How to Sew a Sighthound Dog Coat

Sighthounds are streamlined and built for speed.
Sighthounds are streamlined and built for speed. (Image: Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A sighthound is a general term for a group of 17 different dog breeds that use their superior eyesight more than their sense of smell. Originally bred as hunting dogs to bring down their prey in full flight, their bodies are streamlined and lightweight — built for speed. Most sighthounds, which include greyhounds, whippets, salukis and afghans, carry little flesh on their bodies and consequently, they feel the cold more than most dogs, particularly those with thin, short body hair. A warm coat is a must for these dogs if they live in a cold climate.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Old newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric
  • Webbing
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Velcro

Measure your sighthound. Take the measurement around her neck where the collar would lie, from her neck to just beyond the base of her tail, and around her girth — the thickest part of her body just behind her front legs. Also measure from the center of her chest along her side all the way to the base of her tail. Most dogs will not be concerned with this operation, but if your dog is particularly nervous, be sure to calm her and take your time to get the correct measurements. Add an inch to each measurement to allow for seams.

Purchase the fabric. The choice of fabric will depend upon your particular climate and how you plan to use the coat. If it is to keep the dog dry, a waterproof fabric with a fleece lining may be an option. A quilted fabric may provide extra warmth if the coat is not to be used in wet weather. Make certain the fabric is washable. Purchase a length of 1 inch- to 1 1/2-inch thick webbing and Velcro for the stomach band and chest, and to use as binding around the entire edge of the coat.

Draw the pattern on newspaper. Start with a rectangle the length of your hound, according to your measurement from the chest to the tail, and use half the measurement around the girth for the width of the rectangle. Draw a semi-circle where the neck will fit, according to your measurement. Make the bottom line of the coat slightly concave. Cut it out and measure it on your dog. Make adjustments to fit her, and re-draw the pattern if necessary and re-fit until you are sure it is going to be the right size.

Fold the fabric lengthways in half. Lay the pattern on the fabric with the top of the coat along the fold and pin it all the way around. Cut the fabric to the shape of the newspaper pattern. Remove the pins and open out the coat. Place it over your hound and adjust the size if necessary. Cut out two complete coats if you are using lining.

Join the lining and outer layer of fabric around the edges. Pin the length of webbing around the entire perimeter of the coat about one-quarter inch in and stitch it on with matching thread. Fold it over the edge of the fabric and stitch it onto the other side. Zig-zag over it for extra strength. Your entire coat should now have a strong webbing border to prevent fraying. Fit the coat on your hound again and measure it against the chest. Sew Velcro on each side of the coat to fasten snugly in the front of the chest.

Sew a webbing band over the top of the coat to fit behind the withers. Fit and measure to make the stomach band, and sew Velcro on one side of the band at the edge of the coat and on the other end of the band, so that the stomach band will not be too tight but will help to hold the coat in place. Put the coat on your dog. She will be snug and warm.

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