For dog owners, surviving the winter in the colder regions of the globe can be difficult. Similarly, many breeds of dogs are not well-suited to winter climates. As a result, you could find yourself with fewer alternatives to dog breeds as pets than you would in a more moderate climate. However, there are certain dog breeds for cold weather that are specially suited to live in cold, freezing temperatures.
Even in regions with considerable snowfall, there are many dog breeds that make excellent pets. They may be found in every imaginable size, shade, and form. But, what are the various factors that help certain dog breeds survive such low temperatures. Let us briefly explain them first.
How do dog breeds survive the cold weather?
It is tough to keep warm over the long winter months due to the low temperatures, chill winds, and snow. How then can dogs endure such cold weather? One reason is that dogs have such amazing coat. Dogs in cold regions tend to be bigger and possess warmer double layer coats. Their coat certainly plays a role in keeping them warm, but it is not the only one.
The thick hair that dogs have makes them comfortable in cold climates. Because of their coat, they can maintain their body temperature stable. When it becomes cold outside, a dog’s coat stands up to act as insulation. The converse is true as the temperature rises.
If a dog’s body detects a drop in temperature at an extremity, it will switch the flow of blood to prevent the loss of heat by routing the warm, oxygen-rich blood entering the limb alongside the cold, unoxygenated blood exiting the limb. This also stops their body’s blood from circulating back out into the cold. There is a theory that the fat in a dog’s foot is of a different composition than the fat in the rest of the dog’s body, which also aids in insulation. This fat may facilitate cellular modifications that improve cold-temperature performance.
Factors of a dog breed that help them service cold weather: –
- Type of Coat: Northern dogs have thick, double coat of fur that have both long, stiff guard hairs and a shorter, puffy undercoat. Guard hairs are bristly and slightly water resistant, thus they prevent snow from penetrating the undercoat whereas undercoats are fine and wavy, providing a deep layer of insulation to dog breeds living in colder areas.
- Coat color: On a sunny day, dark-coated dogs like blacks, browns, and greys soak up more solar heat than their lighter-coated counterparts, thus helping to keep them warmer in chilling weather.
- Size: Smaller dogs lose body heat faster than larger dogs, due to the ratio of their greater surface area compared to their volume, eventually loosing heat rapidly. Also, smaller dog breeds have their bodies and bellies exposed to the cold surface or snow much more than longer legged dogs.
- Weight – Body fat acts as a key insulation for dogs. Dogs with less body fat lose heat more quickly than those with more fat.
- Age and Health – Dogs in their initial, late, or ill stages of life require more warmth than dogs in their young, healthy stages since they are less able to regulate their body temperature.
- Metabolism: Most of the dog breeds that thrive in cold weather have fast metabolism. As a result, they are energetic and playful and require a lot of physical activity to keep them busy throughout the day. Also, it is important to provide proper diet to these cold weather dogs to maintain their weight and sustain their high energy levels.
Here is the list of Top 15 Dog Breeds for cold weather:-
Let’s talk about the best dog breeds for chilly climates. You should be aware that several of the breeds listed below are considered working animals, and as such, will need more exercise and attention than a pet of a different kind.
Undoubtedly, the most well-known snow dog is the Siberian husky. Huskies are well known for their high levels of activity and stamina, as well as their thick coat and ability to endure freezing weather. These dogs were first developed to pull sleds and carry goods over the snowy Russian tundra.
For a long time, these dogs have been used as sled dogs in the Siberian regions. And have been raised to withstand extreme climates of the north. They are genetically endowed with almond eyes that act as a protectant against loose snow. Their fluffy tail is an inbuilt scarf that prevents them from the moist nose and enables them to inhale warm air. These dogs come in various colors and are known for their vocalization skills. They are born tough and have great endurance thus making them ideal as sled dogs.
Alaskan Malamutes is the largest of the Arctic dogs that looks like a wolf and is thick, well-built dog. These dogs have been bred by the Mahlemiut Inuit of Alaska for hundreds of years to pull large sleds over long distances in sub-zero weather. They are affectionate, friendly, loyal and intelligent dog breed. They are pack animals and need a strong owner. They are not suitable for apartment living and need big house with well fenced garden to roam around. They need daily mental and physical exercise and proper socialization is imperative.
They have an extremely thick, dense and waterproof double coat which safeguards them from catching a cold. Also, they are available in various colors like black, brown, etc., which helps them to absorb sunlight.
The ancient Samoyed can trace its ancestry back to Russia, where it endured subzero conditions while serving as hunters, herders, and sled dogs for the semi-nomadic Siberian people. They have a thick coat which sheds, so you must know how to take care of it. Its white appearance makes it more obvious if you don’t manage the shedding. This breed requires a lot of grooming care, but its endearing personality more than makes up for it.
This breed of dog has a lot of energy, so it’s important to make time for daily runs and other outside activities and without it, they may develop undesirable habits or suffer from separation anxiety.
The Newfoundland is a breed of dog that originated in Canada, on the island of the same name, however, its exact origins are disputed. In the colder months, their thick double-coat keeps them warm. Newfoundland’s are well-suited to jobs that need them to be in or near water since their coats are waterproof.
Their mild demeanor and affectionate nature make them excellent companions outside of the workplace. They are great for families with kids because of their patience. They are trustworthy watch dogs because of their intense commitment to their owners.
These dogs need daily walks since they are very energetic. Since these dog breeds thrive in the winter, you can count on them to want to play even if it’s snowing.
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Saint Bernard is a massive dog that makes a great family pet. They were bred to be large working dogs typically from the freezing climate of Western Alps in Italy and Switzerland. For years, these dogs have been used in search and rescue operations to find trapped humans under avalanches. They have low energy and aren’t super playful but they make up for it with their affection. They are known for their patience and love for children. Their coat can be of two types; smooth or rough. The smooth is short haired whereas the rough is long haired.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a primitive dog breed with its origins in Tibet. They have a dense double coat which is medium to long and helps them keeps insulated. They are known to survive the cold freezing temperatures of Ladakh, Tibet and other Himalayan regions. They are gentle and patient dog and quite watchful and are protective of their family. They are tall and can reach a height of 24 to 26 inches and weigh up to 150 pounds. They come in various colors like black, brown, red or gold and are excellent with children. They generally stay quiet during the day but have a tendency to bark at night.
Another dog from Tibet is the Tibetan Terrier which is a medium sized dog breed. They were considered to bring good luck and raised as companions for the monks. They made excellent guard dogs and guarded their monks’ tents while they travelled the high, cold plateaus. While they are reserved with the strangers, they are highly loyal and affectionate to their family and loved ones. They have a thick, long double coat and a large, flat, round feet that provide traction in heavy snow—much like snowshoes. They are generally calm dogs but are athletic and mischievous and love spending time playing with their family.
If you want to know about dog breeds suitable for both hot and cold weather, read here.
The fluffy and bold Akita is another cold-weather dog breed native to Japan. These dogs are protected from the cold weather by their thick, double-layered coats. These dogs already have a high level of activity, but when it comes to playing in the snow, they reach new heights of excitement. The Akita’s webbed toes, like those of many other dogs, adapted for life in cold climes, aid in the dog’s ability to walk more stably and securely on snow and ice.
In their native Japan, Akitas were domesticated specifically as hunting partners. They show extreme levels of love and loyalty to their human family members.
The Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees dogs originated in the areas around the Pyrenees Mountains. Some of its predecessors may have existed as far back as 11,000 years ago, making them an extremely old breed. These dogs’ thick cold-resistant double coats are a boon in cold climates, but they need regular grooming.
They have wonderful personalities that make them great pets, especially for families with kids. But owners need to make sure they’re training them correctly and at a steady pace.
Aside from this, they will love exploring tough terrain with you on walks, particularly during the colder months.
Chow chows are sure to attract attention everywhere they go because of their magnificent ruff and their unique blue-black tongue. Originally, they were bred to assist their human partners with a variety of cold-related tasks. Herding, hunting, and pulling carts and other vehicles in cold weather are all examples of such activities.
Their thick double-coat protects them from the cold. They love playing in the snow and are peaceful and loyal.
One of the most well-known dog breeds is the German Shepherd. Because of their thick double coat, they are able to survive in very cold weather. German Shepherds, with their dense and thick coats, are also known for their excessive shedding.
Nowadays, these dogs serve in a variety of roles, such as search and rescue aid, guide dogs, and sniffers. These dogs are hard workers, but they also know how to have a good time with their families.
The Keeshond is a native Dutch dog that served as a guard dog and companion on the barges that traveled the country’s canals. They, like the Samoyed, have a thick undercoat and a bushy top coat, making them excellent snow dogs.
These dogs thrive on human attention and will do everything for their owners. They are devoted to their families and may be effective guard dogs with the right training. As a result of their high energy levels, they need at least 60 minutes of exercise and playing every day. If we let them get away with being naughty, it might lead to even more harmful actions on their part.
The Leonberger, often known as the Gentle Lion, is a large, gentle breed of dog. They were first developed as a breed in Germany in the nineteenth century. The big dog with long hair and a deep undercoat was bred for its calm disposition. The warmth provided by their coating allows them to survive even in sub-zero climates.
They show a lot of affection for their family. As a high-energy breed, Leonbergers need vigorous exercise every day. You should take these dogs out to any water body since they are also great swimmers and water rescue dogs.
The Kuvasz is a Hungarian breed. This breed of dog was created to be a reliable watchdog for the farm’s many livestock, including the sheep, cattle, and horses.
They can survive the cold of winter because their coat is double-coated. These dogs excel at their tasks because they are courageous in the face of danger. Because of this, they may also serve as reliable house security dogs.
They are a high-energy working breed; therefore, regular exercise is crucial to their well-being. Provide them with at least 60 minutes of exercise daily and try to mix up the things you do with them.
The Finnish Lapphund, originally from Finland, is a medium-sized herding dog with a thick, medium-length coat that may be found in a wide range of colours and patterns. The Lapphund’s thick coat protects it from the cold, making it useful as a reindeer herder in Finland’s arctic tundra. Unlike other dogs, Finnies have a thick double coat and a distinctively curled tail that can be wrapped around them to keep the snow out and the heat in.
These dogs are indeed apprehensive of strangers, but once they get to know you, they become sociable and full of energy.
Having a loyal dog as a companion might make a big difference when you’re living to a colder area. Each of the dog breeds mentioned is well-suited to living in cold climates. You just have to find the right one for yourself. Having said that it is also equally necessary for owners to take proper protection and ensure warm clothes and habitat for them. If left unattended, they can be susceptible to various cold related illnesses.
Q. Which dog breeds are not suitable for cold weather?
Dogs which do not have a thick coat, or are smaller in size are not suitable for cold climates. Some of the dog breeds include Chihuahua, Doberman, Dachshund, Whippet, Yorkshire Terrier.
Q. What are the different types of cold related illnesses?
When dogs are exposed to very low temperatures for a long period of time, they can be affected with various cold related illnesses. Some of the most common ones are Hypothermia, Frost Bite, Trench Foot, Chilblains.
Q. What are the common ways to protect pets in winter?
There are few methods by which you can protect your pets from outside cold. These include keeping them indoors, wrap them in woolen dress, arrange warm and cozy bedding and ensure a healthy diet and access to clean water.