10 Dog Breeds That Don’t Do Well in Cold Weather

Many people go into hibernation mode in the winter time. Frigid temperatures, snow, and iciness aren’t really their thing. They long for warmer days and significantly less shoveling. They may have even moved away from a wintry place to avoid it. There are quite a few dog breeds that are just as tired of Jack Frost, primarily because their bodies aren’t built for the cold. Here are a few of them.

Basset Hound


Basset Hounds have been a part of human’s lives since 6th century France. These reliable companions helped people hunt by driving small animals like rabbit out of brush. The humans were waiting outside of the undercover to take the animals for food as they fled. The hounds’ short legs allowed humans to keep up with them. Today, that makes them a good leisurely walking partner for their fur families.

Unfortunately, their short legs also mean that their bodies are much closer to the ground. On wintry days, they’re more apt to come into contact with the ice or snow. It can also become difficult to navigate the snow because they can’t run through it as well as dogs with longer legs. If you take your Basset Hound for a walk in the winter time, be mindful of these struggles.



Boxers have been bred since 1800s Germany. Since then, they’ve helped humans hunt and control livestock in slaughterhouses. They’ve also served as police, military, and service dogs. These energetic, smart, and protective pooches are clearly capable of a lot!

They do have a slight weakness, though. Cold weather can be a little rough for them. That’s because their coat is so short. They’re not as well insulated from the elements. So if you do go for a walk when it’s cold, consider a sweater for your pup. If you keep your thermostat low in the winter time, that sweater may also be helpful inside.



Chihuahuas were first recorded in the Mexican state of the same name in the 1800s. Their origins aren’t clear, but many people believe they descended from the Techichi breed, which was kept by the Toltecs in Mexico as far back as the 9th century. Others believe the chihuahua was brought to the Americas by the Spanish. What is known is that they are the smallest breed of dog, weighing up to six pounds and standing between six and nine inches tall.

These slight but spirited dogs do not handle the cold very well, often shaking to warm up. If it gets too cold, taking them out for a walk may not be the best idea until things warm up a bit. If it’s chilly but not frightfully so, adding a coat or sweater on your walk can make a big difference.



Dachshunds are another short-legged dog that were useful for hunters. This breed, originating in Germany, helped humans go after badgers and other small animals. Their compact legs allowed them to follow animals into burrows. They also helped Dachshunds run right into the hearts of many humans, becoming a popular family pet.

Much like the Basset Hound, these legs do come with a drawback, though: Keeping them closer to the ground and more apt to come into contact with snow and ice during the winter. This also, of course, makes it difficult for them to move through piles of snow. Be sure to keep this in mind when you and your pup get exercise during the winter months.

Doberman Pinscher


Doberman Pinschers are another working dog, originating in Germany in the late 19th century. Over the years, they’ve had uses somewhat similar to the boxer. They’ve served as military dogs, police dogs, service dogs, and watchdogs. Many even gave their lives during the liberation of Guam. This service-minded personality makes them great protectors of their homes, as well.

One thing their families can do to thank them for being such capable guardians is to be mindful of how they’re feeling in the cold. While they can exercise outdoors when it’s a bit chilly, it’s important to bring them inside from the cold during other circumstances, as their short coat and low body fat don’t provide much insulation.

French Bulldog


French bulldogs are companion animals that came onto the scene in the late 19th century. They were bred to be lap dogs and should generally be indoors when not exercising because they’re not built for outdoor living. These pups tend to be affectionate and loving family pets that crave attention. Their size and temperament also mean apartment dwellers can rest assured that a Frenchie would be comfortable in their home.

They won’t be very comfortable in the cold, however. Their short coats don’t provide them much warmth or protection. Additionally, they’re a brachycephalic breed, which means they have shortened snouts with narrow nostrils and smaller airways. This type of dog is more apt to struggle in cold temperatures. When it’s cooler, be sure to put a sweater or coat on your friend to keep him warm during walks.

Great Dane


Great Danes are another set of dogs that got their start as hunters. Despite the name, they’re not of Danish origin. They were originally kept by German nobility to help them hunt boar and to guard their estates. Their hardiness may come from the fact that it’s believed they descended from war dogs. These days, they can be found guarding more modest homes as a family pet.

This pooch will need a little help being guarded from the cold, though. Its short coat and lean build don’t help much when temperatures fall. If you’re going for a walk, it may be a good idea to add a dog coat or sweater.



Greyhounds are well-known for their speed, and they’ve been stars of the dog world for centuries. The breed was even inscribed on a 5000-year-old Egyptian tomb. Its speed aided hunters as they sought prey, and its swiftness ultimately moved it into dog racing. With a less-than-savory reputation, many such races have begun to go by the wayside. That leaves these gentle pooches with a chance to run for fun, while being cared for by their families.

Much like Great Danes, their slight build and short coat don’t suit them well for running around for too long in the cold. Be sure to add on a dog sweater or coat to keep them insulated when outside.



Pugs originally came from China, where they were kept by monks and royalty. Unlike many other dogs on this list, they weren’t working dogs, just beloved, pampered pets. They ultimately found their way to Europe centuries ago through Dutch traders. Now, these trusty companions can be found in homes throughout the world. Their small size and manageable exercise requirements mean that, like Frenchies, they’re comfortable in an apartment.

Also like Frenchies, pugs have a rough time in temperature extremes, both really cold and really warm weather. They are a brachycephalic breed, too, and have the same health concerns. When you take them for a walk in the cooler weather, they’d appreciate it if you bundled them up a bit.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier running through the grass outside

The Yorkshire Terrier arrived on the scene in the 19th century, after being developed in Yorkshire and Lancashire, England. They likely descended from other terriers, some of which are now extinct. Early on, they were thought to have earned their keep by killing rodents. It also appears that they were originally bred by the working class. These older Yorkies were bred a bit larger than those you see today. In present day, these slightly smaller, silky-haired pups have endeared themselves to families everywhere.

These families may already be aware that this breed struggles with the cold, as they only have a one-layer coat and a small frame. Like the other pups listed here, winter walks call for some extra protection.

How Else Can You Keep Your Dog Warm in the Winter?

Need a few more tips for keeping your pets warm and safe in the colder months? Click here. Are you a snow-lover who wants a dog that would be happy to join you for a wintry romp? Check out these 10 breeds that love the snow.

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