12 best dog breeds for cold weather

May 31, 2024 - 5 min read
A woman with long red hair wearing an orange hat pets a husky dog outside in the snow

If you live in a chilly climate or enjoy outdoor winter activities, choosing a dog that actually thrives in cold weather can make the winter months a lot more enjoyable.

While coats and boots can help, certain breeds are naturally equipped to handle frosty temperatures and snowy conditions better than others. Of course, you'll still need to take steps to keep them comfortable and safe when it's cold outside, especially during walks.

Let's explore the best dog breeds for cold weather, including those that excel in hunting and winter activities!

Siberian Husky

A Siberian Husky with blue eyes and a white and reddish-brown coat is lying down against a light beige background. The dog has its tongue out and is looking directly at the camera.

Traits: Known for their striking blue eyes and thick double coats, Siberian Huskies are the quintessential snow dogs. Bred as sled dogs, they have incredible endurance and love cold weather.

Ideal owner: Active individuals or families who enjoy outdoor activities. They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Considerations: Huskies can be escape artists and need a secure yard.

Alaskan Malamute

Close-up of an Alaskan Malamute's face with a joyful expression, its tongue slightly out. It has a dense coat with grey, white, and black fur and attentive eyes, set against a soft, neutral grey background.

Traits: Larger than the Husky, Alaskan Malamutes are powerful and built for hauling heavy loads. Their dense, waterproof coat keeps them warm in harsh conditions.

Ideal owner: Those who appreciate a strong, independent dog with a love for the outdoors.

Considerations: Malamutes need consistent training and socialization due to their strong-willed nature.

Saint Bernard

Traits: Famous for their rescue work in the Swiss Alps, Saint Bernards are gentle giants with a thick, oily coat that repels snow and water.

Ideal owner: Families or individuals who can provide space and a moderate exercise routine.

Considerations: Their size means they need plenty of room, and they can be prone to drooling.

Labrador Retriever


Traits: Labs are versatile hunters with a love for water, thanks to their water-resistant double coat. They're energetic, friendly, and great companions for cold-weather hunting, hiking, or camping trips.

Ideal Owner: Active families or hunters who can provide plenty of physical activity.

Considerations: They shed a lot and need regular grooming. They're also prone to some health conditions, like hip dysplasia, so buying from a reputable breeder and staying on top of vet visits is important.

German Shorthaired Pointer

German shorthair pointer

Traits: With a sleek, dense, and water-resistant coat, German Shorthaired Pointers are excellent cold-weather dogs. They're known for their agility, endurance, and keen hunting instincts.

Ideal owner: Active pet parents and hunters who can meet their high energy levels.

Considerations: They require extensive exercise and mental stimulation.

Bernese Mountain Dog


Traits: Originating from the Swiss Alps, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick coat and love cold weather. They're calm, affectionate, and excellent with children.

Ideal owner: Pet parents with a spacious yard and home.

Considerations: They have a shorter lifespan and can be prone to certain genetic health issues, so adopt or shop carefully.



Traits: Known for their friendly "smile," Samoyeds have a dense, fluffy coat that keeps them warm in freezing temperatures. They are social, playful, and great with families.

Ideal owner: Active families who enjoy outdoor activities and can provide ample exercise.

Considerations: Their thick coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting.


Newfoundland dog

Traits: These gentle giants have a thick, water-resistant coat and are excellent swimmers. Newfies are known for their strength and calm demeanor, making them ideal family dogs for cold-weather climates.

Ideal owner: Pet parents who appreciate a large, gentle companion.

Considerations: They drool (a lot) and require regular grooming due to their thick coat.

Great Pyrenees

Traits: With a dense double coat, Great Pyrenees are natural guardians of livestock and love cold weather. They are calm, patient, and protective.

Ideal owner: Pet parents with large properties and/or those seeking a reliable guardian for their livestock.

Considerations: Pyrenees are working dogs, so they thrive when they're given a role. They can be independent and require a firm, consistent hand in training.


Traits: Originating from Japan, Akitas have a thick double coat that insulates them well in cold climates. They're loyal, courageous, and make excellent guard dogs.

Ideal owner: Experienced dog owners who can provide firm training and ample exercise.

Considerations: Akitas can be reserved with strangers and need proper socialization to play well with others.

American Eskimo Dog

Traits: Despite the name, this breed hails from Germany. With their dense, fluffy coat, they're well-equipped for cold weather. They're intelligent, playful, and affectionate.

Ideal owner: Active pet parents who can provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Considerations: They need regular grooming and can be prone to separation anxiety.

Chow Chow

Chow chow dog

Traits: Chow Chows are known for their distinctive lion-like mane and dense double coat, which provide excellent insulation against the cold. They're independent, loyal, and dignified, often with a reserved demeanor.

Ideal owner: Experienced dog owners who can provide consistent, firm training and socialization. They thrive in homes where they can have their own space and a solid routine.

Considerations: Chow Chows can be aloof with strangers and other animals. They require regular grooming to maintain their thick coat and prevent matting.

The bottom line

Choosing a dog that thrives in cold weather means more fun for both of you in frosty conditions. Whether you need a hunting buddy or a family pet that loves the snow, there’s a perfect cold-weather breed (or blend of breeds!) out there.

But remember, even tough, winter-ready dogs can face unexpected health issues. Pet insurance can help you cover the costs of treating accidents and illnesses,* so you can enjoy peace of mind and keep your furry friend healthy all year round. Get a risk-free quote today!

*pre-existing conditions excluded. See your policy for details.

Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.