It’s always important to consider the local climate when picking out a new dog for your family.
Some breeds, for example, will have trouble living in cold climates (especially short-haired breeds like pit bulls). Others may become frizzy furballs if forced to live in areas with perpetually high humidity.
But today, we’re going to talk about dogs who remain comfortable in warm climates. So, put your feet up, grab an ice-cold beverage (preferably one with a little umbrella in it), and check out the warm-weather breeds detailed below.
But before we start talking about specific breeds, let’s discuss some of the characteristics that help dogs beat the heat.
Most dogs who are comfortable in warm weather exhibit one or more of the following traits:
Long coats typically act like blankets and trap your dog’s body heat.
This is great for dogs who must live in cold, snowy climates, but it is quite counterproductive for those living in warm and sunny locations.
There are a few exceptions (one of which you’ll see below), but for the most part, dogs with short hair are better suited for hot climates than their long-haired counterparts.
Many dogs have a double coat consisting of a short, downy undercoat and a longer, coarser overcoat.
The overcoat primarily provides protection from the elements, while the undercoat helps keep the dog warm and comfortable. However, the breeds who are best suited for warm climates typically have only a single coat, lacking the dense undercoat of many cold-weather breeds.
The longer and lankier a dog is, the more effectively his body will shed heat into the environment. This occurs because – all else being equal – dogs with lean bodies have more skin relative to their body weight than dogs who have thicker bodies.
The more skin a dog has, the more rapidly his body will cool off.
A long nose works a bit like an air conditioner, as it cools the air coming into your dog’s lungs a bit. Accordingly, dogs with long noses are generally better suited for warm temperatures than dogs with short noses.
In fact, brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds are often very poorly suited for hot climates.
Ears work like radiators that help your dog’s body rid itself of excess heat. So, most dogs that are well-suited for warm weather have big ‘ol ears.
In addition, dogs that hold their ears in an erect position are probably better suited for warm temperatures than those who have floppy ears, as this will help expose most of the ear’s surface to the breeze.
Like body shape, a dog’s size influences his skin-to-body-weight ratio. In most cases, dogs with lots of skin will keep their cool better than dogs with relatively little skin.
Because small dogs tend to have a higher skin-to-body-weight ratio than larger dogs, they’re also better suited for warm temperatures.
Another important thing to consider is the region in which the breed was developed.
Dogs who were originally created to thrive in icy lands will rarely find warm climates comfortable. On the other hand, breeds created in warm locations will usually have traits that help keep them cool in warm climates.
Black or dark brown fur will tend to absorb more of the sun’s rays than white, khaki, or tan fur will. So, if you have a choice between a dark- and light-colored pup, pick the light-colored one if you live in a warm location.
Although there are a number of breeds who are well-suited for warm weather, we picked 10 of our favorites.
Be sure to call us out on all the ones we should have picked and tell us about your warm-weather pet in the comments below!
Originally developed to accompany hunters in equatorial Africa, Basenjis hail from some of the hottest, wettest forests on the planet.
They not only have a very short coat, but they have moderately big ears that are typically held erect, where they’re exposed to the breeze.
Basenjis are super-cool dogs, who are smart, athletic, and driven, but they can present several challenges for owners, and they aren’t suitable for all families – particularly those who haven’t had much experience with dogs.
Basenjis are self-assured, independent little buggers, and they aren’t very easy to train. They’re also compelled to wander off from time to time, and they love stealing their owner’s prized belongings and hiding them.
Of course Dalmatians are comfortable in hot temperatures – they are, after all, firefighting dogs!
I kid (Dalmatians were originally intended to run alongside coaches – firefighting wasn’t in their initial job description), but the point remains: Dalmatians are pretty well-suited for warm climates.
Their tolerance of warm temperatures makes sense, given their short coats, lanky build, long muzzles, and big ears.
In fact, these traits were also important to Dalmatians for another reason – throughout their history, they’ve been expected to run for miles at a time. So, they not only needed to have a physique built for running, they needed the adaptations that would help prevent them from overheating while they were running hither and yon.
Dalmatians have ridiculous amounts of energy, so be sure that you are willing to provide one with enough exercise before adding one of these polka-dotted pups to your family. Dalmatians who don’t receive enough exercise often develop destructive behaviors.
One of the more well-rounded hunting dogs, German shorthaired pointers are used for a variety of different activities.
German shorthaired pointers hail from relatively temperate lands, but their short hair and leggy build make them pretty comfortable in warm weather.
They make excellent upland bird dogs, but they’ll also retrieve ducks down on the water. They even excel at tracking and trailing larger game, like raccoons, pigs, and bear. They can do it all!
They are, however, a bit too energetic and needy for some families. They’ll get along with everyone in the family (including kids) and shower you with affection, but they need plenty of exercise, and they don’t like to be left home alone for long periods of time.
At first glance, you may not expect that the Afghan hound’s long, flowing locks were appropriate for warm temperatures, but these dogs are actually pretty comfortable in hot climates.
And oddly, they excel in cold weather too. Such is likely to be expected of dogs developed in the extreme climate of Afghanistan.
Afghan hounds are sighthounds who were originally tasked with running down and subduing prey (sometimes formidable prey, like leopards). This required them to not only be fast, but smart too.
In fact, they had to learn to think on their own, which actually causes problems for modern Afghan owners – these are independent dogs, who do things on their schedule.
Afghan hounds really are unique animals, so you’ll want to make sure to meet a few of these sensitive, goofy, and stubborn dogs before you add one to your family.
Despite being covered in black fur, Dobermans are usually pretty comfortable in warm weather. They do have short coats, leggy builds, long muzzles, and big ears, which more than make up for their dark coloration.
Dobermans are amazingly loving dogs, who are actually one of the few large breeds that aren’t a bad option for first-time owners.
They live to receive their owner’s love, approval, and affection, and they’re quite intelligent and easy to train. They are certainly protective of their families, but well-socialized ones tend to greet strangers pretty warmly for dogs originally created for protective purposes.
Unfortunately, Dobermans are susceptible to a number of health problems, so it is imperative that you select one from a conscientious breeder who screens for the most common concerns of the breed.
Hailing from the Mediterranean Island of Ibiza, the Ibizan hound (or Ibiza hound, as they’re sometimes called) was originally developed as a rabbit-hunting breed. But today, they’re primarily kept as companions.
The Ibizan hound’s rabbit-hunting roots provided them with a number of adaptations that help them keep their cool. This includes their short coats, leggy build, and big ears.
And when I say big ears, I mean BIG ears – they can probably pick up satellite transmissions with those things.
Ibizan hounds make pretty good pets. They’re affectionate and loving with their families, and they actually adapt to apartment life pretty well.
They are full of energy though, so they’ll need the chance to run around and play every day. They can, however, be aggressive toward cats and other small animals, so caution is warranted when introducing them to other pets.
The Pharaoh hound is an ancient (and beautiful) breed, with a history that stretches back at least 5,000 years.
Hailing from Egypt, they’re obviously well-suited for warm climates; in fact, they’re one of the best breeds in the world for families living in hot locations.
Pharaoh hounds are an energetic breed, and they’ll need at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day (and an hour would be even better). Just be sure that you keep them on a leash during playtime – Pharaoh hounds are notorious for wandering off and exploring on their own.
Unlike greyhounds, Afghan hounds, and other sighthounds, who tend to be pretty quiet, Pharaoh hounds are relatively vocal. They’ll even bark while they’re chasing prey (like your neighbor’s cat).
But this is a pretty minor problem, and they make up for it with their loving and slightly goofy personalities.
Rat terriers are mischievous little dogs, with extremely playful personalities.
Rat terriers have most of the traits you’d expect from a dog that typically remains comfortable in warm temperatures, including a short, primarily light-colored coat and a big ‘ol set of ears that help radiate heat into the environment.
Their small body size also helps them shed excess body heat when the mercury climbs.
They have a pretty typical terrier temperament – they are usually affectionate with their owners, and they love palling around with their people (particularly the kids). They aren’t particularly outgoing, but they do warm up to strangers with time.
Rat terriers can be a bit aggressive around smaller dogs or cats, and they love chasing squirrels and other small prey. But this is to be expected; after all, they’re called rat terriers because they were so effective at killing rats living near their owners’ homes and farms.
Another big-eared breed with a short coat, the Vizsla is pretty well-suited for warm climates.
Oddly, these dogs don’t hail from the Middle East or some other low-latitude location – they’re from Hungary, which experiences a fairly temperate climate. Nevertheless, they’re usually quite comfortable in warm temperatures.
One of the friendliest, most affectionate breeds in the world, the Vizsla will greet most people – including strangers and life-long friends – with a wagging tail and smiling expression. They’re also really smart and easy to train, as most love nothing more than pleasing their owners.
Vizslas do require copious amounts of exercise, so be sure you are willing to go on a decent run with Fido and play around in the backyard with your pooch every day before adding one of these lovable dogs to your family.
The whippet is one of the world’s premier racing breeds, even if they’re slightly less famous than their larger cousin, the greyhound.
Often looking like little more than a grey or brown blur in the backyard, whippets are born to run. And, like many other breeds who are built for running, whippets are pretty capable of keeping their cool.
Whippets have a number of adaptations that help keep them comfortable in high temperatures.
For example, they don’t have very much fat to trap body heat, and they’re a pretty long-legged and lanky breed too. They also have long muzzles that cool the air before allowing it to enter their lungs, and their ears are pretty big too.
Whippets are sensitive little pups who do not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time. They don’t present very many other challenges, and they can be a good choice for first-time owners.
If you live in a warm location and want to select a dog breed that’ll adapt fine to the local climate, start by considering the breeds listed above. Just be sure to pick one with a personality that’ll fit in with your family.
One last thing: While these dogs are all pretty well adapted to warm temperatures, that doesn’t mean you can be careless.
All dogs need a cool and shady place to get out of the heat (or even better, a nice air-conditioned home to hang out in during the day), as well as access to plenty of cool, fresh water.
And when the temperatures peak in July and August, even the breeds listed above may benefit from a dog cooling vest to help lower their body temperature.
Do you live in hot weather? What breeds do you see as best suited to handle hotter temperatures? Tell us in the comments!
Oh and if you have the opposite problem and are looking for a cold-weather dog, check out our list of the best dog breeds for cold weather!
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.