Two measurements must be taken into account for dog clothes to fit well: The top line measurement and the widest chest girth.
The top line measurement is from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. The widest chest girth is generally right behind the dog’s front legs.
While fit of dog clothing is based usually only on the top line measurement, you can sometimes purchase clothes with the right length, but find that it is too snug around the chest for your little puppy.
Generally, dog-clothing manufacturers follow this sizing chart when making dog clothes:
- X-Small Dog Clothes – fits dog with top line measurement of 8″ (base of neck to base of tail).
- Small Dog Clothes – fits dog with top line measurement of 8″-12″ (base of neck to base of tail).
- Medium Dog Clothes – fits dog with top line measurement of 12″-16″ (base of neck to base of tail)
- Large Dog Clothes – fits dog with top line measurement of 16″-20″ (base of neck to base of tail).
- X-Large Dog Clothes – fits dog with top line measurement of 20″-24″ (base of neck to base of tail).
However, some dog clothing can be manufactured with a different sizing system, and in those cases, you must refer to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer.
As a small dog owner, you will have the best possibility of locating a wide diversity of dog clothes, as the majority is marketed towards dogs in the small dog size range of 25 pounds or less.
If you have a jumbo shrimp like a standard Dachshund this is where you will have find a greater challenge to find clothes to fit around your short dog’s deep chest yet small dog length.
Most small dog clothes are made for standard length of dog legs, and will be hard to stay on a dog with shorter legs for its body, like a Dachshund.
If this is your obstacle, you can remedy that by hemming by hand to your dog’s shorter legs, the legs of any clothing that depends upon the length of the dog’s front legs to keep it in place. Sometimes a little bit of seamstress work is required on your behalf to get a proper fit on your small dog, just as is required for human kids!
Besides tape measurements, there are other elements important to ensuring a correct fit:
1. Clothes must not restrict movement
Clothes must be properly cut so that when your dog relieves himself the garment does not become soiled.
Clothes should not be too loose. This is particularly important if you are dressing your pet for a period of time when you will be unable to supervise your small dog, such as for sleep. Too loose dog clothes put your pet at risk of strangulation or suffocation from clothing twisted around your small dog’s neck or ridding up over your puppy’s face.