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Why Do People Dress Their Dogs in Clothing?

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental and always interesting.

A dog dressed in clothing

A dog dressed in clothing

Do You Think Dogs Look Cute Dressed up in Clothing?

I watched a little dog bouncing happily about in snow today. He was all dressed up in a ‘winter fleece’ and I thought that his owner had been very remiss not to have thought of covering up his little paws, especially with all that slushy snow about! People often say that if you want to keep your body warm you should dress warmly from the feet up! I know that it is possible to buy Wellington boots for dogs but on this day the poor little mite had nothing but his God-given paws!

It's Show Time!  Dressed to Kill

It's Show Time! Dressed to Kill

Dressing Dogs up to Look Just Like children

This article will be written tongue in cheek! I confess that I am a bit of a tease so I insist on having my bit of fun! I am astonished at how many people are willing to spend money and lots of it, on dressing up their dogs to look just like children! For some breeds, it is important and kind to put clothes on the dogs, more especially so in the winter! It definitely makes sense to put a jacket on a Grey Hound, poor thing, such a skinny creature with so little flesh on it and not much fun either! The Chiwawa breed too, oh dear, just another apology for a dog!

One wonder's if dogs are affected psychologically when we dress them up in clothing! If you dress a dog in a camouflage outfit does it behave in the same way as a human being? Will the clothes turn him into some kind of combat monster and will it go all out ‘for the kill’ ? One cannot help but notice that if you put a young boy in a camouflage outfit, he immediately starts to behave differently. Suddenly he is the Aggressor, and it won't be long before he starts running about the house or the garden shooting at imaginary or real people - all the while wielding his toy gun. We have all seen how a dog reacts to a man wearing black clothes so how will a dog behave if you make him wear black doggie clothes!

So what of the Scottie dog all dressed up in a kilt! Will it change his behavior and how soon will it be before you decide to go on a buying spree for some miniature doggy bagpipes! Oh dear, this now begs the question, what does a doggie wear under his kilt? How long will it be before he forgets his bark and are we forever gpomg to be subjected to the strains of Bonnie Prince Charlie being played on bagpipes?

He'a Harley Davidson Biker Pooch

He'a Harley Davidson Biker Pooch

Designer Dogs

Speaking for myself, I’m not ashamed to say, I’m a girl who rather likes a nice outfit. If you force me to wear clothes which I don’t fancy, those which make me feel undignified or ashamed; I am not a happy bunny! Why on earth would a dog feel any different? I never fancied myself in a bikini so why on earth would I want to put one on my dog! It simply makes no sense - so why is it that people still insist on dressing their dog in a bikini along with a matching hat and sunglasses? Do they really think it looks cute or do the dogs just look foolish?

So it’s our entire fault that we have ourselves to blame for this ridiculous situation, when we decided to breed designer dogs just to suit our taste! Here we are - paying the price and oh boy what a price! Even the smallest dog outfit can set you back twenty pounds! Now let me have you ponder that for a while. If we had been able to manage to get the breeding thing right, there might have been no need to spend all that money on doggie clothes. Let’s face it, we really do have only ourselves to blame! Simply said, we bred the wrong dogs to live in the wrong Countries. We should have just stuck to the breeds we knew and kept them all at home. These breeds should have been the ones who had just the right amount of flesh and fur on to keep them warm. So here we have, this huge industry which has been built up worldwide – the one where some people are getting really rich and some of us are getting really poor, just because they want us to keep buying a whole bunch of ridiculous items for our dogs to wear.

He's a Harley Davidson Fan

He's a Harley Davidson Fan

Dogs Wearing Clothing

So here we are stuck with both the designer clothes and some practical clothes too, bought for our poor little pooches. The problem is how do we manage their ever increasing wardrobes! Laundry was never my forte, not sure about you. but I wonder if I can ever bring myself to chuck the doggie clothes into to the laundry basket. I doubt I can bring myself to spend any money or my precious time doing doggie laundry for a four legged friend, no matter how much I love him or her! Do the clothes come with washing instructions and can they be washed along with the regular household washing? Surely this is a health hazard! Should the same washing machine be used? Is there a definitive list of washing instructions for the clothes and how does one go about stain removal? How do you remove urine and poop stains from clothing? How do you remove the dog hair from the washing machine? Is this done before or after you have added the household laundry items to it? How do you stop the washing machine from clogging up with hair? How do you get the doggy odor from your washing machine after you have used it? Oh so many questions! I have a feeling some kind soul is going to help me out here.

I recall as a child once trying to put a sock onto the family dog’s foot ‘just for the fun of it’ and to be totally honest, I still feel ashamed for having done it! He did not appreciate it one bit and poor thing, he tried so hard to get it off whilst my sisters and I laughed at him. So now, the idea of having to ‘teach’ a dog how to wear clothes seems somewhat unkind and somewhat cruel, unless of course it is to keep the dog warm. Letting a dog wear a cone around its head after an operation to prevent it from licking its stitches is one thing! I guarantee though that it does not like it one bit. I know it will not have escaped your notice but it makes a dog feel embarrassed and it will try to hide away! For medical reason alone, this seems reasonable and sensible.

It is true to say that wearing clothes restricts a dog’s movement and destroys his natural ability to camouflage himself. Clothes make the dog stand out a mile, which is one of the reasons why we put a harness on a guide or rescue dog. I have never yet seen one dog begging to wear clothes or correct me if I am wrong!

Dogs are such wonderful companions. They ask so little of us and give so much back! They help teach us and our children responsibility and how to care for others. They even eat the scraps off our tables without complaining - no matter how bad our cooking is! Their love is unconditional. All they need is lots of love, food, water and exercise, not clothes!!! Dogs are so sensitive to our feelings so perhaps it is high time that we took theirs into consideration too, especially when we decide to put them into clothing. It does seem to me that dogs really were not born to wear clothing!

The sight of a dog swimming in its own fur is really quite something!!!





Seems this dog needs a stiff drink!

Seems this dog needs a stiff drink!

Dressing your Dog up in Clothing

© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen


Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 13, 2017:


I completely agree with you, the comfort of the dog should be the first priority.

Tori Leumas on December 13, 2017:

I wouldn't ever dress up my dog just to dress him. I don't think clothes are very comfortable on a dog. I do think that dogs with thin hair, skin, etc, should have jackets to wear in the winter and those with sensitive paws should have shoes for hot pavement or really cold temperatures. But dogs who naturally grow a winter coat, like shepherds, huskies, collies, etc, don't need a jacket or shoes.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 15, 2014:

I see you have a great sense of humor, sounds like you have some good memories of the little pooch.

Beth Trent from Ohio on December 15, 2014:

I saw the figures for how much the industry makes, and the number floored me. Now that I think about it, one of our dogs would have made a great Father Christmas. He had a white tuft that looked like a beard!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 15, 2014:


Sometimes there is a real reason for dressing up a dog, keeping one warm could be seen as an act of kindness but dressing one up as Father Christmas really does seem to me to be more for the benefit and amusement of it's owner. Having said that, this hub was written tongue in cheek. The real winners out there are the people who supply clothing for pets. it is an industry which certainly helps keep our economy going.

I appreciate the comment, thank you


Beth Trent from Ohio on December 15, 2014:

When I was younger we had a pair of short haired dogs. They were not made for the cold climate we lived in. We bought them sweaters, and they loved them. They would bring us the sweaters if they wanted to go out!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on September 04, 2014:

DJ Anderson

I was delighted to receive your comment on this Hub. It has enhanced and added something rather special to it - for which I thank you. I had quite a bit of fun with this hub, tongue in cheek of course, rather naughty as I know how important animals are to the elderly. I work with a lady with dementia.

It makes me very happy to think that one little dog in the world, yours, is making such a difference to so many elderly people. She must be a joy to you and all. Thank you so much for your very lovely comment.


DJ Anderson on September 04, 2014:

Hi, Sally,

Your article was just delightful! I dearly loved your washing quandary.

I was insistent on buying a female Norwich Terrier, a few years back. She was to be MY dog; one that would absolutely adore me. It was quickly apparent that she was a "Daddy's Girl". Never the less, she has been in training since she was six months old. She is highly intelligent and has became a therapy dog who goes to visit patients in nursing homes. She gets a bath, teeth brushed and a pretty new dress for her visitations. Her outfits or costumes are co-ordinated for the holiday of the month. She rides in a dog stroller which puts her at the perfect height for sitting elderly people to pet her. They get great joy simply petting an animal, and they adore her costumes. My dog does not wear

cloths except for "effect". She has been on this earth for two Halloween

nights and was a Ladybug for one and a Butterfly for the other. We have not found a costume, for this up-coming Halloween. She owns a Cheerleading costume for our favorite College team and an NFL jersey

for our favorite Pro Football team. She has been a real joy to us and the

many patients she visits.

I would never dream of putting her cloths in the washing machine. My cloths - always. Her cloths - never! I hand wash all her cloths, but since she wears them only indoor and only a short time, she gets to have many wears before washing is needed.

I buy dog socks that appear to be shoes. They are the funniest things,

as they appear to be real shoes. All the training, all the cloths, shoes, hats, bunny ears, angel dress with golden wings - it is all worthwhile to

see the smiles on the patient's faces.

Sally, thanks for allowing me to talk about my little furry girl.


Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 08, 2014:


I completely agree - if your dogs are happy and it is practical for your dogs to wear clothing - it has to be a win win situation.

Have a great day.


Pawscouture on March 08, 2014:

Interesting post and I do agree that not all dogs should wear clothes, but I do dress my 2 dogs for practical and style reasons.

My cocker spaniel wears a jumpsuit in winter to keep him dry as he loves jumping in puddles and generally getting wet and muddy so a coat that covers his legs is great and keeps him clean.

My miniature yorkie gets very cold and so needs different clothes for different occasions sometimes to keep her warm but she also looks gorgeous in a cute dog dress.

I guess if the dog doesn't mind and it's practical and fun then as long and your not hurting the dog and it doesn't seem distressed it's ok?


Paul @pawscouture

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 04, 2014:

Kevin, sounds like a very sensible idea - something I definitely had not considered before! Thank you for your comment.

kevin on January 04, 2014:

I dress my dogs so they don't shed as much

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 16, 2013:

Ana -

Thank you for telling me about your favorite dog fashion shop -

PawsShionPet Couture - what a wonderful name for a dog clothing store. Dogs can look very cute dressed n clothing - one which comes to mind is a little black Scottie dog which I saw dressed up in a little red kilt

Best wishes,


Ana on December 16, 2013:

I think pet owners treat their dogs/cats as babies and dressing them up is like a fun way to interact with them. I myself buys clothes for my dog at PawsShion Pet Couture store coz they are lightweight and made from high quality materials. But I believe that dog clothing is not for everyday use. They do look cute in clothes though! :)

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 09, 2013:

Thelma Alberts

I imagine it would be quite unnecessary for your dog to wear clothes in the Phillippines. I appreciate your visit - thank you very much.


Thelma Alberts from Germany on December 09, 2013:

I don´t let my dog wear clothes. That would be horrible for a dog like mine in the hot and always summer country like Philippines. Thanks for sharing this very interesting and great hub.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 02, 2013:


Definitely done tongue in cheek - no need to offend any sensibilities here - the dog clothing business is a huge industry!. I am all for having people having jobs where they can be had.

Nice to think that even a Chihuahua could find her way into your heart. Bless her.

Thanks for your comment, it is much appreciated.


JudiPoodi on December 02, 2013:

Hi sallybea, I realize this is done tongue-in-cheek, but I'm about to defend a breed I never thought I would...the Chihuahua. I am a dog lover, but the Chi was one of a few breeds that I was never crazy about. Those little apple-headed things on teeny tiny toes, shivering all of the time...and then I met Chick'n. Chick'n is my daughter's pup, transplanted from NM, and in my care for a season or two. She is probably a little too large to be in the show ring, and is of the deer-headed variety, and yes, is practically naked, except for a very short, silky coat. She is a beautiful dog, runs very fast, has more stamina than my daughter, and is fearless to a fault. I guess the point is, is that she is perfectly suited for the desert environment, and not her falut that she was transported to the cold N. East. No poor excuse for a dog, here!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 10, 2013:

FlourishAnyway - the poor dears as your say but dressing them up in Halloween costumes! It does not seem for real!! Bet the Pet Shops are doing a thriving business.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2013:

I don't have a dog but love to see them dressed up in Halloween costumes. The poor dears put up with so much but look absolutely adorable in their get-ups. You do have to wonder what they think of us. Cute hub.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on June 11, 2013:

DDE - I guess different people like different things, I have to say I am with you on that. People spend an awful lot of money on things for their pets - so guess it keeps a lot of people in work and is good for the economy.

Thanks for your comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 11, 2013:

I don't approve of the clothing dog thing, it look so ridiculous, and should be left alone however you have accomplished an excellent concerning this topic.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 02, 2013:

Thank you very much Brett, I think it quite amusing that you would not be seen walking out with your Labrador - one of my favorite breeds of dog wearing a T shirt - poor thing - just the thought of how he might have look makes me smile. Thank you so much for the share, the pin and the tweet.

Brett C from Asia on May 02, 2013:

Up, funny and awesome! Very entertaining :-). My girlfriend has also done this with our dog. I refused to be seen out with it dressed up like that though! ha ha ... a Labrador in a T-shirt with little socks looked ridiculous, although admittedly funny. However, she thought it was very amusing and our strange dog actually seemed to really like it.

Shared, pinned, and tweeted.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 26, 2013:

Thanks for your comment ChristyWrite - I guess a well dressed dog is a well cared for pet (child) and that is all we should worry about. There are so many abused pets and children out there and who cares if we are fueling an industry because a strong economy is important too.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on January 26, 2013:

Awe, I think for some people that their pets are like their children :) Good overview you provide here Sally.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 23, 2013:

Yes, the fact is that most of us love our pets very much indeed. My feeling is that we should love people and dogs for who they are and not what they look like. When someone goes to the animal shelter they sometimes choose the' ugly ducking' or even the dog with three legs! The desire to change how they way they look is an interesting one - a bit like the man who marries a women only to find that the very things that attracted him to her in the first place are the very things he wants to change.

Vickiw on January 23, 2013:

Fun Hub Sally, but of course there is a deeper meaning to it. Dogs are much loved by their owners, and these days there are many owners who substitute dogs for their children, and get much pleasure from dressing them up, and caring for them as they would a human. In fact these pets are often called fur children. I don't know how or if dressing affects a dog psychologically - interesting question.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 22, 2013:

I do understand and sympathize with those breeds who feel the heat or cold badly. I also appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by

Judy Ward from Hutto, TX on January 22, 2013:

I do feel sorry for the short haired breeds like the Min Pins and Chihuahuas in the winter. The greyhounds & Italian Greyhounds just tremble constantly in the cold.

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