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While most of us think of our dogs as indoor pets, perpetually cuddled up in front of the TV next to their humans, sometimes, people buy dogs for outdoors. Often, it’s for protection and for an important job like guarding farm animals.  

But it’s important to know that not every dog is suited to outdoor living. It takes a hardy breed to be able to stand up to the elements.  

Some dog breeds are specifically suited to the elements, which means they have the temperament for being outdoors, they prefer it, and they have the physical characteristics (such as a nice, thick coat if you live in a cold area!) to withstand it.  

Of course, you need a high-energy dog that loves being outdoors, one that will run and romp around and carry out its job. However, just because it’s an outdoor dog doesn’t mean it doesn’t need human interaction from its pet owners.

Playing with your dog and interacting with it multiple times per day is the recommendation to help them be the best dog they can be.

Outdoor Dogs 

There are several dogs that thrive on being in nature. They’re independent and don’t mind being by themselves. Let’s take a look at a few of these pups. 

1. German Shepherd Dog

Originally bred to herd sheep, German Shepherds, one of the German dog breeds, make amazing guard dogs, and sometimes, in order to do that, they need to be outside pacing the perimeter. Here’s where you’re in luck because German Shepherds are hardy dogs with thick coats that can keep them warm when temperatures drop.  

However, be warned, this pup can overheat in warm weather because their coats are thick. A covered structure is best to shield them from sub-zero and extra warm temps if they live outdoors.

2. Australian Cattle Dog

outdoor dogs

The Australian Cattle Dog is a great example of one of the outdoor dog breeds that thrives on being outside. These high-energy dogs like to stay busy, plus they tend to get antsy if they are still for too long.  

The Australian Cattle Dog is a classic working dog, which means you can trust it to guard your home or watch your livestock. Double-layer coats keep the Australian Cattle Dog warm and shield the Australian dog breed from the elements. 

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

best outdoor dogs

One of the Mountain dog breeds, this pup hails from Switzerland, where it served as a herder and a watchdog in the cold weather. While it’s a working dog for sure, it’s calmer than the other breeds and doesn’t need as much exercise. For this reason, they’re often brought inside to be indoor pets, as well. They’re spectacularly good with children, too.  

Its gorgeous coat is very thick, and it can thrive in colder temperatures because of it. However, be warned, they do shed — a lot!

4. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

best outdoor dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs look much like the Bernese variety, but they are different in that they are shorter-haired. However, these large outdoor dogs were bred in the Swiss Alps and designed to pull carts or guard livestock. These pups are more than content to be outside by themselves, but if you bring them inside, they will love their people. 

Because their coats are shorter, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are better suited to warm weather, though they can handle cool, not cold climates. 

5. Labrador Retriever

dogs that can live outside year round

The Labrador Retriever is an amazing dog that does well indoors and out. They love to swim and were originally bred to help with fishing and hunting tasks. Duck hunting is their specialty, but Labrador Retrievers can be trained to do almost anything.

Their double coats ensure they can withstand the elements, including cold weather, as they track down their kill.  

While they thrive indoors, Labradors can also live outdoors. However, make sure you have a buddy for your Labrador Retriever dog breed; they like to have kennel mates, including other types of Labrador. 

6. Alaskan Malamute

outdoor dog

The Alaskan Malamute is one of the original outdoor dog breeds, having been bred to haul carts with people across the frozen tundra. Their coats are super thick, so they can tolerate cold weather, even frigid temperatures, which you see a lot of in Alaska.  

Like most types of Alaskan dog breeds, these pups are working dogs. They need lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep them busy, so make sure you bear this in mind if you adopt one. Also, their thick coats mean they don’t do too well in hot weather. 

7. Irish Wolfhound

what dogs can live outside

If you’re looking for a big outdoor dog, you’ve certainly found it in the Irish Wolfhound! These beauties have thick, coarse fur that shields them from most of what mother nature tosses their way and exceptionally long legs. The Irish Wolfhound was originally bred to hunt large prey, including deer! 

The Irish Wolfhound is one of those outdoor dog breeds that doesn’t live very long, sadly. But they are one of the best companion dogs for dog owners to have around, too, because they are very calm with a gentle personality that makes them great with children. 

8. Siberian Husky 

good outside dogs

One of the types of Huskies, the Siberian Husky, is one of the most beautiful outdoor dog breeds, in my opinion. Its piercing blue eyes and thick, gorgeous silvery-white fur make it hard to look away.

They are also one of those dog breeds that will beg you to stay out in the snow and make a fuss — they’re extremely vocal — if you don’t give in.  

Siberian Huskies need a lot of exercise and stimulation, and they often do not do well in apartments. 

9. Norwegian Elkhound


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mistaken a Norwegian Elkhound for a wolf, they look that close in appearance. These gorgeous outdoor dogs were originally bred to hunt bears and elk, so you can imagine how formidable they are! Almost nothing scares them, which makes them one of the best outdoor dog breeds.  

Because they come from Norway, Norwegian Elkhounds have thick coats designed to withstand brutal winters. They do not thrive well in warmer weather, so in the summer, it’s necessary that they have shelter and shade. 

10. Samoyed

dog outdoors

Samoyeds are the perfect blend of indoor and outdoor dogs. They have extremely friendly personalities and love children, which makes them a great family dog, but they also love the outdoors. They were bred to guard reindeer and pull sleds, so they know how to work, and their fur is designed to withstand subzero temperatures.  

Despite their workhorse tendencies, these pups are extremely gentle and completely devoted to their humans.

11. Bearded Collie

cold mountain collies

The Bearded Collie looks like a sheepdog with long fur on its face, and you wonder how it can even see. But you’d be surprised at just how much of a workhorse this puppy is due to its herding background. They love to run and enjoy being outdoors far more than being indoors. 

If you own a Bearded Collie, one thing you’ll notice right away is how independent and willful they can be. Yet, they’re such a friendly breed. One of the types of Collie dog breeds, they just want to be left to make their own decisions. 

Reasons to Get Outdoor Dog 

There are many reasons to get an outdoor dog; one of them is if you live an active lifestyle and want a dog to join you on all of your adventures. Running, hiking, fishing, and working on your property are all much more fun when you have a sidekick along.  

Of course, if you live on a ranch or a farm, you’ll likely need a dog to help keep herd the cattle and livestock. Many outdoor dog breeds also do extremely well in guarding the livestock from predators such as coyotes and wolves.  

If you have a giant backyard with wide open spaces where your pup can run and explore and get the exercise they need, an outdoor dog breed might be the best fit. At the very least, you’ll have the space for them to exhaust all that energy! 

Training is critical, and while I know some people don’t train their outdoor dogs, trust me when I say that taking the time to do so will make you both so much happier. The best outdoor dog will do well when it has boundaries and restrictions in addition to a job to do, so it doesn’t get bored. 

It’s also extremely important that you offer your dog a shelter. They need somewhere to call home base, so they go lay down and escape the elements, especially if it gets harsh. Plus, having somewhere to rest at the end of the day is priceless.

Reasons to Avoid Outdoor Dog

If you’re considering an outdoor dog but any of the following apply, it might be time to reconsider.  

For example, if you don’t have a large yard, having an outdoor dog won’t really work for you. These dogs need space to sprawl out, to run, and to otherwise stay busy. If you have a smaller yard or no yard at all, consider adopting a lower-energy dog.  

If you’re thinking that having a dog that lives outdoors will be less work, sadly, you’d be wrong. They require just as much care. You do need to interact with them, and they require food and water at regular intervals.

Additionally, if you don’t keep them busy, they will get bored and destructive and likely find their way into some sort of trouble. Plus, they can also bark, which would likely annoy your neighbors. 

Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety Outdoors

Life outside is probably fun for your dog, with outdoor adventures on the agenda every day; however, there are certain precautions you have to take if you want them to remain safe and healthy.  The best outdoor dogs are the ones that are taken care of.

First and foremost, make sure they’re up to date on all of their vaccinations. This is especially important for the Rabies shot because if they come in contact with an infected animal, they’ll be protected. Talk to your veterinarian about any other vaccines they might recommend.  

Keep up to date on flea, tick, and parasite prevention. This is critical because they are far more exposed to these potential pests than an indoor dog would be. Heartworm is a big consideration because it can be transmitted via mosquitos and, if left untreated, can cause serious illness and death.  

Also, make sure there are no items in your backyard that could potentially injure your pup. Keep it free of tools, yard equipment, and debris.


How Do You Help Your Outdoor Dog Thrive?

The best way to help your outdoor dog thrive in outdoor living is to ensure that you pay attention to it. Just because it may spend an extended period of time, or even live outside 100% of the time, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need you. 

Make sure the pup has enough space to move around comfortably and have a protective shelter. A covered dog kennel that can comfortably fit them and give them room to turn around is perfect.  

Can a House Dog Survive Outside?

Yes, but it will definitely take some acclimation. If you have an indoor dog that you want to transition to outdoor living, you need to do it gradually. You cannot just toss the dog outside and expect it to be okay. Start by extending the time you normally have the dog outdoors and work up to long periods and less time where you have the dog indoors.  

Is It OK for Dogs To Live Outside?

Absolutely, but it’s very important that when you do have a dog that lives outside, you take care of their basic needs. This includes shelter, human interaction (regularly), food, and water. Also be mindful of the climate in your area as some pups have thick fur and do not do well in high temps. 

What Dog Can I Keep Outside?

Any of the dogs on this list you can keep as outdoor dogs. They will often do well as long as their basic needs are tended to, and for some, like Labradors, they need a buddy to keep them company. 


Some of the best outdoor dog breeds can be just as great as a companion as indoor dogs, especially if you spend the majority of your time in nature. Just have a plan to keep them safe following the tips above and enjoy them as you would an indoor dog.

By admin

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