Humans have bred dogs for many types of work in many types of weather, and hot weather is no exception. Though you can find all breeds of dogs living in all kinds of places, the best dogs for hot climates tend to be small. They have short, fine coats or no coats at all, long muzzles, and erect ears. These traits help their bodies deal with the heat, but there are exceptions, as you’ll see. Interestingly, the lineages of a lot of these heat-resistant dogs are ancient. Here are some dogs that can actually thrive when temperatures rise.
1. Chinese Crested
The hairless version of this little dog, often the winner in Ugliest Dog contests, is just the pet for hot weather. The only hair it has is on its head, with some hair on its toes and a wispy plume of hair on its tail. Indeed, it’s a good idea to slather sunscreen on the bare parts of the dog’s body to protect against sunburn.
Bred in China around 100 BC, the Chinese Crested stands around 9 to 13 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 5 and 12 pounds.
The smooth-coated version of this tiny dog is the best for beating the heat. Its name tells you it originated in the tropical climate of Mexico. Indeed, the Chihuahua is very sensitive to cold and shivers when temperatures drop too low. Despite its size, the Chihuahua is a sprightly and fearless animal. It can even make a good watchdog. The Chihuahua stands 6 to 9 inches at the shoulder and weighs only 2 to 6 pounds. It has a round, apple-shaped head, and though its muzzle is short, its ears are large and erect, which helps regulate heat.
3. Mexican Hairless
Bred by the Aztecs during the 1500s, the small but dignified Mexican Hairless, or Xoloitzcuintli served as a bed warmer and ritual sacrifice. It really is hairless, with only wisps of hair probably on the top of the head and the tip of the tail. Along with its small size, its long muzzle, and large erect ears make it just right for hot weather. It stands 11 to 12 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 9 to 18 pounds.
4. Peruvian Inca Orchid
Even older than the Mexican Hairless, the Peruvian Inca Orchid dog was developed by the Incas in the 1200s to be a bed warmer on chilly nights. It too is mostly hairless, and its skin is pink and mottled, with some hair on the head. The Incas bred the dog to have light-colored skin, which helps it endure the heat. It gets the orchid part of its name because it was traditionally kept in a room filled with orchids. It’s a bit smaller than the Mexican Hairless as it stands 8 to 11 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 7 to 12 pounds.
The Basenji is famous not for its tolerance of heat but for its disinclination to bark. Instead, it yodels. It also loves leafy green vegetables, and females come into heat only once a year, instead of twice as is the case for other bitches. When they’re curious Basenjis stand on their hind legs to get a better look at what has caught their attention.
The Basenji was bred as a hunting dog in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 16th century. Its coat is short, sleek, and fine. Its ears are erect, its muzzle is long, and its forehead is permanently wrinkled as if it’s contemplating a puzzle. Though its tail is tightly curled against its body, it straightens out when the dog runs at top speed. Some dog experts claim that the Basenji is difficult to train because of its high intelligence. It’s surprisingly small for being so robust. It stands 16 to 17 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 21 to 24 pounds.
6. Australian Cattle Dog
Though this dog is rather large and properly furred, it thrives in the hot weather of the Australian outback. Indeed, the dog’s short, harsh, double coat keeps it cool during the hot day and warm during the cold nights. Also called the blue heeler, it is so tough that one of the oldest dogs known was an Australian Cattle Dog. It lived for 29 years, even though the dog’s normal lifespan is between 13 to 15 years. The dog stands 17 to 20 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 35 and 45 pounds.
7. Afghan Hound
It may be surprising to see the Afghan Hound on this list. It is large, has droopy ears, and a famously glamorous flowing coat. But it was developed in Afghanistan, a country with scorching days and freezing nights. Its lush coat is made of hair which is thin and soft as opposed to fur, which is dense and traps heat. The Afghan’s coat has only one layer, and the dog does have a long snout. This snout helps cool the air before it gets to the deeper parts of the dog’s respiratory system.
Bred for hunting gazelles and wolves, the Afghan Hound stands between 25 and 29 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 50 and 60 pounds. Its coat can come in a variety of colors, but if you live in a hot area, a light-colored coat is best.
8. Pharaoh Hound
Though this hound was developed in Malta around 1000 BC, its ancestors are believed to have been brought to the island nation by the Phoenicians to hunt rabbits. Historians claim it looks very much like Anubis, the dog-headed Egyptian god who guided departed souls to the afterlife. The dog has erect ears, a long, elegant face, golden eyes, and a coat that’s short and glossy. It stands between 21 and 25 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 45 and 55 pounds.
9 – 16. Greyhounds
There are several breeds of dog that are either versions of the greyhound or resemble one greatly. Their short coats, long snouts, long legs, and slender bodies make them not only great for running races and chasing down prey, but for withstanding hot weather. They include:
9. The Greyhound
This dog, built for its speed and ability to accelerate, probably has its origins around 3000 BC in the Middle East. There are depictions of dogs that look like the greyhound on tombs dating back to ancient Egypt. The dog arrived in Europe around 900. Its head and muzzle are long and narrow, and it has a long back, very deep chest, a long, robust neck, and famously tucked-up abdomen. The straight, long forelegs are made for running.
Greyhounds make affectionate pets, are built to withstand heat, and don’t even need much exercise. However, they do have an instinct to chase smaller animals, and some recommend putting a muzzle on a Greyhound before you take it for a walk.
The Greyhound stands 27 to 30 inches high and weighs between 60 and 70 pounds.
10. Italian Greyhound
This sweet-natured little dog, now kept as a companion, was developed in Italy around 500 BC, though it’s believed to have originated in ancient Egypt. It’s basically a miniature of the Greyhound, except it has an arched back, and a glossy, thin coat with a satiny feel to it. It stands only 13 to 15 inches high at the shoulder and weighs about 8 pounds.
This dog was bred in Great Britain in the 1800s for racing. Some experts claim it can outpace a Greyhound, and it’s descended from the Greyhound and some terrier breeds. This lively, medium-small dog stands 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 28 pounds.
12. Hungarian Greyhound
This dog is a little smaller than the Greyhound and also differs in that its head and muzzle are wider and its ears are folded back. Still, it has the long, straight, fine-boned legs of the Greyhound. It stands 25 to 27.5 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 49 and 68 pounds. It originated in Hungary in the 800s and is rarely seen or shown outside of that country.
13. Spanish Greyhound
This Greyhound comes in a wiry or smooth-haired form, but both types are built for racing and hunting and can stand the heat. Though it’s smaller than the traditional Greyhound, its build is a bit more robust. This dog was also developed in ancient times and not necessarily in Spain. Some dog experts claim it was around in ancient Rome. The Spanish Greyhound stands 26 to 28 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 60 and 66 pounds.
This elegant dog originated in Mali in the 1000s, and like so many Greyhound-like dogs, was bred to hunt gazelles. The Azawakh has been known to reach speeds of 40 miles per hour, and its stamina is second to none. At rest, it is graceful, with very long but powerful legs, the Greyhound’s tucked-in abdomen, a long, muscular neck, powerful jaws, a soft and very short coat, and a deep chest. Things that make it stand out from a Greyhound are a pear-shaped head and noteworthy swellings on both sides of its face. This dog stands 23 to 29 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 37 and 55 pounds
This friendly but sad-eyed hound looks rather like a Saluki without the long hair. Its origins are in Morocco in 6000 BC. Instead of hunting, it was raised to guard flocks. It is slenderly but athletically built, with long, straight legs, tucked-up abdomen, long, thin tail, and a hard coat of thin hairs that keeps it cool. The Sloughi stands between 24 and 28.5 inches high and weighs between 45 and 60 pounds.
This dog looks like a cross between a greyhound and an Afghan hound even though it’s older than those two breeds. Its origins are in what’s now Iran in 3000 B.C., and it hunted gazelle. It has the Afghan hound’s long muzzle, narrow head, and long silken hairs on the low-hanging ears and tail. There’s also feathering on the elbows and thighs. But the rest of the coat is short, smooth, and silky and it has something of the greyhound’s build. Like both the Afghan and Greyhound, it can achieve amazing speeds that allowed it to run down its original prey. Take care when introducing the Saluki to smaller dogs, cats, and other small mammals that might trigger its chasing instinct.
The Saluki is a fairly large dog that stands 22 to 28 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 44 and 66 pounds.
17. Rhodesian Ridgeback
This robust dog of South Africa was actually bred to hunt lions, so you can assume that it deals very well with hot temperatures. It gets its name because of the ridge of hair down its spine that grows in the opposite direction of the rest of its short coat. The dog is powerful all over, from its neck to its deep chest to its hindquarters. Despite its fearsome lineage, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has shown itself to be an affectionate and loyal companion to its humans.
18. Great Dane
Adding this enormous dog to a list of dogs that do well in hot temperatures may be surprising. Yet, the Great Dane, perhaps because of its great size, knows how to conserve its energy and doesn’t like to run around overmuch. Great Danes seem to like warm weather, but you’ll need to keep an eye on yours. Make sure it doesn’t overheat in the sun, has shady spots to retreat to, and gets lots of water. One tip is to throw handfuls of ice into the dog’s water bowl on hot days.
Famously gentle with children, this giant stands between 30 and 32 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 100 and 120 pounds. Despite its name, it originated in Germany around 2000 BC to hunt big game.
Summary of the 18 Best Dog Breeds for Hot Weather
|Name of Breed||Reason for Heat Tolerance||Place of Origin|
|Chihuahua||Smooth coat; large erect ears||Mexico|
|Mexican Hairless||Hairless; large erect ears||Mexico|
|Peruvian Inca Orchid||Mostly hairless; light-colored skin/coat||Peru|
|Basenji||Short, sleek fine coat; Big, erect ears||Congo|
|Australian Cattle Dog||Short, double coat||Australia|
|Afghan||Thin, but dense, soft hair (not fur); long muzzle||Afghanistan|
|Pharaoh Hound||Big, erect ears; long muzzle||Malta|
|Greyhound||Short-haired; long muzzle; deep chest||Middle East|
|Italian Greyhound||Glossy, thin coat||Italy|
|Whippet||Short, smooth coat||Great Britain|
|Hungarian Greyhound||Short hair, long muzzle||Hungary|
|Spanish Greyhound||Wiry or short hair; built for racing and hunting||Spain/Italy|
|Azawakh||Great stamina; bred to hunt gazelles; deep chest||Mali|
|Sloughi||Hard, short coat of thin hairs; bred to guard flocks||Morocco|
|Saluki||Short, smooth coat; long muzzle; bred to hunt gazelles||Iran|
|Rhodesian Ridgeback||Short coat; bred to hunt lions||South Africa|
|Great Dan||Short coat; knows how to conserve energy.||Germany|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sarune Kairyte/Shutterstock.com
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