Does My Dog Need a Winter Coat?

With winter fast approaching, many owners are concerned that their four-legged friends will get cold while out walking. But with so many different breeds, it is hard to decide whether or not our dogs need a coat for the outdoors. Most owners think that if they are cold while outside, then their dogs must be too. This might seem like a good thought, but some owners may not realize that their dogs’ coats may actually be designed to handle such harsh weather. Let’s take a look at the different coat types of our dog breeds:

Single/Short Coats
Dogs with this coat type only have a top coat of fur, often consisting of short and almost ‘spikey’ hair. Breeds with this coat type include; Chihuahuas, Boxers, Bulldogs, Dalmatians, Boston Terriers, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Sighthounds, Beagles, Pugs, Labrador Retrievers, etc. Breeds of this coat type may need a winter coat depending on this individual pet. For example, greyhounds and other sighthounds have a much lower body fat percentage compared to other breeds and will need a winter coat to be able to keep warm.

Double Coats
Double coated dogs have a ‘top coat’ and an ‘undercoat’. The top coat consists of stiff hairs that act as a water-repellant guard, while the undercoat insulates the dog’s body from harsh climates. Dogs of this breed often ‘blow their coats’ twice a year. Breeds with double coats include Chow Chows, Huskies, Akitas, Malamutes, American Eskimos, Finnish Spitz, Pomeranians, Shiba Inu, Australian Shepherds, Collies, German Shepherd, St. Bernard, etc. Breeds of this coat type are designed to handle harsh weather and should not need a winter coat.

Long Coats
These are the breeds that you can visualize in hair commercials with their long flowy coats. They often require daily grooming to maintain tangle and matt free coats. Breeds of this coat type include Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Afghan Hound, Havanese, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, etc. Dogs of this breed may need a winter coat depending on the individual pet.

Wire Coats
The outer fur of breeds with this coat type has a ‘wiry’ or coarse texture. Dogs of this breed do not shed their coats and require grooming to manually strip the hair. Breeds with this coat type include Brussels Griffon, Border Terrier, West Highland Terrier, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, etc. Dogs of this breed are relatively weathered ‘hardy,’ meaning they can withstand short walks in harsh climates, however, some individuals may benefit from a coat.

Curly Coats
Curly coated breeds can have tight or loose curls that often require full grooming to clip away the hair. Breeds with this coat type include Poodles, Bichons, Portuguese Water Dogs, Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, etc. Breeds of this coat type should be able to withstand short walks in winter climates without a coat. However, smaller breeds of this coat type may require a jacket depending on the individual.

Places you can purchase a coat for your dog in Canada are:

  1. Petsmart
  2. Greenhawk
  3. Ren’s Pets Depot
  4. Rompin’ Houndwear (specializes in Greyhound and sighthound apparel)
  5. Chilly Dogs
  6. Canada Pooch

Written by: Brittney, ACA