Dogs have been domesticated, and "Man's Best Friend" for over 32,000 years. It has also become more common for couples to get "Fur Babies", instead of real babies. Every day dogs become more and more apart of families, and less about being strictly used for the work force. Its no wonder we decided to express ourselves through fashion on our pets.
It all started way back in ancient Egypt when pharaohs would adorn their pets with leather collars. There have been tombs of dogs found where the collars have actually been engraved. Sometimes with scenes of great battles, that the dog and owner had fought in, or in some cases the dogs name.
Fast forward a few thousands years, to medieval Europe. King Henry VIII not only had a lot of wives, but also had a great amount of dogs. Who I am happy to report, after intense investigation, all lived happy lives, and were not beheaded. The king would decorate his dogs in different colours, and different materials, each having a different significance. Used almost like today's military use chevrons. While sticking in Europe, we now move to the Victorian era, where trend setter Queen Victoria not only made certain dog breeds very popular (Hello Pomeranians), but made dressing them very trendy as well. Queen Victoria was known for putting jackets and dresses on her pups, causing clothing for dogs to become so popular that fashion houses for just dog clothes started popping up all over Paris.
Over time, dog clothes became less popular as most dogs started joining families of the middle and lower class where a collar was the more practical accessory. But, dogs in clothes were still a hit in higher society, and more functional clothing was introduced to military and police force dogs. But then we enter the 2000's. The land of internet, celebrity, paparazzi, the original "influencer", and the "purse dog".
I remember growing up with German Shepherds, and always wanting a "purse dog", I wanted the cute little puppy that I could take with me everywhere, and have coordinating outfits with said dog. Thank you Paris Hilton & Britney Spears. But here lies the resurgence of dressing your dog. Collars became less about practicality, and more about how much bling you could fit onto that thing. If you were wearing a pink dress, your dog had to be wearing a pink outfit. Jackets, vests, overalls, shoes, hair clips. You name it, it was made for a dog.
It really is no wonder that dog fashion expanded into costumes. Because we as humans have developed deep attachments to our pets, and they have come to fill an emotionally supportive role we try to continue that bond by dressing them in clothing. It's just as much of an expression of our personality as it is for the dog. Also its biiiiig business!!!! In the United States, Americans spent 52 BILLION (yup, with a B) on just dog accessories in 2020.
So, there we have it, the history of dog clothes. Who knew it was such a long and fashionable tale. From war dogs to pocket pups, our fluffy companions have always held a special place in our hearts. We dressed them to protect them from harm, we dressed them to make sure they were stylish, and to protect them from a harsh winter. And now, we deck them out for Halloween to match our family costumes. Because they are family. No matter what way you look at it.