Winter Coats for Greyhound Dogs
What is the Best All-Weather or Winter Coat for your Retired Racing Greyhound?
Greyhounds need winter coats, if you live in a place that's got any kind of winter weather at all.This is especially true of retired racing greyhounds who lived in climate-controlled kennels at the track. Here in the far northeast, most of our greyhound pets come off the tracks in Florida, so real winter weather can be shock to these dogs!
Greyhounds just don't have the body fat to help them withstand a northern winter, and they also have a very thin coat - almost no undercoat to their fur at all, and bare skin on the underparts - so their resistance to the cold is quite limited. If you need to wear gloves, your greyhound needs a coat.
No worries, though, if you've just adopted a greyhound and you're wondering about what kind of cold-weather coat to get for him or her, I can help. Actually, I've given a ridiculous amount of time and energy to ensuring that my own greyhounds have a proper winter wardrobe, so here's what I've learned about the best winter coats for greyhounds. And if you've got questions, I'd be happy to try to answer - just leave a question in the comment section.
Photographs © Flycatcher unless otherwise noted
Best Winter Coats for Greyhounds - are Dog Coats Specially Designed for a Greyhound's Long Body
This is a picture of one of my greyhounds, a big 95-lb male, modelling his fleece-lined nylon winter coat - I call it a "ski jacket for greyhounds" and it's my top choice for winter dog wear. Both of my current greyhounds have matching coats just like this, too cute when they're walking or playing together!
This wonderful coat is the Great White North design, "Long & Lean" style made especially for greyhounds, by Chilly Dogs of Ottawa, Canada. (Up here in Canada, we do know a thing or two about winter weather!) I really do believe Chilly Dogs makes the best greyhound coats you'll find anywhere, especially if you've got a couple of active dogs who like to play in the snow. The coats stay on nicely when they rampage in the snow, with the high fleece collar and chest protector helping to maintain their body temperature, and the nylon shell keeps off the snow and rain.
Y-Front All-weather / Winter Greyhound Coats - Water-Repellent Nylon Shell with Cosy Fleece Fabric Lining
Made-in-USA Greyhound Coats
Scooter's Friends Fleece-Lined Winter Jackets with High Collar
Scooter's Friends brand greyhound coats, made in the USA and designed especially for the long lean body of the greyhound, are the next best thing I've found to Chilly Dogs coats.
Again, we've got a cosy fleece inside a nylon shell, with the Y-front that protects the chest and comes back between the front legs to fasten securely over the dog's back, protecting that almost hairless under-side from contact with snow and cold.
I'll go one about some other options in a minute, but I'll save you some time and tell you right now - if you live in a place where you get any amount of snow in the winter, and you've got fairly young or active greyhounds who like to get their exercise no matter what the weather, I don't think you can do better than the Chilly Dogs or Scooter's Friends greyhound coats.
29 inches long (medium) in Blue
Three Sizes, Three Colors
The large 31-inch winter coats are sized to fit most large male greyhounds. Scooter's Friends coats are also available in a medium size (29") appropriate for smaller male and larger female greyhounds, while smaller female greyhounds will most likely find the 27-inch size to be the best fit. Click through on any of these pictures to browse for your dog's correct sizes and choose a color from black, blue and pink choices.
Greyhound "Horse Blanket" Cold-Weather Coat
Homemade Greyhound Blanket Coat - DIY Sewing Project
This is a blanket coat I made for my first greyhound (that's him, the handsome brindle in the photo). The coat is sewn of cotton corduroy on the outside, with a double layer of fleece fabric on the inside, a very simple design. In fact, I made the sewing pattern right on him, by draping an old sheet over him and cutting it to size then using that as a pattern to cut the coat materials. I made it quite gracefully long over the tail end to keep it from blowing up in a wind, and it just ties closed under the dog's belly.
(If you're interested in sewing your own greyhound coat but prefer to work with more specific instructions, see my Retired Racing Greyhounds page for links to various free patterns I've found for greyhound clothing.)
Alternative: Buy a Blanket Coat for Large Dogs - Water Resistant and Wind-proof, Suitable for Greyhounds
Blanket style coats, like a little horse blanket, are usually the safest choice of style if you're considering a regular dog coat for a greyhound to wear. This is because greyhounds, although they are deep-chested dogs with an impressive girth around their rib cage, are also built narrow.
Measure the length of your greyhound from base of neck to the tail, to choose the coat size, and be prepared for the possibility that you may need to take a tuck in the belly band to shorten it up, as greyhounds have such a slim waist.
Fleece blanket coat with a wind-repelling outer shell of slick polyester.
Reversible waterproof shell with a reflective stripe for safety and visibility, and a soft plaid fleece inside.
Other Dog Coat Styles that can work for Greyhounds
Sometimes you can find a good dog coat that's made for another breed of dog, not specially made for greyhounds, that will fit a greyhound well enough. A regular dog coat is most likely to work for a greyhound when it is made to be super-adjustable (to fit around the greyhound's deep chest) and you'll most likely have to look at the XL or XX-Large size in order to get enough length.
Coats that seem to be a good fit for Weimeraners, Dobermans, and other deep-chested breeds are usually your best bet, though you may find - depending on how long your greyhound is - there may be a bit more tail sticking out than is ideal.
Most greyhounds don't like a cold rain, so they appreciate a rain coat. Warm rain, I don't think a rain coat is necessary. It's all about the dog's body temperature, after all. But in a cold sleet or freezing rain, something waterproof may be your dog's best friend - especially if he or she is fussy about going out to go potty when it's raining out.
Don't mind the non-greyhound-sized dog in the picture - this coat comes in a variety of sizes with adjustable velcro fastenings and the XXL is designed to fit a dog measuring up to 30 inches from base of neck to base of tail. It won't quite do for my very large male, for example, but ample for my female greyhound - and she's the one who is prissy about getting wet.
Watch the Fit! - Width of the Greyhound's Chest is as important as the Girth
With some of the coat styles made for other dog breeds - especially those with a piece that protects the chest and goes back between the front legs to fasten, Y shaped, around the body - the piece across the chest may be too wide to fit many greyhounds properly.
A great brand, but the width across the chest may be too wide for your greyhound's narrow chest. One of my greyhounds was unusually muscular in his chest so he could take a coat with a broader chest piece, but when it came time to hand that winterwear down to a younger brother, I had to take a little tuck in front to keep the fabric from bunching at the leg. Measure, measure, measure! Every greyhound is a little bit different.
The only real way to be sure is to measure your dog, and to recognize that the fit is most likely not going to be perfect unless you get a coat that is specially designed to fit a greyhound's unique body shape - long and lean. Fortunately, all kinds of greyhound clothes can be found, if you know where to look.
Greyhound Fashion Sources - Other places to buy winter coats and other warm clothing for Greyhounds
First, check out your local greyhound rescue group or greyhound adoption agency to see if there's anyone in the membership who makes greyhound gear as a fund-raising effort for the group. (I got a wonderful double-fleece blizzard coat custom-made for my over-sized male greyhound by that route.)
Similarly, keep an eye on eBay for greyhound coats for sale (and jammies, sweaters, and other gear), as a lot of greyhound owners who are skilled with the sewing machine have a little sideline in greyhound apparel. Dog clothing companies, too, sometimes put up lots of discontinued lines for auction on eBay just to clear their stock, so you can often find quite a good deal.
I like the active "ski jacket" style of the Chilly Dogs or Scooter's Friends greyhound coats, because my dogs and I have a pretty active lifestyle, but blanket coats are very elegant for walking in town.
Which greyhound coats do you like best?