What other dogs besides the famous, snow-loving Saint Bernard welcome colder temperatures? Let’s talk to five other winter dogs.
I’m one of the breeds most rightfully associated when people think of winter dogs. I was bred thousands of years ago in northeastern Siberia by the Chukchi people to tolerate the coldest winters. We showed great endurance, pulling sleds long distances on the smallest possible food intake. No one wants a sled dog that fills the sled with his own food! I was also developed for adaptability and gentleness. I slept with the children, keeping my family warm on three dog nights. Cheerful and ready for adventure, I love to dig, run, pull sleds, hike and play in snow. You might want to keep your backyard fence high: I was born to run a wintry trail. I love you, but I’ll likely choose adventure if a door swings open.
We’re the Black Pearl of Russia, developed to guard people and places. The USSR bred us specifically as winter dogs, to endure its severe cold season. Of course, some areas in my vast country are warmer than others, but, in general, our winters are cold, dark and snowy indeed. Our impressive big beards (one of our trademarks), along with our black double coats, keep us warm. We’re calm, confident, courageous and always ready for outdoor adventure. Grab your cross-country skis and a long line, and let’s try skijoring together.
I’m a fan of snow, as well as icy-cold water. My history starts with two (probably Newfoundland) puppies, Sailor and Canton, rescued from a ship off the Maryland shores. Bred with Spaniels and Hounds, we developed into dynamic, robust water retrievers, capable of working in the Chesapeake Bay’s cold waters. With great strength and an intense work drive, my forefathers could retrieve up to 100 birds a day. My coat is wonderfully suited to snow play and work. The oil in my coat and my wooly undercoat shields my skin from cold water or snow. And here’s a bonus: when you bring us indoors, we’ll dry quickly. But don’t get too comfortable in front of your fire; we recharge quickly and will soon ask to go back outdoors.
We were developed in New Hampshire by Arthur Walden, a sled-dog driver. Walden specifically bred for a sled dog with speed and stamina, but also a tender disposition, particularly around children. He sought to merge the power of dog breeds that hauled cargo with the quickness of smaller racing sled dogs. Chinook, the father of my breed, became Walden’s most trusted lead dog. Chinook and some of my other early ancestors provided vital transportation for Admiral Byrd’s Antarctica expedition. Today, we enthusiastically anticipate the first snow of the season. Have you heard of kick sledding? Or how about a snowshoe trek? You’ll need snowshoes, but my paws are at home on frosty terrain.
Sometimes called a Bark Lion Sentinel Dog, my ancestors were developed in Tibet as indoor guard dogs. We watched over monasteries and beckoned assistance from the Tibetan Mastiffs when needed. But despite our primary indoor roles, we were also developed to tolerate chilly winter walks. Tibet, after all, is the Land of Snows. Fancy yet altogether functional, I’m cloaked in protective beauty. Now make no mistake, regardless of my warm coat, I need to live indoors and with my family. But I’ll enjoy a long winter walk and won’t shirk from snow play. Snow can, however, accumulate between my paw pads, so I’ll need some extra care when I come in from the cold.
Loving these gorgeous winter dogs? These breeds are particularly active and a good fit for owners and families who can put in the time to play and interact with them. As always, do your research on breeds and breed mixes and consider your lifestyle before you adopt or choose to parent any dog.
Thumbnail: Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Photography courtesy Dyane Baldwin. American Chesapeake Club, amchessieclub.org
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