If there's one thing our family dog Buddy, a happy and energetic 120 pound Weimaraner, loves even more than a handful of treats, it's going for walks. It doesn't matter what the season or the weather is, he's ready to hit the streets on less than a moment's notice--and he gets pouty and sullen if he doesn't get to go each and every day.

The reason I bring this up is because just the other night, my wife Amy and daughter Molly started discussing the idea of getting Buddy set up with a winter coat...and potentially booties of some sort.

That conversation got me wondering if Buddy, or any other dog, really needs a coat to deal with Illinois winters--or if it's just something to make him cute.

adorable weimaraner dog playing outdoors in winter
This is not Buddy, but you get the idea. (Getty Images)
Chocolate Labrador Dog wearing a musher hat and red shirt in the snow
This guy looks like he's ready to go ice-fishing in Wisconsin. (Getty Images)

Somewhat Surprisingly (at least to me), It Turns Out That The Answer Is Yes, Some Dogs Do Need A Coat To Make It Through An Illinois Winter

That information doesn't come from some pet company that makes winter coats for dogs, because you'd assume they'd tell you that you're a terrible pet owner/pet parent if you failed to provide a warm, cozy, and inevitably expensive parka for your beloved pet.

No, the info comes from the American Kennel Club (AKC), an organization that knows a thing or two about dogs and what makes them tick. The AKC points out that not all dogs need one, as large dogs with thick, dense coats are well protected from the cold. This includes Northern breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, with fur coats genetically designed to keep them warm.

But other breeds of dogs do need some protection from the cold.

Shih tzu posing in a pink winter jacket
Like her. (Getty Images)
And him. (Getty Images)
And him. (Getty Images)

So, Dogs Who Pull Sleds And Hear The Word "Mush" Frequently Don't Need Winter Coats, But Let's Take A Look At Which Dogs Do

It's typically your smaller, closer to the ground, and thin-coated breeds who benefit most from a winter coat, according to the AKC:

    • Small, toy, and miniature shorthaired breeds, like Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs. These small pups can’t easily generate and retain enough body heat to keep themselves warm.
    • Dogs that sit low to the ground. Although breeds like Pembroke Welsh Corgis, for example, have thick coats, their bellies sit low enough to the ground to brush against snow and ice.
    • Breeds that typically have long hair but are clipped or shorn, like Poodles. Grooming may alter the natural protection of their coats.
    • Lean-bodied breeds with short hair, like Greyhounds and Whippets, should also be protected from the cold.
    • Senior dogs are prone to conditions that may require a winter coat, such as arthritis or a weakened immune system. Heat regulation may decline with age, making even a thick-coated dog uncomfortable in the cold.

KEEP LOOKING: See What 50 of America's Most 'Pupular' Dog Breeds Look Like as Puppies

RANKED: Here Are the 63 Smartest Dog Breeds

Does your loyal pup's breed make the list? Read on to see if you'll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog's intellectual prowess the next time you take your fur baby out for a walk. Don't worry: Even if your dog's breed doesn't land on the list, that doesn't mean he's not a good boy--some traits simply can't be measured.

Gallery Credit: Sabienna Bowman

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