How to measure for a dog coat

measuring for a dog coat

So, your dog needs a coat.

You want to keep your dog warm and dry. Do you know how to measure for a dog coat? Where do you go and how do you find one that

  • fits
  • does what you want it to
  • looks good
  • is made to last
  • your dog likes to wear

Lately, dogs coats are available in lots of places. You can buy them ready made by going to Petco or Petsmart. You can also buy ready made coats online through Amazon or a bazillion other sites. Ready made coats are quick to buy and use in a hurry. If you’re lucky, you’ll get one that fits.

You can also buy custom made coats through many Etsy sites or other smaller online stores that specialize. These are made to fit your dog. They use your measurements or breed of dog to direct you to a coat that fits. If you find a good one, they even make that coat using your dog’s measurements.

The key in each of these situations is to know how to measure for a dog coat. If you buy and the coat doesn’t fit right, you either have to send it back or your money is wasted. Neither of these situations is very helpful if your dog needs a coat.

dog coat diagram

Dogs have certain basic features; walking on all fours (unless they’ve lost a limb or something), back, head, tail or tail stump…. So measuring for a coat, no matter who you get it from, will have some similarities across the board. You can check with the company you’re considering for their specifics, but if you’re able to list the measurements as specified in the above diagram, you should be able to get pretty close.

Steps to measure for a dog coat

Measure according to the diagram above, from the Made by De website. Some makers will use slightly different formulas, but these should be very helpful.

  • Length of back from base of neck (where neck and body meet) to base of tail (where back and tail meet)
  • Around base of neck
  • Circumference around rib cage
  • Groin or “waist”
  • Underneath length from notch above sternum, between legs to end of belly just below ribcage
  • Circumference of head in front of ears
  • Height of your dog from top of shoulder to ground
  • Neck length from in front of ears to base of neck (where neck and body meet)

Tips for measuring correctly for a dog coat

  1. Use a cloth tape. It’s flexible so you can measure your dog around the curves and all. Do Not use a ruler or a carpenter’s measuring tape. Your numbers will be inaccurate and probably result in a poorly fitting coat.
  2. Measure your dog while standing. If they’re sitting or lying down or otherwise not straight, your numbers will also be off.
  3. Find out where your coat maker marks the length of the back. If you include the neck, for example, but your maker doesn’t, your coat could be several inches too long and completely out of proportion. Likewise, if you don’t include the neck but they do, the coat will be too short.
  4. Be sure to let maker know age and breed of dog. A puppy is going to grow. Even a one or two year old dog will have measurement changes. And breed effects amount of growth and proportions. If the coat maker knows these things, they might be able to allow for growth.
  5. Measure to the 1/4 inch, loosely. Meaning, put just a little gap (a couple of fingertips) in. This allows for slack. Dogs don’t like their clothes tight any more than we do.

There you have it. Measuring for a dog coat is important in order to get the right one for your dog, but it’s not too difficult and well worth the extra effort. If you have any problems, your maker will probably welcome your questions. You want the coat to fit your dog and for you both to like it.

For more about dog coats, read my post Dog coat fit; how should they fit? If  your dog wears coats, what tips have you found helpful? Tell me about it below.

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