When it comes to dog clothing, I'm something of a minimalist. While I have nothing against putting the occasional cute t-shirt on my Yorkiepoo for my own amusement (his "I Love Daddy" shirt when I'm trying to curry favor with my husband, for instance), in the end I make sartorial choices for him based more on his comfort than his nattiness.
Wintertime, however, can present a need for clothes. A recent New York Times story suggests that most dogs don't really need to wear coats -- with the exception of dogs who have hair rather than fur. Dogs, such as Poodles, Shih Tzus, and some kinds of terriers, to name a few -- have natural non-shedding coats that don't insulate them as well as dogs who have fur, which does a better job of trapping air to create an insulating layer of warmth. Small dogs in particular can suffer, as many of them evolved to live in warmer climates (Chihuahuas, Coton do Tulears and Havaneses, for example), and being low to the ground means that their hairless bellies are more likely to get wet and icy.
This is why I was excited to discover the Gold Paw Series fleece. Made in the USA by a family-run company in Oregon, this is dog clothing for those of us who take a no-nonsense approach to such things. The Gold Paw fleece slips easily over a dog's head, and is free of any snaps or zippers or buttons. In a nod to dog comfort, its single seam is designed to be worn on the outside, so as not to chafe. It provides good tummy coverage, and if it gets dirty underneath from snow or pee, it can be easily machine washed or dried. I particularly like that it is lightweight and comfy enough that I can leave it on my dog all day -- it's just more convenient for both of us than having to get him dressed and undressed each time we go out. (Indeed, not having to get a child in and out of a snow suit multiple times seems to me like a great reason to take birth control). If it's extra chilly, I can layer on a second one, or put something heavier over it if necessary.
Bancroft layers his fleece with a cowl neck sweater.
Another nice things about these fleeces: They come in so many sizes! And, in a pinch, you can even wear one, too! Here, our trainer Anamarie shows off the largest size and the smallest size, on... herself.