The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

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

cocker spaniel coats

Working cockers benefit from wearing fleeces and coats

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

Cocker spaniel coats – it’s a yes

Vet Tony Buckwell and Shooting Times contributor says: “Spaniels would certainly benefit from wearing a coat to help conserve body heat after a day’s work especially if they return wet and cold off the shoot. In particular they would benefit from wearing special drying coats that comprise layers of absorbent towelling that wick away wet from the dog.”
Shooting Times contributor David Tomlinson agrees: “Small dogs lose heat much more quickly than larger animals, so it makes sense to on cocker spaniel coats to keep cockers comfortable between drives, especially on cold and wet days.”

Doggy bags

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.)

Geyecete Premium Microfiber dog towel bag 

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.

“I use both for when I’m trialling the spaniels, and just the Equafleece for my working dogs at lunchtime or between drives.  If you think of the dogs as though they are athletes then the thought of putting jumpers on them between exercise  isn’t that strange. Dogs work tirelessly through the morning, then the shoot stops for elevenses or lunch , maybe an hour or so. During this time the dogs will become cold and stiff, which could lead to injuries later in the day. I like to put the Equafleece on the dogs at lunch as well as on the drive home. I think this method also helps the dogs to keep weight on during the season, they don’t need to waste energy and fat reserves trying to keep warm. “
So let’s look at the Equafleece offerings to start with.

Hotterdog by Equafleece­® Fleece Dog Coat

Best for easy use

  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Washable: Yes
  • Colours: Grape
If your spaniel is a bit wriggly, you’ll find this coat easier to put on than most, with an adjustable belly strap keeping it in place. It’s ideal for putting on your spaniel after drying off the worst. The fleece will wick away any remaining moisture whilst keeping warmth in the dog.



Best for warm necks and general snuggling

Sizes: XS to XL

Washable: Yes

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.

Pro Neoprene Dog Coat in Camouflage 

Best for blending in with surroundings

Sizes: M-XL

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.