Red Bark Shop was born out of Adele’s journey with Whiskey, her first dog, who was later joined by Bourbon - both of them Vizslas. A former visual effects movie artist and photographer, Adele’s life took a turn towards outdoor adventures and backcountry camping, leading to a shift from city life to the mountains. What began as a yearly calendar project evolved organically into an assortment of products, including hiking hats and the sought-after Bravehound sweaters that she imported for sale in North America.
Bravehound Hand-knitted Bird Dog Sweater Review
The Red Bark Shop’s Bravehound Bird Dog Sweater is a thick wool sweater that can be used as a base layer or a standalone coat for chilly days. It doesn’t lay flat like machine-made ones but is really a thick material without being heavy.
It currently comes in five sizes and seven beautiful colors.
This sweater was originally designed to fit skinny and long bird dogs, so they are sized for medium dogs and up.
Zulu is wearing their smallest size and I am very surprised with how well it fits her both around her chest and in length! When you see photos of Zu, her belly hair usually hides how deep her chest is vs her small waist which makes fitting snug coats hard.
The lines on the side of this sweater highlight the steep angle a coat needs to have to properly cover her chest without being baggy around her waist. This is helpful for Weimaraners, Pointers, Dalmatians, Airedale Terriers, Brittany Spaniels, and other similarly built dogs.
I am pretty impressed with the fit, design, and thickness of this wool coat and how stretchy the sleeves are to keep dogs comfortable and not restrict movement. The closed design around the chest prevents the snow from getting in and keeps the heat in around the chest area where dogs tend to lose the most heat.
The oversized neck section can be pulled up high to protect the neck or even pulled over cold ears as needed. The back of the neck has a leash opening so you can still easily use it with a collar.
Wool performs well even when wet but it is clearly not a waterproof material and it is also not ideal for running through dense undergrowth as it can get snagged on thorns and such.
While wool is antistatic, breathable, and moisture-wicking, it’s important to keep checking the dog under it if you want to use it as an everyday indoor sweater as the closed design around the chest will not allow as much airflow as most jackets/sweaters and it could potentially cause skin issues with some dogs over time.
Even though Zulu is a gear-shy dog, she was comfortable wearing this sweater. However, putting it on can be a process as you need to pull through each leg on the narrow leg holes and some dogs can be sensitive about pulling their head through the long turtleneck design.
The Bravehound Wool Bird Dog Sweater is an exceptional quality clothing for hard-to-fit dogs who need help enjoying the cold days. As it doesn’t have any adjustment points, it will be a hit-or-miss fit, so be sure to closely check the sizing guide on the website.
I have used this sweater as a base layer under their Technical Gilet Canine Vest on truly frigid days, or a standalone coat while she waited in the car or when we went for chilly, dry walks and she turned heads and collected compliments wherever we went.
Where to buy
Many of you asked for the dog’s measurements in reviews to better understand the different products’ fit, so I’m sharing Zulu’s below for reference.
Shoulder height: 19 inches (50 cm)
Weight: 29 pounds (13 kg)
Widest chest circumference: 24 inches (60 cm)
Neck circumference for collars: 14 inches (35 cm)
Back lengths: 18 inches (46 cm)