In February, living in a place like South Florida is a sun-drenched, balmy heaven. In August, though, it resembles that "opposite place." Although any breed can live in hot climates with proper care and grooming, some breeds tend to fare better than others.
Dogs living in areas known for high temperatures require special attention because they cannot handle temperature extremes as well as people can. When selecting a breed of dog, consider your outside environment, especially if he will spend a lot of time outside.
What to Look For
When selecting a breed for hot climates, three main characteristics should be considered: hair coat, facial conformation and size. Hair Coat. Dogs with thick, heavy, double hair coats, such as chows and Alaskan malamutes, easily overheat. Without periodic shaving, these dogs tend to retain body heat and can struggle through the hottest times of the day. Dogs with very little hair, such as Chinese crested and Mexican hairless, are prone to sunburn.
Facial Conformation. Panting is one method used by dogs to eliminate excess body heat. Dog breeds with short noses and pushed-in faces, such as English bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese and boxers, tend to have a more difficult time in hot weather.
Size. Giant breed dogs, such as Newfoundlands and St. Bernard's, cannot handle exercise in hot weather as well as smaller dogs. This results in sluggishness. Without appropriate exercise, these dogs are prone to obesity.
After considering hair coat, facial conformation and size, there are many breeds that would do well in hot climates. Shorthaired dogs with normal facial structure and medium to small size are abundant. Here is a short list of just a few breeds that could live with minimal problems in hot climates:
Beagle. A wonderful family companion, the beagle is also a popular hunting dog. As with other hounds, the beagle needs plenty of exercise to keep him occupied and out of trouble.
Schnauzer. The standard and miniature schnauzer are wonderful family pets. Eager to please and to keep the family safe, this breed usually requires regular grooming and daily exercise. They thrive on human companionship.
Parson Russell terrier. A lively breed, the Parson Russell has recently become very popular. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that it takes a special and understanding individual to own a Parson Russell.
Greyhound. These sleek dogs are mostly associated with the controversial sport of greyhound racing. But they also make great, all-around pets. They are grateful, affectionate and, contrary to what you might expect, don't necessarily want to run all the time.
Australian cattle dog. Unlike the Aussie, the Australian cattle dog is truly from Australia. Developed to herd cattle, this dog needs lots of mental stimulation and physical activity.
Border collie. Considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, the border collie loves to herd anything and everything. A natural instinct, the border collie is unrivaled in herding competitions and agility.
Vizsla. Also known as the Hungarian pointer, the vizsla is a multi-purpose, swift and quiet hunter.
Miniature pinscher. Contrary to the belief of some, the miniature pinscher is not bred down from the Doberman pinscher. In fact, the breed is the older of the two and is something of a cross between the greyhound and the terrier. They are alert and like to investigate, so they typically roam the household.
Weimaraner. Called the gray ghost, the Weimaraner is thought to be one of the best gun dogs. His short hair coat allows him to live comfortably in hot climates.
Doberman pinscher. The regal looking Dobie hails from Germany. A natural protector, the Doberman excels in guarding and police work.
Dalmatian. Well known for his characteristic spotted coat, the Dalmatian is an old breed often associated with firehouses.
Cairn terrier. Despite their small size, the cairn terrier is a tough little dog. This breed does well in any living environment as long as there are people around.
Chihuahua. What the Chihuahua lacks in size he certainly makes up for in personality. Faithful and protective, this dog fits in great in warm areas of the world.
Whippet. As a moderate-sized greyhound look-a-like, the whippet enjoys racing around a track just as much as he likes to cuddle next to his owner.
Italian greyhound. As the smallest member of the sighthound group, the Italian greyhound is thought to have originated in Greece and Turkey. Eventually popular with Italians in the 16th century, this diminutive dog looks just like a miniature greyhound.