The Seven Best Dog Breeds for Cold Climates

Some people prefer colder climates to warm ones. And just like their human owners prefer colder climates to warm ones. So, what are the best breeds for cold temperatures?

Some of the best breeds for wintery weather include the Akite, the Alaskan Malamute, the Chow Chow, and the Siberian Husky. In addition to being heftier, these breeds typically have thick fur or double coats that help protect them from blizzardy weather.

Of course, how much freezing weather any dog will be able to handle will come down to factors such as their age, coat type, size, weight, and conditioning to the cold. And it is crucial never to let a dog be exposed to weather below 20-degrees Fahrenheit, no matter the breeding history. Be sure to read on for more details on all of the seven best dog breeds for colder climates.


The Akita symbolizes strength, virility, and guardianship in the breed’s native Japan. And it is easy to see why this breed is venerated. Akitas are intelligent, capable, dependable, and courageous dogs. They have a thick fur coat that helps Akitas tolerate winter weather. And although an Akita will require a trip around the block to do its business, it isn’t a particularly active breed.

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Alaskan Malamute

With the state of Alaska in the name, you know this will be a rugged dog breed. And that is exactly what the Alaskan Malamute is, a hardy breed of dog that has been bred to stand up to challenging winter conditions. They are popular dogs, as well. The Alaskan Malamute came in as the 13th most popular breed in a recent YouGov poll.

There is one consideration when it comes to Alaskan Malamutes that first-time owners should note, and that is that they require thorough socialization from a young age to ensure that they are good family dogs. This is why it is always important to jump at the chance if you find Alaskan Malamute puppies for sale, as the favored breed is rarely available for long.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are good family dogs that can easily fit into any busy family’s hectic lifestyle with their calm demeanor and solid, athletic presence. And this working dog has no problem being outside when the temperatures start to plunge.

One of the best aspects of the Bernese Mountain Dog is its ease of trainability. This is likely due to their history as working dogs and can also be partly attributed to the breed’s intelligence and eagerness to please their caregivers. However, the most important aspect of training a Bernese Mountain Dog is building a solid connection before anything else. 

Chow Chow

Instantly recognizable by its fluff-ball fur coat, the fact that Chow Chows do well in winter weather should surprise no one. What is lesser known about the breed is how intelligent they are. Chow Chows can display incredible patience and ingenuity. However, they are known to be standoffish around strangers and can be stubborn when training. Still, if a Chow Chow trusts its owner, an unbreakable bond can be formed.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

If there is one dog that the VonTrapp family would approve of, it’s likely the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. This breed is so Bavarian you wouldn’t look twice if you caught it wearing lederhosen. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an aristocratic-looking animal whose heft belies its unique athleticism with its striking black coat with white and tan markings. And even though this can be a big dog (males grow up to 140 pounds), this is also an excellent breed for families.

Most importantly, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was bred with the cool mountain air. This also means that this dog is sure-footed on slopes and can do well at various altitudes. And although these dogs will happily tag along on a hike through the woods, they aren’t overly active. For example, although they are longer dogs, they would struggle to keep up with their owners on a bike ride.

Karakachan Bear Dog

Few may be familiar with this Bulgarian breed that has been used historically to guard livestock. And while these dogs are larger, they aren’t as big as even a small bear. Males top out at 120 pounds and are approximately 30 inches tall at the withers. This makes Karakachans large dogs, but not titanic as some on this list may be.

What separates the Karakachan from other cold-weather breeds is their phenomenally high skill level when protecting livestock. They can repel almost all predator attacks. These dogs even get along reasonably well with humans. Still, if they feel their flock is threatened, it’s best not mess with a Karakachan.

Siberian Husky

The double-layered coat of the Siberian Husky helps retain heat by trapping it close to its body and making them an ideal cold-weather dog (along with its mini version, the Pomsky). These dogs were initially bred for working in the cold, and because of this, they are just as happy going around the block in a Boston snowstorm as pulling sleds in Northeast Asia.

The key to making a Siberian Husky a good family dog is to start training young. These dogs are used to living in packs and need to be socialized to bond with their families. They also are highly intelligent and can get bored with repetitive training, so make sure to switch things up and keep it fresh!

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