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If you’re looking for a companion who will join you for a frolic in the snow or participate in winter sports like skijoring (where a dog pulls a person on skis) look no further than these 10 breeds. We rounded up breeds in a variety of sizes from small to extra large to fit your home and lifestyle – especially if you live in a colder climate and want a pup who can keep up and thrive in the arctic temperatures.
A member of the American Kennel Club’s working group, the Siberian Husky was bred to pull lightweight sleds at a medium pace for long distances. While many dogs of this breed are still doing this work today, others are delighting owners as wonderful pets. Since these pups top the scales around 60 pounds, they’re well suited for family life. They do benefit from having a fenced-in yard, as they need some room to run and have a strong prey drive. You don’t want your beloved pet running off after a rogue squirrel!
Slightly larger than the Siberian Husky is the Alaskan Malamute. These dogs come in between 75 and 85 pounds with females being on the smaller side. These dogs were bred to work hard and enjoy downtime with the family once their job is done. If you choose the Alaskan Malamute, make sure you begin training as soon as possible. Whether this means getting into a puppy kindergarten once your dog is old enough or starting with the basics when you welcome an older dog into your “pack”.
Weighing between 35 and 65 pounds, these dogs can often make it under apartment pup weight limits. These dogs are smart, social and live for the cold weather. If you look at a Samoyed and he or she appears to have a permanent grin on their face, know that their slightly upturned lips serve an important function. This facial feature actually prevents the dogs from drooling and that drool freezing into little tiny icicles on their face. These pups love to have a job and a lot of attention, so if you’re adding one to your family, make sure you’re prepared to make them the star of the show!
The Great Pyrenees was bred as a livestock guardian dog. These pups become very protective of the animals in their care. They can top out at over 100 pounds and thrive in cold weather. If you’re considering getting one as a pet, the Great Pyrenees Club of America, or the official breed club in the United States, has put together a comprehensive (but succinct) information sheet that you should read first.
Weighing in anywhere between 100 and 150 pounds, the Newfoundland is another cold weather loving gentle giant. Sometimes referred to as the nanny dog, these pups are great with kids. Before bringing one of these beautiful dogs into your home, remember to ensure you have adequate space. These dogs are not suited for apartment living due to their large stature. You should also make sure to keep a towel handy, as these dogs can make some serious drool. If you want a lower energy pup who doesn’t make a lot of noise, this might be the ideal dog for you!
Hailing from the Swiss Alps, this very large breed dog weighs between 120 and 140 pounds. They thrive in cold weather and moving between air conditioning and summer heat can be stressful for them, so consider this when deciding if this is the right breed for you. They also shed and drool a lot so be sure you’re ready to handle the grooming commitment you’ll need to make.
The German Shepherd is a member of the herding group (unlike a lot of the others on this list that belong to the working group) and is used for many purposes including police and military work. These dogs also make wonderful pets and family dogs. They’ll keep up with you if you want to venture out for some winter work or fun. They’re highly athletic and can keep up on uneven winter terrain.
These double-coated dogs are especially regal-looking. Originating in Japan, the Akita makes a wonderful family dog as long as they are well socialized. They enjoy human companionship and can be quiet and steadfast companions. They can be very protective, so if you are looking for a guard dog, the Akita might be the ideal choice.
Want a smaller pup who thrives in the cold? The American Eskimo Dog might be the right breed for you. These dogs come in three sizes ranging from the toy (6-10 pounds) and miniature (10-20 pounds) to the standard (20-35 pounds). They are loving and good with children but can be indifferent to other pups so they might be best suited to be an only dog. They love to please and are easy to train, meaning they’ll pick up those winter sports in no time.
With their recognizable “lion’s mane” and thick double coat these dogs are wonderful all-purpose pups hailing from China. While these medium-sized dogs thrive in the cold, they also are well suited to life in the city. If you live in a warmer climate, it’s important to note that these pups don’t handle the heat and humidity well, and should avoid outdoor exercise when it’s extremely hot.
While none of these dogs is likely to need a winter coat, they all need shelter from extreme elements to avoid issues like frostbite. When participating in winter activities like running, hiking or other sports make sure your dog has protection for their paws if they need it. Offer water breaks and make sure your dog recovers from strenuous activity with a nutritious meal, like a big bowl of their favorite Ollie recipe.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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