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Dog Breeds and Cold Weather

Updated on December 15, 2012
Is it too cold for your dog's breed?
Is it too cold for your dog's breed? | Source

Baby It's Cold Outside

Some people who don't mind winter and cold weather. Some actually thrive in the cold. A lot of us Michiganders love sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, skiing, making snowmen and other fun in the snow. And some people can't stand any chill at all. My step-daughter was raised in Texas, the poor thing wears a sweater all summer when she visits us in Michigan--and we get summers in the 80's.

Well, the same goes for dogs. Snow and cold make some dogs giddy and other dogs miserable. Their tolerance can be due in part to how the dog was raised, but the dog's breed also has a lot to do it. So which breeds are cold-weather dogs and which should stay in the house in the winter?

Great Pyrenees love cold weather.
Great Pyrenees love cold weather.

Breeds that Love the Cold

A lot of people know about the more known cold-weather breeds like Huskies that pull sleds and St. Bernards bred in the Swiss Alps. There are other breeds too that prefer cold weather (and actually do not do well in hot temps.) Generally, Northern dog breeds and breeds of the Spitz family tend like a chill in the air. Here are a few breeds that love the cold:

  • Norweigian Elkhound - bred to hunt all day in Norway
  • Akita - bred in Japan, loves to run and haul a sled
  • Alaskan Malamute - can run for miles
  • Bernese Mountain Dog - from Switzerland, a strong dog that loves pulling
  • Great Pyrenees - from France loves a hike or walk in the cold
  • Newfoundland - loves a walk or short romp or even pulling
  • Saint Bernard - moderate walks and hikes in the cold and pulling are fun
  • Samoyed - from Russia this high energy dog loves vigorous play outside and herding
  • Siberian Husky - can run for miles and loves the cold and snow
  • Chow Chow - from China, likes cool weather, does not do well in hot humid places

Yorkshire Terrier - I'll stay in, thank you.
Yorkshire Terrier - I'll stay in, thank you.

Breeds that Hate the Cold

As you might think, breeds from hot places that love the heat do not do well in the cold. Also several small breeds and Companion (Toy) breeds do not fare well outside in the cold. These breeds are very sensitive to the cold.

  • Basenji - from Congo/Zaire
  • Greyhound - Great Britain
  • Whippet - Great Britain
  • German Pinscher - Germany
  • Manchester Terrier - Great Britan
  • Chihuahua - Mexico
  • Chinese Crested Dog - China
  • Italian Greyhound - Italy
  • Miniature Pinscher - Germany
  • Papillon - France
  • Toy Fox Terrier - United States
  • Yorkshire Terrier - Great Britian
  • Boston Terrier - United States

There are a few additional breeds that they don't do as well as you think in the cold.

  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff and Bull Mastiff

These breeds may tolerate the cold, but it mostly their short noses and shorter respiratory tracts that have difficulty compensating for temperature at either extreme (hot or cold). Outside time should be kept short when the weather is cold.

Some dogs love the snow.
Some dogs love the snow. | Source

In the end, use what you know about your dog's breed to guide you, but see what your dog likes. If your Yorkshire Terrier wants to frolic in the snow for 10 minutes, let him, and bring him in when he's ready or if you see he is having a hard time. And any dog that has spent time in the cold and or snow should be dried off or wiped down when coming in the house, especially the paws (see How to Winterize Your Dog). And no matter what type of breed you have, even when the weather is cold, exercise for your dog is still important whether you venture out or keep it inside the house.


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    • FitnessDog profile image

      FitnessDog 4 years ago

      Thanks Rhonda! I bet you have to get creative in the summer with activities for your pup!.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image

      Rhonda Humphreys 5 years ago from Michigan

      You are right,I have a Bernese Mountain Dog and he loves the snow but we really have to watch him in the summer. They over heat very easy. Great hub voted up and useful