10 Dog Breeds That Can’t Tolerate the Summer Heat

Nicole LaForest, LVT, BSc, MPH
By Nicole LaForest, LVT, BSc, MPH. Reviewed by Barri J. Morrison, DVM on May 7, 2024
tan french bulldog lying on his side on a porch and panting

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As the temperatures rise, keeping dogs cool is an important part of pet parenthood. If dogs are not properly cared for in hot weather, they can experience heatstroke and other heat-related conditions. And if a dog’s body temperature rises to dangerous heights, it can be fatal.

It’s essential that you protect your dog during extreme heat by:

  • Limiting time spent outside in hot weather

  • Keeping outdoor exercise restricted to cooler parts of the day (morning and evening)

  • Giving your dog cool baths

  • Offering your dog shade, air conditioning, cooling mats, and constant access to fresh water

Here are some dog breeds that are particularly susceptible to hot weather.

1. Akita

black and white akita dog with his tongue hanging out in shallow focus
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In cold weather, an Akita’s thick double coat provides insulation. But in hot weather, this coat may cause them to overheat. This, coupled with their heavy build, means Akitas have a low tolerance for heat.

2. Alaskan Malamute

gray and white fluffy alaskan malamute standing in grass and looking up at the sky
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The Alaskan Malamute was bred to pull heavy loads in freezing Alaskan temperatures. This makes them one of the best dog breeds for cold weather, but one of the worst for hot climates. Keeping your Malamute inside during the hottest parts of the day and routinely brushing them to remove excess fur can help your dog stay comfortable in the summer.

3. Boston Terrier

black and white boston terrier wearing a red collar sitting in grass and panting
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Unlike Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes, Boston Terriers don’t have a thick fur coat. But they are brachycephalic, meaning they have a short muzzle that makes it difficult for these dogs to cool themselves off by panting.

During the summer months, it’s important to keep a Boston Terrier’s environment cool and well-ventilated. Avoid going outside and engaging in strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.

4. Boxer

brown brindle boxer sitting and looking up at the camera with his tongue sticking out of his mouth
Photo credit: Adobe Stock/smilingsunray

Because Boxers are brachycephalic and have high energy levels, they tend to overheat easily. Make sure their daily walks are restricted to cooler parts of the day (morning or evening) and that they have a cool, shaded place to rest during the heat of the afternoon.

5. Chow Chow

red chow chow lying down with a blue water bowl
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Chow Chows are not well suited for hot weather due to their thick double coat and heavy build. When not properly cared for, they can easily overheat. Regular grooming prevents matting and gets rid of excess fur that contributes to heat. Keep your Chow inside during extreme weather.

6. English Bulldog

tan and white english bulldog standing in grass and panting
Photo credit: Adobe Stock/Lunja

The flat face of an English Bulldog makes this breed prone to overheating. It’s vital that pet parents restrict this dog’s outdoor activity during the heat of the day. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as English Bulldogs have a reputation for being lazy and calm dogs.

7. French Bulldog

black and white french bulldog sitting on a hiking trail
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Another short-muzzled breed, French Bulldogs cannot effectively cool down through panting. And because dogs don’t sweat like humans do, this can be dangerous.

French Bulldogs are the most popular dog breed in the U.S., and their pet parents need to know how to keep this breed cool and safe. Strenuous activities should be avoided during the hottest parts of the day. Consider cooling mats or fans to help reduce your Frenchie’s body temperature, and ensure they have 24/7 access to fresh water.

8. Pekingese

red Pekingese dog panting in green grass
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Pekingese can’t tolerate hot weather because they have a long, thick coat and because they’re brachycephalic. They may benefit from a summer haircut to help them stay cool, and they should always be kept inside during the hottest parts of the day.

9. Pug

pug lying on the floor and panting in a living room
Photo credit: Adobe Stock/5second

Despite the Pug’s short fur and compact size, they don’t do well in hot weather because of their flat face. Cool, well-ventilated places are important for keeping this small dog breed cool during the summer.

10. Saint Bernard

wet saint bernard standing in front of a lake and looking back at the camera
Photo credit: Adobe Stock/everydoghasastory

Originally from the Swiss Alps, Saint Bernards were bred for cold-weather rescue work. Thanks to the thick coat that protects them in the mountain snow, Saint Bernards can struggle in hot and humid climates. Offer them fresh water and use cooling mats and fans to help lower their body temperature.


Nicole LaForest, LVT, BSc, MPH

WRITTEN BY

Nicole LaForest, LVT, BSc, MPH

Veterinarian Technician


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