These are the 9 dog breeds most at risk in the summer heat

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2024. May 5 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Summer is almost here, and everyone is buzzing to finally get out of the four walls if they couldn’t during spring. We can go hiking, walking, to the lakeside, to the woods... it all sounds wonderful, and even better if our four-legged friend can come along. But in recent years, we have been experiencing more and more heat waves in our country, which puts a strain on people's bodies, not to mention animals.


Our four-legged companions faithfully follow us wherever we go, but a dog doesn’t always feel their own boundaries in hot weather. This is something we as owners need to pay special attention to, especially when planning the next outing. Some breeds need to be handled with particular care in warm weather because they cannot lose enough body heat, so they tend to overheat. This phenomenon is called hyperthermia. Nowadays, more and more people are calling attention to this problem and popularise studies exploring the subject with the help of social media.


Stay safe out there guys! #heatwave #learnontiktok #dogsoftiktok #catthevet

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Risk factors for hyperthermia

Why is it that some dogs overheat instantly and some dogs tolerate the heat relatively well? There are several reasons for this, but unfortunately, we cannot influence all of them.


This seems pretty obvious, but it’s worth writing down that dogs who are overweight have a harder time with heat. However, promising as it may seem, starting to increase your pet’s physical activity is not the first solution. Dogs don’t sweat -at least not like humans do. Dogs have much fewer sweat glands than their owners, so they sweat through their feet and cool themselves down by panting. If an overweight dog is subjected to heavy physical exercise, the chances of overheating increase, as their body temperature will be too high (above 39 degrees Celsius, 41 degrees Celsius can be harmful) and they will not be able to reduce it in time by panting.

An overweight dog is more at risk on hot days.

Too much exercise in the hottest hours

Another risk factor we can change is the game. There is nothing wrong with play, it is an important part of a dog’s life and plays a big part in the bond between owner and pet. But in summer, you need to be especially careful about the timing of the playtime, so that you don’t work your pet in the heat. The reason is the same as before – they can’t cool down enough, especially if it’s hot and humid. The same goes for sports with dogs – they need to be well-timed and give your pet the right space and opportunity to let off steam. It’s a good idea to break up the daily exercise into several parts to reduce the possibility of overheating. It’s important to always have water on hand, even if you’re just going for a short walk – in hot weather you never know when you’ll need them.

An English bulldog prone to hyperthermia rests from the fatigue of playtime.


Not surprisingly, our dog’s genetics also play a role in how well they tolerate heat. Hair, head shape, musculature… In dogs that are prone to heart disease, you should pay close attention to signs of overheating. Your favourite breed can also show how compatible they are with warm weather.

Hyperthermia may be the start of a heat stroke. About heat stroke and its symptoms you can read in detail in this article.

Top 9 heat-sensitive dog breeds

It is important to note that 4 out of 9 species have pressed noses, which makes breathing difficult. This is probably why the proportion is so high. According to a study published in 2020 they are the most endangered species:

  • Chow Chow: With her thick fur and slightly depressed face, it’s not surprising that they have a hard time with the warm weather.
  • English Bulldog: rugged-looking love bombs who unfortunately tend to get hyperthermia, which is only one of many of their health problems.
  • French Bulldog: One of the most popular dogs in the world, but at what price?
  • Dogue de Bordeaux: Loving giants with weak hearts. The Bourdeaux is not only a large, heavy breed, but their face shape also makes them prone to overheating.
  • Greyhound: Greyhounds being on this list might surprise you because they are neither overweight nor short-nosed. Yet they are in the middle of the list. The reason for this is precisely because their muscles can increase the chance of heat exhaustion (hyperthermia), and overheating. They also have a relatively high incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Surprising as it may seem, greyhounds are one of the top 9 breeds of dogs prone to hyperthermia.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Charming puppies with a sweet personality and frequent heart problems.
  • Pug: With their comical looks, they can brighten up even the dullest weekdays. Although you’d think they’d have a lot of health problems, especially since they even made this list, they are not the worst when it comes to short-nosed dogs. However, it is common for them to breathe heavily (which is why they tend to overheat).
  • English Springer Spaniel: Their clinging character will sweep any owner off their feet. These spaniels are relatively healthy dogs, but they are prone to epilepsy. Their long fur and unquenchable playfulness can be dangerous in the heat.
  • Golden Retriever: The family dog of the media, kind, smart, children’s best friend. Unfortunately, they have not always been careful in their breeding, so cancer and heart problems are relatively common.
Most dogs are happy to cool off in the pool in the warm weather

Although these breeds are highlighted, heatstroke can occur in all breeds, and all dogs can overheat, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to when and how much exercise your pet gets. You don’t have to give up adventures together, but like everything else about dog ownership, it should be handled responsibly. Always make sure your dog has fresh water and a shady, cool place to rest. If you look after your pet, they will be a faithful companion for a long time to come.

cavalier king charles spaniel chow chow dog breed dog heatstroke dog in summer English springer spaniel French bulldog Game golden retriever Greyhound heatstroke hyperthermia overweight pug

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