Number 10 – The Labrador
And right here at number 10, we have one of the most popular and adaptable breeds on the planet – the Labrador Retriever. And whilst the Labrador may not be the most effective guardian breed, it certainly is one of the best outdoor-dogs – again, provided you have lots of space. As Labradors are so social and friendly, they are not suited for a solitary life. But if you team them up with a second dog and spend lots of time with them on a daily basis, Labradors can make quite decent outdoor dogs whose dense, water-proof coat effectively protects them from the elements.
Number 9 - The Rottweiler
Here on the number 9 spot on our list of the TOP 10 outdoor breeds, we see one of the most powerful and effective guard dog breeds in the world: We are speaking about the famous Rottweiler. Bred to drive and protect cattle, the Rottie is very much used to working and living outside throughout the year. For centuries, these incredible guardians have braved the hot, humid summers and frosty, snowy winters of their native Germany. As long as they have plenty of contact with their favourite humans, Rotties are quite happy to live outside of the home.
Number 8 – The German Shepherd
At number 8, we have another large German guardian breed: Having been developed for a very similar task as the Rottie, the smart and adaptable German Shepherd is a perfect outdoor breed. With its thick stock-haired coat, this dog can easily handle both moderately hot and cold temperatures. However, as this ancient sheepherding dog is a high-energy endurance athlete, it must be exercised a lot throughout the day: Locking one of these top-performers up in a kennel for most of their lives would simple not be doing them justice.
Number 7 – The Bernese Mountain Dog
Our number 7 spot goes to the beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog - a breed known for its lush, long, tricoloured coat and for its fondness of children. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a wonderful family companion that can easily adapt to living mostly outside: As its name suggests, the breed originally was employed as herding dog in the rough climate of the Swiss Alps. Cold and frost cannot easily harm these shaggy canines - but they do need close contact to their family to be happy and well-balanced.
Number 6 – The Estrela Mountain Dog
And here at number 6 we have another breed of mountain dog that trumps the Bernese when it comes to its capability to live outside the home in all seasons: The glorious Estrela Mountain Dog is a Portuguese breed perfectly suited for an outdoor lifestyle. Even to the point that Estrelas tend to prefer being outside when given the choice. For many centuries, these stunning, long-haired dogs that look like bears have been guarding flocks of sheep and goats in the rough terrain of Portugal’s Estrela Mountains. Protecting their wards from the Iberian Wolf and other predators, these fearless giants are exceptionally tolerant to both the winter’s freezing cold and the dry summer’s heat of their native Portugal.
Number 5 – The Turkish Kangal
Now, we have reached the halfway mark in naming the TOP outdoor dog breeds on the planet! And on our number 5 spot, we have one of my own favourite dog breeds of all times – the amazing Turkish Kangal. In character, these giant, sand-coloured dogs are even more independent than the Estrela Mountain Dog. So much so that they are known to patrol the boundaries of their territory, always on the lookout for predators. Kangals are the ultimate livestock- and farm guardians, as they absolutely need a “job” to do. Like the energetic German Shepherd, these are not dogs whom you can simply put into a kennel for the better part of the day – they need lots of space to move around.
Number 4 – The Giant Schnauzer
Now, things are getting even more exciting, as we are nearing the TOP 3 positions for the title “best outdoor dog breed in the world”. And the breed that quite narrowly missed one of the prestigious spots on the pedestal is another German guardian breed – more precisely, the largest and most independent of them all. The Giant Schnauzer is an absolutely stunning utility dog whose fearless nature and dense, coarse double-coat make it an amazing, “weather-proof” guardian for farms and large properties. And whilst the bearded giant is loyal to its owners, it is not prone to separation anxiety, and neither does it need its humans around all of the time. What Schnauzers do need is lots of space.
Number 3 – The Caucasian Shepherd
Now we come to my TOP three picks for the title “best outdoor dog breed in the world”. And on the lowest place on the podium, on the Bronze Medal spot, we have THE most powerful livestock guardian breed in existence: The majestic, one-and-only Caucasian Shepherd. The only reason this shaggy bear of a dog has not outright won the race for the best outdoor breed on the planet is its fur: So thick that even normal brushes cannot penetrate it, the Caucasian Shepherd’s fur has been designed to protect the dog from frost, ice and snow. Which makes the breed not the best choice for warmer climates. But apart from that, no breed can beat this Russian giant’s suitability for outdoor living: Strongly independent and extremely protective, these dogs are a top-choice for farmers, sheepherders and owners of large properties.
Number 2 – The Border Collie
And on the Silver Medal spot, we have another robust breed that thrives in rough climates – but that is also equipped to operating in warmer weather. Today, the Border Collie is famous mostly for its intelligence and its capability to perform tricks. But make no mistake: These medium sized dogs are the ultimate workers. They were bred to herd sheep in the wet, windy and often quite chilly climate of Britain. As their beautiful coats are of medium lengths and quite dense, but not too heavy, Border Collies can easily function both in the cold of winter and in the heat of summer. And whilst they make superb outdoor dogs, they need a “job” to do even more than the German Shepherd or the Turkish Kangal: Border Collies are among the most energetic dogs on the planet. Coupled with their extraordinary intelligence, it should go without saying that they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Number 1 – The Irish Wolfhound
And our pick for the TOP spot on our list of the best outdoor dog breeds on the planet is another breed from the British Isles: One of the tallest dogs in existence, the Irish Wolfhound is an absolutely incredible gentle giant. Originally bred to hunt wolves, deer and other large game, the Irish Wolfhound is protected from the elements by its thick and coarse coat. It goes without saying that these massive hounds need lots and lots of space to move around in. Being very social and used to working in packs, Irish Wolfhounds do best when teamed up with at least one other dog. These affectionate dogs are very calm and composed – excessive barking will not be a problem for owners of these noble hounds. At the same time, their size is usually quite sufficient to discourage intruders.