You can be forgiven for thinking that the introduction of dog clothes and jewelled dog collars is a relatively new phenomena in the pet industry but in fact dressing up your dogs is nothing new.
A closer look into history has shown that canine fashion is not a recent trend but has been around for a long time.
The history of small dog clothing goes back to the days when King Arthur ruled over Great Britain in 520 A.D. Dogs used in the military and law enforcement wore protective clothing. These brave and dedicated dogs needed protection from attacks and also the weather.
Dog collars have been in use since before 3100 B.C. and is possibly the first type of dog accessory to be worn. Interestingly, archaeologists unearthed a dog buried with (pre-dynastic – 323-309 BC China) King Cuo of Zhongshan wearing a collar of gold, silver, and turquoise. This definitely shows that it was more than just a collar for training or identification purposes, it appeared to be a statement of wealth. At the height of ancient Egyptian civilization dog collars were beautiful works of art made of leather, with copper, bronze and gold added for embellishment.
As can be gleamed from the many detailed paintings, tapestries and literature the Royal courts of Europe famously dressed their dogs in beautifully jewelled collars and coats. No expense was spared for royal hounds and lap dogs alike when it came to providing for their every need. Louis XI of France (1423-1483), a notorious miser, dressed his favourite greyhound in a collar of scarlet velvet decorated with 20 pearls and 11 rubies.
During 1450-1600, the growing middle class were able to afford dogs as pets – they were no longer just for the Royals and Nobles. Collars of more affordable materials became available such as leather.
In the 17th century, gold, silver and brass collars could be engraved and leather collars had sparkling embellishments. In the 18th century, Louis XV (1710-1774) had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who wore a gold collar encrusted with diamonds. In 1833 in Britain, Princess Victoria wrote of her pampered spaniel that she had dressed him in a scarlet jacket and blue trousers. Again you could be forgiven for thinking that pet boutiques are a new trend, but no, in the early 19th century in Paris you could find a number of shops catering to pooches. Authors of this time, talk in detail about dog fashions and suggests what they should wear and when, for example on a trip to the beach or during travel!
So we can see that dog clothing and fancy dog collars have never been out of fashion. It is true to say that the dog fashion industry has seen a huge growth spurt. Whilst a lot of clothing is used for many reasons such as protection, warmth and to keep a dog dry. There are also medical conditions such as alopecia and arthritis in dogs which mean that such dogs benefit from a layer of clothing. Dog Clothing designs and styles have seen an explosion with designer doggie wear becoming in high demand, and the choice is much more colourful and stylish. In today’s throw-away society, dog clothes are more affordable and owners often purchase a wardrobe full of clothes for their dogs to meet each season, trend and occasion. It is a booming industry which appears to be recession proof as we pamper our pets with a new dog t-shirt, sweater, coat, harness or dog collar as the desire takes hold. When dressing dogs in clothes, consideration should be given to the climate, skin, medical condition and purpose. Clothes should be unrestrictive and serve a purpose, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be trendy, embellished in jewels or diamantes. We like to look good and we also want the same from our pets, who are very much part of the family. You can argue that fashion puts the ‘fun’ back into functionality.
So why not walk your dog with a diamante encrusted collar and matching lead – it not only serves an important purpose, gets people out and about with their pets but it also looks good! And we cannot argue with that!
For more information please go to www.canineandco.co.uk an award winning online dog boutique.
Author – Donna Condliffe, Owner of the Award Winning Canine & Co – an online dog clothing and accessory boutique.