What does it take to survive in a freezing, snowy climate? If you're a dog, you need a resilient demeanor, plenty of body fat and a thick coat to keep you warm. There's a reason why some dogs seem born to pull sleds and others are more at home curled up on your lap. Meet 10 dog breeds that thrive in some of the harshest, snow-covered terrains in the world. Learn a few facts about them while you're at it, courtesy of the American Kennel Club.
Fun Facts: This ancient breed was originally developed by the indigenous people of northwestern Siberia to herd reindeer, pull sleds and keep their owners warm. Early polar explorers used these dogs to traverse the harsh landscapes of the North Pole and South Pole. Because of their remote origins, Samoyeds developed independently of any other breeds, and are considered one of only four dog breeds in the world descended directly from wolves.
BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
Fun Facts: The hardy, long-coated Bernese Mountain Dog is most at home in cold weather. It's mainly used for hauling and driving herds of cattle in the mountainous region of Canton of Berne in Switzerland. Ancestors of the modern-day Bernese are believe to have been brought to Switzerland 2,000 years ago by Roman soldiers.
Origin: Central Asia and France/Spain
Fun Facts: This large, gentle breed is named after the Pyrenees mountain range in southwestern Europe where these dogs were used to guard herds of sheep. The breed has a weather-resistant double coat to protect it from the elements out on the slopes. The Great Pyrenees were first brought to the U.S. in 1824.
Fun Facts: The Newfoundland's thick, dense coat makes it the perfect dog for the snowy winters on the Canadian island for which it's named. The breed is also strong enough to haul drowning victims ashore, with the additional ability to swim long distances. A Newfoundland was the chosen pet of numerous United States presidents, including Grant, Buchanan and Hayes.
GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG
Fun Facts: Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs (aka Swissies) were bred to work on farms as guards and herders in the mountainous regions of Switzerland. The breed was thought to be extinct in the end of the 19th century, but was rediscovered in 1908. It was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995.
Fun Facts: The quintessential sled dog, Siberian Huskies have a thick, layered coat made up of a dense undercoat for insulation and a coarse top coat. They're an ancient breed, believed to have been bred by the Chukchi tribe of northeast Asia. With strong hunting instincts, it is advised to keep Huskies away from small animals.
Fun Facts: St. Bernards are working dogs that were used to locate travelers caught in snowstorms or trapped in avalanches. The breed is named after the harrowing Great St. Bernard Pass on the border of Switzerland and Italy. These gentle giants are also good at hauling carts. Other names for St. Bernards are "Alpenmastiff," "Saint Dogs" or "Barry Dogs."
Fun Facts: Named after the Alaskan Inuit tribe, the Mahlemuts, this hefty working dog is the oldest and largest of the Arctic sled dogs. Built for endurance, the breed was used to carry large loads over long distances. Alaskan Malamute coats are thick and coarse. The dog is recognizable by its fluffy, plumed tail.
Fun Facts: Bred to hunt elk, moose, bear and other large wild animals in wintery Scandinavia, the Norwegian Elkhound is believe to have originated as early as 5000 B.C. They were once used as hunting and guard dogs for the Vikings. Norwegian Elkhounds are very effective trackers, have impressive stamina and will keep game at bay until their master can shoot it down. President Herbert Hoover had an Elkhound named Weejie.
Next: 15 Popular Cat Breeds
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
Fun Facts: These fluffy herding dogs are well insulated from the chilly weather that's native to their home in England. They were used as "drover's dogs," moving large herds of cattle or sheep from the farm into city markets. The Old English Sheepdog's shuffling gate is reminiscent of a bear.