Going outside is inevitable for dog-owners, no matter how torrential the downpour or severe the weather warning. And while many hounds object to clothing, there are days when an extra layer is essential.
Of course, there are as many options as there are breeds of dog, and an awful lot that serve no purpose beyond making your dog look cute on Instagram. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a coat that is durable and versatile too.
The ideal coat will be both warm and waterproof. It should be machine-washable, easy to put on and designed to accommodate a lead or harness. It shouldn’t slip around the body or affect the dog’s ability to do its business. And given that many dogs don’t love wearing clothing, it needs to be comfortable enough that they can forget they’re wearing it.
If you have a large breed though, often a standard XL won’t suffice, while long-bodied dogs need something adjustable that can accommodate their proportions.
I enlisted my reluctant mini Goldendoodle, Bodhi – 11.3kg, 60cm neck-to-tail, 54cm around the ribcage – to put the best to the test.
Danish Design 2-in-1 Harness dog coat: £13.95 - £35.95, Notinthedoghouse.co.uk
This coat looks, feels and performs way beyond its price tag. We took it out in heavy rain and it made for decent protection. The Velcro straps must be threaded through loops and folded back on themselves, a system that made for a secure, comfortable fit. It is harness-friendly, machine-washable and the fleece liner is removable, making it equally suitable for summer months. It’s only available in black but has reflective beading for visibility on night-time walks.
Liberty print dog coat: £74.99, Teddy Maximus
We took this soft, shower-proof navy number out for coffee in Notting Hill, and Bodhi got plenty of compliments on the Liberty print collar. It’s lined with navy fleece and has a removable lower section that fastens at the neck with poppers and around the waist with a Velcro belt. It comes in six colours, is machine washable and can even be personalised.
It’s suitable for long-bodied dogs, but the sizing won’t accommodate very large breeds. Even though the sample we borrowed was on the large side, it held together well, and was so comfortable, Bodhi fell asleep in it.
Stumptown jacket: £74.95: Ruffwear.co.uk
This Ripstop jacket is tough as nails and though it’s insulated (with recycled polyester), it feels thin and lightweight. Hidden adjustable straps on either side fasten easily with a secure buckle – once adjusted, it fitted Bodhi like a glove. It has a reflective trim for low light conditions, and a portal on the back so a harness can be worn beneath. It can be washed in a machine on a cold, gentle cycle, plus the teal hue was unusual and looked sharp.
Barbour Battersea waxed dog coat: £44.95, Outdoor and Country
Made from the same waxed cotton as Barbour’s ‘human’ coats, this is a high-performance, waterproof design with a tartan lining and brown needlecord collar. The buckles were a little fiddly, but we love that it offers a huge range of sizes (from toy breeds up to a Great Dane) and that Barbour donates £5 from the purchase of this coat to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Reversible navy-and-red puffer dog jacket: £39.99 - £45.99, Purplebone
Who doesn’t love a cosy puffer on a freezing cold day? This reversible coat fastens with Velcro panels at the belly and neck, and once on, seemed comfortable, secure and warm. It can be machine washed at 30 degrees and even tumble-dried. The only downside here is that the size range is pretty limited – the large barely reached Bodhi’s tail.
Weatherbeeta Reflective 300D parka: from £22.99, Millbry Hill
There’s absolutely no chance of losing your dog in this neon, reflective jacket – it’s perfect for late walks in poorly-lit areas. It’s waterproof and well-insulated – Bodhi seemed really snug and comfortable wearing it. It’s fitted with strong Velcro strips at the neck and belly - the lower strap is also adjustable, so there’s no loose fabric. It’s harness-friendly and machine washable too.
Quilted coat: £119.50 - £139.50, Mungo & Maud
We liked the quilted finish and smart navy-cobalt collar of this designer coat. It is nice and lightweight, with a rain-proof cotton-blend exterior. It fastens easily with Velcro straps that wrap around the back and I could see it fitting a stouter breed as easily as it did Bodhi. It’s a truly beautiful product that comes in plenty of sizes, but also the most expensive coat we reviewed, and on top of that, dry clean only.
Hurtta casual quilted dog coat: £44.99 - £55.99, Fetch
Hurtta is a Finnish brand, so we can assume it knows something about keeping warm and dry. We loved this lightweight funnel-neck coat that can be worn by any dog but was especially designed for short-haired and hairless breeds – as well as those, like Bodhi, who have just had a severe haircut. There’s a zip running down the back that makes it easy to put on and reflective strips for low light. It comes in three colours and a generous range of sizes.
Highgate hoodie: £78, Baker & Bray
Inspired by the name of this coat, we took it to meet a friend in Highgate. We found the hood to be more aesthetic than functional – it sat behind Bodhi’s head – but the navy and orangey-red colour combination looked really smart. The exterior is waterproof cotton and the lining is cosy fleece. It can’t be used with a harness, however, and does need to be hand-washed or dry-cleaned.
Reversible tartan dog coat: £10 - £16, Next
This is a simple, versatile jacket that’s great value for money. It’s quilted, with a tartan print on one side and plain navy on the other. The navy cord collar makes it look more expensive than it is. It can even be washed in a machine at 40 degrees. Of course, at this price, you can’t expect everything - it has no outlet for a harness, and though Bodhi is on the small side, he was wearing a large.
The Verdict: Best dog coats
Every dog-owner is going to have a different set of requirements, and while others won points for aesthetics (Teddy Maximus, Baker & Bray and Barbour especially), Danish Design really impressed us with its quality, versatility and price.
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