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15 Dog Breeds for Hot Weather & Deserts: Pictures, Facts & History

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

vizsla dog standing in a white sand desert

Not everyone enjoys hot weather, and the harsh landscape of a desert can be even tougher to tolerate. If you live in a hot desert climate, you’ll need to be extra careful about your choice of pets. Some breeds will be miserable in the heat, while others may struggle to survive. Here are 15 dog breeds best suited for life in hot weather and deserts.


The 15 Dog Breeds for Hot Weather and Deserts

1. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier
Image Credit: nika174, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Height: 12–16 inches

When it comes to staying cool in the heat, the American Hairless Terrier has a built-in advantage. Despite the name, this uncommon breed also comes in a variety with hair. However, the short coat is still well-suited to hot weather.

The American Hairless Terrier is a good choice for people with allergies. They have a true Terrier personality, and early training and socialization are necessary. Their skin can easily sunburn, so take precautions to avoid exposure and use a dog-safe sunscreen.

2. Basenji

Basenji dog standing on grass outdoor
Image Credit: Grisha Bruev, Shutterstock
Origin: Africa
Lifespan: 13–14 years
Height: 16–17 inches

Originating from the heat and deserts of northern Africa, the Basenji is uniquely suited to life at high temperatures. They don’t have an undercoat, and the hair they have is short and smooth.

The Basenji is known as a “barkless” dog, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely silent. Instead, they communicate with distinct vocalization. Basenjis are known for being “cat-like” and can be challenging to train despite their high intelligence. You can keep training sessions short to hold their interest.

3. Boerboel

boerboel dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Jana Behr, Shutterstock
Origin: South Africa
Lifespan: 9–11 years
Height: 22–27 inches

Another native African breed, the enormous, intimidating Boerboel, originates from South Africa, where they served as guard dogs. Weighing as much as 200 pounds when full-grown, Boerboels are best suited for experienced dog owners.

Since they’re intelligent and calm but also territorial and naturally protective, the Boerboel requires early and intense training and socialization. Without it, these huge dogs can easily dominate their owners and become hard to handle.

However, a well-trained and socialized Boerboel makes a loving, affectionate pet.

4. Chihuahua

chihuahua dog standing on grass lifting one front leg
Image Credit: Dennis Jacobsen, Shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Height: 5–8 inches

From one of the largest breeds on our list to one of the smallest, the feisty Chihuahua hails from the heat of Mexico. Chihuahuas (especially the short-coated variety) dislike cold weather and like to be in charge.

Don’t let their small size fool you; these dogs will take over the household if you let them. Families with young children are not ideal, but Chihuahuas get along with older children. Although they can be tricky to train, they are an excellent choice for small spaces and city living.

5. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dog in the meadows
Image Credit: Veronika Andrews, Pixabay
Origin: China
Lifespan: 13–18 years
Height: 11–13 inches

The mostly hairless version of the Chinese Crested is tolerant of heat but must be protected from sunburn. Powderpuff Chinese Crested (fully coated) does have an undercoat and may not be as tolerant of high temperatures.

Both varieties have a loving, playful personality. The Chinese Crested is eager to please and loves to spend time with their owners. They make lovely family pets, but be prepared to spend time keeping their skin healthy.

6. Dalmatian

dalmatian dog walking on grass
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay
Origin: Central Europe
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Height: 19–24 inches

Although they originate from Central Europe, the Dalmatian’s unmistakable spotted coat is thin and lacks an undercoat. Because of that, the breed tolerates life in hot climates. However, you have to pay attention to their exposed skin, such as the nose, ears, or groin, which are vulnerable to sunburn.

Dalmatians are energetic, loyal, and athletic dogs. Since they’re naturally protective and suspicious of strangers, they need careful socialization to ensure they respond appropriately to new people.

7. Greyhound

Italian Greyhound standing
Image Credit: Natallia Yaumenenka, Shutterstock
Origin: Egypt
Lifespan: 10–13 years
Height: 27–30 inches

As one of the oldest and certainly the fastest dogs, Greyhounds originate from the primarily desert landscapes of Egypt. Since they’re bred to chase and hunt game, the Greyhound may not be the best housemate for cats or smaller dogs.

Greyhounds are calm, independent, and affectionate and require an experienced, creative trainer. Despite their speed, Greyhounds are not a particularly energetic breed and will happily relax on the couch after their daily exercise session.

8. Ibizan Hound

Ibizan Hound posing elegantly against the backdrop of a town square
Image Credit: Sergii_Petruk, Shutterstock
Origin: Spain
Lifespan: 11–14 years
Height: 5–27.5 inches

Ibizan Hounds were developed off the coast of Spain but trace their ancestry back to desert breeds. This desert heritage, plus their lack of an undercoat, makes the Ibizan Hound a good choice for life in hot weather.

They come in smooth and wire-coated varieties. The athletic Ibizan Hound needs a lot of exercise. They are generally calm, easy-to-train dogs who make lovely family pets. Due to their high prey drive, they may not be a good choice for homes with cats and smaller dogs.

9. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound
Image Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock
Origin: Modern Greece and Turkey
Lifespan: 14–15 years
Height: 13–15 inches

With short coats and minimal body fat for insulation, the Italian Greyhound much prefers life in hot weather to cold climates. This surprisingly speedy toy breed is also the ultimate lapdog.

The sensitive Italian Greyhound can be stubborn but will shut down in the face of harsh training methods. Don’t trust this breed off-leash in unfenced areas because they’re still sighthounds at heart, no matter their size. It’s vital to protect the Italian Greyhound’s exposed skin from the sun.

10. Pharaoh Hound

Pharaoh Hound in beautiful autumn park
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock
Origin: Malta
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 21–25 inches

Like the Ibizan hound, the Pharaoh Hound traces its roots back to ancient Egypt, despite their status as the national dog of Malta. Pharaoh Hounds are one of the least popular breeds in the United States but are extremely friendly and charming dogs who are known for their “smiles.”

Pharaoh Hounds need a lot of exercise but are absolutely not to be trusted running off-leash without a fence. They often choose to ignore commands in those situations.

11. Saluki

white saluki dog standing on a path in the forest
Image Credit: Svetlay, Shutterstock
Origin: Northern Africa/Middle East
Lifespan: 10–17 years
Height: 23–28 inches

Native to warm climates, the Saluki tolerates almost any type of conditions, making them one of the most adaptable breeds you’ll find. Whether you choose the smooth or feathered variety, the Saluki’s coat is easy to take care of.

These elegant dogs are agile, graceful, and fast. They need daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behavior. Salukis love their people but are quite independent, like most sighthounds. They need patient, experienced owners to thrive.

12. Vizsla

vizsla dog in the beach
Image Credit: martine552, Pixabay
Origin: Hungary
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 21–24 inches

The thin-coated Vizslas make wonderful family pets and tolerate hot weather well. These athletic, intelligent dogs are not the breed for people or families who are rarely home.

Vizslas bond closely with their humans and are prone to separation anxiety. Since they’re bred as hunting dogs, Vizslas need daily mental and physical stimulation. Without a positive outlet for their brains and energy, they can turn their talents into destructive pursuits. They’re a perfect fit for active owners or those who enjoy participating in canine sports.

13. Weimaraner

weimaraner dog in the forest
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–3 years
Height: 23–27 inches

Despite their cold weather origins, the smooth, silver coat of the Weimaraner makes them a fine choice for life in high temperatures. They’re friendly, outgoing, gorgeous, and driven, and it’s no wonder this breed is among the most popular in the United States.

With consistent training and regular exercise, Weimaraners make amazing family pets who love to play with children. However, they don’t tolerate being left alone and quickly pick up negative behaviors if they aren’t well-trained and socialized.

14. Whippet

Cream Whippet
Image Credit: JitkaP, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 18–22 inches

Falling between the Greyhound and Italian Greyhound in size, Whippets share a similar body type and tolerance for hot weather. They’re calm, quiet, and loving, and they’re equally at home in small spaces or open areas.

Once their daily exercise is done, Whippets are happy to relax at home. They can be curious and mischievous, especially as puppies, so training and supervision are essential to keep them out of trouble.

15. Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli breed mexican hairless dog
Image Credit: TatyanaPanova, Shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 13–18 years
Height: 10–23 inches

The ancient Aztecs considered the “Xolo” as the dog of the gods, and this native Mexican breed is one of the oldest known to humans. They come in three sizes and hairless and coated varieties.

Because their coats are short, all Xolos are tolerant of hot weather. As with other hairless dogs on our list, you’ll need to protect the Xolo’s skin from the sun when they’re outside. The Xoloitzcuintli needs early socialization and consistent training.



While these breeds are a good choice for hot weather and desert living, you’ll still need to take precautions to keep them safe from the heat. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency that can impact any dog. Hot pavement or sand can burn your dog’s paw pads, too. And, of course, sunburn is a threat to hairless or thin-coated breeds. Pay attention to the weather conditions to keep your dog happy and healthy.

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Featured Image Credit: Barna Tanko, Shutterstock

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