Best Outdoor Dog Breeds

Last Updated: 01/04/2016 Print Back to Articles

Dogs have either lived outdoors or indoors over the years. Many dog breeds are best suited indoors while others are best suited to living outdoors. The dog breeds that are best suited to living outdoors are the ones that can handle being outdoors in all kinds of weather and can do things that other breeds do not have the capability of doing. The following is a list of ten dog breeds that are best for outdoor living.

Large breeds that can live outdoors:

1. German Shepherd

This beautiful dog breed is best suited for the outdoors since he is usually one of the best guard dogs. They are a natural at guarding and protecting those that need protecting. German Shepherds are usually used for police work and they are part of the working group of dogs. In cold weather, he has a coat that keeps him warm. They are quite satisfied with living outdoors in either day or night. Their guarding instincts are best suited for these dogs to be left outside. They are intelligent breeds which are eager to learn from you or their trainer.

Nearly always topping the most popular breed lists, the German shepherd has natural guarding and protecting instincts. His double hair coat insulates him in cold weather and he can be quite content spending his days and nights outside.

2. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are one of the hardiest breeds there is. They have done a lot in the past that deals with sledding and staying outside in the cold, in some of the areas that have the worst weather and lands that are usually not easy to live in. They have one of the most amazing abilities to live anywhere and tend to thrive in climates that are colder because of their heavy coats. They love to explore and roam.

The husky has historically lived outdoors in the harshest lands. Bred to pull sleds across frozen terrain, this dog is very hardy and quite content to live outside.

3. Rottweiler

He can be an indoors or outdoors, but this breed is more suited for outdoors. He is a powerful animal who is best at guarding those who need guarding. He has protective instincts that are natural and can become aggressive if not trained properly. They make excellent guard dogs and they can be a pet that is alert and quiet. They are very intelligent, eager and willing to learn whatever their owner is willing to train them.

This powerful dog can live indoors or outdoors. Originally bred as a herding dog, the Rottweiler is now best known as a formidable guard dog.

4. Mastiff

Mastiff's are the kind of breed that can thrive outdoors and be able to guard their homes. They do need to have that contact with their owners but their preference is to be outdoors so they can do the job that they were bred to do. He is a large dog that is very powerful, is loyal, brave, and another breed that is a very good guard dog. Needs to have someone who can be firm but kind in their training of him. Can become aggressive towards other animals and people.

This giant and imposing dog was used as a hunter and protector. Content to patrol his home and guard his family, the mastiff can thrive outdoors but needs companionship.

5. Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a breed that seems to thrive in the cold and the outdoors. This breed is one of the best in guarding his charges but is also a companion that can be loyal. He has good instincts and a desire to protect. Trained for outdoors work, they need to be trained early so problems won't occur later. They are intelligent, independent, and quiet. He may be suited outdoors, but he is the happiest when he is the only dog in the family.

The Great Pyrenees is happiest when he has a job to do. Whether guarding sheep, pulling carts or protecting his family, the Great Pyrenees seems to thrive outdoors, especially in winter.

6. Irish Wolfhound

This breed of dog is do huge that he thrives on being outdoors. They are considered gentle giants and they enjoy the outdoors more than most. They are an intelligent, quiet and loyal dog who moves with such grace and beauty. They are a breed that is patient and they are slow to get angry. He has his own mind, needs to have a handler that is firm but gentle. They are a gentle breed around children. Needs plenty of areas to let roam and exercise.

This gentle giant was originally developed to hunt wolves in Ireland. The massive size of this dog leads him to enjoy the wide open spaces of the great outdoors.

7. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are one of the best breeds who thrive on the outdoors, but as long as they have stuff to do while they are outdoors. They crave activity the most and needs people who understand them. They have very strong guarding instincts and they love to herd. High energy dogs. Need a lot of exercise and they have demands on their people for their time and attention.

Despite his name, the Australian shepherd is an American made dog. Used in many different ways, the Aussie is very intelligent and craves activity. Outdoor life can work well for this dog, provided there are plenty of things to do.

8. American Fox Hound

The American Fox Hound was originally bred to go after foxes and so he thrives to be in the outdoors. He needs plenty of room to roam and does not thrive indoors. He loves to hunt and run for many hours. Very active and needs constant stimulation. Prefers country life instead of city life. Intelligent, brave and has a personality that is happy.

As a hound developed to hunt foxes, the American foxhound thrives on outdoor activities. Not the best apartment dog, this breed needs a sturdy fence and plenty of room to run.

9. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

This breed enjoys and thrives on being outdoors. They were bred to be outdoors to be a guard, haul carts, and herd animals. They are a patient animal who is also a dog that is calm. Intelligent, loyal, alert, and loving. They are a breed that is watchful and will protect.

This breed was developed in Switzerland as a working dog. Bred to guard, herd and haul heavy carts, the Greater Swiss mountain dog enjoys the outdoor life.

10. Old English Sheepdog

This breed can live anywhere, but has a preference to living outdoors. He is one who rather be outdoors roaming but can live indoors. They have a strong instinct to herd and can also be seen just lounging around. They need daily exercise and need a firm hand in the training area. They are stubborn and intelligent.

Easily recognized by his thick white and grey coat, the Old English sheepdog is not as popular as other breeds but he can live anywhere. At home in an apartment or yard, the OES needs daily grooming to keep his coat healthy.

Others are:

Samoyed: This big white dog with a smiling face is popular because of his gentleness. Sturdy and covered with a thick coat, this dog can live outdoors as long as there is plenty of contact with his family.

Norwegian elkhound: This dog is descended from canines that served with the Vikings. Brave enough to track bear and moose, the elkhound is also hardy enough to live outdoors.

Bernese mountain dog: As with the Greater Swiss mountain dog, the Bernese was also developed as a draft dog. Hardy and strong, the Bernese is at home indoors or out and thrives in cold weather.

Keeshond: With his thick coat, the Keeshond can do well outdoors, as long as his family is nearby and provides daily grooming and companionship.

Alaskan malamute: Bred to pull sleds over frigid terrain, the Alaskan malamute is ideally suited for life outdoors, though not in hot climates. His heavy coat is better for cold climates.

Australian cattle dog: Unlike the Aussie, the Australian cattle dog is truly from Australia. Developed to herd cattle, this dog needs lots of mental stimulation and physical activity. Provided he is securely fenced in a very large yard, the Australian cattle dog can do well outside.

Bearded collie: The bearded collie may not be as popular as some other breeds but he has plenty of admirers. A hardy dog that works as a sheep dog in Scotland, this breed has a thick coat that allows him to thrive in cold outdoor weather.

Belgian sheepdog: As one of the representative breeds of Belgium, this dog is cherished as a police dog, guard dog, herding dog and companion. With a thick coat, this breed can live outdoors, provided he is given lots of attention.

Chow chow: The chow is one of the most easily recognized breeds. Popular because of his thick fluffy coat, the chow can thrive outdoors, even in the coldest of weather. During the hot summer months, outdoor chows greatly appreciate a drastic haircut.

Small Dogs That Can Live Outdoors:

There are several breeds of dogs that are capable of living outdoors, particularly from the terrier group. Both the Scottish Terrier and Australian Terrier are able to live outdoors in temperate to warm temperatures, while the Fox Terrier, (smooth,) should only live outdoors in a warm climate. The Welsh Terrier can live outdoors during nice weather, but, should sleep inside when the weather turns cold.

The Puli and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi can live outdoors in temperate to cool weather, although both make very good house dogs. Beagles can also be outside dogs as long as they have a shelter and bedding. Even though the above mentioned small dogs are suited for living outdoors, most prefer to spend time indoors as well with the family.

Medium Size Dogs That Can Live Outdoors:

The Standard Schnauzer and Brittany can live outdoors in a temperate climate. The Harrier can also live outside in a temperate climate as long as it has a warm shelter and bedding. Although the English Foxhound and American Foxhound are able to live outdoors in mild temperatures, neither one should be left alone because they are both very social breeds of dogs.

Additional medium size dogs that can live outdoors are the Norwegian Elkhound and the Keeshond, who can both live in temperate to cool weather conditions. In a cool climate, the Bearded collie, Siberian Husky, and Samoyed can live outdoors, although it really isn't recommended for the Samoyed as it is such a family oriented dog. If living in a warm climate, the Dalmatian is recommended.