Tales of Teddy

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Teddy Loves: His Equafleece Dog Jacket

“You would have to be fairly mad about them to want to make garments for dogs in the way that we do,” says Mary Leigh, the founder of Equafleece. Based in Dartmoor, she originally started making fleece horse sheets; Leigh’s answer to providing a horse with a breathable, waterproof layer during exercise over one of Britain’s most wild, wet and windy landscapes.
The dog coats – which have now eclipsed the equine business – started-up almost accidentally. “Fourteen years ago a great friend escaped a violent husband and fled the marital home with her three dogs; a Rottweiler, a Greyhound and a smaller rescue dog. She bought a caravan and hid away on the edge of a kind farmer’s field. Because her dear dogs got so cold during the night, I made-up some fleece coats for them from the off-cuts of the horse blankets. People saw these coats and wanted them, so I started making specific sizes. Eventually, I took a tiny range of dog jumpers to Blenheim Horse Trials and they sold out straightaway.”
That tiny range of jumpers burgeoned and Equafleece now offer 32 different sizes in various styles – Tankies, Coats, Jumpers and Suits – with more in the pipeline. Currently they are tinkering with the Italian Greyhound jacket and forging ahead with sizing for Deerhounds and Dobermans. “A lot of people have Doberman guard dogs living outside, but they don’t have the natural coat for our climate,” explains Leigh. “We tend to focus on dogs that that really need the garments. Spaniels, used for shooting and beating, tend to get put back in the vehicle at the end of the day, when they are wet and cold. You do get a lot of hypothermia cases with working spaniels.” Equafleece has won an award from the Game Conservancy Trust for the their contribution to working dogs. Hardy Welsh Mountain Rescue dogs, out in all weathers, wear Equafleece garments. And now, so too does Teddy. Even this flighty Miniature Schnauzer (who hates a coat that rustles, but when properly clipped needs one) does not baulk at his soft, warm, waterproof Tankie. Quite a result.

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