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Dog Breeds for Winter Active Lifestyles

Some dogs breeds are made for swimming, others for running, and some are just made to be cute. Living in winter can prove to be a challenge for people who love dogs. Many dog breeds don’t do well in cold weather. This can definitely be discouraging, especially if you’ve had your heart set on a particular breed of dog. However, there are several dog breeds that have been bred for harsh winter temperatures, even in places that see a lot of snow.

Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is an ancient Swiss Sennenhund breed. They have long, soft fur that makes them able to withstand cold temperatures in the Alps. Berners were originally bred to be an all-around working dog, helping to pull carts, as well as herd sheep, and keep property safe from intruders. The Bernese Mountain Dog is also strikingly beautiful and blessed with a sweet, affectionate nature. Berners are generally placid but are always up for a romp with the owner, whom they live to please. The distinctive markings on the coat and face are breed hallmarks and, combined with the intelligent gleam in the dark eyes, add to Berner's aura of majestic nobility. A hardy dog who thrives in cold weather, the Berner's brain and brawn helped him multitask on the farms and pastures of Switzerland. Berners get along with the entire family and are particularly gentle with children, but they will often become more attached to one lucky human. Berners are imposing but not threatening, and they maintain an aloof dignity with strangers.

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Siberian Husky
Originating in Siberia, they were initially bred specifically for pulling sleds and helping humans travel great distances whilst carrying goods in very cold temperatures. A breed is known for its distinct appearance, but also its ability to withstand the cold weather is the Siberian Husky. This dog has a double coat fur layer that keeps them well insulated while still looking sleek and agile. The Siberian Husky originated in Siberia as a working sled breed that would help humans travel and carry goods long distances over the cold conditions. If you think of a pack of dogs pulling a sleigh in the snow, it’s most likely the breed you’re picturing is the Siberian Husky who is undoubtedly one of the World’s favorite breeds. If you’re looking at a husky and wonder at just how similar they are to wolves, that’s because they are closer to their ancestors/cousins than any other dog breed. This closeness is even more recognizable thanks to their love of howling which they so loudly and often.

German Shepherd
German Shepherds are one of the more popular breeds in the world. They handle the cold very well thanks to their thick double coat. German Shepherds are also notorious shedders, due to their thick and dense coats. Expect to spend plenty of time grooming this pup during shedding seasons. They are strong, agile and hard workers with bundles of energy and high intelligence and they have a thick double coat that protects them against the cold better than most dogs, although perhaps not as well as some in this list. Although they can make a lovely companion and they are fiercely loyal, they can also be quite reserved and even defensive if they don’t know you, or they are protecting their territory.

Who doesn't want to wake up to the “Samoyed Smile” every day? These playful, yet gentle dogs are perfect as companions but need plenty of physical and mental exercise. The Samoyed, from Siberia, was originally bred for herding reindeer, hunting, and hauling sleds, says DiNardo. Now, its compact build mixed with an agile grace makes it a strong, fun breed. The Samoyed is known for their thick and beautiful white coat. They are also incredibly affectionate towards their family. It’s important that you are able to care for their coat, as it is incredibly dense and can shed a lot! The fact that it’s also white in color means it’s going to show up everywhere if you don’t keep shedding under control. A good deal of maintenance is important to this breed’s appearance, but they make up for it by being absolutely adorable and charming.

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The Newfoundland comes from the Canadian island of the same name, though their specific history is a bit unclear. They have dense coats that serve them well in the winters. These coats are also waterproof, making Newfoundland adept at working near or in the water.The perfect family dog, Newfies have low energy but come chock full of friendliness and protectiveness. This breed is calm and patient and can weigh up to 150 pounds. The Newfoundland has a heavy coat that protected it from the icy waters it was originally bred to work in, making it ideal for colder weather. These Canadian dogs are still used in water rescues today, but don't be fooled by their swimming skills—a double coat and a strong body make it ideal for mountains, too. And although these gentle giants barely ever bark, they do drool…a lot.

Saint Bernard
Saint Bernard, who looks just like a big, cute and cuddly teddy bear is one of the largest breeds of dog. They’re one of those dogs you see in the street on a hot sunny day and think ‘Blimey, that dog looks hot’. Saint Bernards have low energy and aren't necessarily super playful, but they make up for it with affection and willingness to work—the muscular dogs will trek for miles through deep snow to search for lost travelers. For decades they have been used as search and rescue animals in the Swiss Alps to rescue skiers, avalanche victims, and stranded alpinists. They are the perfect breed for this job thanks to their muscular build and thick coat which means they can trek for miles through deep, fresh snow without too much difficulty.

Whether you need a working buddy to help you complete difficult tasks in the snow, or simply a family pet who can make you happy, there’s certainly a frost-loving furry friend that suits your needs. It’s important that you know how best to approach their care so they can make many happy memories with you throughout their long and healthy lives. While taking care of your snow dog may be difficult work, their fuzzy hugs will always be enough to melt the ice of a dreary day.


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*We hope to give you better ideas for your pet, but this information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. If your pet feels bad, please take it to the veterinarian in time.

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