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How to Measure Your Dog for Clothes

Updated on February 10, 2013

Just like having the correct sizes for your family members when purchasing clothes for them, you need to have the correct measurements for your pets.  This is especially true since dogs have unusual shapes and sizes that are often difficult to find good fitting clothing.  Basically, there are five measurements that you need to keep on hand the next time you enter a pet store or purchase dog clothes online.

A measuring tape is the best way to find the length or circumference of your dog’s anatomy.  Most tapes are printed in the units of inches on one side and centimeters on the opposite size and can be purchased at most grocery or convenient stores.  If you do not have a tape measure, a string and ruler will suffice to get a reasonable estimate.

Figure 1: Where to Measure Your Dog
Figure 1: Where to Measure Your Dog

The first measurement for your dog clothing is the neck circumference. The neck size is very important when purchasing collars or other type of garments which fit over the neck.

The second measurement is the chest circumference. This measurement is taken at the thickest point around the chest. This is typically just behind the front legs. Most dog clothing uses this measurement for the size of the clothes. Sometimes the clothing is marked as X-Small (10 – 12in), Small (12-15in) or Medium (16- 18in). Since there isn’t a standard clothing size for dogs, you need to go by the circumference specified in inches or cm.

Even though most dog garments usually do not have a length, the back length, belly length and belly measurements are important especially if you have elongated skinny shaped dogs like Dachshunds. Sometimes these measurements are needed in custom made clothing.

So the next time you’re out shopping and see that perfect dog sweater, you’ll know if it fits your friend with five simple measurements around the neck, chest, belly with back and belly lengths.


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