I’ve tried so much gear and so many products for Chester and Gretel – like beds, leashes, jackets, foods, etc. – over the years that I feel like I’ve tried almost everything. I’m starting to get to the point where I have our favorite things dialed in.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to try the latest and greatest “ooooo shiny” stuff. However, I find very little that I like enough to dethrone our favorite go-to things. Occasionally there are some though.
If you are a Dachshund owner, you know it’s really hard to find jackets that fit them properly. It’s even more troublesome to find ones that are good-quality, made of technical fabrics, and reliable for outdoor adventure.
If you know me, you know I am a gear hoarder. That goes for myself AND the dogs. I own no less than 5 different backpacks, 3 different sleeping bags, 3 pairs of running shoes, 4 pairs of hiking shoes, 4 rain jackets… and the list goes on. The list for the dogs is long too. I own two dogs but have at least 10 leashes, 6 harnesses, and HAD 16 or so jackets.
My favorite jackets for years were the double-fleece jackets from The Cozy Hound. Although you can get them custom made to fit your dog’s measurements, and they are made or warm, thick fleece, they certainly don’t meet all of our needs. They don’t cover Chester and Gretel’s chests or legs, which is important when the temperatures are really cold and/or we are hiking in the snow. They are also not waterproof and, as you know, it rains a lot in Western Washington. I still very much like those jackets but they aren’t ideal for longer, wetter adventures.
The Cozy Hound jackets will remain a favorite at my house. However, there is a new jacket it town that has blown me away. Or rather, a newly-discovered brand that has a couple of jackets we can’t live without. These jackets are made by Hurtta.
Hurtta is a brand from Finland. They are like the “North Face” or “Mountain Hardwear” of the dog world. They’ve been around since 1973 so they’ve had a long time to perfect things.
Their products are stylish and very well made. Hurtta takes into account the build and movement patterns of different dog breeds to come up with products that are ergonomic, functional and match the needs of the dogs.
Houndtex®, their proprietary high-performance fabric, is very similar to Gore-Tex – the waterproof layer used in high-quality rain clothes for humans. Houndtex is wear resistant, breathable, windproof, and waterproof. Like the human-equivalent rain jackets, the seams on Hurtta jackets are taped to guarantee impermeability.
Houndtex waterproof fabric is smoother, softer, and quieter than a lot of waterproof laminates. This significantly improves the comfort of use, especially for small dogs and dogs unaccustomed to wearing garments.
Weather in Finland is a lot like Western Washington. Summer temperatures are generally in the mid 60s to mid 80s. Winters are snowy (like we get in the mountains here) and the temperatures range from mid 20s to mid 40s. Fall and spring weather can be unpredictable but it’s often rainy. Basically, I feel like Hurtta gets us 🙂
KMA Kennels had this to say about the Hurtta jackets:
“The dogs were able to run smoothly in them and rest comfortably. The jackets covered and protected the vital parts of the dogs, and with the extra belly wrap and clip, the jackets never moved or flapped around in the high winds we encountered.”
When I say I “newly discovered” Hurtta, I mean in the last year or so. I was so used to dog jackets not quite working for us that I wanted to be really, really sure I liked them before I shouted it from the rooftops. Well, I can say we’ve been using these jackets for over a year and I like them more and more as time goes on. I like them so much that I’ve decided to throw out (well, donate anyway) almost all of Chester and Gretel’s old jackets.
Now, let’s be honest, the overall number of jackets didn’t really go down that much. In most cases, I have more than one each jacket so we can take one on adventure while the other is in the washer. However, I got rid of all the random jackets we had that never fit quite right, or worked like they were supposed to.
My criteria for the “ultimate” dog jackets are:
- They fit well, covering all, or most, of a Dachshunds long back
- They aren’t too baggy everywhere else to get one long enough to fit their length
- They can be washed… often
- Winter jackets are warm, preferably covering as much of the dog’s body as possible
- Spring jackets offer some insulation but don’t cause the dogs to overheat
- They are waterproof
- They are quick and easy to get on and off
- They dry quickly when hung
- They don’t chafe on long adventures, especially when wet
- They have a harness hole
My two favorite Hurtta jackets for Chester and Gretel are the Ultimate Warmer and the Torrent Rain Coat. Both of those jackets fit all of the criteria above.
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The Ultimate Warmer is soft, warm, and waterproof. It has a thick lining and wraps their body in a “cocoon of warmth” by extending down over their haunches, front legs, and covering their chest.
The Torrent Rain Coat is much like the Ultimate Warmer but it’s meant for warmer weather. It only has a thin fleece lining on the inside.
Both jackets are pretty adjustable to create a custom fit. Gretel has a 10 inch neck, 16 inch chest, and is about 13 inches from shoulder to base of tail. A size 12 is a perfect fit for her. Chester measures 11 inches around the neck, his chest is 17 1/2 inches and he is about 14 inches from shoulders to base of tail. He’s in between sizes so he sometimes takes a 12 (adjusted to the largest size) and sometimes wears a size 14 (adjusted to the smallest size). I go with the larger of the two sizes for Chester unless it’s so big it causes him to trip up.