Dog Coats – Getting a Good Fit

So you’ve decided that your dog needs a winter coat and you’ve seen all different styles, shapes, colours and materials available (no different to our coats, is it?). Once you’ve chosen what type of coat you want, you need to make sure that you get a good fit for your dog. There’s no point in buying a coat if it doesn’t fit properly, it is likely, that they won’t enjoy wearing it at first, and they’ll like it even less if it is too big and starts to shift and fall off when they are walking, or if it is too tight and starts rubbing and irritating their skin.

If you are buying in person, it’s not that difficult, it’s a good idea to know your dog’s weight as this can help with the fitting. As a guideline the suggested sizings are;

  • XS = Toy Dog (under 12 lbs)
  • S = Terrier (12-20 lbs)
  • M = Spaniel (18-32 lbs)
  • L = Retriever (20-40 lbs)
  • XL = Pointer (40-80 lbs)
  • XXL = Great Dane (80-120 lbs)

But just like humans, each dog, within its breed, comes in all shapes and sizes, so it is best to try the coat on your dog. Most people, when they meet Barney say “Oh, he’s small for a Border” but he’s not, he’s perfect for the breed standard, he is the right height and weight. However, although his Barbour coat fits him well in the length and around the chest, the strap under his belly is too short; it could really do with another couple of inches (we have it on the last hole and it just about makes it round to the velcro fastening to keep it on properly). He has size Small, I tried the Medium and it totally drowns him, so dogs can be in-between sizes too!

Anyway, back to the fitting…

There are so many sites that sell dog coats on the internet, with so many styles to choose from. However, buying from the internet is when you need to measure your dog properly, because let’s face it, it’s annoying having to return/exchange because it doesn’t fit, it costs more money and sometimes difficult to return dog coats.

Measuring a dog

Source: Pinterest

Areas you will need to measure are:

  • around the neck;
  • around the largest part of the chest or girth;
  • and the distance from neck to tail (or if a jumper from neck to waist).

For male dogs, you should ensure that the lower end is not covered allowing him to pee freely!

Once you have the coat, the fun begins, attempting to put the coat on your dog! Barney runs away at the first sign of his coats, he really doesn’t enjoy having them put on (he’s fine once we are out and walking), so ensure that the coat/jumper is easy to put on and take off, too many straps, zips etc just take too long and will end up in a struggle and you both feeling frazzled!

Anything that goes over the head, try taking it over the head and pulling it off. You don’t want it to pull too tightly over the ears and head. Around the arms and neck shouldn’t be too tight (it would be very uncomfortable for your dog to have seams rubbing in the sensitive armpit area) and good freedom of movement. Also, try using the lead with the coat/jumper on, can you get to his collar/harness easily?

For more inspiration and ideas for dog coats and jumper take a look at our Pinterest Board – Dog Attire, we hope this helps you get a good fit for your dog’s winter coat, let me know if you have any other tips and share a picture of your dog in his/her coat on our Facebook page (link above), we’d love to see them!








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