How to Measure a Dog for a Coat: Average Measurements & Sizing Guide

Want to protect your pup against the cold, rain and snow? You’re going to need a dog coat. It’s simple to think that dog coats all come as standard – but to get the best fit for your pooch; you’ll need to know how to measure a dog for a coat beforehand.

Don’t worry – below, we take you through what you need to know, from measuring neck to tail and everything in between.

Some dog breeds need coats more than others – whether it’s fur length, attitude to changes in temperature – or just their attitude to rain! In our experience, keeping your pup safe, dry and warm is only ever a good thing. Otherwise, your pet will end up a soggy doggy, and they could develop all kinds of health problems.

Knowing how to measure for a dog coat will ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness – we’ll show you the way to get the right measurements.

Why Should I Buy a Dog Coat?

Buying a coat for your dog is an act of love – you’re looking after their health. Regardless of dog breed or size, all pups are going to feel more than a bit chilly in the rain and snow, and for that reason, a waterproof and/or insulated coat is going to be a fantastic asset.

You should consider purchasing your dog a coat if you’re likely to walk them in all weathers – rain, snow, hail, wind, the works. What’s more, many dog coats offer high-vis in low light – so you can safely take your dogs on night time walks without worrying about losing track.

Buying a quality dog coat, and one that fits, is even more important – you want to ensure that your dog measures for a jacket or coat properly for means of safety, comfort and ease of use from day to day.

However, not all dogs necessarily need a coat – it might be that they have longer fur than most already and might be at risk of overheating with anything extra thrown on.

Therefore, keep reading and we’ll take you through which dogs are likely to benefit from the added support. It’s tempting to wrap them up in cotton wool – but not always healthy.

Dog Coat Sizing

When you start looking into dog coat sizes and measurement, you’ll likely find that they tend to be fairly generic. Many popular dog coat ranges offer ‘extra small’, ‘small’, ‘medium’, ‘large’ and ‘extra large’ options – but these sizes aren’t particularly clear when it comes to different breeds.

That’s why it’s so important to take into account your dog’s own measurements and girth. The smallest sizes of dog coats might fit measurements for chihuahuas, dachshunds and bichon frises – but every dog is different when it comes to precise measurements. Your beagle might have a broad chest, or your Jack Russell might be on the portly side!

It’s tempting to follow ‘simple’ sizing charts on Amazon and to assume that you’ll buy the right chest size for your dog. However, get a size too small and your pup will feel restricted – so you’d better get those measurements down pat pretty fast with a measuring tape.

Measure from the Neck to the Base of the Tail

How should a Dog Coat Fit?

The whole length measurement of a dog coat should run from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. This tends to be the main measurement that sets dog coats apart, but you also need to consider their neck circumference, as well as their girth.

Firstly, measure the length of your dog from the base of their neck to the base of their tail, and take down the measurement in cm and inches (just in case). You’ll need to keep these measurements to hand when you consult any sizing guide or chart.

Your dogs neck measurement is important as this is where your dog might feel restricted with a small size of coat. So, once you have your back length, measure the circumference around your dog’s neck.

Then, you’ll need to measure the girth of your dog. To do this, you need to measure your dog’s chest at its widest. You’ll find this easy to do just behind their front legs.

Breeds That Really Need a Coat

  • Chinese Crested – Fluffy on the head but pretty bare on the body, back and legs; this pup really needs some extra warmth.
  • Italian Greyhound – This super short-haired breed is likely to get chilly, so buy a coat to keep your dog warm.
  • Whippet – Whippets are very similar to greyhounds – slim and very short-haired – they need extra protection.
  • Greyhound – Greyhounds are skinny and have barely any fur – so grab the measuring tape.
  • Chihuahua – Small and feisty, but they could do with extra visibility and added protection.
  • Staffies – The Staffy bull terrier might look tough, but they’ll thank you for the extra warmth on their back.
  • French Bulldog – Small and cute but prone to getting lost, consider a high-vis coat as well as a collar.
  • Pug – Similarly to Frenchies, these cute pets are small but likely to wander – be careful, as they can overheat easily.
  • Boxer – Like Staffies, boxers look fierce but are likely to get chilly in even mild rain – wrap up their back at least.
  • Yorkshire Terrier – They look fuzzy enough, but if you can wrestle your Yorkie to put on a jacket, it’s worth it!
  • Great Dane – Seriously enormous; a coat might look daft on a Dane, but they feel the cold more than many other breeds.
  • Beagle – Beagles can be chubby, but don’t assume their bodily fat is enough to protect them against the chill.

Types of Dog Coat

Winter Coats to keep Fido Warm

Grab an insulated coat for your pup if they have short hair or if you’re likely to trot them out in the Arctic freeze. These come insulated and padded to lock in the heat around the back and frame. Just make sure you measure for the right dog coat size and secure carefully.

Cooling Jackets for Dogs

Some more energetic dogs can overheat easily. Even short-haired pets are likely much warmer than us deep down. A cooling jacket of the right length and other measurements will carefully absorb heat. Make sure to research top brands and makes, however, as there are some cheap and nasty options.

Waterproof Dog Coats

Waterproof dog coats, of course, are great in the rain. Carefully measure the from the base of your dogs neck along the length of the back and dress them up in a cagoule or mac that will let water splash and slide off in torrential conditions. Dogs that hate rain will likely love them!

Dog Anxiety Jackets

Dog anxiety jackets are often called thunder shirts or thunder vests. They help to calm down an anxious pup by applying gentle, regulated pressure to their chest and across their body. They are also great for showing others that they are anxious and may therefore be temperamental in public places.

Dog Drying Coats

Behold, the miracle of science – stop your dog from shaking rain and wet everywhere with a drying jacket, which will soak up any water on their fur before you get home. Great for longer haired breeds and those who just like drying off through the ‘natural method’ – watering the house! Check out our recommended dog drying jackets.

Fashion Coats

Of course – there are more than a few items out there that strive to keep your pup looking stylish as a priority! Measure up for a fashion jacket and your pooch will look stunning while striding the pavement – there may even be some sizes of fashion coats with warmth benefits, too.


What size dog coat for a Cocker Spaniel UK?

Cocker Spaniels will do best with dog coats that measure at least 18 inches or 45cm. That’s ‘small to medium length on a size guide, generally.

How Tight Should a Dog Coat Be?

You need to be able to fit at least two fingers between your dog and its coat – both comfortably around your dogs chest and neck.

What Size is a Large Dog Coat?

Length measurement for a large size may vary depending on the size guide, but it’s generally 50cm (20 inches) or larger. Consider a labrador dog coat, for example.

The Last Word

We’ve all seen a size guide or length guide for dog coats online, and some are simpler than others. To avoid all doubt, you really need to make sure you grab that tape measure and know your exact coat size – that’s step 1. Step 2, of course, is looking for a great quality jacket from a brand you trust and of a type/fit your pooch will benefit from.

In this guide, we’ve taken a look at plenty of different coats and breeds that will benefit from a good quality jacket. However, getting that coat size right will make all the difference when it comes to comfort, safety and security, as well as all added benefits. Always measure from the base of their neck to the base of the tail – at the very least, get the measurement for back length! Remember, UK sizes differ from European and US measurements.

Sometimes, a collar isn’t enough – your dogs might need extra help on your part to fight against the weather. If you’re unsure what, size coat will work best for your pup, make sure you get your measurements straight – that’s length, circumference, chest size.

John Devlin

Blogger and owner of George and Henry. Two gorgeous goldens that couldn’t be more different. One is a dream loving and caring, and his sibling is as naughty as can be. When I am not blogging about dogs, I love watching sport and travelling with the family.
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