Top 5 winter dog breeds
Dogs, like us humans, vary greatly in what climate they prefer. A lot of that comes down to where they were first bred. A dog originating from the mountains of Siberia, even if they are born in the Sahara, is still going to prefer the cold climate of home!
In fact there are surprisingly number of breeds that thrive in cold weather and definitely don't need to be dressed in winter. Many of these can still tolerate warm climes. However in this post, we are introducing 5 dog breeds that we think are best suited for cold climates, and should be treated with great care if born in hotter areas.
1. Siberian Husky
Our number one breed must be the Siberian Husky, a dog made for enduring cold weather and harsh conditions.
Huskies were bred in Northeastern Asia to pull heavy loads over long distances, which made them indispensable to their people. Admiral Robert Peary for instance trusted Huskies with his life in search for the North pole in the early 20th century.
Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs, sporting a dense double coat and a peculiar pair of eyes in ice blue, dark blue, amber or brown colour. Heterochromia is quite common among Huskies, so don't be surprised if you come across with a brown and blue eyed specimen.
The Husky is a very intelligent and agile dog, which makes it the perfect candidate for obedience trials and sled-racing. Although a pair of glowing, ice blue eyes might seem irresistible to some potential owners, we only recommend the Siberian Husky to people who can provide the dog with lots of mental and physical stimulation.
2. Alaskan Malamute
Second on our list is the Alaskan Malamute, which is just as good at enduring cold weather as the Husky, but its working abilities are limited to pulling heavy loads over shorter distances.
If you were looking to get an Alaskan Malamute as a pet dog, you should be aware that they are one of the most difficult breeds to train. Over the centuries of living in the harshest environments, they had to rely on their intelligence and resourcefulness to survive and are not so keen to obey orders.
At the same time, Malamutes are particularly fond of people, which makes them great family pets, even if they get stubborn at times.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
The only European breed on our list is the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is a heavy dog with a distinctive tricolor coat and a white "Swiss cross" on the chest.
Berners have historically been used for guarding property and herding stock in the Swiss Alps, but today they are mostly sought for their friendly nature and good companion qualities. This easy going and kind hearted breed is recommended to any family with children, provided that they are prepared for loosing their pet in only 7 years, which is the average life expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog.
4. Akita Inu
The Japanese Akita is another great choice for a cold climate. A large and powerful dog, it is not recommended for the first time dog owner. However, they make perfect family pets: the breed is supposed to have a natural affinity with children, just like retrievers have one with sticks and balls.
The best way to illustrate the Akita's devotion and loyalty to its family is the story of Hachiko. Hachiko used to accompany his master to the train station every day and come back to meet him again in the afternoon. One day the master never came, but Hachiko waited and returned every day for the rest of his life.
5. Chow Chow
If you are looking to have a somewhat smaller dog, who still doesn't need to be dressed in winter, the Chow Chow may be your best bet.
Its dense double coat protects it from the coldest weather and gives it the look of a lion, which is probably why the Chinese call it Songshi Quan, literally meaning "puffy-lion dog". Being extremely protective of their territory, Chow Chows make perfect guard and watch dogs, but may not be appropriate for the first time dog owner.
The Chow Chow is also the only dog on earth that has a black tongue, while all other dogs are content to have pink ones.
It is all down to a special pigment in the tongue, in high quantities. This is passed on through breeding, and guarantees the Chow Chow a black, or at the very least, a dark blue tongue. Every Chow Chow should have a dark tongue, and for this breed, it is absolutely not a health issue, and perfectly natural.
Interestingly though, they are not born with dark tongues. They start pink, and then rapidly in their first weeks of life the Chow Chow tongue darkens....
Many other dog breeds will do just fine in cold weather, but with the ones on this list, you'll definitely save the money you'd spend on your Chihuahua's winter wardrobe.