Cold Weather Canines (Video)

Bundle up! It’s chilly out! When the winter temperatures roll in, people are usually advised to keep their dogs indoors and protect them if they go outside. But certain dog breeds actually excel in the colder months.

American Eskimo Dog

When the first German Spitz dogs were introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, the white coloration was appreciated and preferred over other colors, so much so that breeders began selecting for it. The white German Spitz’s beautiful coat, sociable nature, and highly trainable intelligence launched the breed into stardom. The breed was still known worldwide as the German Spitz up until 1917, at which point the breed was renamed and recognized as the American Eskimo Spitz. Today, the American Eskimo Spitz is still seen as the German Spitz throughout much of the world, including Germany and much of Europe. For this reason, many breeding programs continue to cross the white American Eskimo with the German Spitz to increase genetic diversity. In the same manner that the German Spitz is divided according to size, the American Spitz also has several sizes, including Standard, Miniature, and Toy varieties.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky breed comes from a longstanding tradition of working dogs. The ancestors of the Siberian Husky are believed to have been developed by the nomadic Northeast Asian (Siberian) Chukchi (Chuk-chee) tribes. While the heavy draft dogs were primarily used around the turn of the 19th century, the Chukchi people became known for using lightweight dogs. These dogs routinely traveled long distances fairly quickly since the Chukchi people’s land-locked lives depended on this travel to the sea for food and supplies. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the “Siberian Chukchi” dogs were first introduced to Alaska via the Bering Strait. There, the dogs were recognized as endurance machines capable of pulling light loads over vast distances. From that point on, the Siberian Husky grew in popularity and number. This breed can withstand temperatures as cold as -58 degrees Fahrenheit as long as they are dry.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes are noted as some of the world’s strongest canines, long admired for their stamina and hardiness as working dogs. They were used to reach areas of the Arctic that were otherwise inaccessible without the help of sled dogs and could tolerate temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Alaskan Malamutes originally came from the Kotzebue Sound on Alaska’s northwest coast, home of the native Eskimos formerly known as Mahlemuts. Known today as the Kobuk (co-book), these people depended heavily on their dogs, relying on them as partners for hunting large game. Out of necessity, the Malamute breed was developed into powerful, muscular dogs with keen instincts, uniquely capable of enduring the harsh climate of the Arctic.

Tibetan Mastiff

Due to isolation and prohibitions on trade and travel to Western cultures, Tibet was isolated geographically and politically. This resulted in dogs like the Tibetan Mastiff remaining true to their type for hundreds of years and could withstand temperatures well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. For centuries, the Tibetan people relied on these dogs to protect their homes and communities. The dogs remained closely guarded in Tibet until the late 1800s when one was gifted to Queen Victoria. From there, the breed slowly garnered a following throughout the United Kingdom. In fact, the first standard was drafted by breeders and fanciers throughout the United Kingdom. There, the breed was established and refined, with coat and size being emphasized and exaggerated. The first Tibetan Mastiffs made their way across the pond in the 1950s, but the breed didn’t gain traction in the United States until the ‘70s. The original dogs throughout the Himalayas remain unchanged, appearing sleeker, smaller, and with less abundant coats and sizes. Today, they are still used for guarding flocks against predators.


The very existence of the Samoyede people of northwestern Siberia was based on the reindeer that they herded and the dogs that helped them with that daunting task. Their dogs had to be hardy, live in extremely cold climates, and able to move with the reindeer as the seasons changed. Many jobs fell to their dogs, along with herding, including pulling large sleds and hunting. Over time, the Samoyed breed was discovered and used by polar explorers like Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. The Samoyed breed guided Nansen further north than any other explorer had ventured, and Amundsen was the first to successfully reach the South Pole with his team of Samoyeds in 1911. The dogs that made it back from expeditions were taken to the homelands of the explorers, with most of them hailing from England and a few from Norway. Most of the Samoyeds today have ancestry that can be traced back to those dogs who braved the stark climate of the Arctic wasteland. They can withstand temperatures that get down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

We hope you enjoyed today’s video about some awesome and unique dog breeds. Interested in more breeds that are good for the cold? You can find them on the breed standards page on our website! And don’t forget to check out some of the other videos on our channel!

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