Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Snow Dogs

My crew and I live in a geographic location near Lake Superior. This means, like many places near the Great Lakes, we get a lot of lake effect snow in the winter. A lot.
I've lived in colder places.
I've lived in more northern locations.
I've never lived in a snowier, or more windy, location.

Birds feeding after the latest storm

Sled dogs love it here in the winter because we have so gosh darn much of the powdery, white, fluffy snow to play in. And cold wind, which ruffles their thick fur. As Gracie runs in and out very quickly, and Lil and Jenny take time to bounce in the snow and enjoy it, I was thinking about the breeds of dogs who really revel in cold.

Today I'll focus more on dogs that I particularly associate with snow. That way, when I miss your favorite northern/mountain/snow breed you can just add it below in the comment section.


Chinook sled team

Having lived in a number of communities where dog sledding is popular, I always associate sled appropriate breeds with winter first, particularly the following:

Alaskan Malamute
Smiling Samoyed
Siberian Husky

Happy Husky

I next think of mountain bred dogs I associate with cold:

            Bernese Mountain Dog

Caucasian Ovcharka


              Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Pyrenees Mountain Dog

                                            St. Bernard

Tibetan Mastiff

Then I think of the breeds who were bred to hunt or work in the north, either on land or in water.

                                 Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Icelandic Sheepdog

                 Karelian Bear Dog



                 Labrador Retriever

 Norwegian Buhund

                                                                 Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Lundehund

                                               Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Swedish Lapphund

                                                                     Swedish Valhund        

Again, this is obviously not an exhaustive list. There are many other breeds of dogs who can enjoy the cold - like Rough Collies and Golden Retrievers. The above list is more a list of breeds I tend to associate with snow; to me these breeds were designed to be in the snow.

I'm interested to hear what breeds you would add to the list.
And what breeds have you known that really enjoy the snow, like Jenny the Collie, despite the fact that they weren't necessarily specifically bred for cold, northern work.


P.S. I decided to add a snow graphic from our region:

Throughout the year people stop to take their picture near our 'snowmometer' which shows the average amount of snow we receive in the winter. I like this pic because someone actually caught another person in the snowbank, providing a better sense of scale. We average around 250 - 275 inches ( 635 - 698.5 cm) a winter, our record year we received 390 inches (990.6 cm.) Thank God I was living in Canada that year!


  1. Me!

    If only I had the snow here in PAWSylvania!

    Khyra The Sad Siberian

  2. Oh Khyra, I'm so sorry! Perhaps someday you can visit the snow land we live in. You will find you have many, many happy relatives here :-)

  3. Yikes! That's some snow you've got there! :-0 While I like a little of the white stuff... just for fun... that's way, way too much for me! (Not to mention the cold. Brrr) Love your snow dogs! Not a northern girl, so can't think of a breed you missed.

    1. :-) This area tends to test the snow limits of most people by the end of the winter Sue! Very popular with winter outdoor activity people though, and we have many people travel to the area for snowmobile and other fun. The university also sponsors a winter carnival featuring snow sculptures made by students - fills the town with visitors.

      Many of my ancestors came from Scandinavia, so once they hit this area with the familiar looking craggy fjords, mediocre farm lands, and fishing, they just stopped and settled in...we're genetically programmed to expect snow I guess ;-) Weeks like this, when it doesn't quit snowing though, Arizona and New Mexico start to look pretty inviting....

    2. Not signed in to my For Love of a Dog account, but wanted to quickly reply. My parents lived in Fargo, ND for awhile and loved the cold, snow, winter sports. I didn't visit much. lol My ancestors came from GB and Ireland... must be why I love southern VA and NC :-)

    3. I hear you - the ancestors not from Scandinavia in our family are from Ireland, France, and Italy - I often hear a faint voice saying, "You don't have to live like this!" Unfortunately, I was raised in the more Scandinavian tradition and taught to just suck it up when I don't like things :-)

      Sometimes wonder what it would be like to have been born somewhere warm.

    4. "You don't have to live like this!" Made me laugh out loud! Dang, that faint voice talks to me in my head, too! Just not about the weather... ;-)

  4. love seeing all of the snowy doggies! We are in snow too...we live in Michigan.
    BTW this is Dakota from Dakota's Den :)

    1. Sounds like we might be closer than I realized :-)