How cold is too cold for a shepherd? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

I am new to the German Shepherd breed and live in a semi cold area in the North Carolina mountains. I was wondering how tolerable to cold shepherds are? The dog in a year and a half old and has been sleeping outside in a dog house all spring and summer. It is getting cooler now and I would like to know what kind of temperatures the dog can handle and still remain comfortable. Thanks for any info!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 07:45 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

May I ask why the dog isn't sleeping indoors with the family? Good for you for wanting the dog to be comfortable! A dog is most comfortable when permitted to share the same home as his family. Something to consider for the dog's wellbeing, since that's a concern for you.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 07:50 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

Don't know, but do know your dog would do better with you!

German Shepherd's are 'people dogs,' and you're not getting the best of your pup if you relegate it to the outdoors.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 08:33 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

look on He has a diagram for doghouses and talks about cold temperature. Shepherds are tolerant to the cold IF proper precautions are taken. They really do well in the laundry room in a crate.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 08:41 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

Hi and welcome to the forum

I believe that weather tolerance varies for each dog. For example, I have one that is does not care for heat and will spend as much time possible in front of the fan. My other guy is not fond of being wet or cold and will flat out refuse bathroom breaks if it is raining out!

Given that you are in the mountain I bet it sure get real cold there. If it is too cold for you, then it is likely too cold for your pup.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 09:08 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

Welcome aboard. First let me say, this is the best place for all your shepherd concerns and questions. As a newcomer you will experience how passionate the members are about shepherds. Some people would not tolerate their shep being left outside and may be sharp with their words because it bothers them that a shep is left outside overnight especially knowing that its cold. Others may have sheps that prefer to be loners and be outside. I personally had a shep that loved the snow so much that he would lay in it and sleep in it, he wanted no parts of being inside. Ponch had a dog box that looked like a bungalow but would rather be outside in the snow. Now our Ponch was a throwaway that we saved and he was already a "outside" dog, so for him it was what he knew. I would say that because your pup is so young he would much rather be inside laying next to you. He wants to make sure your ok and watch over you. As you can see from my avatar mine is a inside dog. I just think that you will enjoy your pup so much more if you have him inside and you'll know he is safe and warm also. If I was to put a (fake) fur coat on and go lay out on the cold ground for a night I wouldn't die but it sure would suck!

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 09:56 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

If they are climatized slowly I have seen them outside 24/7 at minus 40 here in canada. Sled dogs, sheppy make great lead dogs on sled teams. Most sleds use one sheppy as a lead. Other than that, mine sleep inside. On the kids bed, not mine. They really need lots of hot food if they are outside in the cold cold. I do not advise a novice keep them outside. They do make beds in the snow, tunnel in at night to stay warm.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 10:23 PM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

Oh my, my dogs would freeze and be scared out in the cold especially in the freezing winter. They are fine during the day if there running amd playing. Not at night.

They do have announcements on the news that you should not leave your pets outside in the bitter cold.

I always thought sled dogs had thicker fur than GSDs.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 01:23 AM
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Re: How cold is too cold for a shepherd?

GSDs have a double coat and a layer of fat if left outside regularly and fed properly. They can and do thrive outside. Their coats are awesome when left outside.

They also love to be with their people.

I had a doggy door and gave Dubya his choice and he ALWAYS CHOSE to sleep outdoors.

Dog houses should be the proper size and have some type of bedding, straw I think is preferred. And the dog should be just fine.

But to do this you have to spend a ton of time with your dog outside, or work with him all day long. Shepherds are not loners. They do not do good out in the back yard by themselves.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 12:38 PM
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Once again, German Shepherds - and all dogs - are not human beings.

This needs to be told to people over and over who apply the same logic they would apply to a human being to a canine being with completely different physiology and psychology.

These dogs can absolutely sleep outside, they sleep in the snow in many parts of the world and they are perfectly fine with it. If they weren't fine with it, they wouldn't volunatarily do it. They would get sick, they would cry.

They are not mentally retarded.

They can communicate with you and make it very clear when they are not happy.

The answer to your question is that they should not be in below freezing weather for extended periods of time. But in general, these dogs along with many other breeds tolerate the cold much more efficiently than the heat.

Stop over-humanizing your dogs, it's insulting to them. They are in fact superior to humans because at least they live up to their potential.
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