Planning to move to a cold climate? These fellows have a history of romping in the snow, jumping into frigid lakes, and thriving in the coldest temperatures. Dogs have accompanied humans throughout history for several years. It is estimated that 12,000 years ago the first dogs accompanied Americans into the New World, according to the University of California. Dogs have therefore followed humans and adapted to different climates accordingly. Some dogs in particular, have adapted to colder climates better than others. Their physical characteristics have equipped them to withstand dipping temperatures and even thrive in colder climates.
While most dogs are capable of adapting to cold climates with proper care, some breeds of dogs are better equipped to withstand inclement weather. Obviously, no dog, no matter how hardy, should ever be left outdoors when winter advisories are in effect or for a prolonged periods of time. Hypothermia and frost bite are always a potential risk no matter how well the dog is capable of withstanding cold temperatures. Following are some hardy breeds of dogs that do best in colder climates.
Spitz dogs are dogs deriving from the Arctic and East Asian regions. They are used to pull sleds, chase reindeer and hunt elk. Their long, double coats are suitable for the cold winters of their native regions, making them ideal companions for working in cold environments. Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Akita, Norwegian elkhounds, keeshonds and Samoyeds are perfect examples of Spitz-type dogs.
Retrievers have been used for centuries to retrieve downed birds from cold lakes despite dipping temperatures. The Chesapeake Bay retriever, for instance, has been used to retrieve waterfowl from cold, frigid lakes often breaking the ice as it goes. Thanks to its wool-like undercoat which prevents the cold water from reaching this dog’s skin expediting drying, this breed is capable of withstanding the coldest temperatures. Other retriever dogs equipped with weather-resistant undercoats include Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and the famous Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers.
Livestock Guardian Dogs
These dogs have a history of living side-by-side with livestock, guarding them and protecting them in the coldest temperatures. These are strong, large rugged dogs equipped with thick weather-resistant coats layered on top of a wool-like undercoat. Anatolian shepherds, kuvasz and the Great Pyrenees, are examples of livestock guardian dogs capable of withstanding harsh winters.
Working dogs have a history of working in the great outdoors no matter what Mother Nature has in mind. One of the best winter working dogs that comes to mind is the Saint Bernard, helping people survive through the treacherous Saint Bernard Pass, located among the frigid Swiss Alps. Other great winter working dogs are the Greater Swiss Mountains dog and the Bernese Mountain dog.
If you are planning to move to a cold climate, these dogs fit the picture best. They are rugged, hardy, large dogs equipped with the thickest coats, making them ideal candidates for romps in the snow, jumps in the lakes, and general time spent in the great outdoors in those cold winter days.