Dog Breeds That Can Ruff it in the Cold

Snow dog

Of the 340-plus recognized breeds, some are snow-loving mountain mutts while others are sun-loving beach bums. Their pedigrees have evolved over a long lineage from all over the world and each breed thrives in its natural habitat.

If you’re comfortable living where temps are often single digit, make sure your pup is, too. Breeds with thick, multi-layer coats are built to withstand the cold; those with thin coats are vulnerable to it. While it isn’t recommended to leave pets outdoors during extreme cold weather conditions, these breeds do best in a chilly climate:

Breed Origin Did You Know?
Alaskan Malamutes Alaska Were brought on expeditions to the South Pole because they could survive extreme cold.
American Eskimo Dogs Germany Despite their name, this breed is not from Alaska and has no connection to Eskimos.
Bernese Mountain Dogs Switzerland The Bernese is the only Swiss mountain dog with a long, silky coat.
Icelandic Sheepdogs Iceland Iceland’s only native dog breed.
Leonberger Dogs Germany Only 5 survived World War I and only 8 survived World War II, making them the ancestors to all modern-day Leonbergers.
Newfoundland Dogs Canada Active members of fishing crews, they haul fishing nets out to sea and rescue fellow crewmembers from icy waters.
Samoyed Dogs Siberia When Samoyeds shed, their fur can be used as a substitute to wool for knitting.
Siberian Huskies Siberia Used as sled dogs during the Gold Rush, they became a staple in the annual Nome sled competition.
St. Bernards Western Alps(Between Switzerland & Italy) Expert alpine rescuers, they have saved countless people trapped in avalanches.
Tibetan Mastiffs Tibet One of the most expensive breeds in the world, selling for as much as $2.5 million.


Because of their origins, the breeds above are well-equipped for cold; their heavy coats and extra body fat act as insulation. Other breeds, however, aren’t so comfortable.

Warm Weather Dogs

Not surprisingly, breeds like the Chihuahua, which hail from Mexico, and the Maltese, from the Isle of Malta, don’t take well to freezing climates. So, too, their fair-weather friends, like:

  • Basenji
  • Bulldog
  • Chinese Crested
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Greyhound
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Rat Terrier
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Whippet

While the cold-weather breeds in the chart above may be naturals in the snow, their heavy coats make them more prone to overheating when it’s hot. On the other hand, a thin-coated canine living in a cold-weather climate can easily develop viral and bacterial diseases simply from catching a cold.

If you’re moving to a different climate with your four-legged friend, get tips on how to make the transition safe and smooth for you and your pet.