cold conditions of the region. He loves adventure and he loves the cold. These dogs are very protective, and this can be a problem for some owners, so do make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into.


13. Keeshond

Keeshond in snow
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The Keeshond is arguably the perfect combination. He is equipped to deal with the cold weather, loves adventure and exercise, but he loves to spend time at home with his owners. He is very loving, and he is intelligent, and this combination means that he learns quickly in a bid to try and please his master.


14.  Chow Chow

Chow Chow in snow
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The Chow Chow will love spending every possible opportunity out in the cold weather and especially the snow, so he will truly appreciate you taking him out even in the harshest of conditions. As a general rule, Chow Chows are quite standoffish towards strangers and appreciate their alone time at home more than the average snuggly dog.


15. Samoyed

Samoyed in winter
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The Siberian Samoyed was bred to hunt reindeer. He was also used to pull sleds, which means that he has power and strength, as well as agility and a keen love of the cold weather. As a family pet, he is fun to own and will provide you with a lot of excitement and fun.


16. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu in winter
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A Shiba Inu has a double coat and loves the cold weather. When out in the snow, he will prance and leap around in piles of snow. He has very keen senses and will enjoy chasing toys and, potentially, small animals in these challenging conditions.


17.  American Eskimo Dog

standing german spitz
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The American Eskimo Dog is smaller than most on this list, but what he lacks in height he more than makes up for in character. The American Eskimo Dog actually comes from Germany but had his name changed from the German Spitz after World War II when many people wanted nothing to do with breeds that had German in their name.


18. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky in winter
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The Siberian Husky is probably the best known of the cold weather breeds and he has become very popular in recent years. However, he has serious wanderlust, loves climbing on top of just about everything, and he has a stubborn streak that can make him difficult to train. He will need a lot of exercise, but will excel in sports like pulling and sledding.


19.  Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff in winter
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The Tibetan Mastiff has an incredible head of hair and he uses his double coat to protect him from the cold and wet of the Tibetan mountains. They are an expensive dog and are rarely kept as pets. Unusually, this breed is comfortable in warm weather as well as in the cold weather and snow.


20. Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terrier in winter
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The shaggy Tibetan Terrier has a characterful face. He has flat feet that are similar in design to snowshoes. He has a double coat to protect against the cold and prevent him from getting wet. He is also very gentle, which makes him a great family pet as well as a super companion for cold weather hiking.


21. Finnish Lapphund

Finnish Lapphund in the snowy mountain
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The Finnish Lapphund is a reindeer herding breed that is used to working in the Arctic Circle, so he can handle any cold climate and snowy conditions. Their tail wraps around their face to provide further protection from the cold. Despite being wary of strangers, this breed thrives in company.

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Dog Breeds That Thrive in the Cold and Snow

These dog breeds make ideal pets and companions for people that live in cold climates. Not only can they cope with the cold, but they actually thrive in these conditions, some of them wanting to roll in the snow and others wanting to sleep in it overnight.


Featured Image Credit: Suchavadee, Shutterstock