All dogged up in their
'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jackets


Jack Russell in the Black Country

Pampered pooch!

Alison, the proud owner of Ellie, a 12 month old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, decided that it was just too cold to take Ellie to the lake near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

So instead, wearing her 'Small' size life jacket, Ellie spent the evening wallowing in a hydro bath. Now that's what I call being pampered!

Hold it!...

This all-action Jack Russell (it took about five minutes to get even this pic!) visited the stand at the Black Country Canal Festival 2008 for his 'Toy' size life jacket.


More Barnaby!

The long and the short of it!

Derek and Claire Godfrey of Brighton were delighted to find that the 'Toy' size life jacket they bought for Barnaby, their 15 year old dachshund, fitted perfectly.

Derek reported that: "Barnaby is quite big for a miniature - seven kilos, and normally has a 14" long coat. Dachshunds are notoriously difficult to buy coats for - being half a dog high and two dogs long - but your sizing chart made it very straightforward to identify the correct size of toy / extra small".

Trivia Corner:

The dachshund breed's name is German and literally means 'badger dog'. Standard size dachshunds were developed to scent, chase, and flush badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while miniature dachshunds were bred to hunt rabbits.

Dachshunds behaviour and appearance is most similar to the terrier group of dogs. Classified as a hound in English-speaking countries, many consider this classification to be an error, speculating that it arose from the fact that the German word 'hund' (meaning 'dog') is similar to the English word 'hound'. 

Due to their long, narrow build, dachshunds are often referred to by their colloquial name of 'sausage dog'.

Bugzy Bugzy in the pool

Pampered pooch!

Will Gudgeon of Eastbourne kindly sent us these photos of Bugzy, his five-month old Jack Russell / chihuahua cross.

Will reports that Bugzy is starting to become familiar with his 'Toy' size life jacket which fits him perfectly, and that Bugzy is having lots of treats and fuss when he wears it (that's the way, Will - when all else fails, bribe 'em!).

Bugzy went for his first swim in his life jacket the day before the above photos were taken, so you can see how quickly Bugzy came to be completely at ease in it.

Bugzy was abandoned as a four-week old and adopted by Will, so no-one's absolutely sure which breeds are in the mix; Will sums Bugzy up as chihuahua-size with Jack Russell attitude!

Not wearing one of our jackets!

Water, water everywhere
(With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Paul Beake of East Ilsley near Newbury, and Tilly, his little terrier, were looking forward to going out on their new boat on the Thames at Abingdon.

Before heading for the marina Tilly posed in her 'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jacket.

Then came the Midland floods of 2007!

Paul and Tilly did manage to get to Abingdon but didn't manage to get to their boat; the closest they got was the marina car park, where Paul took this photo of a pooch being taken for a float! 

So off they went to Weymouth instead!

Tiggy (foreground) and Sky

Tilly and Penny

Spa-rkling swimming!

When Richard and Chris Faerber of Chessington, Surrey splashed out on a spa, its primary use wasn't intended as somewhere convenient for Tiggy, their three year old long-haired chihuahua and Sky, their 10 year old Italian greyhound to learn to swim!

Waiting patiently on the sofa for their daily dip in the hot tub, Tiggy wears her 'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jacket whilst behind her Sky is just visible in her 'Small' size life jacket.

In addition to their daily trips to the spa, Tiggy and Sky also go for swimming lessons at Greyfriars Hydrotherapy, where the the staff were most impressed with their new life jackets!

Deep conversation

"What's that stuff then?"

"That's water."

"What's 'water'?"

"The stuff we drink."

"What, we've got to drink all that?"

Photographed above Tilly, an 18 month old Norfolk terrier cross and Penny, a seven year old Patterdale terrier (who features on the 'Small' jackets page), contemplate the River Thames at Oxford as they stand in their 'Toy' and 'Small' size life jackets, obediently awaiting instruction from owners Mary Hopkins and Peter Banham of Stockton, near Southam in Warwickshire.

"Come on, hurry up,
we'll never get there at this rate!"

Mark Young of Lancing, West Sussex took this photograph of his uncle Keith and dog Lucy, a four year old Jack Russell in her 'Toy' size life jacket, during one of their twice-weekly summer kayaking expeditions (weather permitting) on the River Adur at Shoreham-by-Sea.

The photo above shows that Lucy is on the small side for Jack Russells; we have photos of Jack Russells in both our 'Toy' and 'Small' size jackets - please check your dog's chest measurement against our sizing table then we can all be confident you're ordering the correct size!


Heidi - twice!

It's a small world (with email)!

Over 3,000 miles away, Diane Simpson in Ontario, Canada needed a life jacket for Heidi, her cute little Yorkie. Here's what Diane emailed:

My little Heidi is 6 pounds. I measured her chest and it was 14 1/4 inches. What is your opinion? Is there some leeway for adjustment if necessary? It's a real challenge for me to find something that fits her. So far anything that I've seen that is decent, soft and durable is too large. Let me know what you think.

A few email exchanges and one life jacket sale later and here's what Diane emailed me:

What do you think? Perfect or what!!! She is just over 5 pounds and it fits beautifully. There is definite room for expansion with the straps for any dog that is a few pounds bigger. Thank you so much!

The photos show Heidi in her 'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jacket. I think Diane's spot-on with her assessment!

The little one of the litter!


Curly-top dog!

Dale Rodgers of Solihull kindly sent us the above photo, taken in Helston, Cornwall, of Jenny, a Jack Russell /  Hungarian Puli cross (and daughter of Sadie who features on the 'Small' jackets page). Being the smallest of the litter the 'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jacket Jenny's wearing is the right size for her.

Jenny is a bit of a 'wuss' (Dale's word, not mine!), but the jacket has given her more confidence in the water.

Petite pup

Kelly McCallum of Soho in London bought a 'Toy' size life jacket for her French bulldog Gordo.

It was a bit big for Gordo at the time the photos were taken, but at the speed puppies grow it's probably fitting him a treat by the time you're reading this!

Kelly reports that it took some coaxing to get Gordo into his jacket - apparently he just looked forlornly at Kelly when she put it on him (just look at those eyes in the inset photo!) and then walked around the house on his toes trying to shake it off (it was pretty funny though!).

Jack and Pip

Chuffed, not chaffed!

Having found that the jackets supplied at the hydrotherapy pool caused three year old brother Yorkies Jack and Pip some chaffing, Mel and Jill Hobson of Sherburn in Elmet, Leeds decided to invest in jackets for their little pooches. "Now our little boys are chuffed, not chaffed" reports Mel, rather creatively.

These photos show Jack and Pip in their 'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jackets.

In the photo above right, the hydrotherapist and mum Jill restrain Jack and Pip at the pool's edge.

Once in the pool there's no stopping them, although Jill can't stop her arm creeping in - some mum's fuss so, don't they!


Zoe on the boat

ZoŽ's tail tale

Natasha and Dmitry Orlov of, - well, of wherever they are, because they live on a boat in the USA - kindly sent us the above photos, taken in Charleston, South Carolina, of their cat ZoŽ in her 'Toy' (Extra-small) size life jacket.

ZoŽ is about 10 years old and originally from New Hampshire; she's been with Natasha and Dmitry for the last four years.

It's not possible to know exactly how old ZoŽ is because she was found in a dumpster (which, on this side of the pond, is called a dust-bin) with other kittens, some of whom were maimed or dead. Natasha and Dmitry have never learned why ZoŽ has a short tail - no-one knows exactly what had happened; maybe that was one of her nine lives used up!

When ZoŽ first found her permanent home with Natasha and Dmitry they lived in an apartment. Now they're all getting used to life on a boat.

Although very intelligent, and very cautious, while at a marina in Boston ZoŽ nevertheless managed to fall into the water.

Luckily, she was wearing a harness and was easily pulled out. This was the event that prompted Natasha and Dmitry to get ZoŽ a 'proper' life jacket (or, as they seem to be called on the other side on the pond, life vest). I share Natasha's hope that it'll never be put to the test!

ZoŽ isn't overly-keen on her new jacket: because she starts to whine and tries to wiggle out when Natasha puts it on her, Natasha is accustoming her to it gradually. Patience is a virtue!

Sir Jamm Sir Jamm - hanging around!

One hang up

Julia Duncan of Sandling, near Maidstone in Kent kindly sent us these photos of her cute toy Yorkie Sir Jamm.

Julia's promised to send more piccies taken aboard her parent's boat - meanwhile Sir Jamm is photographed just hanging around in the garden in his 'Toy' size life jacket!

Richard and his yorkie!

More of Richard and his yorkie!

Surf's up!

When Richard Robertson of Carlton in Nottinghamshire told us he'd be sending in some "awesome" photos of his 9 months old Yorkie Milo doing a bit of body-boarding in St Ives we didn't know what to expect!

The photos duly arrived, with Milo on his body-board - safe in his 'Toy' size life jacket.

As you can see, Milo's certainly neither kook nor junkyard dog - not at all clucked in the impact zone, snaking those snappers which were really firing!


Ying - hurray! A cat picture!

Growing space

Jamie Richardson of Barnsley bought two jackets for his nine week old sister and brother miniature Jack Russell puppies. Here Molly begins to come to terms with her 'Toy' size life jacket.

Meanwhile Barney hasn't yet been persuaded into his jacket at all!

Yang, where's Yin?

Kathy Howes of Norwich managed to keep her cat Yang still for just long enough to snatch this photo of him in his 'Toy' size life jacket.

Kathy bought two 'Toy' size life jackets: can you guess who the other one is for?

(No prizes!)

Penny More of Penny

A Penny for your thoughts!

Bob and Liz Schramm of Heckmondwike (between Leeds and Wakefield), West Yorkshire, made sure their tiny (6.7 kilos!) 18 month old Cairn Terrier Penny was safe in her perfectly-fitting - and apparently very comfortable - 'Toy' size life jacket before holidaying on the Norfolk Broads.

Liz reports the holiday went very well: "Couldn't have been better, great boat, great weather, great pubs... and a safe pooch! What more do you need!".

Sir Stanley MatthewsTrivia Corner:

In its heyday the Heckmondwike-based footwear company 'Goliath' made football boots for the king of the dribble - Sir Stanley Matthews of Blackpool, Stoke City and England.

Every year he went through several pairs of the specially-made light boots which helped make him so quick on his feet; he often made the trip to the Heckmondwike factory to meet the workers and see how his latest pair were coming on.



One over Par

Claire and Daren Bender of Tywardreath, near Par (halfway between Falmouth and Plymouth) in Cornwall were out on their boat a little way down the road near Fowey when these photos of their chihuahua/Jack Russell cross, Rudy, were taken.

7 month old Rudy, shown wearing his 'Toy' size life jacket, continues to grow in confidence in the boat and is generally getting braver around water. Although he's a good swimmer, Claire and Daren were concerned about the possibility of Rudy jumping overboard in the deep water (which would put him in deep water in deep water, so to speak).

Now they don't need to worry - and he's got plenty of growing room in his jacket too!

Hey Joe!

Where Joe - their nearly-17-year old Jack Russell - is concerned, Niki and Pete of Bishopston, near Swansea will go to any lengths to give him the best life possible.

When Joe was 14 and a half, it had become necessary for his front left leg and shoulder to be removed. Prior to the operation Joe had been a real water-baby - and the operation didn't change him one bit!

Niki got in touch with us, explaining that with one foreleg missing Joe required more buoyancy under the chin, but that as a strong swimmer he didn't need much support along his back. Niki described how she'd previously been using a piece of pipe lagging, elastic-banded to the chin area of his old jacket.

We were happy to suggest to Niki that, together with a suitable 'Toy' size life jacket, we also send her some spare buoyancy panelling. An hour or so with the sewing machine should solve the problem. It did!

For more on how Niki helped Joe continue to lead a fun-filled life click here.



Jess Flanagan of Tredworth, near Gloucester, dropped in at the stand at the South Wales Kennel Association show and picked up a 'Toy' size life jacket for her three year old Lancashire Heeler, Thistle (fresh from taking third place in her class!).

Want to know more about Lancashire Heelers - read the trivia alongside!

Trivia Corner:

The Lancashire Heeler is generally believed to have originated from a cross between a type of Welsh Corgi and a Black and Tan (Manchester) Terrier. It was developed for use with cattle, driving livestock by nipping at their heels (and then getting out of the way, sharpish!).

Basic herding dog commands (hand, whistle or voice):

Come-by: go to the left of the stock, or clockwise around them.
Away: go to the right of the stock, or anticlockwise around them.
Stand, Wait, Down or Sit: stop.
Cast: gather the stock into a group. Good working dogs will cast over a large area.
Find: search for stock. A good dog will hold the stock until the stockman arrives. Some will bark when the stock have been located.
Hold: keep stock where they are.
Bark or Speak up: bark at stock. Useful when more force is needed, and usually essential for working cattle.
Look back: return for a missed animal.
In there: go through a gap.
Walk up: move in closer to the stock.
That'll do: stop working and return to handler.

Oi!: Used by Jess to get Thistle's attention!


Beaux... and Dotty!


Soraya Rigby, of Leyland in Lancashire, never goes far without one year old Beaux, her miniature daschund (and, according to Soraya, an all-round princess!) in her 'Toy' size life jacket.

Together with Gemma, a cocker spaniel, and Dotty, a Jack Russell terrier (and fellow crew members Steve, Graham, Paul and Bella), they enjoyed a week's barging holiday on the 'Cheshire Ring'.

Soraya reports that, happily, none of her three dogs fell in (the badly-misbehaving Gemma was sent home in disgrace with Soraya's daughter after two days of being a "royal pain in the barge" before she had time to) but that anyway the jackets' lifting handles proved invaluable for stepping on and off the barge.

For more on Dotty - photographed above in her '4u' polka dot jacket - please click here.


Melody's boxer puppy

'Never get a gremlin wet'

Gremlin, the 18 month old Jack Russell of Zosia and Mark of Tytherington, Wotton Under Edge in Gloucestershire, spent the weekend of the Saul Boat Festival in Gloucestershire in her 'Toy' size life jacket. Gremlin wore her jacket for the whole weekend and received many positive comments from people who thought she looked very cute!

Zosia and Mark trade as Marine Marque, mainly providing a boat maintenance service but also buying and selling boats and providing transportation for cabin cruisers up to 28 feet.

'Never get a gremlin wet', runs the old saying. This Gremlin hates water, but she loves spending time on Zosia and Mark's boat - wearing her lifejacket certainly makes her feel (and look!) part of the crew.

Pleasing melody!

Shane and Melody Williams together with 17 year old foster child Paul and three year old Lucy of Warmsworth in South Yorkshire, are off for a camping holiday at Windmill HIll Farm, near Pembroke in south west Wales.

In readiness for an extensive amount of canoeing and open boating, they did a bit of thinking ahead and bought a 'Toy' size life jacket for their boxer puppy Dave (named, Melody assures me, by Lucy).

Dave has an interesting point-me-towards-danger-
attitude to life - until he gets there, at which point he's off in the opposite direction at a rate of knots! The family is waiting to find out whether the reason is Dave being a puppy or a wimp!

Hazel's pug

Mystery Lhaso Apso

Water shortage

Hazel of Woodeaton, Oxford kindly sent in this photo of Mostyn (good old Welsh name there!), her four month old pug, ready to take to the water in his 'Toy' size life jacket (but actually in the back garden guarding the hose pipe).

Fair game

Wearing her hair up on one of the two hot days of the summer of 2008, this cute little Lhaso Apso visited the stand at the Midland Country and Game Fair and picked up her 'Toy' size life jacket.


More of the Robster!

Surf bored? Never!

The surf of Llangennith, on the Gower peninsular in south Wales, is an irresistible attraction for Bryony Gilmore of Butlers Marston, near Evesham.

Bryony thought that Robbie, her Yorkie cross, shouldn't be missing out on the surf-boarding fun so he was responsibly fitted-out with a 'Toy' size life jacket. Now The Robster is always first up!

Miss Mini Cooper

Sea-borne Mini Cooper

Miss Mini Cooper is the mini daschund of Vanessa Vanhorn of Dublin, photographed in her 'Toy' size life jacket. Vanessa, together with husband Mike, maintain an interesting website about the fabulous dolphins of Ireland - it's well worth a visit. Vanessa reports:

'Miss Mini Cooper is a young 4 month old mini Dachshund and she has a very special job. It is her job to come and interact with Ireland's whales and dolphins. This summer Coops will join Mike on his ocean kayak as Vanessa swims alongside with Co. Clare's resident dolphin Dusty (Lady Blue) and Dingle's dolphin, Fungi. Cooper then must report her adventures on her very own childrens' page on our website. Without a life jacket this would not be possible. Thanks for the great buy and our mini Jacque Cousteau is all set for her ocean exploration.'


Yorkie /Lhaso Apso cross

Captain Nellie Patter-Dale

Susie Bolton of Alton, Hampshire, who bought a 'Toy' size life jacket, was kind enough to write:

"Here is Nellie, our Patterdale Terrier, captaining our good ship (an inflatable kayak) along the Basingstoke Canal near Aldershot, Hampshire. We were impressed with the excellent fit and usefulness of the integrated "dog-handle". Nellie was not......."

In trim

This Yorkie / Lhaso Apso visited the stand at the 2009 Crick Boat Show for his 'Toy' size life jacket.

Labradoodle Jack Russell

Just doodling

Just eight weeks old visited when he visited the stand at the 2009 Crick Boat Show, this labradoodle was fitted out with a 'Toy' size life jacket.

Handy handle

Millie, a three year old Jack Russell, popped in to the stand at the 2009 Crick Boat Show for a 'Toy' size life jacket.

Boby Boby again

Holiday home

Claudia Mendez from Cartagena, Murcia in Spain (clue for our UK readers - it's along the coast south of Alicante Airport) bought a 'Toy' size life jacket for five year old Boby, her "medium chihuahua".

Boby is an enthusiastic Mediterranean swimmer - which is a worry. As Claudia, who is actually from Chile, expresses: "I want to protect it because one goes away very inside the sea". Looks like you're worries are over, Claudia!

Even more Boby!

Buster Buster in the driving street

Fishing degree

Tommy Donachie of Glasgow sent in these two pics of Buster, his three year old Irish Jack Russell, wearing his new 'Toy' size life jacket.

Tommy and Buster were fishing out of Largs at a mark off Little Cumbrae in about (what felt like) minus 10 degrees, but was in fact weather which the locals usually describe as 'warm'.

Although it appears Buster found somewhere a little less chilly.

Jack Russell Lhaso Apso

The Days are getting longer

After a year of use the time came for Kim and John Day of Derby to upgrade the 'Toy' size life jacket shown above, bought for his little Jack Russell when she was a puppy, to a more-suitable 'Small' size jacket.

Leisurely Lhasa

At the 2010 British Leisure Show held at Windsor Racecourse this Lhasa Apso was fitted out in a 'Toy' size jacket.

Chihuahua Miniature poodle


Penny, the nine year old chihuahua of Tracey Turner of Hertfordshire, loves her boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads.

Tracey reports: "She doesn't mind at all wearing her 'Toy' size life jacket - although sometimes she does like to inpersonate a crab by shuffling sideways."

My, my, Mya

Mya, a miniature poodle, was fitted with her 'Toy' size life jacket at the 2011 Beale Park Boat Show.

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Last updated: 26 September 2016

All content of is © Ian Evans 2011