The Truth About Dogs Wearing Clothes

cocker clothes

Bark is the new black, and some dogs truly have a better wardrobe than most of us, present company included. Dog fashion is all the rage and this is no passing fad. Canines are copying their human counterparts, and what was once considered a fad has emerged as a trend and has now entered mainstream. Dogs wearing clothes is a very hot topic.

There are both functional and fashionable reasons for canines to do couture, and perhaps a bit of both in many cases. Fidose of Reality is all about alternative living for today’s modern dogs. Here’s the scoop on dog apparel, why it’s all the rage, and what dog moms and dads should know before purchasing custom or off-the-rack clothing for dogs.

Deciding

Not all dogs are into fashion. Not all dogs like wearing clothes. If this is the case and your dog is truly upset or stressed by it, don’t do it. However, many dogs just need a little coaxing and positive reinforcement. This means no yelling, getting frustrated, forcing a dog to wear clothes, or in any way getting upset. This means starting with a bandana and if the dog allows this and walks around with it for a minute or two, reward him and praise him like he just won a dog show.

Work up to longer periods of time but switch the item of apparel out. Try a doggie scarf. Again, if the dog accepts this, praise. If the dog is freaked out or otherwise uses the scarf as a chew toy, forego the effort.

When a dog first enters your life is probably one of the best times to get him used to wearing clothes. As a puppy, I put t-shirts on my dog, Dexter. He would walk around the house in them. Eventually when he was neutered, the Cover Me by Tui did the trick to keep him from licking at the surgical site. I felt pretty darned good about having a dog who associated clothes with a positive experience.

dog pajamas
Dex all comfy in his Cover Me by Tui

If you are reading this and your dog has never worn clothes, try the above. Work up to a t-shirt and praise. Starting with something lightweight like a loose-fitting t-shirt means Fido will be more likely to acclimate to a sweater and something with functional warmth.

Precautions

If your dog does not like clothes, wearing clothes, and tends to either freeze in place, act like they were lathered in glue, or otherwise is unhappy about apparel: Please for the love of Lassie, don’t make them wear clothes. You can still have fun: There are so many fun leashes, collars, and bandanas on the market these days that you don’t have to feel excluded.

Think like Goldilocks: Is it too hot, too cold, or just right?  Dogs can overheat easily, so ensure your dog’s clothing is not too bulky or heavy. Watch for elastic features around the paw area and be certain there is enough room in the girthy area of the chest. If a dog can easily trip over the legs, this is not ideal.

winter dog

Going for It

The growing focus from a marketing and media perspective on the human-animal bond also continues to attract niche sectors usually targeted at people. From dog booties to Swarovski crystal-laden collars and even canine handbags, we dote on our dogs, and designers are cashing in.

We went straight to the experts on this one. Here are a few of our favorite canine fashionistas:

Sophia Loren was a rescue from the mountains of New Mexico, and since she entered Anne Maria Tafoya’s life, she is a changed pup.  At first, her mom reports Sophia would shake and tremble until the vet recommended swaddling her in an anxiety-type wrap for dogs. From there, Sophia fell in puppy love with posh apparel.

cute dog

One of the stars of dog fashion’s spotlight is Anthony Rubio. With his canine Chihuahua twins, Bogie and Kimba, are Rubio’s muses and models. From Liberace-inspired outfits to suits and costumes, these two fashion divos are trained to wear sunglasses, too.

“On the other hand I won’t force my dogs to wear shoes or boots because they feel unnatural to the dog,” Rubio says.

Rubio is the exclusive designer of the couture for Coco and Dexter this fall in the season’s hottest canine fundraiser, Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof. He takes custom orders on a commission basis.

anthony rubio

Speaking of Coco, the one and only Coco Chanel Bella has quite the wardrobe. Her mom, Christine Aiello, reports Coco has her own closet and yours truly has seen it in person. She rivals the stars and is oh so en vogue with her wardrobe and accessories:

cocker

How To Measure Your Dog

Keep in mind that many stores will not allow coats to be returned, so measure your dog adequately before making any parka purchases. Here’s how: With the dog standing up, run a tape measure from the base of the dog’s neck (where the collar would sit) and to the base of the tail. The majority of dog clothes use this measurement. Knowing your dog’s chest measurement will ensure a good fit, too.

Winter Weather

There are many myths out there about dogs and winter coats. Here, Fidose does some winter coat myth busting.

dog coat

Canine College

New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, heralded as one of the world’s leading higher educational facilities for fashion design, offers a certificate program in Pet Product Design and Marketing. The brainchild of Professor Janet Brav and Assistant Professor Deborah David, the noncredit program offers six courses, including Pet Accessory Design Studio and Quick Sketching for the Pet Product Business.

Overall spending in the pet industry is at an all-time high, according to the American Pet Products Association. Canine couture and high-end fashion for discriminating dogs took quite a bite out of the nearly $51 billion spent in 2011 on our pets. Global Pet Expo, the pet industry’s largest trade show, held yearly in Orlando, showcases a special “boutique” section featuring fashions, frivolities, and lavish apparel for pets.

Trend Setters

Folks like Lauren Darr, founder of  the International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals, set the fashion bar high. From clothing to accessories, she’s been crazy about pet fashion since before it became cool.  She has a corporate and consulting marketing background, which includes being a trade show marketing expert. In 2013, she co-authored “Pet Fashion Almanac 2014″ with Ellen Zucker, which became a #1 Best Seller. Lauren believes you can never have too much fun at a pet fashion show and that there is no replacement for just the right accessory.

So yes, there is a time and a place for fashion for dogs. For some, it’s year round and for others it’s a functional thing. For yet another group of folks, they are just so not into clothing for pets.

dex
Photo courtesy Luminaria Photography.

What are your thoughts about dogs wearing clothes? Should dogs don couture in the name of good looks alone or should clothing only serve a warming function? Do you dress your dog up? What do you tell people who think it’s ridiculous that dogs wear clothes?

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Coco Chanel Bella loves wearing clothes! She has been wearing clothes since she was 9 weeks old when I got her. I got her in the winter and the breeder told me not to take her outside to go to the bathroom, but that’s where I wanted her to learn to go to the bathroom so I bought her a sweater so she would keep warm and would take her outside quick to go to the bathroom and bring her back in. Now she has a walk-in closet of clothes! We can’t wait to see what Anthony Rubio makes for Hollywoof! But I agree if your dog doesn’t seem to like wearing clothes then don’t force them to! Great article!!

    • my malchi has thin hair and likes wearing clothes. he weighs 4 lbs 1 oz.
      plus I love picking them out. I have no kids at home and my grandkids are y6oungest is 11. so I really love and he likes it . he will bring a outfit to me I was just concered how long he should wear them. I do take them off for air to get to shin.he doesn’t shake as bad when he goes out in snow and really cold air. he has quite the wardrobe my daughter got him.

  2. Yep, my dog loves wearing clothes. He has a wardrobe that rivals most humans. I started having him wear doggie football jerseys as a young pup. From there we went to jackets and coats. Now he has a wardrobe of fashion couture for special occasions. He has no problem wearing clothes, and I believe it is because he started wearing clothing at a young age.

  3. Dante and Ziva both have super short fur, so they wear lots of sweatshirts and doggy coats in the winter and wet weather months. 🙂 They also have boots for hiking and snowshoeing to protect their foot pads.

  4. Buster is not a big fan of clothing, but if the occasion calls for it, he will give in and wear something.

  5. We don’t wear clothes. Well, occasionally we wear something for a fun photo shoot, but for normal life, our collars are our clothing. Even for photos we mainly wear hats and/or glasses.

  6. Ironically my male loves to wear clothes, but my female Chihuahua has no interest! She pulls the classic dear-in-headlights move when we try to dress her up, and freezes until we take off the outfit. She’s more of a “free spirit,” or nudist as we like to joke. It’s a shame too, girls are more fun to dress up! But like I said, my male pitbull loves his comfy sweaters and shirts. He will generally refuse to go outside in chilly or inclement weather without a jacket. He is also rather fond of wearing a shirt to bed, like pajamas. Anyway, we admire your pups fearless style! Great fashion taste!

  7. I know that mom is disappointed that I don’t like to wear clothes, especialy coats in the winter, but if I did I know she wouldn’t go overboard. Its important that the dog enjoys it. Love Dolly

  8. My Jack Russell, Boo (male), loves his tees, and winter coats; he’s everything about warmth, comfort and cuddling… 🙂
    My little Pomeranian girl, Quinn, she will just tolerate a raincoat and/or a winter coat on the coldest of winter days; I call her my ‘snow~dog’, because she loves winter, she loves the snow, and it takes quite awhile before she’s ready to come in from the cold!
    🙂

  9. Our dogs hate clothing, but we fostered a dog once who loved clothing – he went to his new home with a full wardrobe. I so want a small dog who likes to dress up 🙂 Even if it’s only tshirts and jackets.

  10. I’ll admit that I’m being converted into liking dogs in clothes and am even starting wardrobes for each of mine! It’s so adorable! I’ve even started dressing my crew up occasionally and they were all very accepting of it. Kronos really loves the fur tight fitting doggie outfits (everyone will wear dog shirts after a bath to stay warm). For normal day wear it’s either naked or collars or harnesses though 🙂 But I have a lot of photo ideas that are starting to develop that involve Bella, Terra, & Kronos wearing clothes. I’m lucky that my canine models are pretty easy going and accepting of odd things (in exchange for being handsomely paid in food yummys or play time of course).

  11. My cocker is very picky about her clothing. She never freezes, but theres one tracksuit she just hates. We usually dress up all the time, for both practical, hygienic but mostly for medical reasons, and we have been doing so since she was a itty bitty puppy. However we live in an area where just a plain shirt on her will get rude comments and stares and pointed fingers, not to mention her in a winter jacket with booties, tge comments of passer-bys get quite horrible… Thankfully she cant understand a word they’re saying and I love her and put her health first, so I try not to care.

  12. Yago is a frenchie. Clothes for him are a necessity, from a wet white T shirt or bandanna to keep him cool in summer to a lovely varsity jacket that is easy to put on in winter. I never dressed my other dogs other than for a special ocassion such as an important soccer game, I hate dogs clothes. They’re ridiculous. But some breeds do need them and should be worn.

  13. My dog doesn’t mind wearing clothes. He has over 25 outfits and he loves all of them. My dog started wearing clothes at 1 and he’s almost 2 now. I would suggest to start putting clothes on your dog early so he/she gets used to it. In my opinion i don’t think you should start putting clothes on a dog later then the age of 3. But, some dogs don’t have a problem with it. And, make sure your dog is clean when you dress them because you don’t want his/her clothes to get dirty. Let your dog have a break from clothes. Especially if your dog has a thick coat. It might get him/her hot.

  14. Howdy would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.

  15. I started dressing my Boston terrier the day I got her. Penny Rose was just 8 weeks old. She has over 100 dresses and many nightgowns. We keep our house at about 68 degrees all year because of our health issues. When she is naked , Penny will go get under a blanket until I get her dressed. She has summer dresses as well as winter apparel. She loves her clothes and looks at other dogs without clothes as if they have lost their minds it are just classless. Many folks in our neighborhood make cruel comments like God gave dogs fur for clothing and only crazy women FORCE a dog to wear human clothes. Others think she is adorable, as she certainly is. I have lived long enough not to care what other people think. My main concern is that my Penny Rose is happy. If she didn’t like the clothes, she wouldn’t have to wear them.

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