Chicago winters are infamous for their severity, and they can be a bit intimidating to newcomers. For dog owners moving to Chicago or those looking to adopt a new pet, it’s important to know the types of dog breeds best suited to the climate where you live (even though any breed can make Chicago a comfortable home if you prepare them correctly!). This is especially true for dogs spending extended time outdoors, as well as dogs that will have continued exposure to the elements in Chicago. Check out the dog breeds best suited for Chicago winters and find out whether your top pick made the list.
The Akita originates from Japan and ranges from 65 to 120 pounds, depending on gender. The outer coat stands off of the body, while the undercoat is dense and soft. Its tail is extra fluffy and curls over the back, and the Akita responds well to cold weather.
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog that ranges from 35 to 60 pounds, depending on gender. The tail is covered with thick fur, and the undercoat completely sheds twice a year. Thriving in cold weather, Siberian Huskies have upper thigh muscular strength that make them very athletic.
The Alaskan Malamute ranges from 75 to 85 pounds and has coarse and thick fur on its outer coat. The muscular structure and large feet allow for ease in frolicking in the snow, and the undercoat offers a dense and ultra protective feature in this strong-willed dog.
The Samoyed originates from Siberia and ranges from 35 to 65 pounds, depending on gender. The feet are covered with fur, including between the toes. Long fur covers the back and tail, and the double coat offers a thick and resilient barrier from the cold.
The Newfoundland is an ultra large dog that ranges from 100 to 150 pounds. Originating from Canada, the Newfoundland has a coarse and water-resistant outer coat with a dense and soft undercoat. This is an ultra powerful dog that can easily plod through snow, and thrives in the cold.
Originating in Switzerland, the Saint Bernard is often pictured wearing a keg barrel around their neck due to the myth of these dogs carrying liquor to stranded hikers in the Alps. Everything about this dog proves that it was built to thrive in cold temperatures, including its long legs that help to trudge through snow. The coat is dense and smooth-to-the-touch and can either be short or long.
Originating from France, the Great Pyrenees ranges from 80 to 120 pounds. The outer coat offers coarse and long fur, and the undercoat is ultra dense. The Great Pyrenees prefers to be outdoors, regardless of the weather and thrives in cold temperatures.
The Labrador Retriever has a water-resistant coat that features straight and dense fur. Known for its abundant energy and family-friendly temperament, the Labrador Retriever is comfortable in all ranges of temperature.
Because of all the different environmental elements in Chicago, there really isn’t a standard when it comes to choosing a dog that will thrive in a Chicago winter. While green spaces may be lacking in some parts of the city, other neighborhoods are filled with dog-friendly park spaces and plenty of room to romp. DNAinfo offers a bit of insight on what types of dog breeds are most popular for those in the Chicago area through the listing of dog licenses applied for at the City Clerk’s Office. Popular breeds range from small Yorkshire Terriers to Pit Bulls, so sometimes it is more about the living space rather than the weather. Don’t forget to check out our list of winter activities for your dog!