12 Cold Weather Dog Breeds Built for Frosty Conditions

Does your pup live for the winter? You may just have a cold weather dog breed!

Dog owners often pick pups whose personalities and needs mirror their lifestyles. Just like some humans can't wait for winter activities, some pups are just as enamored with the cold, wet, white stuff, making for the perfect match. Dogs bred specifically for cold climates usually have thick double coats and a lot of energy.

Many of them were working dogs with jobs like pulling sleds, guard dog duty, or being high-energy herding dogs — They did not shy away from their jobs because of a little chilliness. Instead, they thrived in colder weather. Now, many of these pups come from breeders far outside their cities of origin.  But, they still retain their love of all things winter and snow!

1. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

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A favorite of many dog owners, these pups originated in Siberia. The Siberian Husky is a smaller version of the Alaskan Malamute, only growing to about 60 pounds. They were bred to be sled dogs, working with their fellow dogs in teams. The Siberian Husky is very fast and can pull lighter loads across the frozen ground. These pups love being a part of a family and are great in a multi-dog home. However, they do really like to chase smaller animals.

2. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred to pull heavy loads and would run and roam throughout Alaska. These pups were primarily used as sled dogs in the region, and their dense coat keeps them nice and warm in the freezing temperatures.

3. Newfoundland 


Newfoundlands, or Newfies, as they are affectionately called, are Canadian dogs who grow to be upwards of 150 pounds. These sweet, low-energy pups were used as search and rescue dogs, primarily for water rescues. Their specialty was jumping into the icy waters utilizing their superior swimming skills. However, they are equally adept on land. These gentle giants are known for drooling a lot.

4. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog may be low energy, but they are devoted to their families and are strong, fast, and agile. These sweet pups hail from Switzerland, where they were used for herding, cart pulling, and as watchdogs. These gentle giants also make for the best family dogs. Out of the four Swiss Mountain Dogs, they are the only ones with a long outer coat.

5. Great Pyrenees

great Pyrenees

Originating in France, these fluff balls were known for watching over their herds on steep mountain slopes. Cold temperatures are these pups' best friend. Their thick fur is a double coat giving them protection against arctic temperatures.

6. Shiba Inu

shibu inu

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While Shibas have been around for many years, the AKC only recognized this ancient Japanese breed in 1992. The first Shiba Inus came to the United States from Japan 60 years ago and has grown in popularity. Shibas were used as hunters, but are now strong, confident family dogs.

7. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is another ancient breed found in Scandinavia. These pups would hunt in cold weather conditions and have an affinity for snowy winter weather. Their outer coat with a thick wooly undercoat protected them as they hunted elk. Modern Norwegian Elkhound owners can take them hiking in just about any condition or can strap on some snowshoes and head out for a snowy adventure.

8. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

A native of Tibet, this large cold weather dog breed can get up to 150 pounds. The Tibetan Mastiff is the ultimate watchdog with an imposing presence that can be more than a little intimidating to predators. The dogs are loyal to their families but will be stand-offish with strangers. These pups are not the only cold-weather dogs from Tibet. Quite a bit smaller, the Tibetan terrier also thrives in the cold and used to be the monk's companions.

9. Samoyed


The Samoyed is another pup that was brought to pet owners by Siberia. Their job was to herd reindeer, hunt, and haul sledges. The Samoyed is a giant floof with plenty of love to give, and they have the energy level to go along with it. They are one pup that you don't have to worry about getting frostbite. Samoyed originates from Oymyakon, where the temperature can reach -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

10. Keeshond


This family pet was once used on the riverboats in Holland as a watchdog. The Keeshond is a smaller dog weighing about 40 pounds. Keeshonds are very friendly and are high-energy. They need a lot of exercise and are easily trainable. They put regular pup's zoomies to shame if they do not get the proper amount of exercise.

11. American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dog

Interestingly enough, the American Eskimo Dog was originally named the White German Spitz. However, the fluffy pup with a white coat got a name change after World War II. According to the American Kennel Club, these smart, friendly pups make for a great family dog. They are also on the smaller side, coming in standard, about 19 inches tall, miniature, and toy which can be as small as 9 inches.

12. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd

The Anatolian Shepherd is a fierce guard dog whose ancient breeds protected their flocks in Turkey with everything they had. The pups are incredibly muscular and deal with rough terrain and even rougher predators as herding dogs. According to the AKC, these pups' lineage can be traced back thousands of years to the Bronze age.

Other dog breeds that love cold weather are German Shepherds, Akitas, Chow Chows, and Saint Bernards. The Saint Bernard was used as a rescue dog in the Swiss Alps, and the Chinese bred Chow Chow is known for its signature black tongues.

Do you have a cold-weather dog breed? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page. 

READ MORE: 10 Naughtiest Dog Breeds in the U.S. + Where The "Bad Dogs" Live