10 Hot Weather Dog Breeds That Will Have You Feeling Warm and Fuzzy
When you're searching for your perfect canine companion, you're often thinking about their personality, their adorable face, how much they shed (or don't). But it doesn't hurt to also consider just how comfy they'll be in their new home—especially if that's in a place where temperatures are known to skyrocket during the summer or all year round.
Depending on your dog's breed, they might be more or less likely to thrive in warmer weather. Sarah Nold, DVM, staff veterinarian at Trupanion notes, "Brachycephalic—short-nosed or flat faced—dogs, overweight or obese dogs, or those with thick/double coat in general are going to be less heat tolerant. It also seems to reason that dog breeds that were bred for areas with warmer climates would be more heat tolerant."
Although you'll always do best to pick a pet that is compatible with your lifestyle, you could find one of these dog breeds lives happily with you in a hotter climate.
If you want a small dog who's endlessly charming and won't sweat high temperatures, consider a Chihuahua. Their upright ears, single hair coat, and geographic pedigree—they were discovered by Americans visiting Mexico in the mid-1800s—help him cope with the heat, explains Jo Myers, DVM, JustAnswer veterinarian.
"They also come in a variety of colors including many lighter shades that are better in the heat," explains Myers. Still, some have relatively short snouts that might interfere with the efficient panting they need to do to cool themselves. They're also not the most athletic of dogs, so it's good to keep their exposure to the heat moderate.
Australian Cattle Dog
Originally bred in the Australian Outback for hard work outside all day in both intensely warm and cooler climates, loyal, independent, and loving Australian cattle dogs look a bit like fellow canid the coyote with their medium-sized snouts and upright ears.
"These high-energy dogs are prone to obesity when kept primarily indoors as pets, however, so it's important to keep your athletic cattle dog in good shape so he can tolerate being outside in the heat with you," says Myers. It's also important to note that some cattle dogs develop a thick undercoat which will need to be groomed out when your dog "blows their coat" — aka sheds seasonally—so it won't trap heat next to the skin.
Small, friendly, social, and generally thought of as the perfect apartment dog or companion for an older adult, the Chinese crested is happy to be a lap dog. But when you do take them out in higher temperatures, the fact that they have very little hair, upright ears, and a medium-sized nose means they can tolerate it fairly well.
The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, is a small but robust, naturally athletic dog that can do better than you might think in the heat, says Myers. But she does have a word of warning: "In order to optimize your Yorkie's ability to cope with the heat, however, it's important to avoid overfeeding and prevent obesity. These delightful companions love to share food with their owners, and it's often difficult to keep them on the right side of the calories in versus calories out equation. This is particularly true since a Yorkie can be happy to hang out in the air conditioning with its owner instead of pursuing activity outside."
You'll also want to make sure you keep your feisty, fearless Yorkie's long hair trimmed and combed out so mats don't trap heat next to the body. "Additionally, some Yorkies have very tiny faces with very short noses that can interfere with efficient breathing and cooling," notes Myers.
The Afghan hound—known for being loving and fast, managing to sprint up to 40 mph—has a long, flowing mane of hair, which means, at first glance, you might not assume they'll do very well in warmer weather. But they're actually quite well-suited to it.
The breed is an example of a long-legged, athletic breed developed in a warm region, says Myers. "Those light-colored flowing locks comprise a single-layered hair coat that provides insulation from the heat," she explains. "A lot of work is necessary, however, to keep that hair coat clean and tangle-free."
The Italian greyhound gets props for being incredibly athletic, alert, playful, and being able to run fast. They're also companionable lovebugs who take to their humans and will curl up in your lap. And if you're bonding in a climate that's steamy, they'll do just fine with the heat, given the fact that this breed hails from a warm climate and has a thin hair coat.
That said, Myers notes that it might be more accurate to say that the Italian greyhound is ill-suited to handling cold climates. "Their hair coat is so sparse, and they almost never carry a layer of insulating subcutaneous body fat," she explains. "As a result, these dogs seem to always be cold under normal household circumstances."
She also warns that Italian greyhounds aren't exactly well-adapted to heavy exercise in the heat. "He'll be your best companion if you're at home and the air conditioning goes out, but it's best to keep outdoor exercise in the heat at a moderate level," says Myers. "No extremes of any type for this sometimes delicate dog."
The gentle giant Great Dane is known for being big fans of family life, doing well with kids, smaller dogs, and cats. They'll also adapt well to a hotter climate, thanks to the fact that they have a short and thin hair coat that doesn't trap warmth—particularly when it comes in lighter colors, says Myers. And because they're lanky and not as prone to obesity as some breeds, they can cope with heat.
However, they do have floppy ears and thick folds of heavy skin that can make it tougher to cool off. Myers points out that they are, in fact, predisposed to heart disease, so make sure to check with your vet and get a clean bill of health for your Great Dane before engaging in a lot of exercise in warmer weather.
The Xoloitzcuintli ("xolo"), aka Mexican hairless dog, is an alert, calm, and highly intelligent breed that's been around for 3,000 years. Given the breed's roots, they're accustomed to warm weather, and the handsome-looking pup is largely unencumbered by any heat-trapping hair, says Myers.
They also have large upright ears to act as radiators and are less likely to have the short muzzle of a Chihuahua, she points out. "As long as you can protect their delicate bald skin from sunburn, they're decently well-suited to cope with the heat," says Myers.
Bred in Spain's Baleric Islands, Ibizan hounds are lithe, energetic sprinters, and their roots make the rare breed well-adapted to warm weather, says Myers.
The Ibizan's large upright ears provide a lot of surface area for getting rid of heat, she notes, and their short, somewhat coarse, single-layered hair coat doesn't trap a lot of heat. The family-oriented, even-tempered dog also has an athletic build, which is well-suited to rising temps.
Incredibly intelligent, outgoing, energetic, and family-loving, the Airedale terrier is decently-suited for coping with heat. You'll notice that the breed's hair coat is thick, but its texture actually lends itself to warmer weather. "It's curly and coarse and does not trap heat," explains Myers. "Even though an Airedale terrier's color is somewhat darker, he's not going to overheat as quickly as a similarly-sized black dog with a bushy hair coat."
In general, terriers are athletic, so as long as you can keep your pup's weight in check—which could be easier said than done, admits Myers—they'll do just fine in higher temperatures.
General Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe in Hot Weather Climates
Whether you go with one of these breeds or not, all dogs need to be kept cool in excessively hot weather to avoid dangerous health conditions like heat rash or heatstroke. Some good ways to keep your dog cool include:
- Keep your dog indoors in the air conditioning for the most part and limit outdoor time for short periods with plenty of shade available.
- Set up a sprinkler in the yard or get your dog a pool they can splash in.
- Lie a cooling mat somewhere comfy for your pup to lounge (bonus points for putting it near an air vent or fan!)
- Find indoor ways to exercise your pup if the weather outside is too hot.
- Keep your dog at a healthy weight to avoid obesity-related health complications.
- Provide plenty of cool, fresh water for your dog to drink and keep from getting dehydrated.