To the rest of you who've made it past the first few lines, you'll likely be familiar with the term #fashound. You possibly also share wardrobe space with your hound (and definitely not the other way round), maybe you have a list of favourite Etsy clothes-for-dogs shops and justify each and every extravagant purchase with "they deserve it".
And as you do your best to match their couture (we all know nobody is fawning over us from a socially acceptable distance) a thought crosses your mind... why do sighthounds need so many clothes?
And as you reach for Google... a little voice says "what's the name of that greyhound who has eleventy billion different coloured muzzles and always wears matching clothes..." as a helpful Instagram notification pops up (the year is 1987...) and says...do you mean @Theo_inwondergram?
Well, sighthounds aren't just great athletes. They're also inspiration for wannabe supermodels - that is, they have very little body fat. And thin skin. Not to mention legs up to their armpits. However, truth be told, their anatomy already puts them at a disadvantage in the winter (they can't retain heat like other breeds can) and things don't get better for them in the summer (they can't expel heat like other breeds). This is because sighthounds only have a single-layer coat, they can't trap or expel heat in between layers of their skin because they don't have any! So they need extra-external layers to stay warm in the winter, and cooling coats in the summer.
Simple - you can tell through touch. The best place to check is by touching your dog's ear - if it's cold to the touch, then your hound is cold too. Sighthounds will often sleep in the famous bagel/doughnut shapes when they are feeling cold too. If your hound is shivering this can also be an indication they are cold - shivering is their body's natural response to cold temperatures - their body is effectively trying to warm itself up by getting it's muscles to do some jogging on the spot, so to speak. A quick note on pjs if I may - sighthounds are susceptible to changes in temperature, when they are asleep their body temperature rises slightly. Whilst i'm all for pjs, i'm also all about supervision. At least for the first few nights till you're sure your hound isn't going to wake you up at 3a.m. because they're too hot.
Layers. And plenty of them. But don't go crazy with dressing your hound up - just as they are likely to feel the cold, they can also overheat really quickly. Particularly for our hounds who wear muzzles outside, the standard box muzzles offer enough panting room for street walks but they aren't suitable for zooming around for long periods whilst layered up, or long walks if your hound is wearing more layers than there were tiers in the UK. Be sensible, dear reader.
Theo's wardrobe is made up of light wearing t-shirts, sleeveless fleece vests, two legged Spring cotton pijamas, two legged winter fleece pijamas, a thick winter coat when the temp falls below freezing (we live "oop norf") and a cotton lined raincoat for those mild yet soggy days.
Accept your fate and spend all their fashion money on natural chews and treats for them instead (no rawhide!). Yes dear reader, some hounds hate wearing clothes. Don't force them to do so for your own gratification - I hate seeing pets looking miserable whilst dressed up for Halloween. It's scary how clueless some people can be.
I'm glad you asked. There are two brands i'm going to recommend - for the simple reason that you asked, and because I have made repeat purchases from both of them cause they're amazing. Theo is built like a brickhouse, he's a hefty 36kg and almost 33 inches long, finding clothes that fit him is as hard as me staying a size 12 in H&M (ladies, if you know, you know). My recommended brands offer great customer service, reasonable prices and before this sounds like marketing spiel, they make bloody lovely clothes for our bloody lovely long doggos. In no particular order, here's what you need to know:
All hail stretchy, pretty fabrics, and if you're so inclined, lovely house collars too. The photo featured at the top of this blog is of Theo is his customised Levriero t-shirt - please take a second to appreciate his matching muzzle. I love the choice of fabrics at Levriero - think beautiful and bright colours, the options to "go big" and fabulous customer service.
All hail beautiful, snuggly, warm fleecy fabrics (that wash really well without going all gross and bobbly). I love the choice of colours and the smug satisfaction of not having to worry if the jumpers will be too small for Theo - for reference, he wears XXL from Dog and Home. You can see photos of Theo modelling his sleeveless fleece vest here, whilst I cramp his style in ways only a dog mum can. I love the range of rainbow colours and different styles - literally spoilt for choice! @dogandhome
When I picked Theo up from rescue kennels on April 5th, 2020, my poor boy had been left standing in a crate in the back of a cold van with both doors open. It was barely even 9a.m. and it was freezing cold. He was shivering and his ears were like flappy ice cubes (sorry for the mental image). Just in case you don't know, I had volunteered to foster Theo, never having met him before, I didn't know anything about him or even how big he was! But I had already ordered him a CosyDogs fleece - the largest size available, anticipating he would need some kind of comfort.
And hell was I right. I will never forget how utterly pitiful he looked, or how my heart hurt the first time I laid eyes on him. I promised him that he would never feel the cold again - and if that means I walk around in bleach stained leggings with holes in my shoes, so be it (at least now I can blame it on spending all on my money on dog clothes). My boy comes first, his comfort is my priority.
Fashion can be frivolous but when it comes to sighthounds, it's not always just for fun. Fashounds are not born, especially not into the greyhound racing industry. However, with rescue hound adoptions on the rise, how long till we are all smiling and saying the words every hound wants to hear? No, not "it's dinner time". I meant: "you're absolutely gorgeous,
get your coat darling, you're coming home".
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