As we trudge through winter in our mittens, hats and parkas, it’s important to remember that not all pups are as well suited for the snow and ice.
“Breeds well-adapted to cold weather include those with a higher percentage of body fat for insulation and those with thick down fur for protection,” says Dr. Oscar E. Chavez. “The larger the animal, the better it retains heat, so large breed dogs also tend to stay warm and conserve heat energy.”
If you’re wondering whether your own pup can hack the frigid temps on his own—or whether it may be time to invest in dog coats, dog sweaters and boots—check out the following list of breeds that aren’t quite as well suited to the cold weather.
As a racing breed, the Greyhound’s tiny percentage of body fat is perfectly suited for their goal. As a breed that can stand up to cold temperatures, though, it’s not so great.
“No body fat means the muscles and other body parts can be easily seen and studied, and it makes them exceedingly fast,” says Chavez. “Unfortunately, this also means no insulation, and this breed gets cold very fast.”
Another fast breed, the Whippet is about two-thirds the size of a Greyhound, which means their intolerance for the cold is very similar to the Greyhound for the same reasons.
The smallest of the Greyhound breeds, the Italian Greyhound is about half the size of a Whippet. Chavez says, “Since this breed is a small one, its surface area to volume ratio is unfavorable for heat retention. That means it loses heat readily.”
Listed as an “extra small” breed by the American Kennel Club, the Chihuahua may be spunky in nature, but they’re small in stature. Their short hair and tiny features mean they are sensitive to the cold and shouldn’t be out in it for very long.
As the smaller version of a Standard Poodle, this breed tends to stand around ten inches the highest point of his shoulders. Their dense coats do provide them with a little more coverage against winter elements than other breeds on this list, but they are still small in size and shouldn’t be subjected to cold temperatures for extended periods of time.
These famous Egyptian dogs, which were depicted in hieroglyphic drawings, are large and lean, and they have short hair not suitable for cold weather. “You can’t really blame them,” says Chavez, “Since they originated from hot desert weather, not frigid cold temps.”
The medium-sized, short-haired Basenji originated from central Africa and is adapted best to warm weather. Their short fur and non-existent down require a sweater for winter play outdoors.
Larger and leaner than the Basenji, the Ibizan Hound also has short, thin fur, and as such would do well for some protection during cold months.
“The Saluki is a large sighthound with gorgeous long fur on the ears and tail, but not much in between,” says Chavez. “For this reason, they may need a winter warmer for long hours outdoors during cold weather.”
A virtually hairless breed, it stands to reason that the Chinese Crested doesn’t do well outside in the cold. “Furthermore, these are a small breed, and therefore lose heat readily,” adds Chavez.
Peruvian Inca Orchid Dogs
Completely hairless and adapted to the coastal desert climates of Peru, these dogs become cold very quickly in winter weather. Similarly, the Hairless Khala, a Peruvian breed that closely resembles the Inca Orchid with its hairlessness, has a tiny bit more body fat but should be treated the same way.
“It has a natural, cool Mohawk, but is otherwise hairless,” says Chavez. “The fat in this breed may protect it from mild cold, but a sweater would be recommended in the snow.”