Features October 1998 Issue

Best Dog Winter Coats

Whole Dog Journal reviews and recommends the best coats for chilly dogs.

The weather is just starting to turn brisk, but many short-haired dogs are already shivering. The time to order your dog’s winter coat is now, so you have a cozy coat standing by for the season of the most serious cold snaps. Whole Dog Journal tested a number of dog-warming coats, sweaters, blankets, what have you – for warmth, fit, and ease of application. We also washed and dried the blankets per the manufacturers’ recommendations.

To test how the coats fit and stayed in place, we put them on dogs and threw balls for them so that they’d run and jump.

A significant part of our test concerned how easy it was to put the coats on and adjust them for fit. Since we used a variety of test dogs (including a number of shelter dogs) with a range of responses to “dressing up,” we quickly came to appreciate the designs could be put on easily.

We didn’t concern ourselves with waterproof coats; for most of us, the real concern is keeping our dogs warm, and these features were mutually exclusive in all the designs we found. Besides, based on our own experiences with wet clothing of different fabric types, we are certain that all but one or two of the coats would keep a dog warm even if wet. In the text below, we’ve noted which of the blankets may not perform well when wet.

Interestingly, some of the best coats we were able to find came from equine, rather than canine catalogs; several manufacturers of equine apparel have customized their most successful designs for dogs. These coats were among the easiest to put on and offered the most adjustability. Maybe it’s because horse owners would never buy a blanket that required them to lift and manipulate a horse’s limbs through leg holes...

Also With This Article
Click here to view the products reviewed.


-By Amber Heintzberger, Maureen Gallatin, and Nancy Kerns

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