The desert is a beautiful place with striking sunsets and natural features that you’ll only find there in it’s vast expanse. While you’ll find plenty of people who live and thrive in the desert dogs, on the other hand, are another story. It takes a very specific set of criteria for a dog to make it’s home in the desert and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best dogs for a desert climate.
The desert demands certain things out of dogs who find themselves living in it. When you’re thinking about the best breed for a desert climate there are three main characteristics that should be considered and that can really make a dog a successful desert dweller.
Best Dog For A Desert Climate Checklist
- Coat – Dogs with thick or double coats, like Huskies and Newfoundland Dogs, can easily overheat. Without shaving or extensive grooming they can retain body heat (as the double coat is designed to do) and can have a difficult time with the high temperatures found in the desert. On the other side of the coin, dogs with very little hair can be exposed to sunburns and other damaging side effects of sun exposure.
- Facial Conformation – Panting is the main way that dogs use to get rid of that extra body heat. Breeds that have short muzzles and faces like the pug tend to have a difficult time expelling that built up heat and in turn find living in the desert to be more difficult.
- Size – Large breed dogs like the Bernese Mountain Dog and Mastiffs, can’t handle the exercise and activity in hot weather that’s important to their health as well as their smaller counterparts. Without the right amount of physical activity these dogs are at risk for obesity and other weight related issues.
Now that you’ve got a little info on what makes this breeds successful in desert climates we can dig into the breeds and see just which ones are the best dogs for a desert climate.
Best Dogs For A Desert Climate – 5 Great Choices
German Shorthaired Pointer
The GSP is a go-anywhere, do-anything kind of dog. Active, smart, loyal, and heat tolerate this dog can keep up (and most likely outrun you) on even the warm desert days.
With a wide range of color markings on their coats the German Shorthaired Pointer is easily recognized by it’s distinctive pointing stance, with a paw up and the head lowered. The coat is short and built for shedding rocks and dirt and also for regulating body temperature.
One of the features of the GSP that make it an outstanding addition to our list of the best dogs for a desert climate is that has heavy duty, strong nails that give it an edge on the dirt and rocks that are often in play when you’re in the desert.
Long living and high energy these dogs make the perfect desert companion.
Loyal to a fault and hyper intelligent the Border Collie is next on our list of the best dogs for a desert climate.
These fast energetic dogs need lots of room to run and play so if you’re in a smaller space like an apartment they might not be the best choice.
Pro Tip: Looking for the Best Puppies for Apartments? Check them out here!
Since they’re so smart this breed will need patient experienced owner to handle training or else you’ll have a dog that knows no bounds and will be hard to train later. Obedience is a must for the Border Collie.
The regal looking Vizsla is another ideal candidate for the best dog for a desert climate. Short haired and highly affectionate the Vizsla is ready to head off on your next adventure with you.
This medium-sized breed is a good choice if you’re in smaller spaces like the city but do remember that they have the need to get out and do some exercising to help burn off that energy and keep them healthy.
Bred for hunting, the Vizsla loves to be outside and be engaged. The main requirement for them is that they get lots of affectionate attention as they are loyal and eager to please.
How can you talk about the best dogs for a desert climate and not give the Chihuahua it’s share of the limelight? This little dog embodies the desert and evokes images of dusty Mexican streets.
The small stature of this breed is made up by the huge personality of the Chihuahua. Lively, energetic, and playful these dogs are at home really anywhere other than the cold. Short coats and their small size means they’re a perfect fit in hot climates like the desert.
The temperaments of Chihuahuas comes largely from the parents and grandparents of each new litter and so can range quite a bit. These dogs can easily be provoked and as such may not do well in homes with small children.
Greyhounds make awesome desert pals. These long lean dogs are adept at venting excess heat with their long muzzles and thin coats.
The Greyhound makes a really great pet, they’re intelligent, gentle and loyal to their owners. Bred as a sighthound these dogs have keen eyesight and were historically used for running down (coursing) game animals. Their deep chest and flexible spine allow the fastest Greyhounds to reach speeds around 40 MPH!
A common misconception is that Greyhounds are hyperactive and excitable, in fact quite the opposite is true. This breed will do very well in an apartment setting and can sleep as much as 18 hours a day. Gentle training and low stress environments work the best with this old breed.
Well now that you’ve got an idea of what makes a dog successful in the heat you’ll be all set to find a companion for your next desert adventure. The best dogs for a desert climate are ones who are built for it.
If you’re considering a new pet please consider adoption or rescue. There are many many dogs out there who are looking for a safe happy home. I understand the desire to find that “perfect” dog or “perfect” breed but there are many rescue agencies who specialize in a specific breed and can help you in finding the best match for lifestyle or location and your local shelter will also have many different option too. As a proud and happy adopter of our awesome pooch I can personally attest to how wonderful the feeling of helping a dog who doesn’t have a home is. She’s the best thing in our day and has made me a very big proponent of adoption.