The thought of surviving winter with chickens doesn't have to send chills up your spine. There are really only two things that are critical to a backyard flock in cold temperatures: access to water and a dry coop.
Wyandotte - Decent layers of cream colored eggs. Very intelligent and very skittish. Not really a "pet" chicken but a working flock with the benefit of beautiful laced feathering. Bears confinement well and is very winter hardy.