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I just retired to rural south central Alaska with my GSD (Qanuk) and my Alaskan Malamute (Anana). Both dogs are extremely active but Qanuk is just addicted to regular and extended duration exercise. Its not uncommon in this area (7 miles south of the town of Talkeetna) to see winter air temps of -30 F and sometime even lower. In addition by January the snow pack is normally over three feet in depth but the roads are usually kept plowed. I am concerned about having Qanuk outside when the air temp is in the - 20 F to -40 F range; however, I know he will demand exercise even at such low air temps so I was wondering if there are any accepted guidelines for the lowest air temps a short haired GSD should be outdoors in and for how long a time? He is in excellent shape, weighs 85 pounds and is 25 months of age.
 

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Hopefully some of our Alaska or northern Canada members will see this and respond.
 

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I wish I knew as well, but don't since we only brought our pup home this summer shortly after moving to Quebec. My hubby's family is all in northern Manitoba though so we will likely head back there for visits with the dog, very possibly around Christmas with similar temperatures. Look forward to hearing what others would suggest!


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Do you have a yard to throw a ball in? I would do very short 10 minutes of intense exercise at a time. In the winter it just gets way too cold for anything much longer. A potty walk around the block in - 30 / - 40 Celsius has Hunter limping because his feet are too cold. So, I usually take him and run him at a field for 10/15 minutes playing something like 2 ball. I make sure to leave him outside for a nap on my balcony for a little bit when it starts getting cold to make sure his winter coat comes in properly.
 

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We limited Lucky's exposure (not that she really cared for the deep freeze weather) and if she started picking up her feet we would bring her in. She loved playing in the snow, not so much the wet feet after. We never did the jackets/sweaters thing with her either. Tried booties, but those were a joke.

She probably kept herself pretty warm running around chasing balls and snowballs.:rolleyes:
 

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When it first starts hitting -20C (aroung 0F), my dogs will start the 'cold feet dance'. Since I want them to get used to the cold, I just focus on them staying active and having fun so they forget about their feet - a few times or going for walks in -20C, and they are okay with it, and will handle the colder temperatures to come. Neither of my dogs have shown any signs of being cold in -30 to - 40C temps, wind or no wind. Though Keeta, now heading into her 10 year, will sometimes get stiff and dance on her feet if its very cold.

Very hard to keep booties on them when they are running through deep snow, and with two dogs, I don't really want to have to put on, baby sit, and take off eight individual boots each time we go out for a potty break. One thing that I have found that will work in a pinch for Keeta in the -40 weather, is just regular children's socks held on with tape - if we lose one, no big deal, and does not take any longer to put on than dog boots.

When it gets really cold, in those temperature ranges, we only do short outings for potties and to throw the ball a few times, several times a day. If Gryff has been in the house all day, I do take him out to play fetch in the driveway or on the roads (I live in a quiet rural area), for 20 to 30 minutes - I usually split some wood first to warm me up. :)

You might be interested to know, that a Medium or Large Cuz ball will remain supple, bouncy, and retain its squeak, even when covered in frozen dog drool in -30 temps.

And as another cold weather tip: DO NOT attempt to pick up a wood maul and split fire wood when your gloves are covered in frozen dog drool from playing fetch with your dog in -30 weather - flying wood splitting mauls have the potential to do harm if they hit the wrong thing (found out the scary way, but no one got hurt. :) ).
 

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German shepherd are double coated dogs but you need to take it easy on them at first Castlemaiid is the expert here.
 

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-40F=-40C

We do not get that cold here. The dogs at -10F handle it a lot better than me.
 

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Thanks Nikitta, but others have as much experience, if not more, with extreme cold and GSDs.
Haha, when I saw this thread I thought you'd probably have the best answer :) There are a few others living up that way, but they don't post as often.
 

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My dogs are alright until about -30 Celsius and then the foot dance begins after about 10-15 minutes so that's how long we stay out for. The good news is that the colder it is the harder they seem to play. They really enjoy the cold! When it's that cold out we will go out more often but for shorter periods of time.
 

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Will an adult GSD, about 6 years old, with a good coat of hair (short haired) be ok in the weather here in the Southern U.S?

The average day time temp is about 50 - 60 degrees Fahrenheit but can go to the 40s on some days and nights?

Of course, these temperatures are not consistently low throughout the winter, they can be in the 70s as well.

The home is a small farm so the dog mostly walks on grass, soil, and just some concrete pathways.

Thanks
 

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-27 degrees F is Fffflipping cold. We had that a few years ago. I had my nieces over and the furnace ran out of fuel at 11pm. Lovely. I had no idea it would be that cold, but I couldn't open and shut the door a bajillion times to let everyone in, with some of them going in and out of doggy doors. So I left most of them out. I slept with Babsy and the kids slept with Cujo2. I put an electric radiator next to the toilet and by the kitchen sink in hopes that the pipes wouldn't freeze. We all went to bed.

The next day the news said it went down to -27 F. The dogs all have appropriately sized houses with straw in them. And they were all fine. The kids survived too. The idea of GSDs not being able to take 40-50 degree temperatures, I don't know. What concerns me with the southern US, is that the dog might have trouble with the warm temperatures. I generally bring my dogs in and crate them at night when it is below 0 degrees F. While I am at work though, they are out there, thus the dog houses and straw.
 

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In the summer, we often get temperature of 90 and above and I worry more about that than the cold weather. We occasionally get single digit temperature in the winter, but more often it is in the 20's or 30's, and my dogs, who have thick coats, have had no issues with it. I have often found them laying outside on their bellies in the snow. When it is above 90 degrees or below 10 degrees, I make a point to call them in periodically so they can cool/warm up. They are house dogs, though, and used to central air and heat so they have never had to become acclimatized to the weather.
 
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