Dog coats come in as many, and more varieties than the breeds we have, fit for all kinds of weather, and cover all needs of fall, winter and spring.
But the market is kind of dazzling when you don’t know what you’re looking for. And I know that, because I went from having a German shepherd in the UK (a double coated breed, in a moderate climate), to adding two slick-coat hounds to that, and being in Maryland, US, where the winters are much colder and much snowier.
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With the change in weather conditions, I found myself in need of dog coats! So, I turned to google (like you probably just did!) and suddenly there were all these coats, and I had minimal clue as to what to do in order to provide a little extra protection for my hound dogs.
Since, I’ve endeavoured to test them out! And figure out what actually is the best dog winter coat for my hounds? What is the best rain jacket? Which I’m now, just about, ready to share with you guys!
All of these dog coats have been tested by Rebarkable! Whilst I may (or may not) receive affiliate income if you choose to purchase, it costs you no more than it normally does, I just get a small % for my efforts. However, I assure you that that commission has no effect on the rankings of this post – because it’s really important to me that you make informed decisions.
Table Of Contents
What Sort Of Dogs Need A Dog Coat?The TestingBest Dog CoatsOur Best Dog Winter CoatsThe Best For Your Best DoggoAuthor, Ali Smith
What Sort Of Dogs Need A Dog Coat?
As a broad rule of thumb, older dogs, puppies, unwell dogs, small dogs, short-legged dogs (particularly in rain or wet conditions) and short-coated dogs are all dogs I would quickly recommend coats for. These dogs, for the main here, it’s a case that these dogs are either extra exposed to the cold, or they’re less able to regulate their own temperature and a chill could be quite tough for them.
But that is just a quick view, instead, ask yourself these 5 questions;
1 – What is the potentially problematic weather?
This one really changes the sort of coat you want for your dog. So ask yourself what are you wanting this coat to do?Is it wet?Is it windy?Is it likely to be snowy?
All of these are going to change the parameters of your needs. I find that having a few combinations of coats really makes this the best it can be. Much like for myself (actually) I love a raincoat, a winter coat, and a good sweater.
Tip: Your dog can absolutely wear more than one coat to achieve your goals for this!
2 – What type of coat does your dog naturally have?
Different dog breeds have different kinds of coat, those coats may be wiry, they may be fine, they may be slick coated (or short-haired dogs) or double coated.
Knowing this will help you decide (and you can always ask your groomer if you’re unsure) what sort of coat your dog might need. Generally speaking the lighter (density, not color!) your dog’s natural coat is, the more likely they’ll need at least a good winter coat.
This is why Shelby & Lucy, my slick coated hounds, have coats, but my double coated shepherd does not.
Typically you’ll find a dogs who have double coats (and are fit and healthy) will not need a coat.
3 – Age, Size, Fitness.
Older dogs (senior dogs), unwell dogs, little dogs and younger dogs typically feel the cold more acutely than a fit and healthy dog. So, if they’re within those categories, you may choose to seek adding in some extra padding for them.
This is also going to decide how much you’re willing to invest in a coat, as a growing puppy, you’re definitely not going to want to go for some of the more expensive coats on the market.
Small breeds will also tend to lose heat faster (as they have a greater surface area to body size ratio than a big dog, if you’re curious) so their size is important too.
4 – Are They Habituated?
Then contrast this with what your dog is bred for, how old they are and whether they’re used to these conditions.For example, a husky or Alaskan malamutes? Likely isn’t going to need a winter coat. But, if that husky has been raised in Texas, you might reconsider that if you decide to go to Alaska.
Conversely, a daschund who’s habituated to the cold, may require less support than you might think!
But, either way, with all of this, you’ll then know whether you’re ensuring that your dogs coat needs waterproofing, warmth and/or windproofing. Then you can find the best suited coat for your dog. Just make sure to read carefully what the intention of the coat is, and when you try it, keep an eye on your dog to make sure they’re still comfortable on their walks.
5 – Do They Need To Walk?
Then comes this question; Does your dog really need to take that walk in those bitter conditions? If your dog isn’t feeling it, it’s a good idea to not force them to proceed with the walk. If they’ve done what they need to do, heading home is perfectly fine.
If your dog is out (and they’re not an Alaskan malamute, determined to enjoy the only season in which they’re truly comfortable), and you’re worried about them? Then it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them and just see if the cold appears to be getting to them. If their ears, tail or paws are particularly cold to the touch? Then it might be worth turning around and going home.
It also may be a great idea to look into winter activities to keep your dog busy if it really gets that cold! As, if you have an active dog, or a young, energetic dog, this sudden decrease in exercise could be problematic.
(This said, our coonhounds are both large dogs and active breeds, but they cope very well throughout winter, and just use it as an excuse to nap by the fire!)
Tip: not all coats offer your dog the same amount of coverage, some coats come with more insulation across the chest and even down the legs. this added coverage will absolutely help keep your dog warmer!
Please note, these coats are tested in Marlyand, US through autumn, winter & spring, tests are done as thoroughly as possible and further and full details can be found in the individual reviews.
This one’s happening in three ways.
First, I’ve actually designed a couple of unique tests, which I am really pleased about. One of the tests was to wrap a jar of 4 cups of boiling water in the coat, and track the decrease in body temperature. This actually gives a phenomenal insight into the insulative properties of the coat.
Next, I have a FLIR, which is being used to see how the coats size and insulative properties affect the core temperature of the test subject (aka. Shelby & Lucy the coonhounds).
Lastly, I’m going to use a temperature probe to record the girls when they’re out, and see how their core temperature actually varies whilst wearing the coat. This data should be really interesting. Whilst this may be in the individual reviews for the coats, this is all data that has gone towards this review!
The last two tests in this should actually give really good insight as to whether these coats are too warm in certain instances.
Fit & Size Availability
My dogs are big dogs, they’re both roughly 75lbs of dog; so we typically outside a lot of ‘fashion’ brands, so you may not see a whole bunch of those brands here, instead, we’re looking at practical coats (mainly), but it also emphasises the need to discuss the range of sizes that these coats come in, and then how they fit vs the measurements, and just how adjustable the adjustable straps are. Because after all, whether they’re great danes or chihuahuas, our dogs all deserve to be warm! One thing I don’t tend to highlight is different colors, but I may if they’re weird, awkward or if they’re a really wonderful feature.
Water Repellency & Wind Resistance
There’s a difference between water-repellent and water-resistant, and then theirs a difference again in how well the coat stops wind. What’s the point in a beautiful warm coat if it lets the wind through? Or worse! Gets sopping wet when it rains and ends up enshrouding your dog in a really cold wet coat. Yuck! Talk about a way to get sick! But not all coats are designed in a certain way, some of them are intended for absolute waterproofing, many more are simply water repellent. I’ll be detailing all of that though so you can make a truly informed choice whether you’re facing windy conditions or wet (or both!).
This one is hard to quantify, but it’s things like whether it chaffes, if it has a leash portal, whether it inhibits movement. Whether it’s a chore or easy to put on – and even whether it offers good visibility if you’re walking in low-light. Or even something as simple as does it make your dog really itchy? I’ll be detailing as much of this as possible as well as what sort of closure they have, and whether they go above or below your dog’s harness.
This one goes without saying with a dog, right? Whether you’ve got a puddle sploosher, or a swamp monster, likelihood is that it’s going to get dirty at some point or another. So, as with most dog products, we want to make sure they’re easy to keep clean and easy to maintain without needing to dry clean it, or do something special other than it being machine washable.
Whether this is sustainability, whether it’s a unique design, or whether it’s some other je ne sais quoi that the coat offers and makes it uniquely suited for your problem? Then that’s a factor I’ll be highlighting for you.
Best Dog Coats
ImageProductFeaturesPriceRuffwear Furness Dog JacketHigh InsulationLarge coverageAbility to cinchForm FittingOverheadReflective stripsSleeves (without a seem)Leash PortLeg StrapsInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: ZipperThe Furness is a really nice coat, I have to say. It has really good coverage (meaning it’ll retain as much body heat as possible, and the fact that it cinches in, means that it fits nicely from my german shepherd’s thicker build, to the physique of my athletic hounds. It’s a really good provider of extra warmth. The only limitation is the waterproofing, you make choose to add one of the dog raincoats to provide that outer shell. Check PricePomppa Toppa PlumHigh InsulationLarge coverageForm FittingOverheadReflective strips Leash Port (collar only)Insulation value: TBDClosure Type: waist beltThe Toppa has very quickly arrived as one of my favourites. It’s not terribly fussy to put on as it’s not got any leg straps (but it doesn’t shift, which is great!), the only drawback I can find is that because there’s no cinch around the neck, the hounds tend to get chilly around the shoulders? I’m currently trying snoods and neck gaitors to mitigate this, but I’ll let you know how that goes.Check PriceNon-Stop Glacier 2.0 (Synthetic)High InsulationLarge coverageAbility to cinchForm FittingOverheadReflective stripsLeash PortLeg StrapsWashableInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Waist BeltSo, I definitely measured my hounds right, but, these seem to run a little shorter than I’d like. I’m not sure which factor varies on my hounds, but the chest strap runs a little tight too (both hounds are basically at the full extent of the strap.But, that said, it is absolutely a fantastic coat. It overs great coverage, and its such a warm coat, my hounds love it.Check PriceNon-stop Glacier 2.0 Coat (Wool)High InsulationLarge coverageAbility to cinchOverheadReflective stripsLeash PortLeg StrapsRinseableWater-resistantNatural FibersInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Waist BeltThe use of natural materials here, is a wonderful thing for me, personally. Wool is a massively underused material, it’s renewable (pretty much!) and fairly affordable. And, even better, it’s warm!It offers not only a warm body, but even goes up the neck some, and can cinch close around the body to ensure that your dog retains as much warmth as possible.Only real draw backs so far is that the reflectors are minimal (and I’m just not sure why this choice was made…) and that their is a loop closures and hook as opposed to a clip or buckle, which is interesting. Oh, and it’s not totally waterproof, so you might want to avoid it for heavy rain.Check PricePomppa PerusMedium InsulationLarge coverageOverheadReflective stripsGood waterproofingLeash Port (collar only)Insulation value: TBDClosure Type: waist beltThe Perus is designed for the ‘average’ winter day, good with rain, good for wind, and warm, but not the warmest. It’s lined with “Teddy bear” lining, which I will say I was hesitant about because this normally translates to “Fur and dirt trap, and static creator” but, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.It does struggle with the collar only leash port and the fact that it cannot cinch around the neck (similarly to the Toppa), but it is a really solid coat that my dogs really like, and it’s much quicker to put on than most coats.Check PricePomppa Sade Rain CoatLarge coverageOverheadReflective stripsLeash Port (collar)Insulation value: TBDClosure Type: Waist beltThe Sade (Shah-day, meaning rain day in Finnish!) is a really nice coat. It’s waterproofing is great quality, and it’s been well designed for coverage and leak-proofing. So far there is absolutely nothing to complain about with the Sade. It’s holding up to every test I’m throwing at it.Just good to note that it doesn’t have a leash portal for a harness, only a collar. Also, interestingly, no leg straps! Check PriceRuffwear Powder HoundHigh InsulationLarge coverageAbility to cinchForm FittingReflective stripsSleeves (with a seam)Insulation value: TBDClosure Type: ZipperThis one doesn’t go over the head – which does make it a little fussy to put on – but there is a knack to it. The sleeves do have a seam, which has a different effect with two of my dogs, on Shelby, the seam is fine, but with Lucy, we did find that it rubbed – which surprised me. But, it’s definitely a comfortable and warm coat that (other than the sleeve!) is comfortable and flexible. I was delighted to see it fit the athletic form of my hounds.Check PriceRuffwear Cloud ChaserWaterproofWindproofLarge coverageAbility to cinchForm FittingReflective stripsSleeves (with a seam)Insulation value: TBDClosure Type: ZipperI love the sleek, form-fitting design of the cloud chaser from ruffwear, it feels like a scuba suit for my pups. It’s not the warmest of coats on the list, but when it comes to adaptability and weatherproofing? This one is a great choice. I like this for chilly days that are that cold, windy and rainy day. It’s good to note this one is designed to go under the harness and has no leash portal. Check PriceRead ReviewNon-Stop Fjord Rain CoatWaterproofWindproofLarge coverageAbility to cinchReflective stripsLeg strapsInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: waist beltThis coat is loved in my house. Because it comes in a really nice bright orange, it helps visibility a lot in the rain. The Fjord by nonstop is really considerately designed. It gives great coverage (but rarely excessive because it comes in a lot more size varieties than say the ruffwear sun shower) and it’s very practical in terms of going up the neck, going around the tail etc. Check PriceRUFFWEAR, Sun Shower Dog Raincoat, Waterproof & Windproof Jacket for Wet Weather, Hibiscus Pink, X-LWaterproofWindproofLarge coverageAbility to cinchForm FittingReflective stripsLeg strapsInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Side clipsI actually really love the sun shower. This coat is … surprisingly effective. I looked at it and kind of ruled it out for a bit as not being fit for purpose because unlike a lot of the fitted, snug gear ruffwear makes for dogs, this is kind of like a blanket or a poncho. What I didn’t see when I looked at it? Was the fact that it was like a poncho or a blanket, and that tends to be how rain coats are (duh!). And, consequently? I actually really love the sunshower. With a high collar and great bum coverage, and even a tail slot, the only breeds this might be a problem for might be spitz breeds with a curly tail who may find the coat interferes with their tail placement. But other than that? Wonderful rain coat.Check PriceRay Allen Woobie JacketWarmAttaches to harnessFuss freeLeg strapsInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Attaches to Some harnessesI really like this, and I didn’t actually expect to. But this one is built and designed to attach to a harness, and turn your harness into a full, all-encompassing purpose built harness. It’s designed for their Nomad system, but I’ve tested it with a few other harnesses, and it works pretty well for those too. The limitation is that it has to be y-shaped, and it has to be a harness you can access the chest straps for, not just the tummy straps. This one is nicely weather proof and very snuggly! Check PriceWilderdog Fleece Dog Jacket with Neoprene Neck Gaiter – Large – Olive – 1CtWarmQuickNeck coverageLeg strapsInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Waist BeltThese are lovingly referred to as “Pajamas” for Shelby. Shelby feels the cold more than Lucy (her sister), and if it’s kind of cold, and she’s struggling for warmth in the house, these go on. This coat isn’t waterproof, and it’s not really that heavy, so it’s perfect for a ‘seasonal change’ sort of coat. Check PriceRuffwear Climate ChangerWarmFleece base layerGood coverageSnug fitInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: ZipperThink of this like your winter thermals. You know when it’s bitter cold out, and you put on that snug layer close to your skin just to keep in the warmth? That’s the climate changer. It allows for a close snuggly fit on your dog and goes under a harness to ensure that your dog is warm. But, because of the materials, this offers nothing but warmth (maybe a little wind break?). For my dogs, this is perfect under another coat for truly bitter days.Check PriceRuffwear QuinzeeWarmWater resistantLeash PortalLeg strapsGood coverageReflective trimInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Side clipsThis coat is what I’d call a city dog coat. It provides minimal leg coverage (so it’s not going to be great for bitter winds), but for running around outside after the rain? This one may just work. Or if you’re using it in conjunction with something like an equafleece for a little added warmth!Check PriceRuffwear Hemp HoundHemp basedLight base layerInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: ZipperThis hemp based dog coat is a light layer. It’s a seasonal change or base layer that can work in conjunction with others. Because of it’s lightness it’s not really favoured in our home, and I rarely go “Oh, this would be perfect today”, but it’s an added option. I’d always favour the climate changer over this. Check PriceRuffwear Lumenglow High-Vis Dog JacketWaterproofLeash PortalGood coverageHighly reflectiveInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Side clipsIf you’re doing a lot of roadside walking, or walking in twilight hours, this one is perfect for a top layer. It provides good waterproofing and windproofing, and it’s sizing is quite large so that it can go over pretty much any jacket or coat. It’s not really going to keep your dog warm, but safe? Heck yes.Check PriceRuffwear StumptownLightweightWater resistantLeash PortalLeg strapsGood coverageInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Side clipsThe Stumptown is a wonderful “Autumn about town” dog coat. It’s not waterproof or windproof, but it’s a great second layer for that seasonal change. Check PriceKurgo Loft JacketWater resistantReflective trimAffordableWarmLeash PortalReversible designInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: ZipperThis coat is a pretty lightweight coat. It has this claim that it doesn’t make your dog itchy like other coats do, but that one remains to be seen! The Kurgo Loft Jacket is a durable too, and doesn’t catch for your bush-runners!Check PriceOneTigris Dog Jacket, Small Medium Large Dog Jacket Winter Coat Water Resistant Windproof ReflectiveWind resistantWater resistantShort on the backLeg strapsReflective pipingInsulation value: TBDClosure Type: Side clipsThis coat confuses me a little, it’s very short on the dog’s body, not overly waterproof, or warm. I’m very much trying to find a ‘space’ for it in my dogs wardrobe (gosh… #entitled) but this one just doesn’t seem to be fit for purpose sadly!Check Price
Our Best Dog Winter Coats
On a personal note, I have two coonhounds (slick coat) and a German Shepherd, the shepherd doesn’t ever wear a coat, his own natural coat is more than sufficient for him (he literally will go lay in the snow and make puppy angels out there), whilst my slick coated coonhounds get morning coats as early as October this year, but (much like us humans) I have a couple of different options for them, from sweater-style things, to rain coats and then full winter coats to ensure that they’re always in the right ‘mode’.
Here are my top picks for my hounds;
LucyShelbyWarm CoatRuffwear FurnessNon-Stop Glacier 2.0 (synthetic)Rain CoatNon-Stop FjordRuffwear Sun ShowerSweater/light jacketRuffwear Climate ChangerWilderdog CoatIn an ideal world, I’d have both hounds in the ruffwear furness, because I love the full coverage that it offers.
The Best For Your Best Doggo
These coats have been really thoroughly tested, and I’ve genuinely gone through these with a fine-toothed comb to get these results, from the best dog jackets, to the best waterproof dog coat. I’ve tried to highlight the coat features you need to know about, because whilst the Maryland poses one kind of winter weather and Alaska will do another entirely!
It’s really been a pleasure working with all of these coats, and many of them have a great purpose. I’ve tried to lay out what our favourites are, and where limitations might be, but our situation is not your situation! And you might decide that my best coats, aren’t yours. And that’s ok! Dog owners all have different needs, and this is here for you to find what is the very best choice for your dog.
What I can say? Is that this list is as accurate as you’ll find!
If you need help deciding on what coat or gear your dog might need, or even if there’s something on this list you feel needs to be here, feel free to get in touch and let’s discuss!
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!
Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!