Best cocker spaniel coats – these dogs can feel the cold
Working cockers give their all, but can be prone to shivers. So do they need a coat? Charlotte Peters investigates
Anybody who has ever owned a working cocker spaniel – a ‘pocket rocket’ will know that these little dogs give their all out in the field, racing through briars and over muddy fields. But unlike labradors, their undercarriages are much nearer the ground and they lack the waxy, water-resistant coat that labs have. (Read how to look after your dog after a shoot day.)
So back in the gun bus or the dog box they can be prone to shivers, even after a good towelling down. But do working cockers need a cocker spaniel coats to wear after a hard day in the field? I asked some experts and keen Guns who own spaniels. (Read do dogs need coats?)
Cocker spaniel coats – it’s a yes
Keen Gun and instructor Mark Heath of the West London Shooting School says: “Spaniels including cockers always give 110% effort and use up lots of energy; cockers also have relatively low ground clearance and are guaranteed to come back soaked having run over the slightest damp grass. Plus of course every ditch is a theme park for a spaniel, consequently having got soaked they are going to feel the cold more.
“I always carry a couple of towels in the car, plus if they are working or going to be out for a while in mucky conditions I have a couple of ‘Doggy bags’ one in labrador size and one spaniel. They are like a fleece bag for dogs, in goes wet damp dog and a short while later out comes a warm dry and mostly clean one. The bag keeps the body heat in and warms them up and dries them out very quickly.”
Let’s take a look at a doggy bag. (If you’re looking for coats for other dog breeds see this article.)
Best for containing wet dogs when travelling
- Highly absorbent
- Sizes: XS to L
- Washable: Yes
- Colours: Brown and green
I had something similar a few years ago for my spaniel and it certainly did the trick. I dried the worst of the wet off the dog first, then zipped him into the ‘doggy bag’. It works well if your dog is ready to settle down but not if he’s still lively, as the bag impedes walking movement. That said, it’s a useful things to have in your dog drying armoury and certainly helps to stop the smell of wet dog permeating your car.
But what about if you want your dog to be able to move freely? What cocker spaniel coats are around for that?
Fran Ardley, Sporting Gun contributor and dog training expert advises: “I use two types of coats. There is a fleece (I personally use an Equafleece) and a waterproof.
Best for easy use
- Sizes: XS to XL
- Washable: Yes
- Colours: Grape
Best for warm necks and general snuggling
Sizes: XS to XL
Colours: Black, red, green
This Equafleece resembles a smart polo neck jumper for dogs. As Christine Collins of Town & Country Dog Training says: “When choosing a drying coat, it should have a nice high neck piece to dry the area behind the dog’s ears helping to prevent infection.”
Put the Equafleece on your dog after drying him off with a towel and it will wick away any remaining damp whilst warming up the dog. As a real bonus, it’s a cinch to wash and will dry in about 10 minutes max in the tumble dryer or on a heated airer.
My late cocker spaniel had one of these (in red) and he positively looked forward to having it put on after a wash and dry, finding it cosy and comfortable. As it comes in different sizes, you can buy one for your other dogs too.
What about neoprene coats for spaniels?
Christine Collins says:
“Drying and also neoprene coats for dogs and spaniels in particular are becoming increasingly popular. Spaniels are busy dogs and especially in a shooting environment use up a lot of energy. If you think about the time of year we shoot it is often cold and wet. Spaniels are closer to the ground and due to their often long coats get wet very quickly, even without doing a water retrieve. A lot of the energy they produce goes into keeping their body warm. A shooting day involves plenty of on and off time. So it makes sense not just to put a coat on your dog at the end of the shooting day but also during off time during the event. A coat will not just keep the dog generally more comfortable and save energy but also helps to hold his body temperature up to protect his muscles from injury and avoid hypothermia. There are an increasing number of neoprene options available that a dog can wear even while in action.”
Here’s a neoprene coat we found that is spaniel-sized. We haven’t tried it out ourselves but at £19.99 it looks reasonable.
Best for blending in with surroundings
Might be a good one to have in the car when your spaniel is around water. It will keep the dog’s heat in and they won’t stand out.