There’s never been a wider range of clothing for our furry friends, whether it’s jackets and jumpers or tutus and booties (really). But for pure practicality, nothing beats a dog coat, and the latest garments have been designed for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
For this review, we sought out the input of several test dogs, including a Finnish lapphund called Benya and a poodle-bedlington terrier cross named Honey.
Our testing ground? Everything from gardens and urban streets to parks and vast expanses of Surrey wilderness. Our research highlighted the importance of several features, including the benefit of neck holes through which leads can be threaded (although hooks work equally well and made it easier to hang up the jacket when damp), and reflective, bright colours for night time dog walks.
It’s also important to carefully consider the jacket’s fit (especially with dog coats which err on the puffy side) to ensure there’s no material which could bunch up or obstruct your dog’s view.
Always check to see the available sizes before buying – some of the jackets we’ve included are available in just three sizes, while others have up to eight size options. However, a limited range of sizes should be less of a concern with jackets where there’s more room for adjustment due to features such as toggles and extra-long strips of Velcro.
Finally, consider the care instructions. Only two of our jackets – the Orvis and the Barbour dog coats – state “spot clean only”, due to their waxed finishes, although for many dog owners, the benefits of this type of finish will outweigh the hassle of occasional spot cleans, and the waxed finish means stains will be much easier to wipe away.
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Joules rain jacket water resistant pet coat
This is the ultimate accessory for discerning doggies keen to avoid the wet look, and its pièce de resistance is the design – cheery images of dogs sporting various types of rain protection (our favourite is the umbrella-toting corgi). Everything about this jacket, which has a concealed hole for leads and harnesses, screams quality, from the detailed motifs and the super-soft lining to the faux brass buttons on the neck strap and the toggle, designed to prevent material rubbing against your pet’s face when the collar is folded back. We ordered a medium (other sizes include a small, large and extra-large) and it was a perfect fit for our test dog, Honey – a poodle-Bedlington terrier cross. But don’t panic if your pooch puts on a pound or two – the double strips of Velcro on the tummy and neck straps are extra-long, so there’s plenty of room for adjustment.
Hugo & Hudson dog puffer jacket
Remember the sleeping bag-like puffer jackets which were incredibly popular in the Nineties? This is the canine equivalent, and is surprisingly chic thanks to the flattering cut and elasticated openings (at the rear, and for the legs) which prevent sagging or gaping. This particular coat fastens with a zip, rather than a tummy strap, although the huge range of sizes (there are eight to choose from) makes finding the perfect fit easy. Our one gripe? There’s no hole for a collar or lead.
Barbour wax dog coat
First things first, this particular jacket, available in six sizes ranging from XS to XXL, admittedly isn’t ideal if your dog’s prone to jumping in muddy ponds or rolling in fox poo – it’s a jacket for pooches who spend their days plodding around country estates or hanging out with highbrow hounds in the beer gardens of Cotswolds pubs. But despite its somewhat high maintenance design (care instructions state it’s sponge-clean only) there’s substance as well as style here – the extra-wide underbody strap, which relies on a buckle rather than Velcro, made it easy to put on and take off, and its waxed finished provides unbeatable waterproofing. Our favourite bit? The Balmoral-worthy tartan lining and Barbour’s royal warrant displayed on the inside of the coat in gold lettering.
Doodlebone combi-puffer jacket
This is a toasty, reversible dog jacket for pets who love to be the star of the show – not just because of the bright colours (blue/raspberry and orange/green) but because of the reflective piping around the edge. The material is surprisingly light, and concerns that the wide, puffy collar would irritate our test terrier’s neck area proved unfounded. There’s a small hole for leads, and side straps with supersized Velcro strips make it easy to take off. The fit was on the snug side, although the decent range of sizes (extra small, small, medium and large) means finding the right one shouldn’t be an issue.
Ruff & Tumble country dog drying coat
We’ve all been there. Your pooch comes in from what was possibly the muddiest walk in history, before embarking on the mother of all shaking sessions, spraying the walls, floor and family members with water and mud. But not any longer. This towel-like coat’s secret weapon is the double layers of material, designed to wick away moisture and trap body heat. Extra-wide straps at the neck and beneath the tummy made it easy to throw on (we found it perfect for post-walk car journeys, too) and a jaunty, colour-coordinated trim helps offset the shame of looking like drowned rat. Bonus points for the huge range of sizes – there are seven to choose from.
Orvis quilted waxed cotton dog coat
The microfleece lining on this waxed jacket will keep canine companions wonderfully warm without the hassle of added weight – this jacket feels surprisingly light, which we suspect is down to the material, a 60 per cent cotton blend. There’s no hole for a harness or lead, so this is a jacket best suited to dogs who don’t need to be leashed, although the low neckline means a lead could still be attached to a collar. The extra-wide tummy strap might pose a problem for shorter dogs, but it was also one of our favourite features – three large strips of Velcro allowed the jacket to be secured in record time, and the thickness and width of the strap means it will help keep the tummy area warm, too.
Joules Newdale quilted pet coat
You’ll struggle to find a cosier jacket than this one – a quilt-like dog coat with a soft, fleecy lining and thick, corded hems which didn’t dig into or chafe our tester dog’s fur or skin. We were also smitten with the detailing, including the embroidered logo and the brass press studs (although the latter are for appearance purposes only – the straps fasten with Velcro). There’s a cleverly-concealed hole for leads, too. And if you’re the kind of person who loves to coordinate their outfit with the one sported by their four-legged friend, you’re in luck – Joules does a human version of the Newdale coat, too.
Chipps all weather comfort coat
This beautiful waterproof jacket, with its faux-sheepskin collar and quilted design, resembles the type of garment sported by dogs who spend their winters in swanky Swiss ski resorts. A super-soft lining ensures maximum comfort, and the coat’s pocket is the perfect place to stash a couple of treats or (dare we say it) a small plastic bag, should you be caught short. An extra-long strip of Velcro on the tummy strap meant there was plenty of room for adjustment, although bear in mind that this is a coat designed for medium to large dogs – it’s only available in medium, large and extra-large sizes.
Doodlebone tweedy reversible dog jacket
A brilliant coat for dapper dogs who fear being seen in the same outfit twice, this reversible jacket has a colour-blocked quilt layer on one side and a super-soft tweed design on the other. The belly and neck straps feature ridiculously strong single strips of Velcro, ensuring it stays put – no matter what canine capers your dog embarks upon. We’d have loved to see a wider range of sizes (instead of just small, medium and large) and it’s worth noting that its longer profile means it’s best suited to lengthier dogs – and those with big bums, if the extra-wide tail end is anything to go by. Luckily, a toggle at the rear means it can be easily tightened for a more flattering fit (although far be it from us to dictate how much bum our pooch wants to flaunt).
3 Peaks 3 in 1 dog jacket black
This is the perfect jacket for dogs who want to stand out from the crowd – in a practical way. Although the brightly-coloured lightweight materials mean it’s a garment best suited to warmer days, its windproof and water-resistant qualities gave our downpour-hating doggie brilliant protection from light showers and winds. Available in small, medium, large and extra-large, it’s been designed with comfort in mind, with sealed seams and wide straps for under the tummy and around the neck. We also loved the fact that the hole for the harness or lead could be zipped up, keeping out chilly breezes and ensuring our four-legged friends stay snug, warm and dry.
The verdict: Dogs jackets
We’re suckers for a quirky motif and Joules’s rain jacket, with its cute rainwear-sporting dogs, came out top in this area, although we’re not just giving it the coveted best buy award for looks alone, but for the top quality design and materials, too. We loved Hugo & Hudson’s puffer jacket for the bright colours and huge range of sizes, while Doodlebone’s combi-puffer jacket gets a special mention for the carefully-considered design, including a handy toggle for easy adjustments.
For more pet accessories, read our review of the best dog collars
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