No matter what type of sighthound you have, you’ll come to quickly realise that clothing for this personality-packed breed is not optional. The lean and sleek profile of most sighthounds mean they have little if any fat and insulation against both cold and the UV rays commonly attributed to those beautiful warm days.
Finding the right clothes can mean the difference between content and protected hounds, versus one that is constantly shivering or uncomfortable wearing clothes that do little to keep them warm during those icy cold days and protected from UV during those summer months. In summer, in particular, not wearing any clothing protection increases the risk above an acceptable level for various forms of skin cancer.
Choosing the right clothes is important and there are a few considerations, listed below, worth your attention when dressing your Iggy, Whippet or Greyhound;
- Choose a suit with a firm fit and avoid loose-fitting suits.
- Choice of material is worth consideration to make sure it is fit for purpose.
- Always choose a suit designed to trap a thin layer of warm air next to the skin.
- Choose clothing with ribbing around the edges to stop drafts and loss of warm air.
- Don’t ever choose a suit with cords, particularly ones around the head and neck.
- Generic sizing of suits can be okay, but measure correctly and go for custom if budget allows.
- UV rated materials during summer is a necessity.
- Choose companies that are 100% environmentally friendly.
- Bad fit can cut circulation, so avoid poor fitting suits being used as pajamas.
- Homemade suits should be a firm fit and designed with safety in mind.
- Pee protection is essential if you have a sighthound with poor aim.
Royal Hound is a sighthound clothing creator and online retailer. So you would naturally expect us to push clothing for your sighthound. In some ways, we wish that sales were the primary reason we wrote this article, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Sighthounds require clothing for a range of reasons ranging from protection from the elements to simply looking stylish. In most cases when you purchase an Italian greyhound, whippet or greyhound you will realise very quickly they are pretty much just muscle and bone, all bundled up into a personality-packed bullet. So it makes sense they will need a little bit of cover to keep them warm during winter and covered to protect their single layer, thin fur during the high UV summer months.
But how do you choose the right clothes for your Italian greyhound, whippet or big cousin greyhound?
Firm Fit Is everything
Purchasing clothes off the shelf from your local pet store sounds easy enough, however, they generally do not fit firmly enough to keep them warm, or they use cheap materials to maximise their profit. The poor fit comes from the fact that these clothes are a ‘general’ design so they can cater to the widest number of breeds as possible.
This means your clothing, no matter how many sizes you try on will not fit well. The reality is the shape of a sighthound with its deep chest and thin waist makes finding off the shelf clothes difficult if not almost impossible meaning that most clothes you buy will need to be a larger size than necessary to cater for their unique shape, therefore they will hang loose, allowing gusts of air and cold to settle between the clothing and your hound’s important bits.
To keep them warm clothing needs to fit tightly around the body so it can trap that thin layer of air between the material and the skin. This means there needs to be a small amount of stretch in the material.
While most sighthounds have deep chests our computer modelling shows a large range of variance in proportions. You simply cannot design general sizes well enough for these guys without sacrificing something, like fit. One way we as creators get around this is to either create custom options, or general sizing options with stretch in the material. We also deliberately recommend a size that is slightly smaller than what is needed and therefore the stretch kicks in and creates an almost perfect fit.
Material choice is important
What material you choose to clothe your Iggy, whippet or greyhound in is just as important as the dimensions of the suit. Using natural materials without stretch can mean the fit will suffer if the suits is not custom made. This can be more expensive and is subject to your canines changes in weight.
For example, 100% pure cotton can sound like a great option, but without a degree of stretch in the material, the suit will need to be bigger than your hound to allow for their wide range of movement when in full flight. Without this stretch, it can limit their movement, or in a worst-case scenario cause some damage to your greyhound.
Trapping a thin layer of air
It’s no secret that human thermal clothing is designed to trap a thin layer of air between the material and your body. Using the bodies heat trapped between the skin and the material allows the temperature to be controlled and maintained, even on the coldest days. Italian greyhounds are no different. A firm fit aims to trap that thin layer of air between the suit and your little Iggy or whippet. The larger cousins, the full grown greyhound, needs less of a firmer fit as their size mean’s they generate a lot of heat, compared to a whippet or Iggy, so you can be more lenient in getting the fit right.
It now becomes obvious why stretch is needed in all the suits you purchase.
Closing the leaks – leg and chest ribbing
Like most jackets, the body of the material cannot do its job if the air can escape from under the material through the legs and chest area. Our computer modelling has shown that closing these leaks makes an up to 50% difference in retaining warmth, more so than the material itself.
When choosing a suit always go for those suits that have stretch ribbing to close the places where the warm air can escape or those areas where cold air can enter.
Cords are dangerous
Some suits we have seen on the market have used cords to create a fit around the body, in particular, the head for hoodies. This increase dramatically the risk of you injuring your Italian greyhound. The active nature of this bred means they will often do what most iggy owners call ‘zoomies’. This is where they have sudden bursts of energy that seems them reach the speed of light within your home.
All it will take is for that cord to catch on any piece of furniture and you could end up at the emergency vet in a very serious situation. Our advice is simple; do not risk it. Avoid all clothing with cords no matter where it is located on your suit. It is an accident waiting to happen.
In exactly the same way you would never leave a slip collar loosely on your dog, these cords can be exactly the same.
Get your proportions right
In general, there are a varying number of sizes of Italian greyhounds, whippets and even larger greyhounds. Some have very deep chests and some have long bodies, while others have shorter bodies. It is difficult to cater with off the shelf sizing to get the right fit for all Italian greyhound clothing, whippet clothing or greyhound clothing. The best option is to get a custom suit created to your exact measurements. However, this may be out of your budget, so what do you do if that is the case?
Choose a designer that has done the correct modelling to get the best ‘general’ fit for your whippet or Italian greyhound clothing. I cannot speak for all clothing manufactures but at Royal Hound we have computer modeled a range of Iggy’s and built a formula that gives us the best fit generic sizes for Italian Greyhounds and Whippets. We have then expanded that to suit our larger Greyhound cousins.
We know our fit is superior as a result of our computer modelling, that is why we can offer a generous return policy.
So before you buy any clothing make sure your supplier has a generous return policy so you can return it if you are not happy with the fit. After all, you are purchasing the clothing to ensure they are warm, so if the fits not right then you should be able to return it and find the right fit – right?. This can sound onerous when ordering online, however, you will be very happy when you find the right fit, it not only keeps your loved one warm and cosy during cold days, it keeps their form and shape. It also has the added effect of extenuating their personality. Or in plain English – it makes them look cool.
That is right, looking good is just as important to sighthound owners as the practicality of keeping them protected.
UV Protective material
Most Italian greyhound owners forget that summer is just as important to protect your Iggy and Whippet as it is in winter. The difference is you are protecting them for the cold winds Mother Nature throws at us in winter and during summer you are protecting them from harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer. It is important to remember that Iggy’s, whippets and even greyhounds have one layer of very thin fur. This means the sun can penetrate their skin very quickly and easily.
During summer dress them up and look for material that has both a UV rating and is breathable, otherwise, you will overheat these guys and that could be an even worse issue.
Italian greyhounds, in particular, come in a light colour, like a fawn and when coupled with their delicate thin skin can develop skin cancer very very easily. Our advice is to cover them up with material that is breathable and UV protected. No compromise here at all.
And this is just an estimate from the insurance statistics published every year. Don’t let your canine be a statistic be sun smart.
Save our environment – say no to landfill & high volume manufacturing
Unfortunately, we are a part of society that promotes fast fashion, with no responsibility for what is produced. That means you will often see manufacturers create clothes that are low cost and made of cheap materials designed to last less than a season. It is important that we do not contribute to this growing problem and only support businesses that have a commitment to leave the world in a better place than when they started.
Royal Hound is a circular economy business. This means we take back any clothes we create and will dispose of them in a manner that does not contribute to landfill. All at our cost (except postage). Look for businesses that undertake this promise and support them. The world will be better off and we will reduce the effect our human existence has on this planet.
We are the first dog apparel business in Australia, and maybe the world, to make this promise. We encourage all businesses to do the same. It means you make less profit, however, our canine companions will appreciate it as will our environment.
Snoods – I don’t understand this trend
I think I understand what a snood is, I am just not sure how warm a greyhound feels in them? Each to their own, but I would never put my Iggy in a snood only. It does not make a lot of sense covering just the necks and head when the rest of the body is completely uncovered.
Most manufacturer’s create full suit clothing with either a hoodie or turtleneck (snood). However, there are more options nowadays. Some manufacturers create ‘roll necks‘ and even short ‘neck suits‘. Each has a purpose and it is worth understanding what you want from the suit. If it is warmth, then go full suit with a turtleneck. If it is cover from sun then you might choose a hoodie.
Homemade suits should be a good fit
As a creator of a commercial range of suits for Italian Greyhounds, Whippets and Greyhounds we understand the large volume of research and product testing that has gone into the design of our suits. We focused on safety, practicality and usability. We didn’t just put a suit together and hope for the best. We did a lot of testing and research on how our suits fit and what their shortcomings are, actively attending meetups to get first-hand feedback from our customers after prolonged use.
If you are going to create a suit from materials at home consider the fit and the implications of safety for your sighthound. Make sure the fit is firm and avoid dangerous materials that are not fire retardant or designs that require cords to tighten the suit particularly around the neck area.
Pee and fungus protection
This mostly relates to Iggy clothing where males choose to squat when peeing or are simply bad aims when they lift their legs. One of our best design features has to do with the way our suits are designed. We have placed a large focus on shortening the front leg sleeve and created a higher chest gap so that if your dog pees on his front legs or chest there is less of chance it will hit the suit.
In addition to this we are the first dog apparel business to treat our undergarment area with a nano-technology which repels liquid and fights fungus and bacteria. And it is 100% environmentally friendly. That means NO PFAS chemicals. If peeing is a problem for your little canine then your options may be limited to materials that naturally repeal liquids like leather and plastic and these can be very unflattering when trying to design suits with this in mind. Not only that it can increase the cost dramatically.
Whatever the brand of clothing you choose for your sighthound choose a suit that is not only stylish but has been thoroughly tested for safety issues. Most importantly choose a brand that understands the importance of not contributing to landfill. Not only will your sighthound thank you but our planet will as well.