Cold-hardy dog breeds

September 25, 2018
Close up of dog panting

Almost all of today’s domestic dogs were bred for a purpose, and as a result, 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 the weather is cold more often than not, make sure your pup is, too. Breeds with thick, double-coats can withstand the cold; those with thin coats are vulnerable to it. While leaving any pet outdoors in inclement weather isn’t recommended, you don’t have to keep these dogs inside all winter. Let them get out and play!

Breed Origin Cool facts
Alaskan Malamute Alaska Explorers brought malamutes on expeditions to the South Pole because the dogs could survive extreme cold.
American Eskimo Dog Germany Despite their name, these dogs aren’t from Alaska and have no connection to the indigenous Americans.
Bernese Mountain Dog Switzerland The Bernese is the only Swiss mountain dog with a long, silky coat.
Icelandic Sheepdog Iceland This sheepdog is Iceland’s only native dog breed.
Leonberger Germany Only 8 survived World War II, making them the ancestors to all modern-day Leonbergers.
Newfoundland Dog Canada Active members of fishing crews, Newfies haul fishing nets out to sea and rescue fellow crewmembers from icy waters.
Samoyed Dog Siberia When Samoyeds shed, their fur can be used as a substitute to wool for knitting.
Siberian Husky Siberia Used as sled dogs during the Gold Rush, they became a staple in the annual Nome sled competition.
St. Bernard Western Alps(Between Switzerland & Italy) Expert alpine rescuers, they have saved countless people trapped in avalanches.
Tibetan Mastiff 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 as comfortable in the cold and snow.

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. The following dogs are not cold-hardy, and often need warm gear to work and play in chilly weather.

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

Keeping cold-hardy breeds cool

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, keep this information in mind to make the transition safe and smooth for you and your pet.

  • Pets