Choosing the correct winter jacket for your dog can seem like a daunting task. With the myriad of different styles, fabrics, and brands now available to our canine companions, it’s easy to find variety, but it’s even easier to make a poor choice when selecting a jacket for your dog. We’ve tested many jackets with our pointer mix Bella in many different winter weather conditions, and we have several suggestions if you are looking to purchase the perfect winter layer for your own pup.
What to consider when buying a winter jacket for your dog
- What activities do you anticipate your dog will partake in while wearing the jacket?
- What kinds of weather do you expect to encounter?
- Will your dog likely be wearing this jacket during activity, at rest, or both?
- Are you looking for a multi-use jacket, or does this jacket need to fulfill a specific purpose?
- Will you need to pack this jacket down and carry it for your dog on the trail if conditions change? If so, does packability matter to you?
- Does your dog get cold easily, or does he or she have a long, thick coat?
- Would you like the jacket to fit under a harness, or do you need a leash portal for the jacket to go over a harness?
- Do you want to be able to layer multiple jackets?
What to avoid when buying a winter jacket for your dog
- Hoods…most dogs don’t tolerate them well or need them. However, a soft insulated neck piece, such as a snood feature, might be useful for dogs that get cold easily.
- Excessive trimmings, such as pockets or decorative zippers meant only for aesthetics. Unless you are planning on entering a fashion show, these features aren’t necessary, and if anything can get caught on branches and brush.
- Long sleeves can sometimes serve a purpose (see Hurtta’s Slush Combat Suit below), but typically they only serve to inhibit the motion of active dogs.
- Cheap fabrics and poorly made jackets. While they might be less expensive initially, dogs can put garments through their paces…you will likely end up spending more money buying multiple coats down the road. Furthermore, cheap jackets tend to not fit as well for active dogs on the move, and the fabrics aren’t as functional in inclement winter weather conditions.
The following are suggestions for winter jackets either Bella or some of her favorite canine BFFs have tested. These are all high-quality jackets that should last you and your dogs for years to come!
|Deep Snow||Extreme Warmth||Doesn’t Overheat||Moisture Resistance||Harness Portal||Packable||Layer-
|Ruffwear Cloud Chaser|
|Hurtta Combat Slush Suit|
|Stunt Puppy Sub Woofer|
|Stunt Puppy Puffy Doggy|
|Hurtta Extreme Warmer|
|Ruffwear Powder Hound|
|Ruffwear Fernie Sweater|
|Roraima Gear Fleece Hiking Sweater|
This is a great jacket that is moisture-resistant, prevents deep snow from getting inside, and also provides some wind-resistance. Breathable and flexible for active dogs. Full coverage on the stomach and legs is great for keeping out snow but makes it a little less convenient to put on.
Dogs with long or curly hair
Have a dog such as a labradoodle that overheats in most jackets, but suffers from uncomfortable balled up snow in her fur? This non-insulated jacket protects long and curly haired dogs from turning into the abominable snowman in the winter.
High-intensity activities, packed or minimal snow cover
We love this softshell jacket for winter running with Bella. It doesn’t overheat but adds breathable weather protection when the temperature dips. Easy on and off, exceptionally well made and designed, and as an added bonus the reflectors light up like none other at night. Not as ideal for very long trips in deep snow, as the snow can come in through the arms and chest piece.
This is a great, rugged jacket for walks in town or utility use such as on farms. Heavy-duty construction, attractive design, and a leash portal for use with a harness are some of our favorite features. Not the most packable option for hiking/backcountry use.
For dogs at rest or dogs that get very cold
Stunt Puppy’s Puff Doggy is a great jacket for winter camping, waiting in a cold car, or enjoying a drink outside at the ski resort. Maybe too warm for active use, unless your dog gets cold very easily! Hurtta’s Ultimate Warmer uses a unique foil fabric/technology to reflect body heat back to your dog, and a soft hood/snood that can be cinched over your dog’s head to keep ears warm and drafts out. Reflectors add nighttime visibility.
This is another great multi-use jacket. Very packable for use while hiking or longer trips in the backcountry. Water resistant, but not quite as thick or water resistant as the cloud chaser. Bella actually wears this jacket year-round…it works great for cold nights backpacking or car camping in the summer.
Fleece is a great material for cool, clear days, and form-fitting models also make for a nice, cozy layering option under outercoats. Ruffwear’s Fernie is a nice, thick, cozy knit fleece that is perfect for dry, cool days. Want a custom hiking sweater in fabulous prints tailored exactly to your dog’s measurements? Roraima Gear custom-makes awesome outdoor sweaters specific to your dog and fabric choices. Because Roraima Gear sweaters fit so perfectly, they are great to layer under outercoats.