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Hi - I live in Juneau, Alaska. Contrary to popular "Alaska is cold" belief, Juneau is fairly mild - average winter temps of 32, and average summer highs in the 60's. A record setting hot day is in the 80s and temps can drop into the single digits for a couple of weeks in the winter but quickly bounce back up to the upper 20's/lower 30's. It does rain here often, and the climate can be similar to the Pacific NW. I am looking to bring a Doberman puppy into my household in about 6-9 months, and I was wondering if any current owners might be willing to share their experiences with similar climates or their winter activities. I hike and ski, plan to be involved in agility or search and rescue and figure that a coat (or two) and some booties will be a must. Thanks in advance for your comments!
 

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A Doberman is not the breed I think of when you described what you are looking for and in what climate. I was thinking more along the lines of a hardier all-elemental double coated breed like the GSD that could really handle SAR and hiking in chilly temps.

Then again, I have a Siberian Husky in Texas so what do I know ;p There are dobie owner's here that live where it gets cold and snows, they seem to make it work :)
 

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Temps can reach -45C here in Ontario, Canada. When it gets below -25C I will not take Chase out for a walk, he is Hypothyroid, cropped ears, and a thinned coat to top it off. I do obedience in the house, take the subway to an indoor training facility, jog on the treadmill, and bring out the kong with frozen yogurt.

The average temps I have seen is about -15C, Chase can handle a one hour walk with two coats, and waxed paws. I always check the tips of his ears for lack of circulation, as they can get frostbite.

When I get home I wash his feet, and check for sores or cracks, since Toronto still uses salt on the sidewalks.

Hope this helped a little.
 

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Doberman are known as the Velcro Dog. They want/need and sometimes demand to be with you at all times. :)

if you spend a lot of time doing otside activities in cold or snow that a Dobe is not 'built' for and he cannot go with you, he will not be a happy camper.

:)
 

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i was just thinking................as long as i can stand it outside in any weather so will the Dobes.

and one of my pups with natural ears skijors.................

i am getting old. almost forgot all the fun my dobes and i have had in the snow!

but we never get really cold weather here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks so much for sharing! If I ski Nordic, it is usually 1.5 - 2 hours on the snow tops, and with the Alpine ski area 20 min from my door, it's only a half day with a dog-friendly lodge and easy access to the parking area. Interestingly enough, I'm not a great long-time outside person when the temps hit the teens. I'm planning to alter my routine to include the dog. :) I'm giving in to the "I will never be alone again" part. I work a 10 minutes walk from home. @Darkevs - That's great to hear that you have a skijoring dog! Do natural ears hold more heat than cropped ears? I know all individuals within a breed can vary - I looked at GSDs and have friends with Malamute-Husky mixes as well as retired sled dogs. At least for the individuals I have met, I wasn't won over for a 10+ year commitment. On a positive note, my cousin has a German Shorthair, and there are several Vizslas in town which also have short coats.
 

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Kinda a weird suggestion here--but if you are going to alter your routine by very much, you might want to try that all by yourself to see if you are happy with it.

There are good intentions to give that new dog the best life you can give him, with lots of things you don't normally put in your life, but what do you do if you find you hate the active life?

We live in Colorado--which is cold, dry and sunny in the winter. It often feels warmer than it really is when the sun is out. Generally our outdoor exercise in the winter is about an hour with the dog jacketed and moving around briskly. I find that in addition to temperature, you need to factor in the amount of sunshine, the humidity, whether the dog is active or expected to just sit and the wind to decide what the dog should wear and how long you should stay out in the cold.
 

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There are Dobermans that live happily in Canada, Sweden, Finland, Alaska, Russia, Germany... all kind of cold places. As long as you are committed to your freind when the weather drops, a Doberman can be fine. Coats, boots, extra food... as long as you are willing, a Doberman is willing too.
 

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Hi Northern- I got your PM and found this thread.

I’ll post my response here so other folks can read it and either be helped also, disagree with my opinion or add to the info.

The simple answer is that Juneau’s climate is mild and a Dobermann will do fine there.

If you are ADD you can stop with that answer, if you want more read on…..

Based on my very limited experience with Vizsla’s, I think they are a lot like Dobermanns in their ability to handle cold. Activities and weather that your friends enjoy with their Vizsla’s will be fine for a Dobermann. Both breeds can benefit from a jacket or rain coat if they are going to be sitting or lying around much during inclement weather. For example, our Dog wears a jacket in the skiff, but not when we are hiking. When we are out in the woods I carry his jacket in my backpack along with my other emergency gear, just in case we get stranded overnight or something. I don’t purposely spend a lot of time in sub freezing temps. When I do, I use my hands to warm his ears periodically. I’ll warm his ears on long boat rides too. IF I were to camp or spend a lot of time sitting around in freezing weather I would put my neck gaiter on him to keep his ears warm. A “snood” made for dogs would probably fit better.

Puppies and young dogs do not handle cold like a mature adult. Even 60F might send a puppy into shivering, especially if it’s wet. Just be aware of that and take extra care to limit a young dogs exposure time, take breaks someplace warm, stick him inside your coat for a while, etc. Don’t expect a puppy or youngster to hold up to long hikes or ski trips without lots and lots of breaks and a moderate pace. A puppy may let you know it’s tired; a young dog might go and go and go until it has far exceeded a reasonable level of activity. Beyond the other problems it will cause, when a dog is exhausted he will have a more difficult time coping with the weather. It’s up to you to limit the dog.

Like Juneau, our climate is rainy so I try to have a full size bath towel handy in a dry box in the boat. I dry off the dog before putting on his jacket and running the boat through the cold air.

Our Dobermann does not have anything resembling a double coat. He has a fairly thin single coat. I have read that in years gone by there were Dobermanns who did have something like a double coat. Since S&R is on your to-do list, you might want to make inquiries or do research to see if there are any pedigrees or bloodlines still producing a double coat, or at least a thicker coat. I wouldn’t stress much about it though, and if it came to a choice between a thicker coat or the correct temperament of course temperament would win out. S&R is a huge commitment from the handler along with the correct temperament in a dog. Very few folks end up working as a K9 S&R team. I mention this not to discourage you, but just to point out that unless you are thoroughly dedicated to S&R, your dog’s suitability to handle long searches on snowy mountain tops in sub freezing temps is probably a non-issue.

Any more questions just ask. If you would rather PM, that is fine too, just let me know.

Good luck!

Here is a picture of Remy this fall. It's tough to see in the pic, but he is wearing a jacket under the floatation vest.
 

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Come on guys, there is no reason whatsoever a Dober should'nt be able to handle the conditions described. They will not die if the needle drops below 50. These dogs did originate in Bavaria after, that's not exactly a tropical rainforest.
I agree 100% with the first part of your statement. Hopefully I conveyed that in my post.

The second part of your statement is pretty irrelevant though. Please don’t take this as being argumentative or contrary, I just want to point out that the breed has gone through a lot of changes since it’s origins.

The Dobermann we own and the Dobermanns I have had first hand experience with, have thin, single coats. I have seen more than one claim made that as recently as the 1970’s there were Dobermanns with a thicker coat, one that was more or less a double coat.

As you point out, the dog did not originate in a tropical climate. Unfortunately we don’t have any way to prove it, but I’d wager that the early specimens of the breed had a different coat than today’s Dobermann.

All that may have changes since the breeds origin is interesting to think about, but regardless of the changes we agree that even today’s Dobermann will do fine in Juneau’s climate.
 
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I think you have received some very good advice on how to deal with the times your dog would be out in the cold.

I just wanted to add one more idea. Occasionally, Havok has had to be out working as a service dog in a fairly cold environment. For example last year we took him to a town in the middle of the Cascade Mountain Range (Leavenworth Wa,) for a Christmas celebration. For times like that I also throw some of those little instant hand warmers in my back pack. When it starts to get colder I activate one or two and put them under his jacket to help keep him warm.

Now having his Service Dog Harness over the jacket helps keep them in place but I bet you could figure something out -

I also like a coat that covers underneath the dogs stomach as well as the back if possible. I am fairly happy with my ZenTek coat.

Home page

They claim it cools in the heat and warms in the cold. I have never put it on him in the heat but they were at a Flyball tournament I was at in the summer in Seattle and I saw some BC people trying them out.

The downside is they are pretty expensive. I am certain there are others that protect the chest of the dog.

Sue
 

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I dont have much experience with Dobes in really cold weather, but I've noticed Rupert starts to shiver if he's standing about doing nothing in about 5C or below. If he's running about, he's fine. I stick a fleece on him if he's out and not doing much.



I'm sure a GSD or something similar would probably be more suited however, if you're responcible, I think you'd be fine :)
 

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I'm in Michigan - in the worst of winter it usually gets down to 0F with negative windchills - I keep two coats for him, one for 'normal' cold and one for 'holy crap my nosehairs are frozen' cold. Usually in the normal weather I toss his coat on and we romp around in the snow or go for a walk and he's just fine. When it gets super cold I just watch him closer and limit the time outside. I def agree with the comment on puppies getting colder faster - I don't think it'll take too long for you to be able to read your pup and his or her comfort level.

Koa absolutely LOVES LOVES LOVES playing in the snow! Unfortunately we've only had it once so far this year (in my pic). Snowy play makes for some of the best photos, I think.
 

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None of the Dobermans I owned would thrive in the environment you described. I think they could adjust to a tolerable level, but not thrive. My Dobes don't even like being out in the rain much and you said it rains quite a bit there. The cold weather would also be a problem. Dobes only have one coat and it is thin. I think there are plenty of other breeds that could thrive in Alaska. Good luck with your decision.
 

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I think it just depends on how much time you really plan on being outdoors with a Doberman. I'd be more concerned with all the rain than the average cold - Dobermans notoriously hate being out in the rain - ha ha!

We stopped in Juneau last August on a cruise - beautiful country for sure.
 
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None of the Dobermans I owned would thrive in the environment you described. I think they could adjust to a tolerable level, but not thrive. My Dobes don't even like being out in the rain much and you said it rains quite a bit there. The cold weather would also be a problem. Dobes only have one coat and it is thin. I think there are plenty of other breeds that could thrive in Alaska. Good luck with your decision.
Did I miss something?

Here is the average temperature description of Delaware:

Delaware has a humid, temperate climate. Winter temperatures average -1°C (31°F). Average summer temperature is 24°C (76°F).

And here is the weather description of Juneau

Average summer days are in the 60s, with many days reaching into the high 70s and low 80s. (Yes, in Alaska.) Winter temperatures average about 29 degrees, but if you think that's cold consider this: Juneau's winters are warmer than cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Cleveland

So their average winter temperature is only two degrees colder then where you live. But they do not have the extreme heat you can get in the summer.

As for the rain - yes Dobermans are notorious for hating it but some of the most successful breeders of Dobermans live in the Pacific Northwest. (Not to mention some of the top Doberman Agility homes in the country ) So I think they can thrive in an environment that gets a good amount of rain just fine.
 
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