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Although any breed can live in cold climates with proper care and grooming, some breeds tend to fare better than others. Dogs living in areas known for cold temperatures typically are larger dogs with thick hair coats. When selecting cold weather dog breeds, consider your outside environment, especially if they will spend a lot of time outside.
Some people, due to space limitations or personal preference, choose to keep their dogs outdoors. In areas where winters can be harsh, these pets need special care. Even though the dog lives outdoors, you should prevent him from roaming through the neighborhood. A fenced-in yard works well, but if this is not possible, keeping your dog on a long tie-out can also restrict unwanted roaming.
In the winter, adequate shelter is essential to provide warmth and keep the dog dry. Dogs need to have a comfortable and safe place to escape the cold snow and harsh chilling winds. A large doghouse with blankets or straw bedding works well. Make sure the opening to the doghouse is not facing the wind. Some people choose to equip the doghouse with heat. This should be professionally done. Heating pads or heating lights powered by electric cords is not recommended. Curious dogs can chew the cords and create a serious hazard.
The bedding within the doghouse will need to be changed periodically. The straw can become moldy and the blankets can become dirty and wet. Moldy straw can create a variety of skin and respiratory problems. Dirty and wet blankets can make the dog very uncomfortable and lead to illness.
How to Choose a Cold Weather Dog Breed
Choosing the right cold weather dog breed - the size, the temperament, the cost - is the key first step to building a loving, healthy, and happy relationship with a pet. Get it right and you're likely to have a deeply rewarding experience. Get it wrong and you're facing a potential nightmare.
So what should you do? First, recognize that there are two parties to this relationship - you (and the fellow humans in your household) and the dog. Both sides of the equation have to be compatible, which means that you have to understand as much about yourself as you do about the animal you're adopting.
Your lifestyle, habits and personality will guide the type of dog that's right for you. So before taking a dog in, it's crucial that you take a personal inventory. Do you live in a small apartment in a city, in a suburban home with a backyard or in the wide-open spaces? Are you an active person or are you a couch potato? Are you looking for a dog for security, as a companion for children, as an exercise partner? Are you a type-A workaholic with little attention to spare, or do you have more leisure time? Are you away from home a great deal or is the house your base of operation? Are you prepared for the expense?
Once you've answered these questions it'll be much easier to determine which cold weather dog breed is right for you and your family.
Which of These 5 Cold Weather Dog Breeds is Right for You?
1. Siberian Husky
The Siberian husky is one of the most popular cold weather dog breeds in the United States. With eye color ranging from crystal blue to brown to multi-colored, the husky is a sleek and strong dog. The breed was previously quite popular as an Alaskan sled dog, but in recent years has been replaced with the Alaskan husky, a mix of various breeds.
Siberian huskies have a pleasant disposition and remarkable ability to adapt to a variety of living conditions. They thrive in cooler to cold climates and love large areas in which to roam; however, those raised in the city also do well. The Siberian husky is friendly and not reputed as a vocal or aggressive dog. Because they were originally bred to travel long distances, they have abundant energy and enjoy exercise.
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese mountain dog is an ancient cold weather dog breed that was used for cow herding and as a draft dog in Switzerland. The breed is becoming popular in the United States. The Bernese mountain dog is an intelligent, beautiful dog that is sweet and loving. Most members of this breed are outgoing and love people.
The Bernese mountain dog is an alert, energetic and loyal companion dog. They love to play and run with children or just hang out and keep a watchful eye open. The Bernese mountain dog gets along with other household pets. They become very attached to their families, and after 18 months of age have trouble adjusting to a new family.
3. Bouvier Des Flandres
As the name implies, the Bouvier des Flandres originated in the Flandres area, which included areas of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Commonly called the Bouvier, this breed is an excellent working dog, guard dog and family companion.
The Bouvier des Flandres is an even-tempered, sensible pet with moderate exercise requirements. The breed is well known as a loving, gentle companion with a strong sense of loyalty and protection for the owner. The Bouvier des Flandres is touted as an excellent family pet that fares well with children. Other pets are best tolerated if introduced when the Bouvier is young.
The Samoyed is a good-natured, smiling dog with an uncanny understanding of human emotions. One of the purest of dogs, the Samoyed is a beautiful pure white teddy bear.
The Samoyed is a classic sled dog, guard dog and household companion. Their beautiful appearance and loyal, obedient nature has caught the eye of many Americans. They love the snow and are happy to run and play with children. The Samoyed is good with other household pets. They are sensitive to the moods of their owners and want to be close by to comfort or join in on the fun. The Samoyed has a reputation of barking and being destructive if bored or left alone for long periods of time. They will bark at strangers, but do not make any aggressive moves unless they feel challenged or feel like their owner is being challenged.
5. Saint Bernard
The Saint Bernard, savior of the Swiss Alps, is one of the most readily recognized dogs. Though the legend of the St. Bernard's devotion to rescuing people stranded in the Alps is true, the brandy barrel around his neck is just a myth.
The St. Bernard is intelligent and loyal to his owner. The breed is powerful, but gentle and seems to have a sixth sense in regard to impending danger, especially upcoming blizzards or avalanches. The St. Bernard is affectionate and friendly, making him a good household companion. They like children, but small children need to be supervised due to the breed's large size. The St. Bernard is cheerful and needs a large amount of space to exercise. They drool a lot so be prepared for a potentially messy welcome. The St. Bernard gets along with other household pets, but needs to be supervised around the smaller pets. They love the cold weather, ice and snow. Because of their friendly nature, the St. Bernard doesn't make the best guard dog but their size tends to scare away potential intruders.
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