Dog Clothes & Dog Fashion History

Posted by Michael Shine

There is a common misconception that dog clothing and accessorizing your canine companion is a current trend. The assumption is that dog clothing all started in the early '00s, and with the vast commercial push around this time, it's easy to see where that thought came.
Dogs dressed to go out.
What if we told you a woman and man's best friend has been keeping up with current fashion since as early as the Egyptian pre-dynastic period? For as long as humans have lived with dogs, we have shared our food, shelter, and fashion sense with them.

What were your dog's ancestors wearing?

The simplest accessory, the collar, started showing up first in ancient Egypt. Collars were sometimes velvet, silk, or other expensive and hard to find materials. Another common trend was to stamp leather collars with scenes from the dog's life. Can you imagine ordering a collar depicting the time Max ate a whole turkey off the counter? Most prized ancient Egyptian dogs were hunting dogs, so their scenes probably looked a little different than their descendants.

Around the same time, collars in ancient China were bejeweled and up to trend. King Cuo of Zhongshan's dog found they buried with him in a collar of solid gold with silver and turquoise accents. While it functioned as a collar, its appearance was closer to a necklace.

Moving on to ancient Rome, the Molussus, or the ancestor of our mastiffs, was a well-trained war dog. The most talented war dogs fitted with a suit of armor to match their Roman owners. Roman times seem to be the period and area that originated the spiked collar. Unlike the hilarious, pointed collar you have for your bulldog, these were sharpened and deadly. Sometimes they would make the whole armor set covered in spikes.

Besides the military dogs, pets also enjoyed custom accessories. Julius Caesar himself had to address the public about spending more time and money on their dogs than their children. The most famous, "The Pompeii Dog," was found preserved in the ash of Mount Vesuvius. He wore a collar depicting him saving his owner from a wolf attack. I don't remember any children saving their parents from wolves.

If your dog's ancestors are from Japan, they likely enjoyed whatever accessories their family could afford. Samurais would outfit their dogs with their matching samurai armor.

The practice grew in popularity until clothing and accessories manufactured for pets and family dogs. Well, loved dogs may even own a set of costly ceremonial armor.

The royal courts of Europe came into the dog couture scene with coats, necklaces, and collars. Beautifully preserved in paintings, dogs wear stunning displays of jewels, fabrics, and precious metals. The most famous dog fashionista of the time belonged to King Louis XI. Cher Ami, or "Beloved Friend," wore a collar of scarlet velvet with 20 pearls and 11 rubies.

Ancient dog clothes.

War Dogs and their armor were famous throughout the middle ages in Europe and with the Spanish conquistadors in the new world. Unfortunately, many of the atrocities Christopher Columbus committed were with the help of armored war dogs. Makes picking up a sweater for your winter challenged best friend seem pretty harmless, right?

During the same period, but back in Europe, the renaissance revitalized Europe. Dog fashion also benefited from the improved quality of life and ingenuity. Similar to today's collar sporting custom tags, in renaissance times, the collar used to deter theft.

A lock placed on the collar and only the owner had the key. These locks decorated and family-specific, making them easy to identify in case someone stole the dog.

Owning a dog became affordable, and accessories started manufacturing from more common materials

When photography invented in the 1800s, some of the first subjects were well-dressed dogs. Functional accessories still exist, but in addition to suited armor, we begin to see winter and raincoats. We also start seeing dogs dressed as humans and other more current day trends. Dog clothing took off with the industrialization of Europe. Along with the mass-produced, we start seeing the first dog boutiques in France.

Hundreds of years later, there was a massive burst in dog fashion in the early 2000s. Mass production and the internet made picking up a matching Christmas sweater for your basset hound incredibly affordable. Watching celebrities like Paris Hilton carry her decked out Chihuahua around either made you love the idea or hate it. Still, she certainly wasn't the first or most creative person to accessorize their dog.

For over 10,000 years, we've made sure our dogs are fashion-forward. So, the next time someone checks out your Dogs Hat or asks you about your pup's Team Jersey, tell them he's just keeping the family tradition.

Here at Discount Pet Deals, we are at the height of Dog Fashion, and you're going to need some Dog Fashion Accessories to up your game.

We've got Dog Bandanas and Dog Collars. For the ladies, we've got Dog Dress and Sweaters. Don't forget about your sun protection! Try out our Dog Hats to protect your dog's sensitive eyes.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Related product guides

The Ultimate Tailgate Party Guide

The Ultimate Tailga...

The Fall sports seas...

Social Distance Camping With Your Pets

Social Distance Cam...

Camping describes a ...

Pets Hot Weather Quick Tips for Keeping Safe

Pets Hot Weather Qu...

1. Never leave your ...

Dog Low Maintenance for Working From Home

Dog Low Maintenance...

If you are looking f...