Ask the Dog Guide: Northern Breed in a Warm Climate?

January 9th, 2009 by Dan

Question:I would like to ask for your expert advice on what dog I should be getting. I would love to get an Alaskan Malamute (or Husky) but I live in Lao PDR where the weather is hot/humid most of the time. I am aware that Malamute/Husky are not suitable for this kind of weather. I was wondering if you can suggest whether it’s possible/recommended to raise the Malamute or if there are any alternative breeds more suitable. I prefer white/grey coat, medium-large size, wolf like
nose, etc. Eagerly waiting for your reply and thank you so much for your help.

Answer: Northern breeds like the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute would not be comfortable in the climate you describe. Heat stroke is a serious risk for these breeds, which were bred to not just survive but thrive in climates where the temperature may not surpass zero degrees Fahrenheit for weeks or months at a time.

Panting Husky

Panting Husky

Shaving a Northern dog is also a bad idea, because this exposes their sensitive skin to sunburn and may even increase the risk of heat stroke by robbing them of the outer layer of reflective hairs which help to protect them. So, chances are, a Husky or Malamute won’t work for you.

How do you feel about German Shepherds? These dogs have a similar wolfish face, and can tolerate heat better than Northern breeds. A German Shepherd does still have a thick coat, and care must be taken to keep any dog cool and hydrated in a hot climate, but this might be a better choice for you. German Shepherds do not come in gray and white, however.

Sometimes white pups appear, but it’s not a good idea to pay a premium for a white German Shepherd Dog, as it encourages breeding outside the breed standard and breeding a color that might be born deaf or blind. If you find a white GSD in rescue and like it, take it home, but please don’t encourage breeders to produce white GSDs and sell them as “special” and “rare.”

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