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Which Dog Breeds Handle Snow & Cold Weather the Best?

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dog in snow

Some dog breeds can pull sleds in snowstorms while other breeds start to shiver as soon as they walk in the snow.

We have compiled a list of the dog breeds that handle cold the best by manually reviewing the American Kennel Club’s top 100 most popular dog breeds and selecting the breeds that do best (and worst) in cold weather and snow.

What kinds of breeds do well when temperatures are freezing?

Cold-weather breeds have thick, double coats, extra body fat, or a robust body frame that protect them from the cold. A double coat is made out of a short-hair dense undercoat under a long-hair topcoat, which provides further protection against the cold.

Some breeds have long, but single coats and may not do well in cold temperatures. For example, Yorkshire Terriers have longer hair, but their coat is a thin single coat. This means that they can still get cold quickly and they may need additional gear to keep them warm in cold weather.

Other factors that are important include leg size (Basset Hounds or Dachshunds have shorter legs, which means their bodies are closer to the freezing ground and it’s harder for them to walk through snow) and ear sizes (paws, ears, and tail are the most common areas to be affected by frostbite – Source).

1. Which dog breeds handle snow and cold the best?

German shepherd enjoying the snow

Not all dog breeds are built to endure freezing cold weather. Here are the most popular breeds (From the American Kennel Club’s top 100) that can thrive in colder climates:

  • German shepherds (#3)
  • Siberian Huskies (#16)
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs (#22)
  • Newfoundlands (#41)
  • Shiba Inu (#43)
  • Akitas (#48)
  • St. Bernards (#52)
  • Samoyeds (#56)
  • Alaskan Malamutes (#65)
  • Great Pyrenees (#70)
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs (#76)
  • Chow Chows (#84)
  • Norwegian Elkhounds (#91)
  • Tibetan Terriers (#99)

2. Which breeds handle cold the worst?

chihuahua with a coat in the snow

Breeds like greyhounds and chihuahuas were bred in warmer climates, and have short coats and little body fat. This means that they are ill-equipped for cold climates and will need more protection in wintertime. The most popular breeds that do NOT handle cold weather well are:

  • French Bulldogs (#2)
  • Dachshunds (#10)
  • Yorkshire Terriers (#13)
  • Great Danes (#15)
  • Doberman Pinschers (#18)
  • Boston Terriers (#21)
  • Pugs (#29)
  • Chihuahuas (#34)
  • Basset Hounds (#36)
  • Whippets (#59)
  • Greyhounds (#69)
  • Miniature Pinscher (#77)
  • Chinese Crested (#79)

Read our related article on how cold is too cold for your dog?

Author

  • Dr. Winnie earned a Master in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria's Veterinary School. She is a full-time Veterinarian specializing in internal medicine for companion animals.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.

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