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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Stunt Puppy Puff Doggy Coat > Test Report by Richard Lyon
STUNT PUPPY PUFF DOGGY COAT
Test Series by Richard Lyon
Initial Report January 14, 2019
Field Report March 25, 2019
Long Term Report May 1, 2019
PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
Tester: Whisper, a pampered male four-year old English Cream Golden Retriever
Weight: 70 lb [32 kg]
Length of spine, shoulder to tail [the measurement used by Stunt Puppy to ascertain size]: 26 in [66 cm]
Temperament: Frisky and super social. Easily distracted. Been known to bolt.
Reporter: Male, 72 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains
INITIAL REPORT - January 14, 2019
The Puff Doggy is a full-body-length winter coat for man's best friend. It is insulated with a "down alternative" from collar to tail, its full length. The coat is a single piece that includes an insulated panel that fits under the dog's chin and several sewn-together panels that run to the top of Whisper's butt and slightly down to his tail. A V-shaped insulated panel hugs his chest; on each side of this are sewn adjustable webbing straps with the male end of Duraflex buckles. The body of the coat has eight panels. Six of these are red: collar, a front and rear side panel on each side, and a collar-to-tail panel across the back. Each side has a black panel, sewn to the chin panel in front and the side panels and back panel. The black side panel has stitching across it about one inch [2.5 cm] from the top [the white bar in the photograph]. A small webbing loop that holds the female end of the buckle is sewn on this. At the rear are three elastic bands sewn to the hem, for placing over the dog's tail and hind legs.
Manufacturer: Stunt Puppy, Inc.
Size: Large. Available in Mini, XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL. The size selector on the manufacturer's website gives the range for each size in pounds and spine length. Size large fits canines from 53-83 pounds [24-38 kg] with a spine length of 24-27 in [61-68 cm]. You may click on this information to view a chart that also provides body type by breed.
Weight, measured: 11.25 oz [319 g]
Length: 27 in [69 cm], measured along the spine, not including collar panel
Color: Red. Also available in Sage.
MSRP: $110 US
Warranty: One year. Stunt Puppy also offers a repair service.
TRYING IT ON
This may be the first piece of clothing that I've put on Whisper without a fight. I think he's a nudist at heart - he actively resists any sweater, vest, coat, or booties. But the Puff Doggie is easy. I simply slip the collar piece over his head, extend the coat to the back, lift legs one by one and insert through the elastic, do the same with his tail, and finish by snapping the buckles into place. The first time I did this I adjusted the straps' length to give a comfortable fit. The male ends of the buckles lock and unlock to allow this. On our first try I got this coat on Whisper in about one minute without a single swear word. Stunt Puppy wins a gold star for its design for this reason alone!
When I first strapped the Puff Doggy on Whisper I thought that I might have ordered one size too large. I quickly changed my mind. Yes, the body extends a bit down his butt, but that's a good thing. It doesn't get in the way of securing the coat over the tail and hind legs, and cinching the straps properly keeps everything in place. Golden Retriever is not among the breeds used on Stunt Puppy's sizing chart, but Labrador Retriever is close enough.
Other design features deserve similar praise. Using multiple sewn-through panels keeps the insulation in place. The fabric comes from Pertex, a clothmaker I am very familiar with from many sleeping bags and other down gear. Stunt Puppy says it's waterproof and from long experience I know that it will be. The buckles make both fastening and adjustment a snap. There's a reflective Stunt Puppy logo in the middle of the chin panel, and the white piping on each side is also reflective. A pocket sewn into the inside of the jacket near the front may be used for storage; the jacket may be folded and stuffed into this for storage. Stunt Puppy says that it uses the multiple panels for an ergonomic fit, which Stunt Puppy calls Fit-To-Move. So far Whisper agrees. He spent a couple of hours each of the last two mornings in a fenced dog run, chasing phantom rabbits, barking at anything that moves, playing with his soccer ball, and rolling in the snow. He hasn't once tried to slip or chew the Puff Doggy, another first.
My only regret at this early stage is that the coat doesn't have a D-ring for a leash at the shoulders. This doesn't compromise functionality, as I can always use the ring on his collar. But I'd prefer pressure across his back to tugging at his neck.
FIELD REPORT - March 25, 2019
2019 gave Bozeman its coldest February in four decades; during one ten-day stretch the mercury didn't reach 0 F [-17 C]. The skies also dumped an all-time record amount of snow for that month. And it wasn't even a leap year! Ample opportunity for Whisper's wearing the Puff Doggy on walks, day hikes, dog park jaunts, and play dates with his girlfriend. I estimate that he wore his red jacket on at least twenty-five days since the filing of my Initial Report. Weather ranged from clear skies to whiteout blizzard, temperatures from -15 F [-25 C] to 20 F [-7 C]. Excellent testing weather.
My favorite thing - and Whisper's too, based upon his reaction - is how easy it is to get it on and off. I've found it almost as easy as putting my arm through a shirtsleeve. Once I slip the jacket over Whisper's head all I need do is put his tail and legs through the elastic loops, then attach the snaps at his flanks. There's no straining to pull a leg through a sleeve, an operation that Whisper resents and actively resists. [It takes a minute or so to dress him in the Puff Doggy compared to four or five times as long to get his paws into booties.] I give the jacket's design top marks.
Whisper seems comfortable in the Puff Doggy. At least he is not constantly trying to shed it or chew its straps, as he has been known to do regularly with other coats and vests. I can't really report on whether he values its warmth. His natural coat is shaggy and warm, and I've seen him splash across creeks at 10 F [-13 C] without ill effects. He doesn't like wearing the jacket in the house, and is more active outdoors without it when the temperature nears freezing. My unofficial and non-scientifically verified threshold is 20 F [-7 C]. If it's warmer than that the Puff Doggy stays in the mud room.
I have been very impressed with the Puff Doggy's durability. One of Whisper's daily outdoor activities is a "bath" - rolling onto his back and kicking his paws in the air. A grass bath in summer, a snow bath in winter. The Puff Doggy barely moves, and after very frequent use its surface shows no scratches or other signs of wear and tear. The elastic loops are still stretchy, with no apparent loss of elasticity. And the jacket has passed its sternest test with flying colors. Whisper's favorite playmate is another dog in my neighborhood, Pollywaffle, a Pyrenees-Husky mix about the same size and age as he. I have never seen two dogs play as they do - if allowed they will chase each other or wrestle all day. The wrestling always includes chewing each other's accessible body parts and wearables. More than one collar has been cleft in twain. But not anything on the Puff Doggy.
The jacket hasn't needed cleaning. After all, its wearer rinses it daily in the snow. I do plan to hand wash and air dry it cold once the snow is gone. I have noticed no pronounced doggy odor, even though Whisper hasn't had a bath in weeks.
WHAT I LIKE
Simple yet functional design
Ease of use
Just about everything, really
A D-ring for a leash on the middle of the back
Brighter colors, for use in hunting season. The red/black combination works for keeping Whisper visible but I'd feel better with hunter's orange or neon green.
LONG TERM REPORT - May 1, 2019
The Bridger Mountains, where I live, have certainly received more snow since posting my Field Report; it snowed much of yesterday. But the mercury has dropped below 20 F [-7 C], my threshold for suiting Whisper up with the Puff Doggy, only once. And almost all of the snow on the ground near my house or on our usual hiking trails has melted. Mud season has arrived. Hence I have little, and nothing material, to add with respect to new field conditions or performance observations. So I'll devote this section of my Test Report to durability and care of the product.
Stunt Puppy's one-year warranty does not extend to damage from chewing. That's reasonable, as the company notes, "Nothing is chew proof." After a thorough inspection of the Puff Doggy I can report that there is not a single stitch loose and there are no visible abrasions on the fabric panels or webbing. The former observation is proof of quality construction, the latter of stout materials. As noted, Whisper likes to wrestle with his canine friends and indulges this preference often and passionately. That means frequent teeth on anything within reach, and the Puff Doggy offers Whisper's playmates many new targets. I am truly astounded that the integrity of the jacket is as good as new. Even the bands for his rear legs and tail function as well as they did out of the box, with no apparent loss of elasticity.
Now that the bitter weather has ended [I hope writing that does not jinx us!], I intend to give the Puff Doggy a bath in cold water with a small amount of non-detergent soap, with gentle squeezing out excess water. A cold rinse and air drying will follow. Similar to how I treat my own valuable sweaters.
My favorite thing about the Puff Doggy is how easy it is to put on its wearer. There's no squeezing or straining to insert canine legs into sleeves, a maneuver that Whisper takes considerable pains to avoid.
A note on price. The Puff Doggy's MSRP is higher than that of many functional [i.e, non-fashion] dog jackets I have seen, including one or two that I have owned. The Puff Doggy's durability alone justifies its sticker price in my opinion. With its ease of use it's almost a bargain.
Thanks to this test I am considering another Stunt Puppy product. Cost is always a factor, but only one side of the value equation. I know I'll get good value from Stunt Puppy. Whisper deserves the best, and the Puff Doggy is the best winter dog jacket I've encountered, well worth its price tag.
My Test Report ends here. Many thanks from Whisper and me to Stunt Puppy and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test the Puff Doggy.
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