Skip to main content

These dog breeds should definitely have a dog coat for winter

As the colder months creep in, temperatures can drop before you know it. You’ll have your sweaters and boots to wear, but does your dog need extra warmth this winter? She certainly might want a dog winter jacket, especially if you like (or need) to take daily walks. Even bathroom breaks might require some extra warmth, depending on your dog, but how do you know?

Dog coats for winter come in a variety of styles and thicknesses, so you’re bound to find whatever your pup needs. Whether it’s a sweater for everyday wear or a windbreaker for stormy walks, these are the breeds that should be dressed for warmth this winter.

Related Videos

Breeds with short or no fur

With little to no fur to keep them warm in chillier climates, these breeds may need an extra layer to stay comfy. They may even enjoy wearing a sweater throughout the night or even during the day, depending on the dog and their preferences.

These breeds include:

  • American hairless terrier
  • Chinese crested
  • Xoloitzcuintli
  • Bull terrier
  • Weimaraner

Not all short-haired breeds will need a sweater, especially indoors, so it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s body language to gauge whether  she seems chilly. When in doubt, give a lightweight dog sweatshirt a shot!

An English Bulldog Wears a Sweater and Vest

Small and toy breeds

Smaller breeds have less body mass to retain heat, so they tend to get cold rather quickly. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, this is one main reason why tiny dogs like Chihuahuas are known for shivering. To help combat this, a cozy winter jacket for dogs will be just the thing.

These are some breeds and groups more likely to be sensitive to the cold because of their size:

  • Chihuahua
  • Small or miniature terriers
  • Toy or “cupcake” breeds
  • Pomeranian
  • Miniature pinscher
  • Pug
  • French bulldog

Size also isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal when it comes to warmth, as some breeds have more fur than others. Of course, there are factors other than size, fur, and breed, but these three can be some of the most obvious signs of a pup who needs a warm dog sweater.


Low-riding breeds are those who stand close to the ground thanks to stumpy, tiny legs. Although most of these breeds have more than enough body mass and fur to keep them warm, these pups are at risk of exposure to the cold from brushing up against ice or snow on the ground. Cold paws are enough to deal with, so you’ll want to grab these dogs a warm winter coat to keep their chest and tummy warm, too.

Some low-riding breeds include:

  • Corgi
  • Dachshund
  • Basset hound
  • Scottish terrier
  • Norfolk terrier

When shopping for these dogs, make sure the jacket you choose covers enough of your dog’s front to protect her from anything on the ground. You may also want to consider a rain jacket for dogs instead of a sweater to keep water and cold away from your pup’s body.

An old hound dog wears a winter coat with the hood up

Thin, muscular dogs

Just like small dogs, thin pups don’t have enough body mass to retain a lot of heat in the winter months — which is why a jacket can help. Even large lean breeds like greyhounds can be more sensitive to the cold since fat retains heat much more efficiently than muscle does.

These thin breeds include:

  • Greyhound
  • Italian greyhound
  • Whippet
  • Afghan hound
  • Saluki
  • Borzoi

At what temperature does my dog need a sweater?

Although every dog has her own preferences and desires, most dogs will be comfortable until around 45 degrees Fahrenheit (via Pedigree), though some extra-sensitive pups might get chilly around 60 degrees and lower.

Pedigree advises owners of “small breeds, puppies, senior dogs, or thin-haired breeds” to put a sweater on their dog whenever the outside temperature reaches 32 degrees or lower, though all pet owners should keep a close eye on their furry friend when the mercury drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember, pet parents, breed isn’t the only factor in determining your pup’s tolerance of the cold. You should take special care of dogs who are suffering from arthritis or who have recently been sick or injured. Especially young or old dogs can also be at risk, so there really is no limit to which breeds can benefit from a high-quality, properly fitting winter coat for dogs.

Editors' Recommendations

Have your heart set on a breed? Here’s why it’s important to consider different types of dogs
Think you need a small dog? Here's why you should research different types of dogs first
A woman kissing a dog

Perhaps you love your friend’s Yorkie. Maybe you grew up with a beagle and always dreamt of having one of your own. Getting fixated on a specific breed is normal and natural, and there’s no shame in it. Just like gender disappointment is a "thing" in parenting, so is dreaming about welcoming a specific dog with a distinct look and characteristics into your family.

Still, you want to consider different types of dogs while searching for a new furry family member. It may be difficult to wrap your head around, but researching other breeds and considering all of your options is an essential step in the process of choosing a dog breed. That doesn’t mean you must consider all dog breeds — that’s overwhelming — but you want to look into several. Here’s why and how to jumpstart your search for your next four-legged best friend.

Read more
6 affectionate and cute dog breeds for owners who love to cuddle
Different dog breeds that are cute and that any owner would love
Cavalier King Charles spaniel lies on a pillow and looks into the camera with big eyes

Sometimes, a dog simply falls into your life with no notice. Other times, however, you have the opportunity to plan for welcoming your new furry friend. You might even want to research different dog breeds to decide the kind of pet you're looking for. Do you want an athletic canine bestie? Or would you prefer a buddy who wants to hang out on the couch?
Affection is one other quality that many look for in a pet. After all, nothing beats a good cuddle with your pup after a long day. Luckily, all the cute dog breeds on this list are known for their affectionate natures, so they'll be just as happy for a snuggle session as you will. Take a look!

Great Dane
Although a lot of people think of small dogs as the cuddliest, that's not always the case. The American Kennel Club (AKC) explains that this breed "need[s] lots of affection and socialization with people and other animals, making them great family pets." They are called "Gentle Giants" after all.

Read more
Why you shouldn’t feed your dogs trail mix
3 reasons why dogs can't eat trail mix or their common ingredients
A Yorkshire terrier licks their lips and looks into the camera

At first glance, trail mix might look like a healthy snack for everyone in your home. It has a little sugar, some healthy fats, and a small number of carbohydrates to keep you going throughout the day. Sounds great, right?
Although people can eat as much trail mix as they please, the same isn't true for our canine friends. There are many ingredients in this popular combo that aren't safe for dogs to eat. Let's go over a few of the reasons why as we answer some of the most common questions:

Can dogs eat raisins?
Why can't dogs eat trail mix?
Which nuts are safe for dogs to eat?

Read more