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Can German Shepherds Live Outside In Winter

Smaller Breeds Have Different Needs

German Shepherd Cold Tolerance: How Cold Is Too Cold?

Dogs come in all sizes and breeds, which can affect how long its safe to leave them outside. While larger dogs with thick coats may enjoy outdoor romps for longer periods in chilly temperatures, their smaller single-coated and hairless counterparts, on the other hand, can spend more time outside on sunny days but not in the cold.

Smaller pups can quickly develop hypothermia and frostbite in cold weather, warns Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinarian on staff with Pumpkin Pet Insurance. This applies to small and hairless breeds like the Poodle , Maltese, Chihuahua, Xoloitzcuintli, and Chinese Crested.

While small pups can spend a few hours outdoors in temperatures between 60ºF and 90ºF, keep outings in temperatures below 32ºF and above 90ºF to short spans of no more than 10 to 15 minutes, recommends Dr. Wooten.

Signs That Your German Shepherd Might Be Feeling Cold

Even with its size and perfect body structure, it will hit a point whereby your dog wont be in a position to handle the freezing temperatures.

Here Is A Compilation Of Cues That Will Help Tell That Your Dog Is Getting Cold.


Similar to human beings, dogs also shiver when the temperatures get below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Involuntary movement of muscles causes shivering. Such a reaction helps in the generation of warmth.

However, shivering is also a dogs body language to exhibit excitement. Thus know how to distinguish when your dog is excited or freezing to the core by checking out for the next signs.

Whining and Howling

If left for long in the cold temperatures, it will reach a point whereby your dog wont handle the fall in temperatures anymore. Thus the dog will start whining or yelping as the freezing temperatures become unbearable.

Note dont let your dog stay for long in the freezing temperatures.

Lethargy and Stiffness of Muscles

How is the weather outside? Does your German shepherd look dull? And is he even reluctant to play? Then perhaps your dog is on the verge of hypothermia.

You will also find your dog coiled up like a doughnut and the tail tucked inside in a bid to conserve energy.

Raised Hackles

Also known as piloerection. Its an involuntary reaction similar to goosebumps in human beings whereby the hair along the backline stands up.

Piloerection help conserve the available body warmth.

The above are some of the signs to watch out for in your dog.

Can A Dog Stay Outside In The Winter

Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather.

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Create The Right Environment

Knowing that your GSD has great natural protection in his fur is no reason to just leave them on their own when facing the elements.

You must create the right environment so your German Shepherd can live outside in the winter and not suffer.

You should take the following precautions offered by other GSD owners and experts to make your GSD more comfortable and protect him from harsh weather:

German Shepherd Temperature Tolerance

Can German Shepherds Sleep Outside In Winter? Must Read ...

German Shepherds have a high tolerance against cold. They can also survive in hot weather, but they need additional care.

They love to play and be engaged in outdoor activities constantly, and so it comes as no surprise that these furry friends like to stay outside.

While German Shepherds are good with hot temperatures, they are still much accustomed to cold weather. So, it is not ideal to leave your dog outside in the heat.

Some people tend to keep their dogs outside of their home, which is not a good idea in the hot season.

German shepherds would be fine outdoors if they have appropriate care.

German Shepherds can become exhausted and suffer from dehydration, a significant cause of concern for any dog lover.

Although the German Shepherds double coat helps him stay cool and trap fresh air, it is not ideal to depend on it and give no attention to your dog.

German shepherds are known to be winter animals, and they do not tend to do well in summer.

There are cases where German shepherds have shown signs of being overheated from hot weather. They also have a high heatstroke rate so that heat can be fatal for the German shepherds.

It is better to keep your dog in a moderate, not too hot or cold temperature. Some cases also suggest that German shepherds left in a car have even died due to heat.

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How Cold Can German Shepherds Stay Outside

A healthy adult German Shepherd with a thick double-coat will be able to tolerate very cold conditions without much problem. And will be able to sleep outside as long as they are kept in a protective weather-resistant housing.

It goes without saying that housing is a must. Without a sturdy protective housing no german shepherd, or any dog, could survive sleeping outside in winter conditions when the temperatures are very low.

German shepherds are not as well adapted to the cold as some other northern breeds are, but they still boast thick double-coats with impressive insulating qualities.

GSDs have a coarse semi-water-resistant topcoat that protects against snow, rain, and dampness. The undercoat is the soft fur thats next to the skin. This is the layer that will keep a German Shepherd warm when the temperatures drop.

Your Gsds Fur And Hot Weather

It may seem like common sense to you to brush your dog a lot during the summer because excess fur = a hot dog. However, this aspect of grooming a GSD is often misunderstood.

Your GSDs fur grows in layers. Similar to an insulated home, it actually traps cool air and keeps it in. So, do not be overly eager when brushing your GSD.

Take care to lightly brush your GSD and remove only the hair that is already shedding on its own. Removing more hair than that will disrupt its natural layering and may cause your GSD to become too hot.

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How Cold Is Too Cold For A German Shepherd

German Shepherds have two insulating coats, which is a big reason that they do well in colder environments. However, just because they can handle a cold environment doesnt mean that they can handle everything out there.

For starters, they need access to housing and insulation. Their shelter needs to protect them from rain, wind, and anything else that the great outdoors can throw at them. Wind and rain quickly lower how much your German Shepherd can handle being outside.

They need to have a way to escape the weather if it gets too cold. Of course, this can be your home, but it also can be a shelter for them outside. The important part is that your German Shepherd can access whatever they need when they need it.

While wed love to give you a specific temperature at which you should bring in your German Shepherd, its not that simple. If you think that its too cold for your German Shepherd to be outside, it probably is unless they have somewhere to go to escape the weather.

Grooming German Shepherd During The Winters

Can German Shepherds stay outside in the cold?

Comb your German Shepherd at least once and preferably twice a week. Use detangling spray if needed.

Its OK to skip bath time for three or four months in the winter. German Shepherds usually dont have an unpleasant odor.

Their undercoats produce a substance similar to lanolin that keeps them well lubricated and warmer.

If you must bathe your German Shepherd because it rolls in something or gets sprayed by a skunk, then be sure to do the bath and dry-off in a warm, heated room.

Dont let your German Shepherd go outside with a wet coat. Hypothermia is possible even on a cool day if your dogs coat is wet.

German Shepherds stand up to the cold well, but that doesnt mean it is easy for them.

German Shepherds produce more of the stress hormone cortisol in January than at any other time of year. The stress hormone even accumulates in their hair.

German Shepherds begin to stress out at the first hint of cold weather.

Their bodies gear up for fighting the cold in ways that also make them more sensitive to stress and more reactive to situations they perceive as dangerous.

They have higher levels of stress hormones all the time during the winter.

A German Shepherds body produces an additional surge of stress hormones when it is outdoors in the cold.

Anger management issues that arent a problem in warm weather can be harder to handle if you let your German Shepherd get too cold.

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Is It Ok For German Shepherds To Sleep Outside

It is sometimes ok for German Shepherds to sleep outside but it depends on the conditions. Some German Shepherds prefer sleeping outside if it is too hot inside the house, other GSDs like to sleep outside to guard the house.

Generally, German Shepherds shouldnt be left outside unattended overnight. However, if your dog likes sleeping outside you can take efforts to secure a safe place for them to sleep while being outside. Such as a garage or other shelter so that they are safe while you sleep.

How Can You Keep Your German Shepherds Kennel Warm

If your German shepherd likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, then its important to make sure their kennel is warm enough. Fortunately, there are lots of different things you can do to warm their kennel up.

And remember, whenever the temperature falls below 40°F, its too cold for your dog. So theyll need to be brought inside.

Lastly, its not good for you to keep your German shepherd outside all the time. They need social interaction, so make sure youre spending lots of time with them.

Here are all the different ways you can help keep your german shepherds kennel warm.

Use Thicker Blankets

When its winter you should use blankets that are a lot thicker than you would in the summer. Theyre going to help insulate their kennel and stop the cold getting in, as well as warmth getting out.

Wool blankets are normally a great choice, however, theres a whole range of different blankets to choose from.

Make Sure Their Bed Is Elevated

Its also important to make sure you purchase an elevated bed for your german shepherd. One of the quickest ways theyll lose heat is through the ground. It will just keep absorbing heat, quickly making them feel cold.

Fortunately, elevated beds arent expensive and you can pick them up for a good price on Skyenet.

Make Sure It Provides Adequate Protection From The Elements

You can also place a few windbreaks around the kennel for additional shelter from the elements.

Make Sure It Has A Sloped Roof

Shape Their Blankets Like A Donut

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Keeping Your German Shepherd Safe & Healthy Outside

Lets run through some other important points that are not often thought about

1.Ensure a rich diet sufficient in protein and fat.A diet thats abundant in protein and fat closely mimics a wild diet and is what German Shepherds thrive on. This is important to keep their bodies strong, healthy, and capable of sleeping outside in winter conditions.

2.Ensure the supply of water doesnt freeze!When the temperature drops below zero, the water will start to freeze. Make sure to locate the bowl in a place where its protected from the outside. As long as your housing is completely weatherproof, this shouldnt be an issue.

3. Regularly check on your GSD or install CCTV. No matter how good your housing is, its important to carry out routine checks to make sure everything is ok. If you notice your GSD acting anxious, shivering, scared, or any signs of discomfort. Be ready to bring him back inside with you.

4. Spend as much quality time with your GSD as you can.If your German Shepherd does live outside, its crucial to ensure youre spending enough time with him to socialize, bond, train and show your love. All dogs need and deserve to be cared for just like a family member.

Where Should German Shepherds Sleep

Can German Shepherds Live Outside?

When your German Shepherd is sleeping on its back it’s a good way for them to try to stay cool, especially on a hot day. Lying on the back allows more air to circulate around the body, over the belly, and to move around the paws. These are all areas that help keep a German Shepherd cool when they’re too warm or hot.

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Can You Leave Dog Outside Overnight

Never leave your dog unattended for long periods of time, this includes overnight. If something happens to your dog such as heatstroke or hypothermia, the longer it goes unattended the worse it will be for him. Always check on him to make sure he has enough water and is not exhibiting any signs of health issues.

Can You Leave A German Shepherd Outside

If you own a German Shepherd and are wondering how long you can leave them outside or whether you can leave them outside at night, youve come to the right place.

The truth is that under most circumstances, theres no reason that you cant leave your German Shepherd outside if you have the proper setup. However, they should always have access to shelter and water to keep them happy and healthy.

The shelter should be insulated and protect them from the elements, and that includes both the rain and wind. In addition, you need to keep an eye on the highs and lows each day so you dont expose them to temperatures that are too high or too low.

Finally, you still need to spend time with your German Shepherd, even if they are outside most of the day. We also recommend having more than one dog because this will give them more companionship while outside.

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Other Features That Keeps The German Shepherd Warm

Germans shepherd dohs have a brush, thicker tail. This tail keeps the dogs warms in cold weather and minimizes the heat loss through the nose and eyes. Moreover, these dogs have a complex network of veins and nerves in their paws. These veins and nerves are keeping them warm in cold weather.

Like other dogs, the german shepherd has hairs on the body and coat, which work as an insulator. Due to these features, germans shepherd dogs are tolerating cold weather.


Cold weather does not affect too much the activity of german shepherds. According to research and survey, german shepherds dont tolerate the temperature above 0 and -5. Moreover, if the weather is falling or going below -5, you need to care for your dog because it feels cold.

German shepherd dogs love the cold weather and easily bear it if the temperature is not cross beyond its tolerating ability. Moreover, these dogs are playing to enjoy with snow or ice.


Ordinary the german shepherd is tolerating the cold weather, but in some cases or situations, dogs cannot tolerate the cold weather. Some breeds and kinds of german shepherds are not bear cold weather. Here we mention the top causes when your german shepherd would be put onto cold weather.



Like humans, dogs also reduce the muscular body and immune system with age. So we can say that with age, cold weather bearing capacity ios decrease.

Top Best Answers To The Question Can A Puppy Go Outside In The Winter

Do German Shepherd like the cold weather??

During the cold winter months, getting your dog to go outside at all may be a struggle.

While it’s true that, yes, it might be more difficult to start house-training a puppy in the winter, it’s certainly not impossible.

Those who are looking for an answer to the question «Can a puppy go outside in the winter?» often ask the followingquestions:

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What Is The Oldest German Shepherd On Record

Do not believe what you find on the internet for this information. Trusted databases with verified age and breed records are not commonly available to the public. You can find YouTube videos and forum posts of people saying their GSDs are alive at 20 or 24 years of age but these claims have not been independently verified by birth/pedigree records and veterinarians.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a serious condition caused by exposure to low temperatures. It could lead to heart failure, comatose, or even death.

If you suspect that your dog is nearing or has reached hypothermia, its critical that you get them veterinary care right away. If a vet is not immediately available, take the following steps:

  • Step 1: Dry them up. A wet or damp coat significantly lowers your dogs ability to keep warm. Soak up what you can with a towel and use a hairdryer to dry them up and give them warmth at the same time.
  • Step 2: Keep them warm. Once theyre dry, bundle them up in some thick blankets. If necessary, wrap up some hot water bottles in some towels and place them along your dogs abdomen.
  • Step 3:Check their temperature. If you have a thermometer, check your dogs temperature. Normal body temperature for dogs is 101°F to 102.5°F . Any reading below 100°F is considered hypothermia. If your dogs temperature is below 98°F , its critical that you get emergency veterinary care. Otherwise, watch them closely as they warm up.
  • Step 4: Monitor their progress. Check their temperature every 10 minutes. As soon as their body temperature returns to normal, you can remove the heat but keep them bundled up. Continue checking their temperature every 30 minutes until youre confident that theyve bounced back completely.

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