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Snow Dogs

Winter is just around the corner. That means cooler weather and lots of fun activities that you and your dog can enjoy together. While some dogs will need to wear sweaters to help protect them from the cold, others positively live for the cold temperatures. Which breeds do you think won’t need sweaters in the winter?

Breeds that originated in the Arctic, in high mountains, or in Northern Europe are sometimes called snow dogs. These dogs share a number of characteristics that make them well suited to cold and snowy climates. Some of these breeds include the Akita, the Alaskan Malamute, the American Eskimo Dog, the Finnish Spitz, the Norwegian Elkhound, the Samoyed, and the Siberian Husky.

One of the most common attributes of the snow dogs include a heavy double coat. They have a soft undercoat that keeps them extra warm in cold temperatures, and a coarse, water resistant outer coat that helps keep them dry. These dogs can roll and play in the snow, and when they get up, they can shake snow right off! That harsh outer coat prevents snow from sticking to them.

Another common characteristic is small, upright, fur-covered triangular-shaped ears also called prick ears. The small size of the ears and the fur covering them prevents heat loss. The snow dogs can swivel their small ears quite easily when listening to sounds off in the distance.

Most snow dogs have a thickly-furred tail that curls over their backs. This tail is very important because they wrap it around their body when they sleep – even covering their nose with it–which helps to keep them warm.

Unlike their warm-weather counterparts, snow dogs have paws that are made for maneuvering in the snow. Many even have thick fur between their toe pads – yet another way Mother Nature helps these dogs stay warm.

Most snow dogs have traditionally performed an important job for their owners. Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are sled-dogs. Akitas, Finnish Spitz, and Norwegian Elkhounds are hunting dogs. American Eskimo Dogs are also descended from hunting dogs. And the versatile Samoyed was used to pull sleds, herd livestock, and serve as a hunting dog.

In the snow dogs activity sheet, use the word games to help identify the snow dogs pictured.