Getting ready for another cold winter but don’t want to stop adventuring with your dog? Then your dog may need some cold weather gear. Depending on your dog’s natural cold tolerance, which can be impacted by their size, age, and the thickness of their fur coat, your dog may benefit from a coat as the temperatures drop.
Based on information from an article by Purdue University the lower critical temperature (aka LCT or when dogs have to use energy to produce heat as it is lost to the environment) of a healthy adult Siberian husky is less than 32 degrees F. But in some short-haired dogs, the lower critical temperature can be as high as 59 degrees F. Also, puppies, geriatric dogs, and sick animals will have a reduced capacity to maintain their body temperatures. Smaller dogs also lose heat faster than larger dogs.
For reference, healthy humans have a lower critical temperature of around 70 degrees (higher for smaller humans and lower for larger humans). This is based on a person who is resting and not wearing clothing. But as we all know, wearing thicker clothing is an easy way to stay warm at lower temperatures. And the same is true for your pup.
So this winter, I purchased Ruffwear’s Furness Jacket for my short-furred dog, Glia, and put the jacket to the test of a Minnesota winter.
Ruffwear Furness Jacket
The Furness Jacket is a new edition to Ruffwear’s apparel line. While I have several Ruffwear harnesses (read my comparison review here), this is the first year that I have purchased dog jackets from Ruffwear. Unless you count the Overcoat Fuse, which is also a harness.
This fall, I reviewed the Lumenglow High Vis jacket. But now that the snow is beginning to fall, it is time to focus on the Furness Jacket.
Ruffwear launched the Furness jacket in 2022 with the following description:
Dogs can venture longer and go deeper in bitter cold conditions with the Furness™ – an ultrawarm, high-coverage jacket with high-loft insulation around the neck, back, belly, hips, and thighs.
The lightweight shell fabric has a water-repellant finish to shed light moisture, and the weather-guarded 3/4-length zipper retains core heat. Super-soft, articulated stretch StormSleeves™ are engineered to seal in warmth while maintaining freedom of movement as your dog dashes from powder stash to powder stash. Hem cords at neck and belly cinch to capture warmth and keep cold elements out. Because staying warm shouldn’t have to mean staying inside, the Furness offers a new level of canine coziness for winter exploring.”https://ruffwear.com/products/furness-jacket
The Furness Dog Jacket was created to be the warmest coat in Ruffwear’s dog apparel line. It covers a dog’s neck, chest, upper front legs, and thighs. Drawstrings are present to tighten the fit around a dog’s neck and belly to help keep warm air inside the jacket.
There are two main fabrics that make up the Furness: A 50 denier nylon shell with a water-resistant DWR finish that is insulated and lined with polyester and a stretchy polyester/spandex mix that makes up the sleeves of the jacket. There is also some nice reflective trim on the jacket as well.
And (one of my favorite features) the Furness jacket comes with a leash portal so the jacket can be worn over a harness. This is great, as Glia tends to be more comfortable with her harnesses worn underneath her clothing. This also helps in that I don’t have to adjust her harnesses to fit over thick winter jackets. Additionally, having the harness under the jacket means that the harness doesn’t compress the loft of the jacket, which could reduce the warmth/insulation.
To put the Furness jacket on, the jacket has to slide over the dog’s head, and then your dog needs to step into the jacket. After the head and legs are through their appropriate openings, there is an easy zipper with a snap at the back to close the jacket up. And finally, if desired you can secure the hind leg loops around your dog’s back legs. If you don’t want to use the loops, simply leave them snapped up and out of the way.
The Furness jacket comes in Ruffwear’s standard sizes of XXSmall, XSmall, Small, Medium, Large, and XLarge
Besides the ill-fitting size M Front Range harness that I purchased way back before I had even started this blog, Glia has worn a size small in all of her Ruffwear gear. Her chest circumference is about 26 inches. So I ordered all of her new apparel (the Lumenglow jacket, the Sun Shower rainjacket, and the Furness jacket) in a size small. And all three of them fit very differently.
The Lumenglow was a little tight around Glia’s chest and didn’t expand far enough to have her wear a sweater underneath. The Sun Shower was a little too short for Glia’s back length but great around her chest. And then there was the Furness.
The Furness jacket fit great around Glia’s torso, but she didn’t seem to want to take full-length steps due to the slimmer fit around her shoulders. And her back was a little too long for the jacket, causing the back leg straps to pull forward and into her groin area when she walked with the back leg straps around her thighs. If I left the leg straps tucked away, then there was not much coverage over Glia’s thighs in size small.
Since I wanted good coverage while still allowing for a good range of motion in this jacket, I purchased a size medium. This coat is a little baggy around her chest but covers more of her body and thighs.
The harness opening of the size medium is a little off-set from where the size small harness leash attachment is, but the size small jacket lined up perfectly. So if your dog is wearing a harness and jacket in the same size, they should line up great.
Glia is admittedly a long and narrow dog and is a little hard to size in standard dog clothing lines. After trying on multiple Ruffwear jackets, I kept the size medium Furness jacket, even though I kept a size small in everything else. Since the point of the jacket was warmth, I wanted the best coverage I could get for Glia.
Here are a few pictures of Glia in size Small vs. Medium.
Overall, I am impressed with the Ruffwear Furness jacket. It is a high-quality and warm winter jacket for dogs. However, I am still often reaching for Glia’s Hurtta Expedition Parka when heading out on hikes. In an upcoming blog post, I am going to directly compare these two jackets, but for now, here are my favorite features of the Furness Jacket and the things I like the least.
- High-quality materials
- Attractive style
- Adjustable fit around neck and belly
- Reflective trim for low-light adventures
- Front leg sleeves for extra warmth
- Limited color options
- Sizing may not fit odd-shaped dogs as well, like my dog with a narrow body and longer back
- Higher price point (but comparable to other high-quality jackets, like Hurtta)
- Slim fit around shoulders and front legs can restrict movement of front legs if the fit isn’t right for your dog
- The dog has to step into the jacket after it is slid over the dog’s head.
Interested in seeing the Furness Jacket in action? Our review video is up on Pawsitively Intrepid’s YouTube Channel.