Top Dogs

At Pet Medical Center, we love all pets. Otherwise, we wouldn't be doing what we're doing. However, there are certain breeds of dogs we see more frequently due to their popularity. According to the American Kennel Club, the three most popular dogs in the United States are Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers in that order. These three breeds are favorites in Tennessee as well. Let's take a closer look at what makes these dogs such great companions and how they adapt to our climate in Tennessee.

But first, how do dogs cope with the heat? When it comes to staying cool, not all dogs are created equal, and some tolerate heat and humidity better than others. Of course, for water-loving dogs, having a river or lake close by doesn't hurt either. Unlike humans, dogs don't have a lot of sweat glands, and most of the ones they do have are in their footpads. Have you ever noticed wet paw prints on the floor when it's hot outside? Sweaty paws may be why. However, the primary way dogs regulate their body temperature is through panting. Panting circulates the air in their bodies and helps take away the heat. Some breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, are at a disadvantage since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. Generally, dogs with short, thin coats will also stay cooler than those with thick, double coats. Nevertheless, all dogs can still overheat and suffer from heat stroke. When it's hot outside, take these extra precautions to keep your faithful four-legged friend from getting overheated.

  • Limit activity to the cooler part of the day. Take walks in the early morning and evening.
  • Avoid hot surfaces such as pavement or rocks. If it's too hot for your hand to touch, it's too hot for your dog's feet. Walk on the grass, or protect your dog's paws with booties.
  • Provide plenty of water and shade. 
  • Cool off your pet with a freshwater mist from a spray bottle.

Now, back to those top dogs. Labrador retrievers, what's not to love about a lab? They are great family pets. Through the years, Old Yeller has stolen many a heart. Labs are loyal, hardy, and playful. They can also thrive in Tennessee's hot temperatures—mostly because they love the water. Lakes, pools, rivers, or even a sprinkler can mean hours of fun for a lab. The breed traces its roots back to the Newfoundland breed which has a long history as a water rescue dog. Labs have webbed paws and a water-resistant coat which helps them swim and stay afloat. They are also excellent jumpers and can leap off a river bank or a pier effortlessly.

German shepherds were the original service dogs. They are also well known for their police and military work, as well as search and rescue. Rin Tin Tin, the world's best known German Shepherd, was a movie star who came to the rescue more than once. The breed is confident, courageous, and smart with a willingness to put their life on the line to protect others.  They are also incredibly versatile and excel at most anything they're trained to do.

Golden retrievers are wonderful pets who are eager to please, easy to train, gentle, and get along well with other breeds.  They are natural swimmers and have a water-resistant coat and webbed feet like labs. The breed originated near Loch Ness in the 1860s. Goldens are a great dog to take to the park and love a good game of fetch.

Border collies are energetic and athletic dogs who love to have a job. The breed originated in the Scottish borders for herding livestock. Border Collies are intelligent, obedient, and loyal dogs that can withstand hot conditions.

As their name implies, Australian cattle dogs originated in the rugged terrain and harsh climate of Australia. Bred for herding cattle, they are tough, loyal, smart, and excellent at maintaining energy during the hot summer months. They are terrific hiking and running partners, regardless of the weather.

German shorthair pointers are typically bred for water retrieving. They are eager to be outside in any weather, and their short coats help them stay cool in hot climates.

The American water spaniel is a water retrieving dog that excels at hunting and many other dog sports. They love water and will swim for hours.

Airedale terriers are playful and responsive, and they make excellent companions. They love to spend time in the water and like all kinds of dog-friendly activities. Airedale's coats are easy to maintain in hot climates with a short cut.

If you prefer smaller dogs, Chihuahuas are perfect warm weather dogs. Originally from Mexico, Chihuahuas are adept for warm climates. Their small size makes it easy to take them along to the beach.

There are many other breeds we see every day that we could add to this list. If you are looking for a four-legged companion, stop by or give us a call. We would love to share our knowledge and experience with different dog breeds and the characteristics that make them suitable for the climate in Tennessee.