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Doggie Style: Dressing Up Man's Best Friend

Updated on February 23, 2008
My dog, Prucha, in a shirt declaring that he loves his daddy.
My dog, Prucha, in a shirt declaring that he loves his daddy.

It's not just for rich girls with Chihuahuas anymore. While dressing up dogs hasn't caught on with everyone (I'm pretty sure hunters aren't putting pink tutus on their bitches or baseball caps on their dogs just yet), it's certainly become more commonplace.

It's New York City that made me realize this fad is everywhere. I take my short-haired dog outside here without a coat during the winter, and people look at me like I'm crazy. He's fine!

I admit: I'm guilty of indulging in this ridiculousness occasionally, but usually only to laugh histerically and snap a few pictures. Some people have clothing on their dogs almost constantly!

But if you're not careful, dressing up your dog can be expensive! And is the concept of putting clothing on our animals a little too "out there"?

Dog in a hoodie.
Dog in a hoodie.
Dog in goggles.
Dog in goggles.

The Two Kinds

As far as I can tell, there are two kinds of dog clothing: the necessary and the frivolous.

Most of what we see falls under the second category and is a silly effort to further anthropomophize our dogs. This is your Halloween costumes, t-shirts, and Christmas doggy sweaters.

But sometimes dogs need clothing! For example, dogs like Greyhounds and American Pit Bull Terriers have a single coat that is very thin. Taking them outside without a thick coat on a cold winter day can be downright cruel. (How can you tell if your dog is cold? It'll shiver! And some dogs will be clearly uncomfortable in the cold weather, not wanting to walk or play at all.)

My theory is that the reason we think of "toy" dogs as wearing clothes more often than other breeds is precisely this reason: a crossover from necessity to frivolity. The smaller the dog, the more likely it is that dog will need a sweater to go outside in the winter.

When people realized how cute (open to interpretation) their toy dogs looked in "human" clothing, they no longer put it on their dogs just in the winter time. Before you know it, we had a whole line of Halloween costumes just for dogs!

Where to Get Them?

So now that you know the deal, I'm sure you want to buy some clothes for your dog, right? But be careful; chain pet supply stores and pet boutiques will way overcharge you for the simplest garment, so an outfit gets pricey very quickly! Here are ways to dress up your dog without exorbitant prices.

  • eBay! Just search "dog [size letter]" and you'll be sure to find plenty of things for much cheaper than you would at Petco.
  • A few specialty websites. PetEdge, Drs Foster and Smith, and Ruff Ruff and Meow are my favorites for inexpensive, high quality pet clothing.
  • Make them yourself! Take an old t-shirt or jersey, and it might fit your dog without any adjustments at all!

A little creativity and knowing where to look will keep you from overspending and will have your dog looking snazzy whenever you have the time to dress him up!

Fancy Collars

And for the dog who's too embarrassed to wear full-on human clothes, there's always the fancy collar phenomenon. eBay works well for this, too, as does CollarMania.com. You can get them customized with your dog's name or favorite colors (your favorite colors?) and there's always something interesting in any size.

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What Do We Think?

I'm not opposed to dressing up dogs, though I acknowledge that it is thoroughly silly. Whenever I've put a t-shirt or sweater on my puppy, it's only for a moment or two to take pictures (not that he would allow it to last much longer than that anyway).

What do you think? Would you dress up man's best friend, or is it too stupid to even give a second thought to? Leave a comment and let me know! If you do it regularly, do you have a favorite place to buy dog clothes that isn't over-the-top expensive? Share it with us!

Comments

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    • LisaPark profile image

      LisaPark 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      These pets are truly adorable...I also love dressing up my pets..^^

    • helenathegreat profile imageAUTHOR

      helenathegreat 

      10 years ago from Manhattan

      Sherry! I'm so glad to see you checking in; Prucha is doing excellently and loves wearing clothes more and more every day (haha, kidding). Please don't hesitate to stop by any time.

    • profile image

      Sherry Ozark Mutts and Stuff 

      10 years ago

      Just checking in to see what new things you have written and I found this. Prucha is sure one lucky fur kid to have a mom and dad like you. I just love the shirt that proclaims his love for his dad.

      Thanks for making my day.

      Sherry

    • helenathegreat profile imageAUTHOR

      helenathegreat 

      10 years ago from Manhattan

      singpec -- You might want to consider it, if only in jest and to take pictures. Lots of dogs actually seem to enjoy dressing up!

      nichemarketing -- Thanks for commenting. Canine fashion is the best doggie style there is! ;)

      PCatholic -- Thank you! I wonder who enjoys the sweaters and whatnot more: your dogs or your wife!

    • PCaholicDotCom profile image

      PCaholicDotCom 

      10 years ago from USA

      Ha Ha... Great Hub :-)

      We have 3 cocker spaniels and my wife buys them stuff all the time... sweaters, shirts, etc.

      Love the hoodie!!

      Peter

    • nichemarketing profile image

      nichemarketing 

      10 years ago

      dressing up your doggie makes them look cute! I am just relieved to see these canine fashion pics on this hub...the other kind would need to be censored!

    • singpec476 profile image

      singpec476 

      10 years ago from Not Too Far Away

      Great hub Helena I must admit personally I can not understand why people dress their pets, as a dog owner I have never considered it and never would but it does seem to be very popular.

    • helenathegreat profile imageAUTHOR

      helenathegreat 

      10 years ago from Manhattan

      moonlake, I am so jealous that you have a Dr Foster and Smith store in town!! They make the greatest stuff and always at a more-than-reasonable price. Old dogs often have an aversion to the cold, you're right. Thanks for commenting!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      10 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your hub about doggie outfits. I'm heading to Dr. Foster and Smith (here in town) tomorrow. We just got a new Springer Spaniel and I have things I need to pick-up for him. We have a 10 year old Lab-German Shorthair mix and I have been thinking about getting him a sweater. He gets cold now that he's older.

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