To Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats and Mill Branch Farm!
We are a small farm located in southern Maryland about one hour south of Annapolis and one hour east of Washington, D.C.
We make Good Shepherd Dog (and cat and lamb and kid) Coats.
I am a retired shepherd with a passion for mentoring new shepherds and I am an avid dog lover!
We and our dog live in an old farm house and assorted cats live in a restored tobacco barn.
We enjoy an agricultural lifestyle amid ever-encroaching suburbia.
Good Shepherd Dog Coats are made of up-cycled wool blankets from American woolen mills, which have been washed and pre-shrunk (felted). Because Good Shepherd Dog Coats are made from a wide variety of up-cycled 100% wool blankets, there are variations in texture, design, color and thickness. This is normal for woven wool.
The coats are hand cut by me and sewn by local ladies in their homes in southern Maryland.
The coat covers the back and shoulders of the dog from the base of the neck to the base of the tail, leaving the head and tail area unimpeded. The coat has a unique chest piece that insulates the chest of the dog from the dampness and cold of the ground.
The coat is secured with a fabric belt that goes around the dog just behind the front legs. It is fastened with an adjustable acetyl nylon buckle. The coat leaves the front shoulders un-encumbered and the dog can move about naturally without any binding of the fabric.
The patterns were developed by taking actual measurements of dozens of dogs. Coats for dogs are available in five pre-made sizes. The sizing for dogs is more difficult and less accurate if weight alone is used as there is more variation in dog breeds than lambs or kids. We recommend that you measure your dog with a either a fabric tape or sewing tape measure to ensure an appropriate fit. Please do not use a metal ruler of the type you would use in shop work. Please measure in inches and not centimeters.
Give your Best Friend warmth of natural wool-Doggies love Good Shepherd Dog Coats! If you've ever seen a dog shivering from the cold, you know how important it is to keep animals warm and maintain their body temperature. What could be more natural than wool?
Our wool coats, which have received a U.S. Patent, were designed by a shepherd and have been adapted, by popular request, to fit dogs and other animals.
Good Shepherd Dog Coats are especially useful for keeping dogs warm and cozy in cold weather. Old, sick or frail dogs, or those with arthritis or joint pain will appreciate the warmth and softness provided by these natural wool coats.
Short haired dogs and smaller dogs that need extra warmth will love the comfort of wool. Wool stretches and conforms to the body and never chaffs or binds. This quality makes it perfect for sedentary as well as active dogs.
Good Shepherd Dog Coats are extremely durable and easily cleaned. They are machine wash and dryable and will last for years.
Good Shepherd Dog Coats should be washed in warm water with a mild laundry detergent. Wash coats with like-colored coats. Do Not Use Bleach! Bleach breaks the wool fiber, lessens the fibers' insulating ability, and causes premature deterioration of the coat. The coats can be dried in the drier on a warm setting, or, of course, line dried. Store clean coats in a container with a tight fitting lid like a can or tote to discourage moths, and ensure that your coats are ready to warm your doggie next year.
Good Shepherd Dog Coats are American made of the highest quality material to insure maximum durability and longevity. If cared for properly, Good Shepherd Dog Coats will last for years and years!!
Good Shepherd Dog Coats are made of 100% wool fabric up-cycled from vintage blankets that have been washed and preshrunk (felted). The wool fabrics vary in thickness, nap, color, weave, texture, design and pattern. Each blanket is unique in that it is no longer being produced in the exact color or pattern. Please contact us for availability of current colors and designs.
Wool is the natural choice for warmth. Wool fibers form air pockets between the fibers that insulate and maintain body heat. Wool fibers are naturally water resistant. Wool can absorb about 30% of its own weight in moisture. What this means is that moisture is wicked away from the body keeping the skin dry.
The coat binding is made of a colorfast polyester cotton fabric and is double sewn (both on the inside and the outside) to form the trim of the dog coat. The thread is double core (cotton covered polyester) for strength and elasticity and in a size suitable for sports equipment (and athletic lambs and dogs!) The binding and thread are made in American mills. Binding is available in many colors to coordinate or contrast with the coat fabric.
The buckles are made of Delrin, an acetyl plastic. These are the same type of buckles used in outdoor backpacking and sports equipment. Delrin does not absorb moisture like nylon buckles and has superior UV resistance. Delrin buckles can withstand temperature fluctuations expected throughout the United States –40°F to +390°F. It does not become brittle in cold temperatures and retains its strength at higher temperatures. The buckles have a direct pull rating of 50 lbs. These features make it suitable for working dogs in an outdoor environment.
Dog coats are available in four pre-made sizes:
EXTRA-SMALL, SMALL, MEDIUM and LARGE
Since dogs come in all sizes and shapes, with varying thicknesses of neck, chest and variations in length of the back, you will need to accurately measure your dog to determine what size he/she would wear. Unlike usual dog coats in which size is determined by the length of the back, Good Shepherd Dog Coats are uniquely designed and require a head, neck and chest measurement as well as the length of the back measurement.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR DOG
Use a fabric (preferred) or metal tape measure. If you don't have either, use string, and measure the length of the fitted string with a ruler or yardstick. Allow the tape to drape closely around the body part of the dog to be measured, but do not pull it tight.
Take the following measurements:
1. Neck circumference: Measure around the neck where the collar would lay.
2. Head circumference: Measure around the head at the widest point. The dog's head must go through a head-hole in the coat.
3. Chest circumference: Measure all the way around the dogs body immediately behind the front legs. This is usually the thickest part of the dog's body.
4. Body Length: Measure from where a collar would lay on the back of the neck to the base of the tail.
*If you are having trouble with the measuring of your dog, please feel free to call or email us.
*We normally have ready-made small sized coats on hand to accommodate small dogs with thick necks like pugs or pug mixes. Please call or email us for availability.
We usually have coats on hand to fit dogs whose measurements are slightly different than those above. Please contact us if you have questions or have a need for a special size or special wool fabric for your dog. We do a great deal of custom work. We also make coats for cats and other animals.
There are several features that make Wool unique. Our ancestors knew about them too as wool was being used for clothing as early as the Stone Age!
~Wool is warm
~Wool is water resistant
~Wool is moisture wicking
~Wool is resilient and elastic
~Wool is dirt-resistant
Wool is a wonderful insulator. Cloth woven from wool is naturally insulating and contains up to 80% air. The crimp of the wool produces insulating air spaces which retain body heat. The air forms an insulating layer along the skin and prevents heat from escaping. These warm air pockets next to the skin are kept dry while the hollow wool fibers absorb moisture vapors and the hard outer surface moves liquid moisture away from the body. This warms a cold dog.
Wool fibers are naturally water resistant---a fact well known by mountain climbers and sailors. The first rain coat (before the invention of rubber and plastic) was made of wool. Wool can absorb up to a third of its own weight in moisture without feeling damp. Each wool fiber has a hard water repellent outer layer made up of scales that overlap each other like shingles on a roof. This hard outer layer surrounds each hollow fiber. The fiber's core absorbs up to 30% of its weight in moisture vapor without becoming damp or clammy while the hard outer layer protects from liquids. Your dog can wear a Good Shepherd Dog Coat in a light rain and still be warm and dry. The coat can be dried in the dryer.
Wool is moisture wicking. Garments made from wool are not only warm, but also wick moisture away from the skin and allow water vapor to pass through the wool fiber-without losing their thermal properties. The ability to wick moisture helps heat ventilation during physical activity and keeps the skin dry. This feature keeps a sweaty dog from being chilled after exercise.
The wool fiber is resilient and elastic. Each wool fiber can be bent 30,000 times without breakage or damage. Wool stretches and molds to the body of the lamb or dog. When it is washed and dried, it returns to its normal shape. It does not bind movement and flexes and stretches with the animal's movement. This feature makes it perfect for the active animal.
Wool is also dirt resistant. The crimp and the scales of the wool fiber prevent dirt from penetrating the surface of the wool fiber and its natural static resistance helps to resist dust and lint from the air. Good Shepherd Dog Coats may be worm many times before washing is needed.
All of these features, plus that fact that it is a natural, reusable fabric, makes wool the perfect choice for warming active dogs.
Why don't you use Velcro (hook and loop) fasteners on your coats?
We have tried velcro fasteners on our coats and they were not successful over time. Animals shed hair. The outdoor environment has grass, leaves and seeds. The barn environment has hay seeds and flakes, grain chaff, sawdust, wood chips, cob webs, animal hair---all of which become embedded in the hook part of the fastener preventing it from securely holding the belt around the dog.
Even when the fastener is closed before washing, the fibers and debris in the washing machine bind to the hook part of the closure and diminish its function. Its ability to securely hold the belt around the coat decreases with every washing. Over time, the velcro fastener becomes filled with debris and hardly stays closed at all.
All of us have had the experience of having a sports glove or purse latch with a velcro fastener---and over time it no longer latches securely. Unless one is willing to clean out the hook closure with a brush on a regular basis, the velcro fasteners are not suitable for heavy duty use by active hairy animals in an outdoor or barn environment or in a garment that is made to be washed many, many times.
Why dogs need coats?
If you've ever saw a dog shiver in the cold, you know how important it is to keep dogs warm. What could be natural than wool for warmth?
Good Shepherd Dog Coats are designed to be used in a chilly house or for periodic jaunts outside. They can also be used as "sick coats" for ill or recuperating dogs that are unable to maintain their body temperature, or for those "athletic" dogs that need a wrap after intense exercise so they do not become chilled. Good Shepherd Dog Coats keep old arthritic dogs on cold floors warm.
Good Shepherd dog coats are currently available in four sizes, extra-small, small, medium and large.
Our coats are available in solid colors, in patterns, stripes, and plaids and always with
a coordinating trim.
Please call, write or email us for current color availability.
We charge no handling fee for packaging. We ship priority mail or first class depending on the customer’s desires.
Please contact us with your zip code and we will let you know the exact amount of shipping for the number of items you desire.
Maryland Residents, please add 6% Maryland Sales Tax.
We ship to Canada at the small parcel rate.
Contact us for payment arrangements!
We understand that dogs, like people, do not come in standard shapes or sizes. Every dog is unique. A well fitted coat is essential for the comfort and appearance of your dog.
If you require a custom-made coat, please contact us. Our charges for custom garments are very reasonable.
We charge $10.00 for minor adjustments (< 2 inches) in the size of the neck, the chest measurement, the drop (length from the backbone down the side of the coat, or the length of the back. We will send you photos of the blankets on hand so you may choose your color and trim.
We also make coats for large dogs. When the length of the coat exceeds 15 inches or so, an additional belt is required in front of the hind legs to keep the back of the coat from falling off the rump of the dog. The charge for custom coats is roughly $40.00 plus $1.50 to $2.00 per inch over 15 inches in length depending on the type of fabric selected and if a new pattern has to be developed or use of an existing one is possible.
We can custom make a tab closure with a snap for dogs with very large heads and small necks. The coat is made with a "V" opening at the top of the chest piece, and a snap closure fastens it once it is over the dog's head.
Turn-around time for custom coats is usually 2-3 weeks or less depending on the number of orders outstanding and the time of year. The onset of cold weather is a busy time for us.
We usually have a variety of blankets---solid colors, patterns, stripes, Hudson Bay styles and plaids on hand. Call or email for what's available. There is variety in weave, texture and thickness.
All blankets have been washed and preshrunk (felted) and are guaranteed machine wash and dryable. We only use vintage blankets because they are superior in quality and the dyes are colorfast in the wash.
If you have questions or want an estimate on a custom coat, please contact us.