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If you live in a warm area and are thinking of adopting a dog, you might want to start by researching the best dog breeds for hot weather. You know just how hot and uncomfortable and overwhelming the warm weather can be, and you want your dog to be safe, healthy and happy.
The Best Hot Weather Dogs
So, what makes the best dog to welcome into your house if you live in a warmer climate? Fur is one significant factor. Consider adopting a dog with a short coat of hair. The thicker the coat, the harder it is for the dog to regulate his temperature. While there are many breeds who would make lovely companions in warm areas, here are 10 hot weather dogs who are sure to make great additions to your family.
- Chihuahua: Live in an apartment or small home? The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dog breeds, and won't take up a lot of space. Plus, they are native to Mexico, so biologically-speaking they are well-suited for hotter temperatures.
- Golden retriever: Known as great family dogs, the golden retriever is popular for all climates. While some have longer hair, it isn't as dense or thick as double-coated dogs. Also, golden retrievers love to swim, so if you live in a warm area with access to a lake or beaches, your pet would make a nice swimming companion.
- Whippet: The whippet's face can be described as dolichocephalic, meaning they have long noses. K9 of Mine compares long noses to air conditioners, as they help cool the air before it travels to a dog's lungs.
- Italian greyhound: Italian greyhounds are sensitive to cold weather, but actually do quite well in warmer climates. Because they're small-to-medium size dogs, they also adapt well to smaller homes. These fun, affectionate dogs don't even need that much floor space, as they prefer to snooze on a warm lap rather than the floor.
- Great Dane: Not looking for a lap dog? If you're looking for a larger-than-life pet, a Great Dane certainly fits the bill. And while a dog of such great stature might not seem like one of the best dog breeds for hot weather, Great Danes are actually known for enjoying the heat. In colder climates, they may cozy up near the fireplace, but in warm areas, they'll plop right down in the sun.
- Basenji: The basenji hails from Africa, so they're well-built for hunting in the steamy Congolese rainforests. Their large erect ears help keep them cool because excess heat escapes through the ears, and their ears are exposed to cooling breezes.
- Pharaoh hound: As you may be able to guess from their name, the pharaoh hound can trace their beginning to Egypt. Like the basenji, they have naturally upright ears. Additionally, lanky dogs generally cope well with heat. K9 of Mine says that lanky dogs have more skin relative to their body weight. The more skin a dog has, the quicker they'll cool off.
- Afghan hound: Afghanistan is a country of extreme temperatures. Interestingly, the Afghan hound is perfectly content in the heat and cold.
- Ibizan hound: The Ibizan hound sports the trifecta of good hot weather qualities: big ears, short coat and legs that stretch for days. On top of that, their home island of Ibiza gets pretty toasty in summer, so they're right at home under a hot sun.
- Dalmatian: If you're the active sort and have room to roam, a Dalmatian may be a great summer companion. Their long legs, short coats and their history of running long distances beside carriages mean that a Dalmatian's energy is just as boundless when temperatures soar.
Dogs Who Don't Like Hot Weather
Obviously, dogs who are prone to overheating aren't well-suited to living in very warm areas. For example, dogs with double coats, such as Siberian huskies or Keeshondens, are vulnerable in higher temperatures. Their warm layers of fluff do well to keep them insulated from cold weather, but the fur also traps heat in hot climates.
Dogs with short noses or flat faces, also known as brachycephalic, are sensitive to overheating. This is because panting, which helps dogs cool down in hot temperatures, is more laborious for them, so these dogs can't get the relief they need. Brachycephalic breeds include boxers, pugs, English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs.
Also, fur color matters too. Dog breeds with darker colored fur will absorb and trap heat on a hot day, while breeds with lighter colored fur are more susceptible to sun burns — make sure to use a veterinarian-approved dog sunscreen if you and your dog will be out in the sun for a prolonged period of time.
Finally, dogs who are very large or active need to take extra precaution in hot climates. The harder they work — whether by hunting, running, playing or just existing in their large bodies — the more effort it takes them to cool off.
Taking Care of Hot Weather Dogs
Even though you plan to adopt one of the best dog breeds for hot weather, you'll still need to take extra precautions to make sure your pets are comfortable, and they don't suffer from heat exhaustion. First, make sure they have access to ample water and shade on hot days. If you can, go the extra step and keep your dogs inside in the air conditioning during the peak temperatures in the day. If you'll exercise or play outdoors with your pet — remember, they need a healthy workout too — do so in the early morning hours or later in the evening when the sun isn't as strong.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.