The dog coat has traditionally been a controversial item of doggy fashion. These accessories for dogs come in different styles and it is hard to avoid subjectivity when considering their merits. It does seem to be a matter of personal taste, but it is possible to argue that things are changing.
Defining cool is a nigh impossible task. If something is widely frowned upon, it is not cool. If something has too much mass appeal it is not cool either. The music industry, which is all about cool, provides numerous examples of this point.
The popularity of the dog coat is partly related to the weather. In Britain, colder than average winters can lead dog owners to purchase a greater volume of dog coats than they would otherwise. It may make it hard to disentangle practical purchases from those buys motivated by considerations of fashion, hence statistical analysis which seeks to explore whether dog coats are getting trendier is made problematic.
Surveys of dog owners may also be of little help. Leading questions, small samples and post-purchase rationalisations may make them ineffective.
A more anecdotal approach can help us rethink the problem. Dog coats look great on certain breeds of dog. A stud dog may be pampered with a luxurious coat on a winter’s day. There are professional dog coat designers like Laura Bailey out there and they seem to understand that dog coats can be cool. Her work for Petite Pooch seems to illustrate the potential for the dog coat to be cool.
Perhaps the real question should be whether dogs think dog coats are cool. In the wild, a dog would demonstrate its domination by standing over a weaker dog so when you put a dog coat on a dog it can be viewed as you trying to dominate the dog. A dog that accepts this is more likely to appear to ‘like’ the dog coat.
Regardless, if you like putting a coat on your dog when the weather is cold and the dog doesn’t mind, then it is really only your opinion that counts.
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