Choose A Dog For Your Climate?

Today’s unusually hot weather, and my wish to give you some photos of the ‘kids’ has led to a thought about heat/cold and how that could affect you when you choose a dog.  It’s something that many people never consider.

Apart from the obvious factors – sharp claws, size, and one needing to be walked where the other isn’t – one of the most obvious differences between cats and dogs is their reaction to the heat.

Today it is (for the UK) positively sweltering.  I’m not complaining though as we get little enough decent weather here. 

However, the dogs hate it when it’s hot.  Hoolie (the cat) on the other hand can’t get enough sun. So compare the difference between cats and dogs with these photos:

This is Vinnie keeping cool indoors.  On the other hand, Hoolie is basking in the oven-like conservatory!  I might add that the conservatory has all the doors and windows open, and has a special thermally reflective (heat shield) roof and it’s still HOT in there.

Heat – or extreme cold – should be something you consider when you choose a dog.  I appreciate that everyone’s needs and wants are different when it comes to choosing the right breed, or the right dog, but spare a thought for the dog too.

If you live in a very cold climate, how fair is it to buy a breed of dog which does best in hot temperatures?  Yes you can compensate with waterproof fleece-lined coats and snow booties, but is your dog really going to enjoy its walks? 

The flip side is worse.  Buying a breed of dog, or adopting one, which likes cold temperatures, when you live in an arid and desert-like environment could do them serious harm.  Indoors you can use air conditioning to keep things comfortable.  However, once outside, a cold-climate dog will easily overheat, and could collapse and die without special precautions.   If you live in a hot dry climate, there are some dogs really well adapted to that.  The little Cirneco D’el Etna for example (a Sicilian ‘whippet’ type dog) is a good example.

You can wear a T shirt, go topless (men) or go bikini-topped (women) in the heat.  Your hairy cold climate dog doesn’t have that ability.  It has to walk round in it’s woollen sweater – permanently.  Imagine how that would feel to you.

I’ve seen short coated dogs suffering the early stages of heat stroke at dogs shows in the UK.  And we’re not especially warm.  Most breeds of dog do ok here, but if you live in one of the more extreme climates, please consider being kind to your dog by making sure it is happy with its environment.

The same is true for wet climates.  If it rains a lot, why not consider a ‘water dog’ such as a Newfoundland, or the multitude of retrievers which are happy to throw themselves into anything wet and muddy.  Terriers with thick harsh coats such as the Welsh Terrier and Border Terrier also seem to do well in the wet. Contrast that with my greyhounds which have been known to refuse to go out in the rain, even with their coats ON!

So when you choose a dog,  think about your climate and be kind to your dog.

I should be obvious too but I’ll say this anyway – just because I have mentioned specific dog breeds here doesn’t mean these are the ones you should go and choose.  They are just examples.  You are a unique person with unique needs, so your choice should be as unique as you are.

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2 Responses to “Choose A Dog For Your Climate?”

  • Excellent advice – I wish those owners of huskies took more attention of this blog posing.

    And delighted that you have greyhounds, Bev. My greyhound girl Jess is the closest thing to a cat in a dog and sometimes sneaks outside to catch the rays! My boy Rocky on the other hand gets stifled easily. And in contrast they have to wear T shirts under their outdoor coats in very cold weather!

  • Beverley says:

    Thanks Sarah. Not just huskies, but all big & hairy cold climate dogs – Newfoundlands, hairy Shepherds, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Komondor to name a few – and all dogs with thick black coats! I am doing what I can to get the word out about educating people into the right dogs. I found mine a long time ago, but only because I made the expensive errors and put the effort in to working it out properly. I want to give people the tools to do the same without all the expensive mistakes. I’ve posted my free guides on my linked in profile so please download them and help me educate by just sending them out anywhere you like.