With temperatures turning towards the frosty in many parts of the world, many dogs are contented to nestle deeper in their dog beds and underneath toasty warm blankets as the snow and ice starts to descend. However, there are some dog breeds that thrive in snow and look forward to the cold every year. Bundled up underneath dog coats and with booties on their feet, any dog breed can still enjoy a romp in the snow. Though most dogs strongly dislike this type of apparel, it does provide needed protection against salt and sand that can cause your dog’s paws to wear, tear, chap, and chafe. But dog breeds designed to thrive in the snow are often very hardy and don’t need coats or boots to withstand even the coldest winter chill.
Here is our list of 10—though there are many more—dog breeds that love the snow:
A dog breed that traces its roots to a group of Siberian nomads known as the Chukchi, the Siberian Husky is a breed that was bred to thrive in the snow and cold. The genetic origins of the Siberian Husky are not entirely known; however, we do know that this cherished winter lover is one of the world’s oldest dog types. Beloved family companions of the Chukchi, the Siberian Husky was also a working dog that pulled sleds for transportation in the cold, Arctic temperatures of his native Siberia. Huskies are deeply loving and affectionate and often sleep alongside their family members.
In 1908, the Husky made his way to Alaska where the breed played an important role transporting sleds full of people and gold during the gold rush. They were later put to work in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes where the breed pulled sleds for an impressive 408 miles.
The Siberian Husky’s beautiful, plush coat provides protection against even the coldest of winter elements. The breed is well prepared for the cold and loves being outdoors. If you’re looking to add a Husky to your family, it’s important to note that this dog breed is a working dog, and thus, must lead an active lifestyle in order to remain physically and mentally content. In addition to this, the Siberian Husky is a master escape artist. Secure containment is an absolute must for this winter-loving breed.
A true working breed, the stunning, white coated Samoyed hails from Siberia and was originally used for hunting, hauling sleds, and even herding reindeer. Believed to have been developed by a Siberian tribe known as the Samoyede, the Samoyed is a wonderful family companion and hard worker. Among this charming breed’s roles were hiking in groups, tracking, and slumbering alongside its family for warmth in exceptionally cold climates.
The Samoyed is an independent thinker, and as a result, can be challenging to train. They are loving, affectionate, sociable, and dedicated to those they love most. Their plush coats do shed a great deal, so regular grooming is a must.
The Samoyed made the move from his native Siberia in the 1800s. With this change of locale, the breed would be involved in pulling sleds in the icy Antarctic. During these working years, the breed was subject to many challenges. Only dogs that were in peak condition survived the difficult circumstances they were subjected to. Thankfully, due to concentrated efforts by aficionados of the breed, the Samoyed still exists today as a winter-loving, deeply affectionate family companion and sturdy working dog.
A dog breed that was developed in Switzerland, the Saint Bernard is one of a few snow-loving types attributed to this region including the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Entlebucher, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. It is believed that the earliest Saint Bernards came into being through matings between different Mastiff-types that moved into the Alps with the Roman Army.
The Saint Bernard Pass is well-renowned for its immense height and difficulty to traverse. It is only passable between the months of July and September, and today, very little of the original Roman road remains. The pass is named for Archdeacon Bernard de Menthon who began a hospice there in 962 AD. The purpose of the hospice was to assist travellers who found themselves in trouble when trying to cross the pass. In time, a short-haired version of the Saint Bernard was set to work finding and helping these travellers as well as guarding the grounds to the hospice.
In subsequent years, the original Saint Bernard was bred to Newfoundland Dogs to help encourage a thicker coat that breeders assumed would make them better suited to work in snow and ice. However, the coat type produced in these initial breeding was ill suited to these conditions, leading to ice buildup in the fur.
The name Saint Bernard is attributed to Daniel Wilson, a mixture of terms that refer to the breed’s origins on the pass and its role as a “savior” or “saint” rescuing travellers lost or injured on their journey. Today, the breed is known for two different coat types: short and long, both of which help keep this breed warm in chilly climates. Saint Bernards are well-renowned for their loving, gentle natures. A versatile breed that excels at many different pursuits, the one downside to this gentle giant is his penchant for intense drooling.
The Newfoundland traces its roots to the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A working dog with a thick, fluffy coat, the Newfoundland’s original job was assisting fishermen in the cold waters of the north Atlantic Ocean.
The history of the Newfoundland is theoretical at best. Some believe that the Newfoundland is the product of a mating between a Tibetan Mastiff and the American Black Wolf, a wild animal that no longer exists today. Others feel that the earliest prototype of the Newfoundland was brought to Canada by the Vikings and was there bred to a type of wolf to create the breed we know of today. The final theory is that the Newfoundland is the result of several cross breedings to dogs like the Pyrenean Shepherd, several different Mastiff types, and the Portuguese Water Dog.
The dog takes its name from the first part of the province where the breed is believed to have been developed: Newfoundland. This title was bestowed upon the dog by George Cartwright in 1775.
The Newfoundland nearly became extinct during the late 18th century. Government rules forced Canadian owners to render taxes on the dogs they owned, making it difficult for families to afford even one dog. At this time, the maximum number of dogs a family could own was one. During the 19th century, Edwin Landseer helped the breed to regain popularity through his artwork depicting this loveable giant breed. In the early 20th century, the governor of Newfoundland, Honorable Harold MacPherson, declared the Newfoundland Dog his favorite.
A true working breed, the Newfoundland Dog is powerful and is at ease both in land and in water. The breed is naturally gentle and kind and makes for a great addition to any family.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a distinctive looking breed with a face that resembles that of a fox. Highly intelligent and intensely comical, the Norwegian Elkhound is a delightful family companion.
The Norwegian Elkhound is naturally very curious, alert, bold, and loyal. They make for exceptional watchdogs, protecting those they love most from harm. Soft hearted, the Elkhound bonds deeply to its family members and feels their hurts very deeply. The Norwegian Elkhound is loving and extremely versatile, excelling at many different pursuits. However, as a true working dog, the Elkhound requires regular daily exercise, and owners should be prepared to deal with their plush, dense coats that shed a great deal.
A dog breed that traces its roots to Norway, the Norwegian Elkhound is believed to an ancient breed. History relates that the Vikings once used a similar looking dog for guarding and hunting well over 1000 years ago.
Bernese Mountain Dog
A working dog that originated on the farms in Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog’s purpose was multi-fold: herding cattle, pulling carts, guarding his owner’s property, and being a loving companion to his family. With his beautiful, long, flowing coat and distinguished tri-colored looks, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a sight to behold. The breed is easily recognized by its unique white cross emblazoned across his chest.
From an area known as Bern in Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog is considered to be a large dog of immense strength and power. This dog type is well renowned for its sociability and sweet nature. The breed is exceptionally versatile, excelling at such activities as conformation, obedience, Rally, herding, tracking, agility, carting, and much, much more.
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a lot of energy and must be exercised vigorously on a daily basis. The breed is not well-suited to apartment life, needing a large fenced back yard in which to stretch his legs. This dog breed’s thick coat makes him a natural for spending time in the great outdoors; however, that voluminous coat requires regular grooming and sheds a great deal.
Like the Saint Bernard, the Bernese Mountain Dog is an avid drooler. They also have a sharp bark that is useful when protecting the home but can irritate the neighbors if used too often.
It is believed that the Bernese Mountain Dog traces its roots to the Molosser. The breed is one of four similar dog types from Switzerland that includes the Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Sennenhund, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Bernese Mountain Dog.
The distinctive looking Shiba Inu is a working dog whose role was to hunt birds and small game animals. The breed hails from Japan and is one of six breeds native to the region which also includes the Akita, the Kishu, the Hokkaido, the Kai, and the Shikoku.
The Shiba Inu is a lively dog. The breed is graceful and elegant and is highly prized for its small, erect ears. Though this is a working breed, today, their most popular role is that of a cherished family companion.
Some believe the Shiba’s name is taken from the Japanese term meaning “brushwood,” a reference to the type of terrain found where the breed would hunt. Others assert that the Shiba’s name is taken from its intense color which is similar to the hue of brushwood leaves. The final theory indicates that Shiba is simply a reference to the dog’s size as the Shiba Inu is the smallest of the six native Japanese dogs.
During the Second World War, the Shiba Inu nearly disappeared from the dog community entirely. The breed was lost in large quantities to bombing raids and later to bouts of distemper. A concentrated effort was made to preserve the breed, and today, the Shiba is still found throughout the world as a result of the work of these breeders.
One of the most ancient breeds, the Alaskan Malamute is renowned for his work as a sled dog in the Arctic. The breed came to Alaska by travelling the land bridge connecting the state to Siberia. It is believed the Alaskan Malamute made this journey several thousand years ago. The breed is reported to have been connected to a people group known as the Mahlemuts. In the company of the Mahlemuts, these dogs found work hunting seals, keeping polar bears at bay, and pulling sleds of supplies from place to place.
In the early 20th century, Arthur T. Walden devoted his time to breeding Alaskan Malamutes. His dogs, and those bred by Milton and Eva Seeley, went on to become the foundation for the Byrd Antarctic expeditions. Today, there are several different lines of Alaskan Malamutes that are identified by their distinct strain names.
The Alaskan Malamute is a very strong and well-built dog. The breed is highly prized for its immense endurance. The Malamute is very intelligent and requires regular daily exercise to remain a contented companion. The breed is known for being in tune with the emotions of its family and possesses a strong desire to enjoy time in the great outdoors in active pursuits. Their thick coats are known to shed a great deal.
The Tibetan Terrier is one of the few dog breeds on this list that was not intended to be a working dog. The role of the Tibetan Terrier is to be a cherished family companion. This dog type is highly sociable and thrives in the company of its family members and friends. The breed has a coat that is plush and unkempt and that is well-suited to chilly weather conditions. Keeping this coat in good condition does require regular grooming and brushing.
The Tibetan Terrier is a very loving breed that excels in any living condition. The breed is highly energetic and requires daily exercise to expend its energy in a productive manner.
Hailing from Tibet, an area of the world known for its plethora of mountains, the Tibetan Terrier has the hardy constitution for hiking and time spent in the great outdoors. The breed became synonymous with Tibetan monks who bestowed upon this dog type the name Holy Dog. The Tibetan Terrier is believed to be good luck and often spent its days climbing mountains with nomads in the region, providing watch over their tents as they slept. Because these dogs were considered sacred, they were never sold. Instead, they could be given as gifts to show respect or in exchange for favors.
Karakachan Bear Dog/Karelian Bear Dog
The Karakachan Bear dog, also sometimes called the Karelian Bear Dog, comes from Finland. The breed is known for its strength and its bold and fearless nature. This dog type is equally at home hunting small and large game, even taking on such aggressive predators as bears, lynx, wild boars, wolves, and moose. In its native Finland, this dog breed has been declared a national treasure.
The Karakachan Bear Dog has the appearance of a teddy bear but is intentionally prepared to active aggressively towards other animals to preserve its hunting instincts. With proper socialization, this dog breed can make an excellent family companion. However, the Karakachan Bear Dog must be vigorously exercised on a daily basis.
With its family, the Karakachan Bear Dog is devoted and loving. An excellent watchdog, this dog breed takes its role as guardian of the home very seriously.
A member of the Spitz family, the Karakachan Bear Dog is considered to be an ancient breed.
As the snowflakes blanket the ground outside, are you wishing for a dog that loves the snow to accompany you on winter walks? If so, you just might find your ideal pooch on our list of ten breeds that love the snow!