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12 Dog Breeds With A Higher Than Average Risk For Heatstroke

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on July 18, 2015

While all dogs are at risk for heatstroke if allowed to overheat without treatment, some breeds are at a higher risk than others. This is mostly the breeds that aren’t able to cool down as quickly as others and are often the brachycephalic breeds. (Brachycephalic breeds are dogs that have shortened or “squished” faces. Because their muzzles and heads are shortened and widened but with the same amount of soft tissue as a regular dog, they often have difficulty breathing – therefore they have difficulty cooling down.)

So if you’re going to be out in the heat, definitely make sure you’re able to keep your pet safe, especially if they are one of these breeds. Remember, if you think your pet is showing signs of heatstroke, try your best to cool their ears, feet and stomach (with lukewarm or cool water, not ice-cold) and get them to the nearest veterinarian immediately.

#1 – Bulldog


Although originally developed as a working breed, the Bulldog (or English Bulldog) has a much shorter muzzle than it used to. They have developed into very large dogs that can suffer quite a few significant health problems, with breathing difficulties being one of them. Because of this, it’s recommended to exercise your Bulldog in the coolest temperatures possible.

#2 – Pug


The Pug is a small Chinese breed that was actually developed in Europe after its ancestors were imported there. It was a popular companion dog even as far back as the 16th century and remains so today. They are susceptible to breathing problems, however, and care should be taken to avoid heatstroke.

#3 – Boxer


Boxer – The Boxer is a working breed from Germany that actually still works quite well today. Although their muzzles have gotten shorter and more problems have arisen, they are still very active dogs that do quite well in warm weather. That said, they are a brachycephalic breed that is at a higher risk for heatstroke than other working breeds, such as a Doberman Pinscher or German Shepherd Dog.

#4 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the smallest spaniel breeds, but full of enormous personality and affection. They are excellent lap dogs and do not do well with an excess amount of exercise simply because they don’t often enjoy it. Cavaliers are a brachycephalic breed and with their long coats are at a higher risk for heatstroke than average.

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