With their short thin coat, many vizsla lovers ask the question do vizslas get cold?
Particularly relevant for dog owners who live in regions where temperatures drop below freezing in Winter, it is good to know if vizslas can handle cold weather.
So if you are a new or future vizsla owner and want to know if vizslas get cold, read on. Here we cover everything you need to know about whether vizslas get cold easily and how to protect your vizsla from the cold when temperatures drop!
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
Do Vizslas Get Cold?
Yes, Hungarian vizslas get cold. Unlike most other dog breeds, vizslas do not have a woolly undercoat. Their short, smooth coat is all they have to keep them warm.
While their short coat is perfect for hunting, it does make it more difficult for vizslas to retain heat around the body on a cold day.
The other reason vizslas get cold easily is due to their light build. A healthy vizsla has a lean and muscular physique with less fat reserves to keep them warm.
You may be wondering how a dog breed that originates from Hungary, where Winter temperatures are regularly below freezing, can get cold easily.
Read on to find out more about short and wirehaired vizslas, whether vizslas like snow, how to tell if your vizsla is cold and what to do to protect them from the cold.
Do Short Haired Vizslas Get Cold Easily?
Shorthaired vizslas get cold easily due to their single short haired coat.
This is particularly noticeable in wet weather as their thin coat does not protect them from the rain and they can get cold more quickly than other dogs.
Their short coat is perfectly suited for hunting as it is less likely to pick up burrs or snag on thickets when hunting for birds and ducks.
As vizslas are energetic and active dogs, they don’t tend to notice the cold when they are running, hunting or playing.
However they quickly get cold when standing, having a bath or sitting still in cold weather.
Vizsla puppies often dislike the cold more (and may avoid going out to potty or play), but they tend to tolerate the cold better as they mature.
However any vizsla owner will tell you a common place to find a shorthaired vizsla in Winter is by the fire or cuddled up next to you under a blanket!
Do Wirehaired Vizslas Get Cold Easily?
The wirehaired vizsla does not get as cold as the short haired vizsla. This is thanks to the dense water repellent undercoat they have in the Winter months.
The wirehaired vizsla is classified as a separate breed and was bred specifically to be a more hardy hunter than the shorthaired vizsla in the freezing Winter months. As a result they can handle cold weather better.
Wirehaired puppies are born with a single coat like the shorthaired vizsla so they will feel the cold until the undercoat develops at around a year old.
While not as thick as the coat on a Labrador or shepherd, the wire haired vizsla does not get as cold as the short haired vizsla.
At What Temperature Do Vizslas Get Cold?
Most vizsla owners tend to agree that their dogs are happy out and about in temperatures above 5°C (40°F).
Once it drops below this temperature (particularly if combined with rain and/or wind) many vizslas get cold.
The exception is if they are actively moving, hunting or running – in this case they can easily stay warm in these cold conditions.
But when you take your vizsla on a walk on lead, or they are standing around that they will get cold quickly when the temperatures are lower than 5°C (40°F).
When they are inside the house they like to be warm and still seem to feel the cold – most likely because they are not moving around much.
Our pup will even snuggle up with the cat to stay warm when inside.
Vizsla puppies and older dogs will feel the cold more and should spend less time outside in very cold weather.
Can You Walk A Vizsla In Snow?
Yes, you can walk a vizsla in snow. In fact many vizslas love snow!
Vizslas are a hunting dog breed from Hungary where daily Winter temperatures average between -1° to 1°C (30° – 33° F) and snow is common.
However if they get wet or you take them for a short on leash walk in snowy conditions they are more likely to feel the cold.
It is important to note that if your dog is exposed to cold temperatures below 0°C (32°F) for long periods of time, they are at more risk of getting frostbite and hypothermia.
So take precautions to protect them from the cold (see below) and if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for them.
Tips For Walking Vizslas In Snow
There are two additional precautions to consider when walking a vizsla in snow:
- Be mindful of salt or grit on the road and footpath – it can aggravate their paws and they can also absorb chemicals used to keep paths clear.
- Hard packed or icy snow can also cause trauma to the paws.
To avoid any problems with your pup’s paws when walking in snow ensure you:
- Rinse their paws in warm water when you get home and wipe them well with a dry towel.
- Consider using a dog paw balm to protect their paws on walks.
- As a last result consider dog snow boots – many dogs don’t like them, but they are an option.
Do Vizslas Need Coats In Winter?
Whether vizslas need dog coats is highly debated by vizsla owners.
But ultimately if your vizsla is showing signs of being cold, a sweater or coat is a great option to help them stay warm in Winter.
Many owners won’t use dog coats if taking their vizsla on off leash runs, but will use them when inside and when going for walks on lead.
It will also depend a lot on the personality of your dog. Some will be happy to get outside in freezing temperatures no matter what and refuse to wear a coat.
Others will take one look at the weather and want to head straight back to bed! In this case a coat may encourage them to explore outside when it is cold.
There are different types of jackets to consider. Options include:
- Soft fleece or woollen jackets are perfect for inside on chilly mornings.
- Waterproof jackets are great for walks outside on rainy days.
- Heavy duty lined jackets are perfect for snowy or freezing Winter days.
Be sure to look for coats made for the vizsla body shape as many will not fit comfortably. We review all the best vizsla coats in this guide and share some fun Christmas jumpers in this Christmas dog outfit guide.
How To Tell If Your Vizsla Is Cold
So how can you tell if your vizsla is cold? A good general tip is if you are cold and need a jacket, your vizsla is likely to be feeling the cold too.
But here are a few extra signs to look for that indicate your vizsla is cold.
If your vizslas ears are cold to the touch it is a sign their body is cold too.
The ears, paws and nose are all sensitive to the cold and if cold are the first sign your vizsla is getting cold.
A good sign for dogs and humans getting cold is whether they are shivering.
Their body shivers to generate more heat to try and stay warm – so if they are shivering, it is a good sign they need to get out of the cold and warm up.
If your vizsla is waking up whining in the early hours of the morning it is often a sign they are cold.
Likewise when out walking – if your dog is whining and shivering, it may be a sign they are cold.
If your dog slows down or walks along with a hunched back and drooped head and sad eyes on a cold day, it is a good sign they are getting cold.
Refusing To Go Outside
Many vizslas don’t like the rain as they get cold quickly when they get wet.
Many vizslas won’t even go potty when it is raining and will hold on for hours until it clears!
If your vizsla is refusing to go outside in the rain it is a good sign they get cold when wet and a coat may be required.
If your vizsla burrows under blankets or cushions inside the house it is a good sign they are feeling the cold.
You may notice this happens in the early morning or evening, when they can’t find a sunny spot to warm themselves up.
When dogs shiver a lot they can lose weight as they use more energy to keep themselves warm.
So if your dog is losing weight in Winter it may be a good sign your dog gets cold.
When The Cold Becomes More Serious
If you live in an area with extreme cold temperatures during the Winter months, frostbite and hypothermia in dogs are a risk to be aware of.
If your vizsla exhibits any of the following symptoms after being out in cold weather it may be a sign of a more serious problem.
You should seek advice from your vet immediately if you notice:
- Pain, tenderness or swelling (commonly seen on the paws, ears and tail)
- Grey, bluish or pale areas of skin
- Areas of blackened or dead skin
- Skin cold to the touch
- Blisters or ulcers on the affected areas
- Stiff or clumsy walking
- Pale gums
How To Protect Your Vizsla From The Cold
So what are the best ways to protect your vizsla from the cold?
Here are some handy tips to help your vizsla handle cold weather better.
To keep your vizsla warm they should sleep inside. Dog kennels are not warm enough for a single coated dog, especially in the Winter months.
Warm Bed And Blanket
Ensure your dog has a warm bed to sleep in – preferably with a few blankets thrown on top!
Also make sure their bed is out of the way of draughts from windows and doors.
If they aren’t permitted inside the house when you are out during the day, they need a place out of the weather where they can stay warm – a heated garage, dog bed or shed space is ideal.
Take a look at the range of dog coats and sweaters for some extra warmth.
- A fleece sweater is ideal for early mornings and evenings inside
- Use a weatherproof coat for onlead walks in wet or sub 5°C (40°F) temperatures
- Pop a neoprene vest on when hunting in Winter
Dry Them Off
If walking in wet weather or swimming, have a dry towel handy when you get back to the car or home and dry them off as soon as you can.
Also carry a towel when hunting to dry off between water entries.
Protect Their Ears And Paws
Apply dog paw balm (or dog boots) when running on hard packed snow or salted roads and paths.
On days with a high risk of frostbite (freezing sub zero temperatures), cover your vizsla’s ears with a hooded jacket or scarf if you must head outside and check for signs of frostbite and hypothermia when you return.
And if it’s just too cold to get outside, keep them busy inside with these ideas.
More Vizsla Breed Guides
- Do vizslas like to cuddle?
- How to keep vizslas busy
- Are vizslas good for allergy sufferers?
- Are vizslas good guard dogs?
Or, browse all the vizsla breed guides here.
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