19 Dog Breeds That Cannot Handle Hot Weather (Trainer Explains)

Dog Breeds That Cannot Handle Hot Weather

It’s summertime again which means record heatwaves all over the country. Everyone loves having a dog for their family to share adventures with, but it is important to think about where you live.

If you are somewhere with 100-degree days all summer, you might want to reconsider certain breeds that will not handle those hot temperatures without lots of management of their environment.

From small to large dogs with all sorts of different coat types, many dogs have a hard time handling the heat. This includes short-nosed brachycephalic dogs, double-coated Arctic breeds, toy dogs with already existing health concerns, and giant dogs with thick coats that trap the heat.  

So let’s take a look at these dog breeds that cannot handle hot weather and why you should be careful with any breed if you live somewhere with hot weather.

19 Dog Breeds That Cannot Handle Hot Weather

Just because you have a breed that cannot handle hot weather does not mean you should not get that breed. However, it does mean you have to be incredibly proactive and make sure they do not get overheated. They always need to have access to water, shade, and cool places like the bathroom floor.

Dogs regulate their temperature through sweat glands in their paws and by panting. But some breeds have a harder time regulating their temperature due to unique facial features or thick double coats.

So if you feel like you cannot handle the responsibility or that they will not fit your lifestyle, it might be best to avoid the following dog breeds.

Brachycephalic Dogs

Some of the world’s most popular dogs right now are Brachycephalic. Brachycephalic dogs are bred to have a shorter skull which results in flat facial features. From toy breeds to giants, Brachychelphalic breeds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but share the endearing flat nose and big, wrinkly jowls. However, this unique facial construction can restrict their airway passages and create small nasal holes as well as other health issues.

These dogs have a hard time in the hot weather because their shortened airway passages make it harder for them to breathe. This means they cannot pant as efficiently to regulate their temperature. In extreme temperatures, Brachycephalic dogs can even lose the ability to catch their breath causing overheating or heat stroke.

Below are some of the Brachycephalic dogs that have the hardest time with the heat.

1. English Bulldog

The English Bulldog might be one of the most recognizable Brachycephalic breeds. A stocky medium, sized but short dog, they come from the British Isles and use to be bullfighters.

Nowadays, the loyal and friendly modern English bulldog would rather spend the day snoozing and does not have much energy for bullfighting.

Like most Brachycephalic dogs, English Bulldogs are known for their snorts and snoring. While the noises are adorable, they make them because of their restricted airways. This means they will have trouble breathing and even more so when it is hot and they have to pant. That is one of the reasons this breed cannot handle hot weather.

As well as being low-energy, English Bulldogs are prone to being overweight. Any dog who is overweight is going to gave a harder time handling hot weather since it is harder to regulate body temperature with extra body weight.

2. French Bulldog

Take the English Bulldog, put it in the dryer, and shrink it. Voila, you have the French Bulldog!

Of course, the development of the French Bulldog was a much longer process than just shrinking the English Bulldog, but the French Bulldog does look a lot like the English Bulldog because it was bred from smaller English Bulldog lines.

Developed in Paris as a companion dog for the wealthy classes, the French Bulldog is characterized by its small, stout body, short blunt face, and sweet prick ears. These sociable, albeit stubborn dogs, tend to have a humorous, playful personality.

Not only did French Bulldogs inherit some of the bulldog looks from their English bulldog ancestors, but they also have the same difficulty breathing which makes it harder for them to handle hot weather.

Because of how popular they have become over the past decade (they were the Number 1 most popular AKC breed in 2022), French Bulldogs have been overbred and suffer severe breathing problems. Severe breathing issues mean they are even more likely to overheat in the hot weather since panting is more difficult.

3. Pug

This sweet toy breed was the ancient lap dog of Chinese Emperors and the Pug still finds itself in the laps of families all over the world.

Weighing 14-18 lbs, Pugs make wonderful house or apartment dogs and love to be social with their families. Their Brachycephalic features cause them to snort and make the most adorable noises. This also means they cannot handle hot weather.

If you live somewhere with extreme temperatures in the summer, they would much rather be snuggled on the couch sleeping in the air conditioning than outside adventuring.

Because of their preferred sedentary lifestyle and appreciation of good food, Pugs are prone to obesity. If you live somewhere with hot weather, keep your pug at a healthy weight so they can handle the hot weather better and won’t overheat as easily.

4. Pekingese

The Pekingese is another toy breed bred to the companion of Chinese royalty. Unlike the Pug who has a smooth coat, the flat-faced Pekingese has lots of hair. When they have their full show coat groomed, there is so much hair it can be found to figure out where their head is. If you keep their coat long, it will need almost daily brushing to keep it from getting tangled or matted.

Pekingese need to spend most of their time indoors, especially during summer. They cannot handle hot weather not only because of their short Brachycephalic faces, but all that hair makes it difficult to regulate their temperature. These are sweet dogs who rather be in a temperate climate and snuggle under blankets than live somewhere with hot weather.

Unfortunately, it is not only breathing problems and a thick coat that make it hard for the Pekingese to handle hot weather. They can have other health problems like genetic heart issues and back problems. So if you choose to have a Pekingese in your life, be prepared for regular vet visits, but also a lot of cuddles.

5. Shih Tzu

Probably descended from the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu is a Tibetan toy companion dog known for being playful but also having a calm and independent personality.

They have a long silky coat that comes in many colors but grows quickly and needs regular grooming. If not groomed properly it can easily get matted, which traps heat and causes them to have trouble regulating their body temperature during hot weather.

Over recent years, the popularity and selective breeding of their already shortened nose have caused some Brachycephalic features in Shih Tzus. This makes breathing harder for them, especially in hot weather. They are also prone to skin issues that can be exacerbated by hot weather.

So while the small size of the Shih Tzu might be a good fit for you, be aware of the extra maintenance they require, especially if you want them to live in and be able to handle hot weather.

6. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are a fun breed with a lot of personality and lots of energy. It can be hard not to want to spend all day adventuring with your Boston Terrier on a nice hot summer day.

However, this small American dog comes from bulldog lineage, which means it has Brachypehpalic features. With their broad head, short snout, and small nasal passages, Boston Terriers can have a hard time breathing, especially in a climate known for hot weather.

When they get excited, you might hear Bostons making snorting or gagging sounds, and if they are having issues handling hot weather these sounds could mean they are overheating.

Boston Terriers are a breed that likes to make a lot of noise, but it is important to keep a close eye on them when during warm weather because they do not handle the heat well. If their noises sound like they are having trouble breathing it is time to get them inside to cool off.

7. Boxer

This large Brachycephalic dog is high energy and makes a great dog for someone who loves to spend a lot of time adventuring with their canine companion. Boxers are natural athletes, playful, trainable, and enjoy everything from running to doing dog sports with their humans. They need to be socialized early on because they are by nature a protective dog.

Unfortunately, because of their short noses, being able to handle all those adventures in hot weather can be hard for Boxers.

You need to be proactive and protect your dog, especially if they are a breed like the Boxer and cannot handle hot weather very well. If you like to take your Boxer for walks or runs to get their energy out, get them out early before it heats up, and help them get accustomed to wading in water so they can more easily cool off.

Arctic Breeds

Unlike many of the Brachycephalic dogs we have mentioned on this list, Arctic breeds are known for their athleticism and love of exercise. Many of these dogs were bred as sled dogs and will run all day for miles in frigid temperatures.

Huskies are probably one of the most recognizable of these high-energy breeds, and while huskies and other breeds like them would love to run all day, they cannot handle hot weather. That is because of their thick double coat.

While their double coat does trap cool air and help them cool down some in warm weather, it is harder for them to cool off than smooth-coated dogs, making them unable to handle hot weather.

8. Siberian Husky

Bred as a working sled dog in Siberia, the medium size Siberian Husky is a popular dog all around the world. You can see them competing in the Alaskan Iditarod or enjoying family beach days on the warmer coastlines. The husky has a lot of energy, requires a lot of exercise, and is known for their goofy personality.

Their thick double coat is meant to keep them warm, and it does a great job in the frigid arctic temperatures. It also means they shed a lot, especially when the season starts to change and they lose a lot of that undercoat. But can Huskies handle the really hot weather?

While a Husky’s coat does provide some insulation and reflects some of the heat, they do overheat pretty quickly if outside in extreme summer temperatures. Take a lot of precautions to keep them cool by offering them shade and plenty of water so they can handle the hot weather better.

9. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes are large, big-boned, sled dogs bred for their strength and endurance. They are often confused with Huskies, but Alaskan Malamutes are much stockier than the light, fast Husky. While they enjoy winter dog sports like skijoring, they are powerful enough to excel at dog sports like weight-pulling.

Their thick double coat is wonderful at keeping them warm in extremely cold temperatures and will trap some cool air in during the summer, but anything more than 70 degrees can cause your tundra-loving Alaskan Malamute to overheat.

Because of that thick coat, they cannot handle the hot weather. They need plenty of shade and water, and hopefully access to air conditioning, to stay cool in hot weather.

10. Samoyed

The Samoyed was bred to work as a herding and all-around working dog in some of the coldest places in the world. They are used to temperatures dropping in the -60 degrees Fahrenheit and their white fluffy thick coat help keep them warm.

However, the Samoyed is another Arctic breed that does not handle the hot weather nearly as well as they can handle the cold weather. Their thick double coat can only trap in so much cold air before they start to overheat.

As a very active breed, the Samoyed will become destructive if not given enough exercise or mental stimulation. If the weather is too hot for your Samoyed to handle, you might need to come up with some fun enrichment ideas or indoor games to play until it cools off. Some fun ones include hide-and-seek or indoor obstacle courses!

11. Yakutian Laika

From herding, sledding, and hunting, this rarer Arctic breed from Yakutia, a region in the Far East of Russia, is full of energy and loves to work. The medium-sized Yakutian Laika is a wonderful companion dog known for being gentle with children and is much more willing to work than their stubborn cousin, the Siberian Husky.

Yakutian Laikas need regular training and have a high prey drive. They do not do well alone and are not suitable for an owner who does not have much time to spend with their dog.

While generally a hardy breed, they do start to falter in warmer temperatures and prefer more moderate and colder climates. They do not handle hot weather very well without proper management to ensure they do not overheat with their thick double coat.

Small Breeds

Many small breeds handle hot weather much better than Brachycephalic dogs and Arctic breeds. Toy breeds like the Chihuahua and the Havanese were developed in the hotter climates of Central America and the Caribbean and they love laying out in the sun soaking in the heat.

However, not every small breed of dog can handle the hot weather as well as others.

12. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

According to the AKC, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is “the best of two worlds, combining the gentle attentiveness of a toy breed with the verve and athleticism of a sporting spaniel.”

This means the Cavalier is a great choice for an active family or someone looking for more of a couch potato dog. If you are a person who loves being outside but hates hot temperatures, the Cavalier is happy to weather the heatwave inside with you in the air conditioning until the weather cools down and you can get back outside!

Any dog has a high risk of heatstroke if you walk them in temperatures above 80 degrees, but breeds like the Cavalier has even higher risks and cannot handle hot weather. This is because of the flatter faces, long thick hair, and tendency towards obesity.

13. Pomeranian

The Pomeranian is a toy spitz breed originating from Germany. They make excellent lapdogs and were the traditional playful companions of royalty, most notably Queen Victoria of England. Despite their small size, they are very alert and will bark at any small noise to protect their owner.

We have mentioned several other spitz breeds on this list, most notably the Arctic breeds. While the Pomeranian may not have been bred as a working sled dog, they do share the same thick double coat that Arctic spitz dogs have.

That thick double coat is why Pomeranians have a hard time handling hot weather. When groomed out it does help insulate them, but if you let it get matted or shaved they lose their ability to properly regulate their temperature during hot weather.

14. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested does not handle hot weather very not because of a thick double coat, but because of their lack of a coat. The small Chinese Crested dog hardly has any fur, except tuffs on top of the head and around the ankles. It almost makes them look naked! There is a variety called the “powderpuff” that has some hair, but it is still very thin and does not help much if they are exposed to hot weather.

Their lack of a thick coat means that they cannot handle hot weather or cold weather. People with these playful, intelligent little companion dogs have a whole wardrobe to keep them warm in the winter as they are easily susceptible to frostbite.

Without any fur, the hairless Chinese Crested can easily get sunburned and therefore cannot handle hot weather. Sunburns are painful and can lead to skin cancer. Make sure you have proper sun gear and dog-safe sunscreen for your Chinese Crested if you are taking them out in hot weather.

Giant Breeds

Because of the large amount of weight putting pressure on their joints, giant breeds are already prone to conditions like arthritis. A lot of exercise is already difficult for them and many larger breeds are low-energy and like being couch potatoes.

If lots of exercise is already hard on dogs, handling hot weather with all that weight and especially ones with heavy coats is going to be particularly rough. These giant breeds listed below would much rather watch a movie with you inside than go for a hike as temperatures rise.

15. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are a large breed of dog from China, bred to be an all-around working dog. They are aloof, independent, and fiercely loyal to their family.

When their coat is properly groomed, they have the appearance of a strong lion. It is no wonder that these dogs were often used as protectors of Chinese royalty. However, despite their aptitude for guarding, they prefer to take the day off if it gets too hot since they do not handle hot weather.

Not only can Chow Chows not handle hot weather, but they also dislike high humidity. Their coat is too thick and fluffy to be able to keep them cool enough and they are at a high risk of heat stroke. Luckily, the Chow Chow does not need a lot of exercise and is fine skipping a walk during the heat of the day.

16. Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for their black tri-colored thick silky coat that requires a lot of brushing or it will easily get tangled and matted.

Bred as an all-around working dog in the Swiss Alps, their coat was meant to keep them warm in cold temperatures, and not meant to handle hot weather.

Luckily, Bernese Mountain Dogs are a laid-back, easy-going dog breed who have minimal exercise requirements. While they would love to go on a nice hike or walk if the weather is not too hot, they would not be able to handle a hike in hot weather. They do not have a lot of endurance even in cooler weather, and they can easily get overheated in hot weather.

17. Saint Bernard

Another large dog breed from the Swiss Alps, the Saint Bernard is a gentle giant. They look imposing, but this deep-chested dog is strong but kind and used to carry supplies and do rescue work on the tall peaks of Switzerland.

Since they spend so much of their time on snowy peaks, Saint Bernard had to develop a thick coat to survive the frigid temperatures. They have a thick double coat that needs frequent brushing.

When they are shedding, you need to brush them daily, especially if you live somewhere with hot weather. Saint Bernards do not handle hot weather because of their massive size and thick coat. It makes it harder for them to cool off and they need to have plenty of access to shade and water to handle hot weather. The best plan would be to keep your Saint Bernard inside in the A/C during extremely high temperatures.

18. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a large working dog bred to help fishermen in the cold Canadian waters of Newfoundland. They are a gentle giant that is very trainable and loves to work. They still work the water, but mostly in search and rescue teams.

Because they are native to a place with harsh winters, they were bred to have an extremely thick coat to help them stay warm in those almost freezing waters and are not to handle hot weather. Their waterproof coat is too thick and they can easily overheat on hot summer days.

Luckily, Newfoundlands love water. If the weather is too hot for your Newfoundland to handle, maybe take them swimming instead!

19. Dogue de Bordeaux

Often called the French Mastiff, the Dogue De Bordeaux is a loyal, strong, and large mastiff-guardian dog. This heavy-set dog usually weighs over 100 lbs, and that weight can make it hard for them to handle hot weather.

It is not just their size that gives the Dogue De Bordeaux the inability to handle the heat. One of their main features is a broad forehead and short muzzle, making their face almost bulldog-like in appearance. Like other Brachycephalic dogs, it is harder for them to breathe, especially in hot weather.

It is not just the Dogue De Bordeaux that you need to worry about in the heat. Any mastiff-type dog with a shorter, square, snout will have a harder time breathing, especially in hot weather.

Final Thoughts

Any dog can be susceptible to heat stroke, especially in hot weather. A dog suffering from heat stroke will have elevated breathing, sticky or pale gums, and become lethargic and confused. In extreme cases, they might start having seizures.

Make sure your dog has access to lots of shade and water during hot weather. Most importantly, a matted and dirty coat holds hot air in, so make sure your dog is well groomed so they can handle hot weather easier. Never shave your double-coated breed unless it is medically necessary because then you take away their ability to trap cool air and regulate their body temperature.

And if the weather is too hot for your dog to handle, either get up early for their walk before or skip the walk that day. Nothing is worth risking your dog’s health for a walk. Have a good rotation of activities like training and toys in the house to keep them busy until it is cool enough to get back outside for more adventuring!

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