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10 Dog Breeds That Hate Winter

Written by Anna Hollisey

Updated

dapple dachshund looking up at camera

Dogs are designed to survive without clothing, right? Try telling that to any of these 10 breeds who hate winter weather. They’ll take an extra-chunky sweater and a nap beside the fire over a snowy walk, any day.

Are Dogs Sensitive to Cold Weather?

Many dogs will thrive in the winter months – even in cold climates. But other breeds have never become accustomed to cold temperatures. There are some other factors affecting cold tolerance: older dogs and puppies should be carefully monitored.

All dogs are sensitive to the cold and can contract hypothermia as well as frostbite. You’ll see the first signs of frostbite in a dog’s extremities – paws, nose and tail – which will become pale and feel very cold to the touch.

How Does Hypothermia Affect Dogs?

When a dog’s body temperature drops below 100°F, they could be at risk of hypothermia, which can have effects such as slowing the heart rate and damaging the digestive and immune systems. It’s important to warm them up slowly and seek veterinary attention.

Prevent hypothermia and frostbite by dressing your dog for the season – including a thermal jacket and boots if appropriate. You needn’t walk them during very cold weather, especially if they’re not keen! When the thermometer dips below 45°F, most dogs should have shorter walks, or none at all. Remember, a dog won’t die from the odd missed walk but (just like too much heat), the cold can kill. 

Which Breeds Hate Winter Most?

#1: Greyhound

Greyhound leaping through fields at sunset

The superbly athletic Greyhound has a secret weakness – the cold. With their lean bodies and fine coats, Greyhounds have little natural protection when the temperature drops. They’re a very old breed but it’s thought they originated in sunny ancient Egypt as companions to the Pharaohs and, later, kings in other countries. They’re designed for sport and beauty, but not snow. That’s why some Greyhounds tend to gather blankets and ‘nest’. If you choose a Greyhound, be prepared to dress them up well during winter – or hibernate!

#2: Whippet

Whippet enjoying the sunshine

Related to the Greyhound, the handsome Whippet is slightly smaller, and just as lean. This dog was bred in Victorian England and perhaps learned to cope with colder winters, but that doesn’t mean he likes them. While they’re not complainers, Whippets truly feel the cold in their bones. If you live in a colder part of the country, you’ll probably need to buy them a winter wardrobe.

#3: Dachshund (Short-haired/ Smooth-haired)

dapple dachshund looking up at camera

Who doesn’t love a peppy Dachshund? They come in 3 flavours (long-haired, wire-haired, and short-haired), but only one truly hates winter. The short-haired Dachshund, though bred for hunting, has become a companion dog of the finest pedigree. They’re brave but also stubborn, with a fine coat which repels dirt, and offers little protection against an icy sidewalk. You can’t blame this breed for hating winter – they’re closer to the ice than most of us. 

#4: Chihuahua

Chihuahua outside smiling

All those little dudes dressed in the finest doggy couture? They’re not divas – they’re just trying to stay warm. (The fashion kudos is a bonus.) Chihuahuas hail from Mexico, so they’re understandably accustomed to warm, sunny weather. Sorry, but they’re going to need a spot on your lap when winter arrives. Don’t even think about moving!

#5: Basset Hound

Basset hound trotting towards camera

A surprise entry? The Basset Hound is generally relaxed. The breed comes from Europe, where colder temperatures have always been normal. And Bassetts can cope with winter, but they just have a few pain points. Those big ears are prone to frostbite – try to dry them after a walk on a cold day. With a short coat, the Bassett’s stomach isn’t well-protected, especially in a snow-drift. You may find your Bassett less keen to walk when it’s icy out.

#6: French Bulldog

3 little french bulldog butts, trotting away from camera

Not only do they have a fine, short coat – which means they feel the cold more quickly than their friends – but French Bulldogs have another reason to dislike the winter. They’re brachycephalic, which means they have a flatter face and shorter nose, and respiratory problems can become serious. It’s important to protect them against cold weather and colds. 

#7: Corgis

smiling corgi sitting in the sunshine

Corgis love country living – until the winter. While it’s true that Corgis have moderately warm coats, their bellies are closer to the ground than most breeds. That means they can’t trot properly in deep snow, which makes it difficult for them to keep moving and stay warm. If you can make or find a cleared route for them, they’ll be happier to get outside with you.

#8: Chinese Crested

Chinese crested dog facing sun with eyes closed

A traditional ‘toy’ dog, this petite breed was bred for companionship. Possibly originating in Africa, it gained popularity in China before being exported all over the world. The loving Chinese Crested adores people and – with very short or even no hair – will be happier staying indoors with you during the winter.

#9: Yorkshire Terrier

Really happy looking yorkshire terrier in the sun

Another toy dog, the Yorkie has a fearsomely bright and determined character. Besides companionship, this breed was designed for eliminating rodents in Victorian England. But they have a unique type of hair. Unlike most dog hair, the Yorkie’s coat is hypoallergenic – but doesn’t provide much insulation. In winter weather, they’ll benefit from sweaters and jackets to protect them against chills.

#10: Great Dane

Great Dane looking at camera in some fields with trees

The majestic Great Dane has an imposing profile – and a watchful nature to match. But owners know that this breed is also incredibly affectionate and loving. The one thing they’re unsure about? Winter. With a lean body and short coat, they become cold very quickly. Dress your Great Dane in a dignified thermal dog jacket so that they can enjoy their wintry walks as much as you do. 

Further Reading

We love winter – make the most of your winter walks using our dog walking tips. If you own one of the dogs on this list, check out the advantages of using dog boots. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of a winter cold. Does your older dog feel the cold in their joints? Here’s how to help your dog to cope with arthritis. If you’re looking for a dog who copes with cold winter conditions, have you considered one of the sled dog breeds?