Do Rhodesian ridgebacks like cold weather?

Rhodesian ridgebacks prefer warm weather and generally hate the cold. They have a thin coat and come from the hot climate of Africa. If you live in a cold climate, they will need good, warm shelter if they are to be outdoors or will need a comfortable space indoors to keep them warm.

While ridgebacks are resilient dogs they can get cold easily. If they are outdoors, running around and exercising, they will tolerate cold winters, but they will need to be dried off and have an insulated house outdoors if they are to stay there.

This article will explore more about how to care for your ridgeback in cold weather, what they need to stay outdoors during winter and what you can do to keep your short coated ridgeback warm.

Ridgebacks were bred in a warm climate

Ridgebacks were originally bred in Africa as hunting dogs with short coats. They are resilient, can last longer than other dogs without water and cool themselves by panting with their large tongues out. This makes ridgebacks good in hot weather but not good in the cold.

As soon as the temperature drops, my ridgeback will search for a warm spot. He will curl up in the bed in his house outdoors or stand at our back door and wait for someone to let him in.

We have a bed indoors for him and a blanket that keeps him warm. We have always kept him indoors during cold nights. He will sleep better and this keeps him warm. Outside temperatures would drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees celsius) and he would get too cold outside by himself.

If you live in a cold climate, you will need to take the time to prepare and give your ridgeback what they need to keep warm.

How cold is too cold for ridgebacks?

Ridgebacks have a short coat, so they will feel cold in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees celsius). If it is windy or rainy it will also become too cold for your ridgeback at these temperatures. If they are staying outside they will need shelter and protection from the wind.

How to keep your ridgeback warm in cold weather

Here are some easy ways to keep your ridgeback warm in cold weather. These tips are essential if you live in a climate where your winters get below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.


Dog coats are a great way to keep your ridgeback warm in cold weather. They are great for when you are taking them for walks or hanging outside. It is important to always keep an eye on them when they are wearing a dog coat. Don’t leave them unattended with the dog coat on in case it gets caught on something.

Also take care if you bring them to the dog park with it on. Other dogs can get their paws stuck in the straps. If you are out for a walk however, a dog coat is an easy way to keep them cosy on a cold day.

Dog house

A dog house is a great way to keep your ridgeback warm in the winter outdoors. Look out for one that has a raised base to help with air circulation. One with an insulated root and walls is ideal. Make sure you face the dog house away from winds. This will keep your pup warm.

Indoor beds

My ridgeback has always had an indoor bed. This means we could bring him indoors when the weather gets cold. My ridgeback has always been on hard on beds. We have bought beds made of heavy duty material to stop him from tearing a hole in them.

Ridgebacks like to scratch around to get their bed in the perfect spot. With their tough claws they can easily tear soft material. Look out for beds made of tough tent material that will stop their claws from tearing through.

Exercise and activity

Ridgebacks will be happy outdoors in cold weather if they are busy. My ridgeback will go from being curled up indoors to up and jumping around ready if he thinks we are going for a walk. Fit and healthy ridgebacks with good muscle mass will also be more resistant to the cold.

A healthy ridgeback will be active with good blood flow helping to keep them warm. If they get wet while they are walking remember to dry them off when you get home. They can quickly get cold once they stop moving if they are wet.


Good nutrition is essential to keep your dog healthy and warm in the cold. Your dog with a healthy body mass will be able to withstand colder weather. Choose a good quality dog food or follow a good quality raw food recipe.

Factors that affect Rhodesian ridgebacks in cold weather


Young ridgebacks need good protection from the cold. Dogs that are less than 1 year old will have no resilience to cold weather. We always bought our dog indoors when he was a pup when the weather was cold. He learnt to sleep indoors and stay on his bed during the night.

If you are going to keep your dog indoors it is important to train them to understand where they should be sleeping. If you let them up on your bed once, they will quickly think that it is ok to do that all the time. Set the boundaries early and stick to them.


The better the level of protection they have from the wind and cold, the better your ridgeback will handle it outdoors. Make sure they have a dog house that is wind proof, water proof and face the door away from the wind.

I like to pop a warm bed inside the dog house. This will give my dog something to snuggle into to keep warm.

Rhodesian ridgebacks behaviour in cold weather

Most ridgebacks hate the cold weather. Mine will whine at the door until I let him in. Once he is indoors, he will find a warm space in his bed and stay there until it is time for dinner. Most ridgebacks will seek out a warm spot when it is cold because they have short coats. Make sure you plan ahead and find somewhere to for your dog to escape the cold.

Do Rhodesian ridgebacks like cold weather? | Summary

Ridgebacks are warm weather dogs so don’t like cold weather if they are stuck outdoors by themselves. If they are exercising or with other dogs, they will forget about being cold and will have fun anyway. Just make sure they are dry if they are staying outdoors so they don’t get cold.