in shirts have become a common sight as more and more people choose
to dress their pets, as well as themselves, in a variety of stylish
and often practical clothing. You might choose to purchase a shirt,
or even a whole wardrobe or shirts for your dog for several reasons.
First, they’re just plain fun. Dressing your dog can let you make
a political statement, show support for your favorite team, enter
best-dressed dog contests, show the world your taste in food or
music, or simply indulge your creativity. But dog shirts can also
be practical attire. They can help keep your dog warm if it’s a
little chilly but not cold enough for a coat or sweater. They can
help keep your dog’s coat clean, keep him from shedding all over
your house, keep his belly clean when out walking or playing in
the yard, or even protect him from sunburn. And they can give you
a place to store keys or other small items conveniently when on
styles of dog shirts are available ready-made. You just pick and
buy and that’s that. But there are also sellers who will custom
make a shirt just for your dog. Some will let you select from various
combinations of choices to personalize a shirt to your liking. Some
will design a shirt to your specifications. And if you sew, though
not as common as patterns for dog sweaters, you can nevertheless
purchase patterns to make your own dog shirts, meaning your choice
of fabrics and design variations are limited only by your imagination.
shirts can be purchased anywhere you buy other dog supplies, such
as your local pet store or large chain pet stores, department stores,
wholesale pet outlets, doggy boutiques, private individuals, and
the internet. The internet especially is a good source of specialty
and hard-to-find items, as you can literally shop the world from
the comfort of your home.
Costs for dog shirts vary, just as they do for your own clothes.
You’ll find some simple little shirts that go for just a few dollars,
while fancy designer shirts can cost a hundred dollars or more –
yes, just for a shirt! But the vast majority of dog shirts fall
within the ten to twenty dollar range, and if your budget can stand
that, you will have plenty from which to choose.
Dog shirts come in as many fabrics as other shirts do. Fabrics include
natural ones, such as cotton, silk, linen, and ramie. Heavier shirts
can be made of wool. Synthetic fabrics include Lycra, nylon, polyester
and rayon. Many shirts are blends of natural and synthetic, such
as cotton/polyester, or rayon/linen. Others blend two natural fibers
together, like cotton/ramie or wool/acrylic, or two synthetics,
like nylon/lyrca. Blends can take advantage of the attributes of
the different fibers, like the coolness of cotton or the warmth
of wool, combined with the easy care of a synthetic fiber.
for dog shirts come in both knit and woven. The knit fabrics have
the advantage of allowing a better fit, as they have more ‘give.’
But many of the woven fabrics are very attractive, with their own
advantages, depending on the type of shirt you want. Some fabrics
are very lightweight, such as thin tricot knits, or mesh or gauzy
type cottons, while others can be fairly heavy fleece or thick cotton
are several different types of dog shirts. Basically, a dog shirt
is a garment that encircles your dog’s back, chest and stomach,
encasing his torso, with sleeves or openings for his front legs
and an opening for his head. The sleeves can be either short or
long. The shirt may be a tube of fabric that you put on over his
head, smoothing it down his back and stomach after fitting his legs
through the sleeves or armholes. It might be just a ring or strip
of fabric for the neck that goes over the head, with the rest fastening
around his body by means of buttons, Velcro, zippers or a strap
that wraps around the stomach. Or it could be a garment that opens
up entirely, and just slips on, fastening on the back or stomach
without having to be put over the head.
these basic types of dog shirts are several style variations on
which most designs are based. These include such variations as:
neck styles have a plain circular opening for the head.
– Crew neck is a round neck style, with a ribbed band to keep it
closer to the neck. Most t-shirts are in this category.
– Jewel necks or keyhole necklines are dressier versions of the
round neck, usually with a slit for ease of putting on, and a button
or hook closure.
– V-necks are either plain, or have a bit of ribbing sewn on to
help hold the shape.
– Turtlenecks have an extended tube that encloses the neck, usually
folded over for extra thickness and warmth.
– Collared styles add a collar, or extra piece of fabric to the
neck, usually seen with either a placket-front or button-down style
of shirt, though some t-shirts also have collars.
– Hooded styles have a round neck to which a hood has been attached.
– Pullovers do just that: pull over the head and torso.
– Button downs pull on rather than over, and are fastened with buttons.
Variations can include zipper, hook or Velcro fastening.
styles have quite a range too, and include:
– Long sleeve, which come ribbed, banded, cuffed, tight or loosely
– Short sleeve include everything from just a basic cap sleeve to
poufy sleeves, ribbed edges, and banded types.
– Sleeveless shirts include tank tops and sports jerseys.
– Spaghetti strap styles really have no sleeves at all, but merely
straps that have the appearance of holding ‘up’ the shirt.
Size and Measurements
far the greatest majority of dog shirts are made for toy to small
breed dogs. Within this size range is an almost limitless array
of designs and styles. However, with a little effort and persistence,
it is also possible to find shirts for very large dogs, as well
as some of the harder to fit breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, Dachshunds,
key to getting a good fit for your dog is to take good measurements.
You’ll need to measure his back, from the base of his neck to the
top of his tail, as well as the circumference of his neck, and around
the deepest part of his chest. In addition, if you’re interested
in a long-sleeved style of shirt, you might want to think twice
if you have a Bassett Hound, for instance, with exceptionally short
legs, or a Greyhound with very long ones.
your dog correctly is vital to ensuring their comfort when wearing
clothes and accessories. Before you begin, make sure your pet is
in a standing position. You will not get the correct measurements
if he is sitting, slouching, or laying down. Use a soft measuring
tape to take the measurements. If you haven’t got one, you can also
use a non-stretchable piece of string (such as twine) and then measure
the results against a flat ruler.
proper fit, measure from the base of the neck to the base of the
tail. Measure your dog’s legs and then check the dimensions of the
shirt to be sure of a good fit. When in doubt, go to the next larger
size. You can always take a nip or tuck here or there, but if it’s
too small, you’re going to be out of luck. And if your Bassett simply
has to have that gorgeous long-sleeved pullover, well you can always
roll them up. Allow for shrinkage, unless the shirt is labeled pre-shrunk.
that you are equipped with knowledge of fabrics, types and your
dog’s size, the fun part is to choose a design. You’ll be absolutely
amazed at the variety you’ll find. Here is a sampling of what’s
are the most common and most basic design of dog shirt. But, as
common though they are, you’ll be astonished to see the amazing
variety of t-shirts you can find.
– Basic plain t-shirts in lightweight cotton knits in every color
of the rainbow.
– Personalized t-shirts that include silk-screened names or initials,
your dog’s name or breed in silk screening or embroidery, or ribbon
or rhinestoned initials or names.
– Shirts with sayings include funny sayings, like “I love legs”
or “I love cats,” or “bad to da bone.”, I “heart” (love) my mommy,
my daddy, my people. You can even find “adult” sayings or jokes,
or even shirts with racy pictures.
– Biker or “tough guy” t-shirts, with pictures of flames or dragons
or Maltese crosses.
– Fancy t-shirts include striped or shiny knits that can be fur-trimmed,
feather trimmed, bejeweled and ornamented with everything from buttons
to leather strips to pompoms and sequins.
– Novelty t-shirts come printed with such things as NYPD, Army,
Navy or FBI; place names like Huntington Beach or Fort Lauderdale;
products like Nike or Coca-Cola.
– Printed shirts include tie dye dog shirts a la “The Grateful Dead”,
camouflage shirts in a variety of colors, including the familiar
forest green and brown, blues, pinks and multi-colored, patriotic
red, white and blue designs, etc.
– Polo shirts are pullover knit shirts with a 2-or-3-button placket
in front and a collar, nearly as plentiful and popular as t-shirts,
in nearly as wide a range of colors and designs, such as rugby style
stripes, golf-style polo shirts have little embroidered emblems,
and some have contrasting ribbed collar, sleeve and waist bands.
– Turtleneck shirts are usually a little plainer, as they are made
more for comfort than show. But even within this practical category,
you can find embroidered initials, either in a crest or on the neck,
stripes and other patterns.
– Specialty fabrics like ribbed knits, cable designs or sparkly
– Sweatshirts range from the practical to designer styles, and include
both regular and hooded styles and “hoodies.” Some designs such
as the familiar fleece sweatshirt, hooded or crewneck, is warm,
sturdy, and practical. Many are made of Polartec� fleece, which
is very warm and lightweight. Some sweatshirt styles are made of
thick, soft terry cloth, or soft and warm velour that’s a bit dressier
in appearance. Team logos are a popular design for dog sweatshirts,
and include professional and college teams, with football being
especially popular. Some sweatshirts are made of waffle weave or
other thick thermal fabric.
down shirts run the gamut from plain to fancy, including such designs
– Shirt and tie combinations include plain, striped and other patterned
fabrics, in both casual and dressy styles. Some of these have the
“front” of the shirt on the back of the dog, presumably so you can
see it better, but they do look a little odd with the tie going
down the back!
– Tuxedo shirts are another choice and, as above, some have the
tie in front, others in the back. They come in different colors,
like white, pale blue, black and pink.
– Bow tie shirts, and shirt/vest combinations with bow ties are
another choice – most of these do have the tie in front.
– Cowboy or Western style shirts with pearl buttons and fancy stitching
– Bowling shirts
– 50s style “sock hop” shirts
– Hawaiian print or “Aloha” shirts of colorful cotton or rayon in
island designs will give your dog a tropical aura.
– Chinese-style fancy silk brocade shirts and blouses
– Lumberjack-style plaid flannel shirts
shirt designs include:
– Famous name designer shirts, like Tommy Hilfiger or Gucci
– Sailor shirts
– Ruffled, frilly or lace shirts
– Peasant blouses, some with embroidery or lace trim
– Argyle shirts
– Tank tops in male and female designs.
– Spaghetti strap tanks
themed shirts or jerseys, often including team logos, are another
– Football jerseys, either satin knit or mesh
– Basketball jerseys
– Baseball shirts
– NASCAR-style racing shirts
– Soccer shirts
Many costumes for your dog are just decorated shirts. Some examples
– Superdog shirt w/cape
– Batdog shirt w/cape
– Pirate shirt, with a bandanna to match
– Top Dog shirt with an aeronautical flair
– Dogzilla, with scales down the spine.
– Angel shirt, with little wings sewn on the back.
– Jailhouse striped shirt
shirts include some ingenious and practical designs, as well as
fun designs such as:
– Combination shirt and doggy backpack
– Combination shirt and harness that you can use for walking your
– T-shirt with sewn-on pouch
– Sweatshirts and t-shirts with large pockets.
– Matching doggy/human shirts, or “Mommy’n’me” shirts come in a
set – one for your dog and a matching one for you.
– Solar protective t-shirts can help prevent your dog from getting
Putting It On and Taking it Off
your dog isn’t accustomed to wearing clothes, it might be a challenge
the first time you try to put a shirt on him. In that case, it’s
probably best to start with a style that doesn’t have to go over
his head, just to get him accustomed to the idea. After that, try
a plain t-shirt of a very stretchy fabric. Just scrunch it up and
get it over his head very fast, as dogs, just like you don’t like
having things on their heads, and especially covering their eyes.
After that, gently grasp his legs by the “forearms” one at a time
and ease them into the sleeves, or arm openings. Finally, just smooth
the rest of it down over his back and stomach. Take your time, introduce
it slowly, be gentle and quick, and you should have no trouble.
Try not to laugh and embarrass him!
removing dog clothing, take it over your dog’s head first and over
his legs last.
need to take proper care of your dog’s shirt if you want it to continue
to look good. Machine or hand wash according to the label instructions,
and either hang or tumble dry or dry flat. If you’re careful, your
dog’s shirts should last a good long time.
Make your own dog shirts! You can buy new fabric, modify baby clothes,
or use an old sweatshirt. Check out the patterns for doggie clothes
at your local fabric store, or in pattern books. You might be astonished
at the variety available! Check out the patterns for doggie clothes
at your local fabric store.
to make a sweatshirt for your pooch from one of your sweatshirts:
Make sure the old sweatshirt will fit your dog.
2. Measure your dog from the base of the neck to midway to his tail.
3. Cut the sweatshirt to the correct length.
4. Either sew the hem or use fabric webbing.
5. Cut the sleeves so the length is where you want them to be on
your dog’s front legs.
6. Hem the sleeves as well, if you prefer the tailored look.
7. Place your dog’s legs in the shirt first and then stretch the
neck opening over his head.