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Hurtta Dog Coat

Best Dog Coats and Sweaters For Active Pups

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These days, a warm winter coat is just part of several items I include for my dog when we head outdoors for a winter adventure. I used to think dog coats and sweaters were only for small dogs, purse puppies, or meant to act as a fashion statement. 

Since becoming more active during the winter months, however, I’ve come to appreciate the functional use of a jacket for my dog.

Aside from keeping him warm, a dog coat also can also keep your dog dry, which means a cleaner car and less mess when you get back home.

The list below includes my top dog coat and sweater recommendations for active dogs. This means that they are all made from high quality materials, designed for maximum range of motion, and perform well in the elements.

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Brand

Price

Buy

Voyagers K9 Apparel Tummy Warmer

Voyagers K9 Apparel Tummy Warmer

$37-$48

Voyagers K9 Apparel Winter Coat

Voyagers K9 Apparel Winter Coat

$84-$110

Hurtta Extreme Warmer

Hurtta Extreme Warmer

$82.51

Hurtta Expedition Parka

Hurtta Expedition Parka

$80.50

Stumptown Quilted Dog Jacket

Ruffwear Stumptown Quilted Dog Coat

$64.95

Gold Paw Fleece

Gold Paw Stretch Fleece

$22-$40

Do Large Dogs Need Coats?

A common misconception is that large dogs don’t require jackets. For whatever reason, they seemed to be marketed only to small dogs in the past, though it’s become more common to see coats and sweaters on all sizes and breeds of dogs today.

Northern breeds with thicker coats, like Huskies, Malamutes, and Samoyeds typically stay plenty warm thanks to their thicker fur. Larger breeds with short fur, like Dobermans, German Short-Haired Pointers, and Greyhounds will likely require a coat if you’re planning to spend time outdoors on a cold day.

Even Sitka, who has both thicker and longer fur gets cold more frequently than I would expect. I’ve learned to always bring him a jacket on car camping trips, when we go backpacking, and always during winter activities.

There is no hard rule for which breeds require coats. If your dog gets cold or you’re going to be spending time outdoors, it makes sense to invest in a quality winter jacket for your dog.

At What Temperature Do Dogs Need Coats?

There is no magic number, but a general rule of thumb is to consider a coat or sweater for your dog when the temperature falls below 45℉.

Dogs also acclimate to different climates. For example, there are Huskies who do just fine in hot climates, like Arizona, and short-haired dogs who get used to the cold. It depends on the exposure and their individual body performance in weather.

Rather than use the temperature to determine whether your dog needs a coat, learn how to tell if your dog is cold and base the need for a jacket off those signs. These include:

  • Shivering
  • Panting
  • Ears and paws are cold to the touch
  • Lethargy
  • Slow heart rate

Since smaller dogs are closer to the ground, they may require jackets at warmer temperatures, since they will be practically rubbing their belly along the chilly surface. 

Lastly, seniors and sick dogs tend to become cold more easily, so even if your dog has longer fur, keep an eye on them as they age to determine if they might start to require a winter jacket.

Fitting and Selecting Dog Coats and Sweaters

There are a ton of dog coats and sweaters available on the market and not all are designed for performance. Some are purely made for looks, while others provide protection from the elements.

Specifications

When choosing a winter coat for your dog, think about the kind of activities you do, and what your dogs needs are. If you hike, cross country ski, backcountry ski, snowshoe, or do another winter sport, look for coats and sweaters with the following functions:

  • Waterproof or water resistant
  • Windproof or wind resistant
  • Insulating
  • Made with Ripstop Nylon
  • Snug, but not tight, fit
  • Reflective piping or design
  • Spot for harness or collar, depending on what your dog wear

Fit

Many coats are designed to fit dogs based on their weight. However, this sizing does not take into account their body measurements, breed, or body shape.

Look for dog coats and sweaters that are custom fit or have multiple adjustments that allow you to alter the coat to fit your dog’s unique shape.

Make sure to take a look at the sizing chart and measure your dog (twice!) before ordering the jacket. You want the coat to fit snugly, but not too tight.

Too tight will restrict their movement and cause chafing, too loose will not keep them warm.

Favorite Dog Coats and Sweaters for Active Pups

I have tried most of the coast mentioned in this article and have two clear favorites: Voyagers K9 Apparel jackets and Hurtta North America. Both brands make exceptional dog coats and sweaters that are worth every penny.

Voyagers K9 Apparel Tummy Warmer

Voyagers K9 Apparel Tummy Warmer

For chilly, but not frigid days, the Voyagers K9 Apparel Tummy Warmer is a great base layer. The thick fleece will keep your dog plenty warm, but not too hot. On very cold days, the Polartec© fleece fits beneath the company’s winter coat (see below) and rain coat.

Voyagers K9 Apparel dog coats are all made to fit specific breeds or use custom measurements for mixed breeds. I have three jackets from this brand and they all fit Sitka perfectly.

This sweater comes in a number of fun colors, including turquoise, which is what I picked for Sitka. I love that it slides on easily over my dog’s head and Velcros under the belly. I can put it on in seconds.

A bonus with the Tummy Warmer is that it doubles as a Thunder Jacket for nervous dogs.

Ideal for:

  • Chilly hikes
  • Winter beach visits
  • Daily walks
  • Layering beneath a waterproof jacket
  • Summer and Fall camping trips

For more about the Tummy Warmer, see my product review here.

Voyagers K9 Apparel Winter Coat

Voyagers K9 Apparel Winter Coat

This is the first jacket I ever bought for Sitka. The steep price tag delayed my purchase for a couple months, but I am so glad I let go of the number and bought this winter coat.

Since Sitka is a mutt, the Voyager K9 Apparel Winter Coat is custom designed to his exact measurements. It fits like a glove and it’s so easy to put on. I love that I don’t have to deal with putting his feet into sleeves. 

The neck can be scrunched down to keep the neck warm or be pulled up and over the dog’s ears for added warmth. It is designed to wear over the Tummy Warmer for an extra layer of warmth, which is nice for dogs more prone to the cold.

The Winter Coat is ideal for:

  • Snow outings
  • Temperatures below freezing
  • Outdoor activities in inclement weather
  • Cold, wet weather
Hurtta Extreme Warmer

Hurtta Extreme Warmer

This Finnish brand with a North American presence makes some of the best jackets for dogs out there. Since Finland is a cold place, they know all about staying warm.

The Extreme Warmer will keep your dog warm in rough winter conditions thanks to the foil liner on the inside that reflects heat back onto your dog. The fabric is made from a shell Polyester and covered with 3M reflectors.

The breathable material will prevent your dog from overheating, while keeping them dry and warm. The hood can be adjusted and pulled over your dog’s ears to provide additional protection from the elements. 

With multiple adjustment points along the back, legs, and neck, Hurtta jackets will handily fit most dogs. Be sure to measure according to the chart for best fit.

This jacket includes both a harness and collar opening for easy leash attachment. What is great about Hurtta is that the jackets can fit a wide range of dogs, from dachshunds to great danes.

The Winter Coat is ideal for:

  • Snow outings
  • Temperatures below freezing
  • Outdoor activities in inclement weather
  • Cold, wet weather
Hurtta Expedition Parka

Hurtta Expedition Parka

Specifically designed for dogs with short hair and without an undercoat, the Expedition Parka will keep any dog warm in cold weather. This jacket is made for the active dog, allowing for full range of motion for winter sports, agility, and playing.

For perfect fit, the back, collar, and neckline can all be adjusted easily with the pull of a drawstring. The waterproof fabric will keep your dog dry and warm even in wet conditions after a long day in the mountains.

The Winter Coat is ideal for:

  • Snow outings
  • Temperatures below freezing
  • Outdoor activities in inclement weather
  • Cold, wet weather
  • Dogs with short hair or no undercoat
Stumptown Quilted Dog Jacket

Ruffwear Stumptown Quilted Dog Coat

This stylish winter dog coat from Ruffwear comes in three colors and is made from a durable water-resistant fabric. The recycled polyester insulation keeps your dog warm and dry after a romp in the snow.

A harness opening on the back allows for easy leash attachment and the reflective trim ensures that your dog can be spotted after dark. 

The adjustable side clips help create a snug fit and sizes range from xxs to xl. 

Ideal for: 

  • Chilly hikes
  • Winter beach visits
  • Daily walks
  • Layering beneath a waterproof jacket
  • Summer and Fall camping trips
  • Clear, cold days
Gold Paw Fleece

Gold Paw Stretch Fleece

This fleece is a great shoulder season sweater for your dog. The Gold Paw Stretch Fleece is made in the USA (as are all of their products) with recycled materials and biodegradable packaging. 

Available in several different colors and patterns, this fleece has a harness opening, can be layered beneath other jackets, and is made with super soft recycle polyester. As an even bigger bonus, Gold Paw products are super affordable!

Ideal for:

  • Chilly hikes
  • Winter beach visits
  • Daily walks
  • Layering beneath a waterproof jacket
  • Summer and Fall camping trips

Do you have a favorite dog coat or sweater not mentioned here?

What is most important to you when selecting a winter jacket for your dog?

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The best dog coats and sweaters for active dogs Pinterest Image
Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. I am based in the Pacific Northwest and I never leave home without my dogs.

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