< paw-things.com: Dogs dressed for safety

All dogged up in their
'Giant' (Extra-large) size life jackets

Dylan Dylan - with his bandaged leg

Not left in the lurch 

Dylan is the six year old lurcher (deerhound-collie cross) of Sally and Paul Plumb of Hereford. Weighing just under 40kg, Dylan poses in his 'Giant' size life jacket.

In the photos Paul, 5ft 10, blue eyes (what's that? Too much detail? Oh, OK) restrains Dylan to ensure the recent injury to his front foot isn't made worse in the excitement of wearing his new jacket.

You splash out on a life jacket and then you can't use it for a while! How frustrating is that!

Trivia Corner:

The lurcher is not a dog breed, but rather a type of dog. It is generally a cross between a sighthound (eg, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deerhound, greyhound, borzoi, whippet) and a working breed.

The lurcher was bred in Ireland and Great Britain by the Irish gypsies and travellers in the 17th century, created because only nobility were allowed to have purebred sighthounds, whereas crosses, or curs, had no such perceived value. It was important that the lurcher did not resemble too closely a sighthound, as the penalties for owning a sighthound were high, particularly given that if you owned one then by default you were considered a poacher. Nevertheless, lurchers were used for poaching rabbits, hares and other small creatures.



A shadow of doubt

Looking for all the world like he owns the boat (anyone arguing? Thought not) Shadow, a 12 year old long-haired German shepherd and the third dog illustrated of Mary Hopkins and Peter Banham of Stockton, near Southam in Warwickshire (see the other two on the ''Toy' and 'Small' pages), lays on deck in his 'Giant' size life jacket and thinks about maybe taking a refreshing dip in the Thames. Or maybe not.

Decisions, decisions. Life's all go, isn't it.

Moore views of Connor

Photographed in his 'Giant' size life jacket is Connor, the nine year old Rottweiler of Tina and Paul Edwards of Dereham in Norfolk.

Tina and Paul run Mooreviews K9 Hydrotherapy in Dereham, a hydrotherapy pool service offering all kinds of dog treatments.

Running a hydrotherapy pool has meant that they've been getting through other manufacturers' life jackets at a rate of knots. Tina and Paul decided to replace their existing life jackets with a full set of our Up Buoy jackets - I guess the fact that they've been kind enough to send us photos of our jackets on their dogs means they're pleased with their decision! Paul reports that the dogs seem very happy wearing our jackets and that the pad under the tummy gives them more support than jackets they've previously used.


Winston - all at sea!

You ask, what is our aim?
I can answer in two words.
It is getting back!
(with apologies to the other Winston)

Debbie and Gary Balaam of Camelford in Cornwall fitted out their nine-year old labrador Winston in our 'Giant' size life jacket.

Winston is photographed above on his first day at sea with owners Debbie (who even finds time to smile for the camera!) and Gary (working hard at the back, trying to steer and paddle at the same time).

Using the phrase so beloved by reviewers of church fetes, Debbie sums up the day: "Great fun was had by all". (So they achieved their aim.)


Harold - master of all he sees!

A long, long, way from Hastings!

Here's Harold, the two and a half year old Weimaraner of Hannah Nelson of Quendale on Shetland (up past mainland Scotland, up past Orkney), sensibly attired in his 'Giant' size life jacket for life on the shores of the North Atlantic!

Hannah reports: "Here are some pics of Harold on the local beach. The jacket has greatly improved visibility of him, particularly when he's in the sand dunes or sea, with added warmth to combat the chilly wind up here."

And Harold (isn't it bizarre how dogs can type!) reports: "It's a lot warmer now I've got my new jacket. The only drawback is that I can't get away with sneaking off any more without being seen.

"That's another thing - when I'm in the water I feel positively light, although the seals look at me a bit strangely and give me a wide berth."

Imagine waking up to the view in the photo every morning! Never get any work done!

Broad dimensions

Roger Woodrow of Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk sent in these photos of Toby, his four year old Old English Sheepdog, decked out in his 'Giant' size life jacket and ready to take his place in Roger's maritime crew on the Norfolk Broads.

These photos particularly show how the extension straps - supplied free with our 'Giant' life jackets - are used. The velcro panels have been flapped up underneath the orange flotation jacket, and the extension straps attached to the snap-click fastenings which remain in place.

Trivia Corner:

The Old English Sheepdog has been the brand mascot in Dulux paint advertising campaigns since the 1960s. They have been such a constant and highly popular feature of Dulux adverts that people often refer colloquially to the breed as a 'Dulux' dog rather than a sheepdog.

Over the years, a number of different dogs have appeared in the adverts. However, they all look very similar, partially as a result of most of them being selected from a closely-related line of pedigree dogs.

The first Dulux dog was Shepton Dash, who held the role for eight years. His successor - Fernville Lord Digby - was the most famous Dulux dog. When filming commercials Digby was treated like a star, being driven to the studio in a chauffeur driven car. The (in)famous dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse was employed to train not only Digby but also his three stunt doubles (used whenever specific tricks or actions were needed).

New-found water
for a Newfoundland

Here's Kasi, the 11 month old working Newfoundland of Russ and Lesley Grimmer of Leominster in Herefordshire, in his 'Giant' size life jacket.

Kasi already weighs about 40 kilos and is still growing - and there's plenty of room to grow in that jacket!

The family are members of the Welsh Newfoundland Activity Group which trains each Sunday at Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar, where these photos were taken (nice landscape, Russ!).

Russ reports that the jacket: "has given Kasi loads of confidence. The extra buoyancy it gives allows her to make the odd mistake, the high visibility means she is easily seen, and the grab handle and ring ensures she can be controlled".

Dawn's Newfi

Dawn's Newfi at work

Just like a London bus
(you wait ages for one then two come along together!)

After patiently waiting a year for the arrival of a photo of a great big hairy dog, barely had I finished assembling the Newfoundland profile on Kasi (see above) before my inbox was groaning under the weight of the arrival of Ebony - demonstrating her 'Giant' size life jacket - the working Newfoundland of Dawn Nichols of Doncaster.

Six year old Ebony is photographed undertaking a training session with the Northern Newfoundland Club at Rother Valley Country Park, near Sheffield.

Her strength in the water is amply demonstrated in the upper photos as she tows adults through the water whilst her placid temperament is illustrated in the lower right photo where she waits patiently for instruction as chaos reigns all around!

Loki - the black and white newfie!

Colin - and Loki!

It's all here - in black and white

Colin Lindsay of Ellon in Aberdeenshire had been looking everywhere for a life jacket which would fit Loki, his 50kg Newfoundland. Colin was delighted when he tried one of our 'Giant' life jackets with our recently-introduced extended neck panels - at last, a jacket that fits!

Loki is only nine months old so has a lot of growing still to come. Colin reports that while the jacket already fits fine on Loki there is still plenty of growing room.

And on their first outing using the jacket they found themselves rescuing a young lad in a canoe!

Sachi (and her little friend, Gus)


One small step for a Japanese akita
one giant leap for a border terrier 

When Angela and Pete McLean of Strathaven in Lanarkshire take Sachi, their Japanese akita and Gus, their border terrier out on the water they knows danger is just a step (or leap) away and make sure the dogs are safe.

In the photos Sachi looks completely at ease in her 'Giant' size life jacket as the McLean's yacht eases out of the River Clyde into the Firth of Clyde (just around the bend from Kintyre, and its 'Mull' and Paul McCartney).

Angela reports that both dogs love being on the boat - the minute she picks up the jackets they go mad!

Kia Echo

German engineering

Kia is the nearly-three year old Weimaraner of Andrew and Sonia Dunne of Cheadle in Cheshire. In the photos she's in her 'Giant' size life jacket. (In the photo on the right she's in her life jacket in a life ring! Better safe than sorry!)

Kia is from the 'Gunalt' breed of the dog, which (Andrew assures me!) is the best pedigree Weimaraner you can get.

The name 'Weimaraner' comes from the Grand Duke of Weimar whose court in the 1600s enjoyed hunting. The breed was created strictly for the nobility, with the aim of producing a noble-looking, reliable gundog. 'Vorsprung Durch Tecnic', as they used to say in the adverts!

Kia is Andrew and Sonia's second Weimaraner. Both dogs have proved great companions, excellent guard dogs and also been very good with children.

The only drawback is that Weimaraners need lots of exercise. Now where have I heard that before?

Scent to help

Paul and Chris Tedder of Kings Lynn in Norfolk took Echo, their Russian Black Terrier, for some water search training at Chasewater in Staffordshire.

In the photo almost-four year old Echo, wearing her 'Giant' size life jacket, is scanning the lake for scent. Three minutes after this photo was taken there was a snow blizzard blowing across the water - but they carried on. Hardy souls, these search and rescue people - Echo, Paul and Chris are members of CanTech.

CanTech is a member organisation of SARDA - the National Search and Rescue Dog Association. It provides search and rescue dogs to help find missing people in all environments.

CanTech, which has been specialising in water search since 1999, is a charitable organisation. Members are committed to their work and give much of their free time to it.

Although CanTech normally covers an operational area around the east of England, members provide an important free resource to the police forces across the UK. For more about Cantech click here.

Big newfie at the Western Motor Home Show

Scooby - and friend!

That's big - very big!

Lali, an 85kg Newfoundland, was fitted with one of our 'Giant' size life jackets at the Western Motor Home Show in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Whilst this newfie pretty much filled the jacket's girth it's interesting to note that even on a dog of this size the extension straps - which are used to increase the available girth of the jacket - weren't required.

Mooning about in Suffolk

Sonja Moon of Suffolk sent in these photos of a pair of handsome old sea dogs.

The more-hairy sea dog (wearing our 'Giant' size life jacket) is Scooby, an eleven-and-a-half year old husky/German shepherd cross, who came from the RSPCA.

Scooby's extremely well-travelled - Spain, Canada and the USA - and is now spending his later years relaxing on the UK waterways; the photos were taken on the River Blyth, near Southwold in Suffolk. The hearty fish-and-chip meal Scooby had just consumed may or may not have been a factor in him falling in unexpectedly!

Sonja is less forthcoming about the less-hairy old sea dog (sometimes referred to as husband Mike).

Benson Bull Mastiff

Jet powered family

When 19-year-old Keeley Brandreth of Stockport asked if for Christmas her parents would buy her a 'Giant' size dog life jacket for Benson, her one year old rottie, it was a bit of a surprise. But it did make a lot of sense.

Benson has severe hip displaysia and is attending hydrotherapy. Keeley is hoping, in the summer whilst she and her brothers are jet skiing, to use the life jacket on Benson in the sea.

The whole family does a lot of jet skiing and Keeley's dad, Harry, has been kind enough to observe that the quality of the dog life jacket compares well against their human jackets.

Gentle giant

This bull mastiff collected her 'Giant' size dog life jacket from our paws-things.com stand at the 2009 Beaulieu Boat Show.

Kudo Kudo and Joe

Kudos to Kudo

Little did he know it, but when Joe Reinhardt from County Carlow, Ireland sent in these photos of Kudo, his one year old Dogue de Bordeaux, he would be answering a question I've long pondered: 'What would a Dogue look like in one of our life jackets?'.

So kudos to Kudo (and Joe) for these!

Joe reports that the Giant size life jacket fits 50kg Kudo: "like a glove, and leaves loads of room to move and jump about".

Public safety notice: Stand well back when Kudo is jumping about - he's a lot of dog!

Tiggy Tiggy swimming


These photos of Tiggy, the 20 months old newfie of Derek Lowe of Berkswell near Coventry, show her testing out her 'Giant' size life jacket in the swimming pool at home.

Tiggy, who weighs in at around 60 kilos, had worn the jacket on the beach in Cornwall the previous week but didn't like the waves, preferring to swim in the quieter waters of the estuary.

Taking it easy on holiday? Sounds good to me!

Keeva Bernese Mountain Dog

Making the grade

Keeva, the newfie of Laurie Woods, of Stanford in Lincolnshire, has particular need for a jacket because she had cruciate ligament surgery less than a year ago and the 'Giant' size buoyancy aid helps her swim with more confidence whilst building her leg strength.

The Newfoundland Club gives several water tests each summer and Laurie arranged for Keeva to take her test at Watermead Country Park in Leicestershire. The range of tests go from A (beginner) to E level. Keeva currently has 2 As and 3 Bs and is working on a C. She passed one of the Bs in her 'Up-Buoy' life jacket!

For more information about the Newfoundland Club click here.

Swiss precision

The owners of this Bernese Mountain Dog knew precisely what they wanted at the 2010 Thames Traditional Boat Show - a Giant-size 'Up-Buoy' life jacket!

Bernese Mountain Dog

A big Swiss dog in Little England

As a result of the significant English settlement and influences, Pembrokeshire in the westernmost part of Wales (the last county before Ireland) has long been referred to as 'Little England'. And it was at the 2012 Pembrokeshire Show that we were visited by this Bernese Mountain Dog, whose ancestors would have originally plied their trade in the mountains of Switzerland. And here she is, ready for the raging torrents, in her Giant size life jacket.

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Last updated: 26 September 2016

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