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Can German Shepherds Live in Hot or Cold Weather? (Answered)

German Shepherds are one of the most powerful dogs who are loyal, inherently protective and make good guard dogs, military and police dogs, and even hunting dogs. 

They are friendly, playful and get along pretty well with children. They are obedient pets and are easy to train. Now, let us learn if German Shepherds can survive in hot and cold weather and learn more interesting facts about them.

Can German shepherds live in hot or cold weather?

German Shepherds are an adaptable breed that can survive in both hot and cold weather. Moreover, they get accustomed to the weather and as long as it does not exceed their tolerance level. Furthermore, due to their double coats, this breed can tolerate cold better than many other breeds.

German Shepherds are primarily bred for working or herding, different from companion dogs or hunting dogs. As a result, they are adept at getting used to both cold and hot weather.

German shepherds in hot weather: 

Even though they can tolerate hot weather, that tolerance can only go up to a limit, exceeding which might cause your dog to life-threatening situations.

The reason German Shepherds can tolerate hot weather is the same reason for which they can tolerate cold weather–their double coat.

While the exterior coat keeps the heat and the rays of the sun out so the dogs do not get overheated, the interior coat keeps the cold inside. 

The interior coat traps the cold inside and keeps your dog cool. This is one of the reasons they can insulate their body temperature according to their need.

The other would be shedding. When spring comes around, these dogs shed their coats to form thinner ones. During winter, German Shepherds form a thick undercoat which saves them from the cold and keeps them warm. 

In the same way, when spring commences, they shed their thick winter undercoat and form a thin undercoat, so they do not get overheated.

Despite all those, the owner must keep track of their dogs, and their behaviors and make sure they are not showing signs of overheating. 

A conscious effort should be put to keep their dogs cool, shaded, and properly hydrated. If needed, they should contact the vet and learn the ways to prevent their dogs from being ill.

German shepherds in cold weather:

Normally, most German Shepherds can tolerate temperatures like 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 degrees Celsius due to their unique feature of having double coats. 

They are known to have a high tolerance for cold weather due to their double coats. In fact, they are known to like winters and playing in the snow.

But, even then, their tolerance for cold depends on their age, activity, coat length, weight, etcetera. The longer the hair of their coat, the colder the temperature they can bear. And when they feel cold, they will get back inside.

Despite their tolerance, owners should actively keep an eye on and not keep them out for too long.

What temperature is best for German shepherds?

German Shepherds have two coats which help them insulate their body to keep cool in the hot season and keep it warm in the colder seasons. Additionally, they shed seasonally and grow undercoats to prevent from getting overheated or too cold.

Too cold temperature for German shepherd: 

Due to having a double coat, they have a high tolerance for cold temperatures. Even then, according to standard rule, it’s advised to not keep your GSD outside if the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Your dog might be in love with snow and want to play around, but you should make sure they’re not exposed to temperatures below the standard level for a prolonged time for fear of getting frostbite, or hypothermia.

Too hot temperature for German shepherd: 

Exposure to heat above 85 degrees Fahrenheit for a long time can make your dog ill. Despite their ability to tolerate hot weather, they have a limit beyond which, the heat causes your dog problem. 

The tolerance for weather depends on their age, weight, coats, and activity level. 

Ideal temperature for German shepherd: 

German Shepherds are an adaptable breed and a place with a temperature ranging between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to know if it’s too hot for a German shepherd?

If the heat goes above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog might be in potential danger and can get dehydrated, overheated, or get a heat stroke which can be life-threatening. Some symptoms dogs might show when the temperature is too hot are given below.


If the temperature is too hot for your GSD, it’ll show symptoms of overheating. It includes, but is not limited to excessive panting, heavy breaths, lethargy, weakness, purplish or reddish gums, and vomiting.  

If any of the above symptoms show, it’s better to take steps that will prevent them from overheating or the condition worsening. 


Losing the elasticity of their skin, losing appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy breathing, thick saliva, etcetera are some symptoms of dehydration that results from your dog being overheated.

Due to their double coat, it becomes difficult for GSDs to tolerate temperatures that go above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat Stroke: 

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and your dog should be given immediate treatment otherwise it may cause organ damage, and even pass away. 

Heat stroke is the worst case of hyperthermia where the body temperature of your dog might rise as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit without a fever.

How to know if it’s too cold for a German shepherd?

German Shepherds are known to be tolerant of cold weather due to their double coats. The overcoat and the undercoat helps them insulate their body heat to keep them warm in winter.

Additionally, their seasonal shedding helps them create a thicker coat for winter to trap the heat inside.

Despite those, your dog can only tolerate cold to a certain level, which, for most dogs, is 20 degrees Fahrenheit below which any dog will become ill. Some signs that dogs show when they are too cold are given below:


Your GSD will show certain behavior that are their expressions of their pain. They’ll whine, howl, bark, tuck their tails or burrow themselves, they will hunch their back, and so on. 

Physical reactions:

Physical reactions include shivering, pale gums, struggling to breathe or lift their paws, etcetera. These signs show that your dog is cold and is mourning.

Abnormal habits:

Abnormal habits include but are not limited to getting anxious, sleeping too much, getting weak, and being lethargic. 

When they’re exposed to cold for a prolonged time, they’ll show the mentioned symptoms and before it gets out of hand and your GSD gets hypothermia, frostbite, or becomes severely ill.

Tips to make sure a proper temperature for your German shepherd: 

German Shepherds have double coats and in summer, their undercoats trap the cold inside while their overcoats keep the sun rays from entering. And, in winter, their overcoats prevent water and rain from soaking inside while their undercoat insulates the heat. 

Besides, their seasonal shedding also helps them to keep cool in summer and warm in winter. However, there are certain steps that should be taken by the owners so that their GSDs don’t get too hot or too cold.


Mostly, the temperature of our house can be regulated by choice and if the outside temperature is too hot or too cold, it’s better to keep your GSD indoors where you can control the temperature except for potty breaks.

Adequate Water and Food: 

In summer, it’s obligatory to keep your dog hydrated so that they don’t get overheated and ill. In winter, keep their body heat up by making sure they’re provided with extra food, especially food high in protein.


In summer, make sure your dog plays or soaks in water to keep the temperature of their body down, but make sure your German Shepherd likes water. 

In winter, avoid bathing your dog too frequently since it might mess with their heat regulation. When bathing them, make sure to do it in warm and enclosed spaces.


The GSD should always be kept well groomed and brushed in both winter and summer. Their coat is what helps them keep warm or cool, so it must be healthy for it to function properly.


Exercise keeps your dog healthy and non-obese. Obese dogs can easily overheat or become lethargy easily due to cold. But caution should be maintained so your GSD doesn’t become ill in summer or winter due to exposure to drastic weather. 

Final thoughts

In conclusion, German Shepherds can tolerate and live in both hot and cold weather up to an extent due to their double coat. Their ideal temperature ranges from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which may differ with the GSDs age, weight, coat, health, physical activity, and so on.