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21 Best Outdoor Dogs – Breeds That Thrive Outside

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Despite the fact that all dogs have to go outside to answer nature’s call, some breeds enjoy the great outdoors more than others.

The best outdoor dogs are not only better suited for outdoor jobs, but they’ll also enjoy adventures, such as hiking and camping, more than other breeds will.

These outside dogs are also better choices for owners who intend on keeping their dog in the backyard for long periods of time.

Keeping Your Dog Safe While Outdoors

If you have one of the breeds below and you find that they thrive outdoors, then as a responsible pet owner, you will want to do everything in your power to ensure that their outdoor environment is a safe place for them.

The following are a few things you can do to ensure that your pup has a good time outside while remaining healthy and well-protected:

Protection Against Parasites. Heartworms can be transmitted to your dog through a mosquito bite, and when this happens, it can become serious very quickly for your canine companion.

To help prevent this, discuss dog dewormers with your veterinarian. You also need to ensure that there is no stagnant water and other areas in the yard where mosquitoes will breed and thrive.

dog parasites

Poison Dangers. Stagnant water isn’t just a breeding ground for mosquitoes; it can also contain other harmful parasites that can cause gastrointestinal problems for your dog.

Pesticides are something else to watch for because these can also be dangerous for your dog to come in contact with.

In addition, there are also certain kinds of frogs, snakes, and spiders that can also be poisonous. It is best to learn which of these potentially dangerous animals is prevalent in your area so you can keep an eye out for them and take the necessary precautions to avoid them altogether.

stagnant water

Certain plants are also toxic for dogs including azaleas, tulips, lilies, daffodils, and hydrangea, among others. Know which plants are in your yard and if they may be toxic.

Know the Weather. Some dogs cannot tolerate extremely high or low temperatures and can cause issues.

On these days when the weather is less than ideal, you will want to be sure to keep your dog indoors to ensure their health and safety. On hot days, make sure there is plenty of water accessible and on cold days, you should dress your pup appropriately.

high or low temperature

Escape Artists. Some dogs have proven to be experienced escape artists. If this sounds like your dog, you will want to do what you can to ensure that the yard is secure, and they can’t escape. Consider an outdoor dog kennel or invisible dog fence.

If this is done and they still manage to escape, it is always beneficial to have your dog microchipped.

When you do this, make sure that you keep your contact information up to date so you can be located if your dog gets lost.

Vaccinations. Finally, one of the best things you can do for your dog’s health is to vaccinate them. Their rabies vaccinations should always be up to date. You should also talk to your veterinarian about other vaccinations that may benefit your outdoor dog.

dog vaccination

Above all, make sure they are supervised while outdoors. While it may be tempting to allow them to run around the yard freely, this opens things up to get dangerous very quickly.

You run the risk of other animals coming in contact with your dog, and it only takes a few seconds for them to escape. Be aware of your surroundings and keep a watchful eye on them while they play outdoors.

We’ll now talk about 21 of the best outdoor dogs below to help you find the best companion for your needs and lifestyle.

Best Outdoor Dogs

RankingNameHeightWeightLife spanBreed sizeTemperamentOrigin
1Labrador Retriever22–24 inches64–79 lbs10 – 12 yearsLargeOutgoing, Even Tempered, Intelligent, Kind, Agile, Trusting, GentleNewfoundland
2Australian Shepherd20–23 inches55–70 lbs13 – 15 yearsLargeIntelligent, Good-natured, Affectionate, Active, ProtectiveWestern United States
3Siberian Husky21–24 inches44–60 lbs12 – 15 yearsLargeOutgoing, Friendly, Intelligent, Alert, GentleSiberia
4German Shepherd24–26 inches66–88 lbs9 – 13 yearsLargeIntelligent, Curious, Stubborn, Alert, Obedient, Loyal, Confident, Protective, Courageous, WatchfulGermany
5Bernese Mountain Dogs25–28 inches84–110 lbs6 – 8 yearsLargeIntelligent, Affectionate, Loyal, FaithfulSwitzerland
6American Foxhound22–25 inches64–75 lbs10 – 12 yearsLargeSweet-Tempered, Intelligent, Kind, Independent, Loyal, LovingUnited States
7Vizsla22–25 inches44–64 lbs12 – 15 yearsLargeAffectionate, Energetic, Loyal, Gentle, QuietHungary
8Alaskan Malamute24–26 inches79–95 lbs10 – 12 yearsLargePlayful, Friendly, Devoted, Affectionate, Dignified, LoyalAlaska
9Rottweiler24–27 inches 110–130 lbs8 – 10 yearsLargeSteady, Self-assured, Devoted, Fearless, Good-natured, Alert, Obedient, Confident, Calm, CourageousGermany
10Rhodesian Ridgeback
25–27 inches79–90 lbs10 – 12 yearsLargeSensitive, Dignified, Mischievous, Intelligent, Strong Willed, LoyalRhodesia, South Africa, Zimbabwe
11Australian Cattle Dog18–20 inches33–35 lbs13 – 15 yearsMediumCautious, Energetic, Obedient, Loyal, Protective, BraveAustralia
12Bearded Collie21–22 inches40–60 lbs14 – 15 yearsMediumIntelligent, Self-confidence, Lively, Alert, Active, HardyScotland
13Collie22–24 inches45–65 lbs14 – 16 yearsLargeIntelligent, Friendly, Loyal, Active, Protective, GentleScotland, United Kingdom
14Belgian Sheepdog24–26 inches 44–55 lbs13 – 14 yearsLargePowerful, Intelligent, Affectionate, Loyal, ActiveBelgium
15Irish Wolfhound32–34 inches120-155 lbs6 – 10 yearsGiantSweet-Tempered, Dignified, Thoughtful, Generous, Patient, LoyalIreland
16Keeshond17–19 inches31 – 40 lbs13 – 15 yearsMediumBright, Playful, Sturdy, Agile, Quick, ObedientGermany, Netherlands
17Norwegian Elkhound19–21 inches49 – 55 lbs12 – 15 yearsMediumHardy, Strong Willed, Bold, Alert, Loyal, PlayfulNorway
18Samoyed21–24 inches45–66 lbs12 – 14 yearsLargePlayful, Friendly, Lively, Sociable, Stubborn, AlertRussia, Siberia
19The Great Pyrenees
28–32 inches110–120 lbs10 – 12 yearsGiantGentle, Strong Willed, Fearless, Affectionate, Patient, ConfidentFrance, Spain
20Mastiff28–36 inches160–230 lbs6 – 12 yearsGiantGood-natured, Affectionate, Dignified, Protective, Calm, CourageousEngland
21Greater Swiss Mountain Dog26–28 inches130–150 lbs10 – 11 yearsGiantSelf-confidence, Devoted, Fearless, Good-natured, Alert, ProtectiveSwitzerland

#1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever outdoor

Labrador Retrievers are a medium to large-sized breed. They typically love playing outdoors, and many have a special affinity for swimming. Most weigh between 55 and 80 pounds, with males typically reaching larger sizes than females.

These wonderful dogs were originally bred to help their owners work fishing nets, but they’re also celebrated hunting dogs, who have a special talent for retrieving fowl from the surface of the water.

Aside from being one of the best outdoor dog breeds, Labrador Retrievers are also very loyal and understand the nuances of body language, tone, and intent.

#2. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd best outdoor dog

The Australian Shepherd weighs between 35 and 70 lbs. They are a very intelligent, high-energy breed, and often considered one of the smartest breeds in the world.

They were bred for herding, so they are very quick and agile, and they’re always up for a little physical activity. They are also good trackers and seldom used for hunting purposes.

Australian Shepherds are obedient (when well-trained) and excellent with children, although they require plenty of exercise to remain healthy and happy.

#3. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is an outdoor dog breed that is well-suited for cold climates. They are working dogs that enjoy a physical challenge, and with their weight ranging from 45 to 60 pounds, they are well equipped for work.

They have high energy levels and need plenty of exercise to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Huskies are very social dogs, and they love hanging out outside with their owners or other dogs.

#4. German Shepherd

German shepherd best outside dog

The German Shepherd is a popular breed that can perform a variety of work tasks, but they make great pets too.

Originally developed to herd and guard livestock, they’ve also been used in a variety of police and military contexts, where their intelligence, strength, and bravery serve them well.

Additionally, German Shepherds also tend to love spending time outdoors, and they’re well-suited for a variety of climates.

#5. Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dog

With an impressive physique and an average weight of 80 to 115 pounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants that were bred to withstand the cold and windy conditions common in their mountainous homes.

They have moderate energy levels by herding dog standards, which makes them better pets than some other breeds, and they’re also quite intelligent and loyal. They also love to please their owners.

Just be careful when housing Bernese Mountain Dogs outdoors in hot climates, as their long fur can quickly cause them to overheat.

#6. American Foxhound

best outside dog

Bred for hunting purposes, the American Foxhound is an incredibly smart hunting dog that loves working and playing outdoors. They are medium-sized dogs, weighing anywhere from 40 to 65 pounds.

American Foxhounds are extremely energetic when hunting, and they bring this energy back home once the workday is over — these dogs will only remain happy if they’re allowed to run free for several hours each day.

They are also very smart dog breeds and their obedient nature makes them good family dogs.

#7. Vizsla

Vizsla

Vizslas are energetic sighthounds, who are among the most active dog breeds in the world.

They love being outdoors, where they can exercise their muscles and satisfy their curiosity by exploring forests and fields. They are extremely smart and good-natured dogs, but they need to be kept busy.

Originally bred for hunting, Vizslas weigh between 45 and 65 pounds, making them a medium-sized breed. Simply put, Vizslas are one of the most rewarding breeds around, and they are one of the best dogs for outdoors.

#8. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute Long Living Breed

Another arctic sled dog, the Alaskan Malamute is an extremely tough, loyal dog breed destined for hard work. They can be great family pets, but, because of their large size and playful nature, they require supervision around children.

Malamutes are strong-willed animals that are occasionally challenging for novice owners.

Weighing between 75 and 85 pounds, Malamutes are large working dogs, who enjoy working outdoors in frigid weather.

And note that while they enjoy being outdoors, they are not appropriate for owners living in places with high temperatures.

#9. Rottweiler

outdoor dog

Rottweilers are powerful, large dogs who typically weigh between 80 and 130 pounds. Most love exploring their local park or forest, and many Rottweilers even enjoy swimming.

But while Rottweilers love being outside, they do not like to be separated from their families.

Rottweilers bond strongly with their owners and are susceptible to severe separation anxiety, so they won’t make a good choice for those who intend to keep their dog in the backyard.

Rottweilers are very loving dogs, but because of their size, obedience training is imperative to ensure they remain safe around strangers.

READ MORE: 10 Ways to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs

#10. Rhodesian Ridgeback

best outdoor dog breeds

One of the most attractive breeds in the world, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a muscular and agile athlete of a canine. They were bred to work in hot African climates, which helped them to develop impressive endurance and tolerance of harsh climatic conditions.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks make great jogging, hiking, and bicycling companions, although they can become chilly in low temperatures, thanks to their short coat and lanky build.

Just be sure that you can provide enough opportunities for exercise to keep these high-energy dogs happy.

#11. Australian Cattle Dog

outside dogs

This medium-sized dog is very popular among the best outdoor dog breeds. It has a short coat so it can take the heat fairly well.

Weighing between 35 and 45 pounds, they are ideal family dogs. Very smart as well, the Australian Cattle Dog was bred for herding purposes.

Thriving when able to run around, they don’t make the best pets if someone doesn’t have enough space or needs to keep the animal indoors. They are very disciplined if taught well.

#12. Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie outdoor dog

Another popular Collie breed, Bearded Collies, are medium-sized dogs that look much larger than their actual size, thanks to their amazingly dense long-haired coating. They weigh between 45 and 60 pounds and are renowned for their tracking ability.

Despite their look, they are agile dogs with amazing abilities, especially sniffing.

As one of the best outdoor dog breeds, they are cheerful dogs, constantly wagging their tails.

#13. Collie

Collie

Often mistaken for the Border Collie, Collies or Rough Collies are a Scottish long-haired dog breed. Lassie, the famous dog from the novel Lassie Come-Home, was a Rough Collie.

They are very athletic dogs bred for herding. Collies possess keen intelligence and boast amazing agility weighing anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds.

They are also extremely energetic and can run around all day. When they have a lot of space, they are at their happiest. One of the best outdoor dog breeds for sure.

#14. Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Sheepdog.

Even though they aren’t a well-known breed, Belgian Sheepdogs are one of the best outdoor dog breeds in the world.

They originate from Belgium, where they were bred for sheep herding purposes in the early 1800s.

They are large-sized dogs weighing between 50 and 65 pounds, and they have a beautiful black coat. They are agile and obedient with excellent stamina and are notoriously easy to train.

Because of these reasons, Belgian Sheepdogs make excellent police, therapy, and family dogs.

#15. Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound best outdoor dogs

One of the tallest breeds in the world, the Irish Wolfhound is an impressive dog to behold. Occasionally standing over 3-feet-tall at the shoulder, these big dogs were originally bred to hunt deer and other large prey.

Wolfhounds have thick, coarse fur that helps to provide them with protection from the elements, thereby making them one of the best outdoor dog breeds in the world.

Unfortunately, these large and lovable giants don’t live very long — few live long enough to see their eighth birthday.

#16. Keeshond

Keeshond

The Keeshond is another lesser-known medium-sized dog breed that usually weighs between 35 and 40 pounds.

A northern breed with a thick coat, the Keeshond is very well adapted to cold climates, and they are usually happiest when they get the chance to play outside.

Although they don’t have quite as much energy as some other breeds, they still require daily exercise. They also require regular baths, brushing and grooming, to keep their coat looking its best.

#17. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is a hunting breed that was originally developed for pursuing elk, bear and other formidable prey. An extraordinarily strong dog breed the Elkhound needs the chance to burn off plenty of energy every day.

They thrive best in large, outdoor areas where they can freely roam — just be sure that you keep them leashed or within fenced areas, as they have a tendency to wander.

Male Norwegian Elkhounds typically weigh about 55 pounds, while females weigh a little less.

A true outdoor dog breed, the Norwegian Elkhound prefers hanging out outdoors rather than lounging on the couch, and they’ll quickly become frustrated if forced to spend their lives indoors.

#18. Samoyed

Samoyed

Weighing about 40 to 75 pounds, the Samoyed is an ancient Siberian big white dog breed, originally developed to pull sleds and help keep their owners warm at night. They have a white coat and a loyal and loving personality.

Samoyeds are extremely playful dogs, who keep their puppy-like spirit well into their golden years.

Samoyeds are very intelligent dogs, who are often easy to train. However, if they aren’t provided with enough exercise, they can become quite destructive.

Nevertheless, they are one of the best outdoor dog breeds for owners living in cold climates.

#19. The Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees are large dogs who reach weights of between 85 and 135 pounds (males grow much larger than females). They are herding and guarding dogs, bred to work in the cold and harsh weather of the Pyrenees Mountains.

Although this breed isn’t as people-oriented as many others, they are still affectionate with their families, and they can make good pets for experienced owners.

The Great Pyrenees typically loves spending as much time outdoors as possible, and their thick coats help protect them from cold temperatures and wet weather.

#20. Mastiff

English Mastiff best outdoor dog

One of the biggest dogs in the world, Mastiffs (formerly known as English Mastiffs) weigh between 120 and 230 pounds. However, despite their massive size, they are deceptively athletic.

Mastiffs were originally bred in Asia, but later they were brought over to England, where they have remained popular for more than 2,000 years.

Mastiffs love being outdoors, so they are ideal pets for those with large, fenced yards, as well as those who live in rural areas.

#21. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are large canines who weigh between 85 and 140 pounds. The males are very muscular and large, yet extremely agile for their size.

They share many similarities with Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rottweilers, who are both distant relatives of the breed.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs have moderate energy levels, so they don’t require constant attention, but they enjoy their walks and play sessions like any other dog. They are among the best outdoor dog breeds in the world, and they excel at guarding and herding tasks.

They are better suited for warm weather than some other breeds hailing from Switzerland and the surrounding region, but they are most comfortable in relatively cool climates.

Summing Up The Best Outside Dogs

Remember that even the best outdoor dog will require protection from the elements, so always make sure your dog has a large outdoor dog house or shelter into which he can retreat during rain, snow or soaring temperatures.

And don’t forget that most dogs will also enjoy getting the chance to hang out indoors with their families on occasion.

So, even if you select one of these great outside dogs, it’s important to understand if it’s okay to leave your dog outside all the time.

Angel Soriano (AKA DogMan) deals with this question in the video below:

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