How To Measure A Dog For Clothes in 5 Easy Steps

Why do we put clothes on dogs?

Some of us do because it’s hella fun but there are actually a lot of functional reasons. Dog clothes are crucial in winter months to keep warm; the layer of protection also repels snow, dirt, and salt. Not to mention wearing dog clothes indoors during the shedding months can also save you a lot of time from vacuuming dog hair off your furniture.

Step 1 - Keep Your Dog Relaxed & Happy

a happy retriever dog lying on his owner's lap


Before taking your dog's measurements, you need to make sure that he or she is in a calm and quiet place.

Go into a room with little or no distractions. Perhaps even give your dog a treat to keep him happy.

For the most accurate measurements, have your dog stand upright and use a soft measuring tape that will follow your dog's body.

Step 2 - Measure Your Dog’s Neck

Using a measuring tape, wrap it around your dog's neck in the area where their collar normally sits.

Make sure it fits comfortably around the neck and avoid making it too tight. Use your two fingers and lay them flat underneath the measuring tape to leave some space.

Always go a size up if stuck between two sizes, dogs love wiggle room!

Step 3 - Measure Your Dog’s Chest

Once you're done measuring the neck, the next thing you would do is to measure the chest girth.

If your dog has short dogs like Dachshunds, we highly recommend fitted measurements since these types of dog travel low to the ground.

Use a tape measure and wrap it around their chest at the widest part, usually around a dog's rib cage. As you did when measuring the neck girth, make sure to apply the two-finger rule. 

Make sure that your two fingers fit comfortably between the tape and your dog's chest to give it enough breathing space.

Step 4 - Measure The Back or Body Length

Now that you are done with the neck and the chest, the last part you need to measure is the back or length of your dog.

The length of your dog starts from the base of its neck to where its tail starts. Measure down the center line of its back, running the tape measure down between your dog's shoulder blades.

Well-made dog coats from experienced brands should take into consideration your dog’s underbelly length so they can go to the bathroom freely.

Step 5 - Picking The Right Size & Reward

a scottish terrier  in a hoodie or coat

Now that you have the three basic measurements, it’s time to pick out a size according to the size chart. Most websites will list what dog measurements they fit or the size of the product.

Often the three measurements may not perfectly match up, based on our years of experience, prioritize the chest first; a slight discrepancy in the neck and back will not be an issue.

Your dog has been very patient during this whole process, and now it's time to give your dog its reward!

Read on: If you need to measure your dog’s neck for a new dog collar or harness, check out our guide.

Things To Remember

Consider your dog's mental and physical comfort.

It is important that your dog connects wearing clothes to a positive experience. Be patient and give plenty of treats, if done right, the whole experience can be very enjoyable for both the dog and human.

For first-timers, we recommend starting with a relaxed-fitting piece like dog hoodies or sweaters as the materials are stretchable and there is plenty of room for error.  These coats or dog sweaters often sit loosely around a dog's chest so it will keep anxiety to a minimum.

Once you and your dog are both more comfortable with the process, then you can move on to more fitted pieces like dog winter jackets and raincoats, where a more accurate measurement is more important.

Consider the fabric

    british bulldog wearing a cozy hoodie

    Dog apparel comes in many different fabrics, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    Raincoats are normally made from water-resistant nylon-based materials. Fashion bombers and hoodies, on the other hand, are made from cotton, polyester, and rayon. These styles are stretchy, breathable, and easy to wear.

    Consider your dog’s breed and hair length.

      Larger dogs with dense hair coats such as Saint Bernard, Siberian Husky, and Malamute don’t need any additional insulation.

      Their coat is naturally designed to protect them from cold weather.

      On the other hand, certain dog breeds like Stafford terriers, Pit bulls, and Frenchies have single-layer fur, and these dogs have a harder time retaining body heat.

      If you live in a colder region then it’s probably best to invest in a few pieces for those cold winter morning walks.

      Don't forget about the accessories to match!

      After you’ve picked out the apparel, now it’s time to find the right accessories to match. Cuban dog chain collars are a popular choice as it can be used for style and for walks. The dog's initial jewellery pendants are also a very popular choice for those that want a more luxurious “bling” look.

      Incorporate your style & swag.

        While there are lots of dog clothing styles to choose from, why not have some fun and pair your dog's clothing with your personal style. This would not only get you a lot of compliments on daily walks but also encourage a bond and connection.

        In Conclusion

        One of the most exciting moments of buying dog clothes is putting that cute hoodie or vest on for the first time. The designs will instantly give your dog a new swagger. Your dog will feel more comfy and at ease; you will get tons of laughter and joy.