The incredible number and varied nature of features and fabrics associated with different dog sweaters ensure that there is, indeed, a sweater for every dog.
Have you ever forgotten to check the weather before taking your dog on a walk and realized that you probably should have brought a jacket with you because you’re wet and cold? Imagine how your dog feels, they’re probably chilly too!
Dog sweaters are a great way to protect your chilly dog from the elements. Different dog breeds may require different sweaters due to being of different sizes or having different characteristics. Luckily for you, and your dog, there are plenty of different dog sweaters to choose from! Some sweaters are designed for small dogs only and many have a wide variety of sizes and colors to choose from.
Help your favorite furry friend live their best pet life with one of our 8 best sweaters for every dog size.
Dog Sweater 101
Dog sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, designs, and colors. What to look for in a dog sweater, or any dog clothing, comes down to the specifics of your particular dog. Some dogs may not even need a sweater or coat so it’s important to make sure that you are getting your dog the best gear possible. Take a look at our dog sweater basics below!
What Dogs Need Sweaters?
Not all dogs need sweaters. Depending on the age, size, and stature of your dog, a sweater may be detrimental to your dog’s well-being. For other dogs, going without a sweater can lead to undesirable, and sometimes deadly, consequences.
Dogs that will need sweaters are dogs that fit into one or more of the following categories: small breed dogs, puppies, short-haired dogs, older dogs, dogs with medical conditions, and short-legged dogs.
Small breed dogs and puppies have low body weight, and not much muscle mass to keep them warm. Short-haired dogs, even a large dog like a Great Dane, typically won’t have an insulating coat. Small breed dogs, puppies, and short-haired dogs will all need a dog sweater or a coat for extra warmth in cold conditions as their bodies are not able to retain enough body heat on their own.
Older dogs and dogs with medical conditions may not have the strength or ability to retain heat either. Older dogs often have weaker immune systems and certain medical conditions can interfere with the body’s ability to retain heat and a stable body temperature. Dog clothing can help prevent older dogs from becoming sick and dogs with medical conditions from worsening conditions.
Short-legged dogs often require sweaters because of their stature. They are low to the ground and may have their stomach run across cold surfaces like snow piles or cold leaves.
Dogs need dog clothes, particularly sweaters, in the cold weather. Winter is a prime time for dog sweater wearing. In winter, the cold weather outside puts some dogs, particularly the ones mentioned above, in precarious situations.
An all-too-common danger for the at-risk dogs is hypothermia, a condition where the body’s temperature becomes too low to properly function. Signs of mild hypothermia in dogs include dilated pupils, shallow breathing, and slow reflexes. In extreme cases, hypothermia can lead to death. Wearing a dog sweater, dog jacket, or dog coat can be a great deterrent to these symptoms.
However, a dog sweater, jacket, or winter coat does not protect the dogs’ paws from frostbite and potentially dangerous chemicals on the icy ground. In this case, dog boots can be extremely helpful.
Depending on the material of the dog sweater or dog jacket, your dog might get wet and cold if it’s raining. If it’s precipitating and cold, you may want a dog raincoat to best protect it from becoming wet and cold enough for mild hypothermia.
While an excellent dog sweater or winter coat may be great outside, in the cold weather, there are times when your dog should not be wearing a sweater.
A few main situations in which your dog should not be wearing a dog sweater are when they have a thick dense coat already, they are inside, or when the temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. There may be some exceptions.
For instance, if you have a very small dog or a very new puppy, you may want extra warmth for them if it is chilly inside. In late autumn and early spring, the weather may be just above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, however, your small dog may still need a dog sweater, especially if they are a short-haired dog.
The reason for not wearing a dog sweater in these situations is to prevent your dog from overheating. Some common signs of overheating can range from the dog pulling at the sweater to take it off, all the way to red ears, extra red gums, and red skin. Another common symptom is excessive drooling or panting.
Important Features of Sweaters
There are many things to consider when purchasing any clothes for your dog, especially a dog sweater, a dog jacket, or a dog coat. Of course, as a dog owner, you want it to be in a cute color that makes your dog look totally adorable. But, in addition to making your dog look totally adorable, the dog sweater that you purchase should be functional and safe.
Functionality is one of the most important features in a sweater for it to be considered one of the best dog sweaters.
It must provide an appropriate amount of warmth for your dog in the cold weather. If your dog is small and has low muscle mass, perhaps you want a sweater with extra warmth factors. Or maybe you have a French bulldog with high muscle mass, and you want a more breathable sweater.
A second key feature in a functional dog sweater is the leash hole. Sweaters are to be worn outside, generally on walks. A sweater with a leash hole will make it easier to attach the leash and less of a struggle for the dog owner and the dog. Some dog sweaters even have a leash attachment to make the process even easier!
Lastly, an important feature of functionality in your dog sweater is the design. A 2-legged design makes it easier for a dog to do their business outside. Frequently, as one of the best dog sweaters, a 2-legged design is also a pullover. Pullovers can be quick and easy to put on. Occasionally you will find a button-up sweater that is just as great.
The dog sweater that you purchase should be safe for your dog. Ask yourself the following questions: Is the sweater constricting my dog’s neck? Is my dog sufficiently mobile? Can my dog adequately go to the bathroom? Is my dog having an allergic reaction to the material?
These are some of the basic questions every dog owner should have about their dog’s clothing.
Fabric and Fashion
There are many different fabrics used in dog clothing in general, and specifically in dog sweaters. You want to prioritize the quality of the material over the fashion statement the sweater is making. The best dog sweater will have both refined fabrics and fashion. Below are some of the fabrics that are used to create some of the best dog sweaters available. They are also, coincidentally, many of the fabrics used in cat toys.
Acrylic fabric is created by plastic threads woven together. Popular fossil fuel sources for the plastic threats are natural gas and petroleum. It is similar to wool, being soft and fluffy to the touch, but much more elastic allowing it to stretch more and take different shapes. Unfortunately, some poor-quality acrylic fabric can be subject to loose strands of fiber and pilling.
Cotton is a natural fiber, coming from the cotton plant. Firstly, cotton tends to be softer than other fabrics due to the fine nature of its fibers. This makes cotton very breathable. On the flip side, cotton tends to shrink and can fade or dull over time.
Fleece is made from very fine polyester and blended fibers to be brushed out into a fuzzy fabric. It is a soft, lightweight, and easy maintenance fabric, however, its insulating qualities disappear when fleece becomes wet.
A standard polyester fabric, also known as polyethylene terephthalate, is a woven synthetic material made from petroleum-derived products. Polyester is flexible, strong, and dries quickly but it is often not very breathable. Terylene is a type of polyester.
Polyurethane is a plastic material used in a variety of goods today. Concerning clothing, polyurethane is tear-resistant, very flexible, and a great insulator. While polyurethane may have some good qualities it does not do well in direct sunlight.
Finally, wool is a coarse fiber made mostly out of the protein keratin. Wool has a high level of moisture absorption without feeling wet, is durable, and retains heat. The downside of wool is that it can be scratchy and uncomfortable, and it can shrink easily.
Big Dogs and Little Dogs
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. From a toy poodle to a Great Dane our pups and furry friends of different dog breeds deserve the best pet life imaginable. For some of those dogs, a wonderful pet life means dog clothes in the winter.
Before you can spoil your best bud with a cute dog sweater, you must measure your dog to find the appropriate sizing that will fit their body. Most of the best dog sweater sizes go by chest measurement. Some sweaters use neck and back measurements as well, but it is often recommended to use the chest measurement as the main measurement. Whatever size your dog’s chest fits into is the size that will fit best.
Dogs are split into three main dog breed sizes: small breed dogs, medium breed dogs, and large breed dogs.
Small breed dogs weigh less than 22 pounds. The toy poodle, the Yorkshire terrier, the mixed breed yorkiepoo, and the French bulldog are considered to be small breed dogs.
Medium breed dogs can weigh anywhere from 22 pounds to 55 pounds and would likely include the female standard poodle, the female Australian shepherd, and many other dog breeds too. There is a wide range of medium breed dogs.
Large breed dogs are categorized as weighing more than 55 pounds. Some notable large breed dogs would include the male standard poodle, the female Australian shepherd, Great Dane, and the golden retriever.
The 8 Best Dog Sweaters for Every Dog Size
There are just as many different types of dog sweaters as there are dog breeds. Each sweater has its pros and cons. There is no one right answer, everything comes down to your particular dog and their needs. Take a look through our top 8 dog sweaters for every dog size and try the one that fits your dog’s size and needs.
JECIKELON – Knitwear Dog Sweater
This Knitwear Dog Sweater produced by JECIKELON is made of wool to keep your dog nice and warm. The wool threads are very fine, giving the sweater a soft-to-the-touch texture, making sure your dog is comfortable in both feel and warmth. The wool has a classic design stitched into it for an excellent fashion statement for your pup and the sweater has a 2-legged design.
The sweater is made for small breed dogs, weighing between 1.3 lbs – 16.3 lbs with a chest measurement of 24cm – 51cm, and is available in the following colors: pink, brown, dark blue, green, gray, khaki, light blue, navy blue, purple, red, rose red, and wine red.
Gooby – Fleece Vest Dog Sweater
Gooby’s Fleece Vest Dog Sweater is an excellent quality fleece dog sweater. The fleece makes the dog sweater lightweight but warm and soft. The fleece is one of the fleece sweaters that is a pullover with a 2-legged design. The dog sweater also has a leash attachment, creating a fleece sweater that is functional and comfortable.
The fleece dog sweater is made for small, and some medium, breed dogs. The fleece sweater is best for dogs that weigh between 3lbs – 29lbs and have a chest measurement of 28cm – 56cm. The vest is available in the following colors: clay, black, blue, brown, brown-turquoise, deep-blue, fuschia, gray, gray-yellow. Gooby even supplies stretch options with more flexibility across the chest in honey mustard and peach colors.
Idepet – Pet Dog Classic Knitwear Sweater Fleece Coat
The Classic Knitwear Sweater Fleece Coat by Idepet is a combination of the two fabrics mentioned above. This fleece-wool combination is the best of both worlds. It provides the warmth from the wool and the lightweight softness from the fleece to keep your dog warm while reducing the risk of overheating. The sweater has a rounded collar to emphasize comfort and a 2-legged design for functionality.
The sweater fleece coat is, in addition to being a nomination for best dog sweater, is a great nomination for best dog coat as well with the two fabric combo. The sweater is best for small dogs, ideally suited for dogs who weigh between 1.1lbs – 19.8lbs, with a chest measurement between 9.84in – 22.44in (inches). The product is sold in the following colors: gray, blue, dark blue, green, navy, orange-red, pink, purple, rose red, brown, wine red, and yellow.
CHBOORLESS – Pet Dog Sweater
The CHBOORLESS produced Pet Dog Sweater is very soft. Made from cotton, this sweater is breathable and comfortable. This dog sweater is made from cotton so be sure to wash it in cold water. Cotton has been known to shrink in hot water.
Unfortunately, this sweater is not suitable for large dogs and the cotton will not stretch as much as other fabrics. Like the JECIKELON knit sweater, this dog sweater is best for dogs weighing 1.3lbs – 16.3lbs. The proper chest measurements are between 9.76in – 20.08in (inches). The following colors are sold: gray, navy, brown, dark blue, green, khaki, light blue, pink, purple, red, rose, and wine red.
Mihachi – Turtleneck Dog Sweater
This innovative Turtleneck Dog Sweater, brought about by Mihachi, is a 100% polyester sweater. Specifically, this sweater uses the polyester, terylene. It is tightly stitched to create a very soft texture and, in addition to the turtleneck design, has a classic design stitched into the sweater. The high collar is elastic and there is a leash hole for prime functionability, plus fashion.
While no specific weights were provided for this sweater, the chest measurements indicate the use of this sweater for small breed dogs. Dogs with a chest measurement between 16in – 29in (inches) are best. The colors you can purchase this turtleneck sweater in are as follows: pink, beige, dark blue, red, blue, and rose red.
CHBORCHICEN – Small Dog Sweater
The Small Dog Sweater put together by CHBORCHICEN is exactly what it is advertised as. It is an excellent sweater for small dogs. No weight was provided online but the chest measurements for dogs should be between 12.21in – 18.11in (inches). These measurements are appropriate for small dogs or puppies.
The sweater itself is made from a 100% acrylic blend, with the small fibers woven together tightly to create a soft, comfortable dog sweater. The acrylic fabric retains heat to keep your dog warm and the sweater has a functional, 2-legged design. The sweater is sold in the following colors: sky blue, brown, dark blue, green, gray, light blue, light green, orange, pink, purple, red, and yellow.
Gooby – Stretch Fleece Vest Dog Sweater
A second fleece vest by Gooby, labeled the Stretch Fleece Vest Dog Sweater is meant to keep your dog warm throughout the entire winter. The fleece material is soft, lightweight, and easy maintenance. The stretch makes it easy to put on your dog and just as easy to take off. The wide armholes are good for making sure that your dog is fully mobile and doesn’t have issues walking or moving around.
The chest measurements for this fleece vest sweater are 10.5in – 34.5in (inches). Unfortunately, no weight was provided, but the chest measurements suggest that the sweater is for small to medium-sized dogs. The fleece is made into, and sold, in the following colors: pink, black, brown, burgundy, forest green, grass green, gray, indigo blue, lavender, mint, pumpkin, and red. It retains heat to keep your dog warm and the sweater has a functional, 2-legged design.
PAWZ Road Store – Plaid Dog Sweatshirt
While it may be advertised as a sweatshirt, the final dog sweater on our list is more of a best dog coat nomination with sweater-like features. That is not the only factor that makes it unique. This is one of the few coats made with flannel, a soft cotton fabric of medium-weight. It is a bit heavier than regular cotton to give your pup extra warmth in the cold weather. It’s a great chilly dog sweater.
This dog sweater is great for large dogs and dogs on the larger end of the medium breed spectrum. The chest measurements for this sweater are between 12.3in – 39.4in (inches) and can accommodate dogs over 100+lbs. Perfect for your larger furry friends! The flannel is released in red, blue, and gray, all with alternating squares of black.
While there are a very large number of dog breeds in the world, from New York to South America, it is almost guaranteed that there are more dog sweaters, jackets, and coats. It can be tough to sort through them all to try and find the best sweater for your dog. Hopefully we’ve simplified the process a bit by giving you a handy list of the 8 best dog sweaters for every dog size. From the Yorkshire terrier to the Great Dane, with this list of dog sweaters for chilly dogs you will have a great addition to this winter’s snow collection.