The 15 Best Dog Breeds That Can Handle and Thrive in Cold Weather

Written by Katie Downey
Published: December 13, 2023
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Some breeds of dogs love to play in the hot summer sun, while other breeds are true cold-weather dogs. Let’s take a look at which dog breeds thrive in cold weather and will want to play in the snow long after their human owner gets cold. Of course, these dogs do best in climates with low humidity and mild summer temperatures.

1. Bulgarian Shepherd (Karakachan)

Bulgarian Shepherd, Karakachan Dog Portrait

Bulgarian shepherd or Karakachan are named after their nomadic handlers.

©Kisa_Markiza/iStock via Getty Images

The Bulgarian shepherd is also known as karakachan. They were named after the Karakachans, which are Greek nomadic shepherds. These cold-weather dogs are found in Romania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, and Serbia. They are bred for weather that can drop below zero. The shepherds can weigh as much as 120 pounds and measure 30 inches at the shoulder. The Bulgarian shepherds are typically black and white but can also be tri-colored with brownish orange.

2. Siberian Husky

Husky dog ​​walks in winter. Dog walks in the snow. Siberian Husky with different eyes. Heterochromia in the Siberian Husky. Husky in winter. Dog on a leash.


huskies are high-energy dogs who won’t mind telling you all about their day.


The Siberian husky is one of the most commonly known cold-weather dogs. They are bred to be able to survive temperatures as low as -75 degrees! However, this is not something that an unclimated house husky would survive in. Their coats are very thick and warm, which helps them stay warm but can cause them to overheat in warm temperatures. Siberian huskies weigh a maximum of 60 pounds.

3. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian shepherds are very loyal cold-weather dogs.


The Anatolian shepherd is another cold-weather dog that is acclimated to withstand temperatures of – 40 degrees and is also able to handle hot weather in the summer. They can weigh up to 150 pounds. The dogs are extremely loyal to anyone they guard, which can even include a cat in the household. They make excellent livestock guardians. The Anatolian shepherd is one of the oldest breeds of canine.

4. Kuvasz

Kuvasz resting in the snow in winter.

Kuvasz is resting in the snow in winter, looking like the royalty it once stood guard over.


The snowy white Kuvasz is native to Hungary and can weigh as much as 140 pounds. In the past, these brave dogs have stood guard over royal palaces and the royal family. They are also amazing livestock guardian dogs and are very loyal. They are pure white and blend in perfectly with the snowy countryside they are used to patrolling.

5. Finnish Lapphund

Types of heeler dogs - Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is a rugged dog ready to operate in all types of weather. This type of heeler dog was once a herder for



©Hannu Makela/

The quick, agile Finnish Lapphund was once used to herd reindeer. Now, they guard other forms of livestock and are similar in behavior to cattle dogs. Though these cold-weather dogs are smaller than some of the others at 53 pounds and 20 inches at the shoulder, they are stealthy protectors. This adorable dog is reminiscent of Australian shepherds and may even be part of the stock that created the bloodline. The Finnish Lapphund is popular in Finland but isn’t nearly so outside of the Nordic countries. They can even withstand temperatures of up to – 85 degrees!

6. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamute 3

Alaskan malamutes are very strong and stocky dogs ready to conquer heavy drifts of snow.


The fluffy coat of the Alaskan malamute is like a very thick, insulated, water-wicking winter coat. They are direct descendants of arctic wolves and can withstand temperatures of up to – 20 degrees. In earlier times, these strong dogs helped settlers haul heavy sleds with supplies to their destinations. They are also loyal and playful companions.

7. Akita

American Akita in grass in front of tree

Akitas are known for being family protectors.

©Kseniia Kolesnikova/

The Japanese cold-weather dog, the Akita, is a medium-large, muscular guard dog weighing up to 86 pounds. These curly-tailed protectors might look cute, but they were once used to hunt bears. They can be fierce protectors of their families and may attack other dogs or people that they are not familiar with. They also have a high prey drive and are not the best choice for some people.

8. American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dog lying in grass

American Eskimo dogs have silky, pristine white fur and must be regularly brushed.

©Cameron Archibald/

The long fur of the American Eskimo dog blends in perfectly with a snowy background. They are fairly small dogs at 35 pounds and 20 inches at the shoulder. These dogs are very intelligent and loyal. With their handler or family, they are very friendly, energetic dogs. Previously, their breed was called German spitz, but due to anti-semitism during the first World War, they were renamed as the American Eskimo dog.

9. Shiba Inu

This Japanese dog may be tiny, but when trained for protection and hunting, it can build muscle tone, making them powerful!

©chendongshan/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Shiba Inu dogs are Japanese hunting dogs. Their name translates into “brushwood dog” because the dogs were used for flushing game out into the open. They are not large at 22 pounds but are muscular and fast. They are popular pets because they are sweet, silly, and very friendly. Their agility is compared to that of a cat’s, and they are the face of a bitcoin company.

10. Newfoundland

Newfoundland Dog, Autumn, Canine - Animal, Cute, Animal

The Newfoundland breed’s fur comes in black and white, brown, grey, or solid black.

©MartinFredy/ via Getty Images

The Canadian dog, the Newfoundland, is a large, loyal guardian dog. They can weigh as much as 180 pounds and stand 30 inches at the shoulder. Newfoundlands are very friendly dogs with soulful eyes. They have a massive bark to go with their physique that will send would-be burglars running. The massive dogs may bark at strangers in general, but as soon as they see that you have welcomed the stranger, they warm up quickly.

11. Great Pyrenees

Tallest Dogs: Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees, known for their distinctive large size, are excellent livestock guardians dogs.


Great Pyrenees are a common choice for a livestock guardian dog in the U.S. These massive dogs are smart and loyal, though they tend to have a problem with wandering off on adventures if their work becomes too dull. They can weigh up to 160 pounds and stand 32 inches tall at the shoulder. These noble beasts are also called the patou. Great Pyrenees dogs originated in France and Spain. They can withstand temperatures of 0 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These dogs do not do great in temperatures above 70 degrees.

12. Chow Chow



Chow chows are tolerant of cold weather and can stand temperatures as low as 0 degrees. They are an ancient breed of cold-weather dog from China. These dogs are fluffy and muscular. They have broad heads and small triangular ears. Chows can weigh up to 71 pounds and stand 22 inches at the shoulder. They are not overly friendly or social animals. Chows can be defensive and aggressive towards strangers and other animals.

13. Samoyed

Samoyed - Samoyed beautiful breed Siberian white dog. The dog stands on a snowy path by the bushes and has his tongue out

The Samoyed breed has a snowy white coat, which helps them blend in perfectly with a white background.

©Roman Bjuty/iStock via Getty Images

Samoyed are medium-weight dogs at a maximum of 65 pounds. They are native to Russia and Serbia, which makes cold weather part of their everyday lives. These white dogs get their name from the Samoyedic people of Serbia and are descendants of Nenets Herding Laika. They were great at herding, hunting, pulling sleds, and protecting their people. They make great family dogs because of their playfulness, friendliness, and keen eye for danger or strange people.

14. Keeshond

Dog breed keeshond

Keeshonds are lively dogs who require a moderate amount of exercise daily.

©DevidDO/iStock via Getty Images

The keeshond is a beautiful long haired dog with black and silver fur. They have dark muzzles, tightly curled tails, and light tan highlights on their legs. These fluffy dogs are descendants of ancient arctic dogs, with their closest relative being a German spitz. They need plenty of grooming to maintain their beautiful coat. Though they are fairly common pets, they are rare in the U.S.

15. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian elkhound guarding house

Norwegian elkhounds look similar to a Siberian husky mixed with a

German shepherd


©Vladimir Berny/

The lovely Norwegian elkhound is a fierce protector and hunter. They were used to hunt bears, elk, and wolves on the frozen tundra. They are surprisingly stocky, measuring 20 inches at the shoulder and weighing only 55 pounds. The Norwegian elkhound can withstand frigid arctic temperatures. They make loyal family dogs and have a friendly demeanor with people they are familiar with.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Aneta Jungerova/

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About the Author

Katie Downey is a writer for A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wildlife, arachnids and insects. Katie has been writing and researching animals for more than a decade. Katie worked in animal rescue and rehabilitation with handicapped cats and farm animals for many years. As a resident of North Carolina, Katie enjoys exploring nature with her son, educating others on the positive role that insects and spiders play in the ecosystem and raising jumping spiders.

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