PUG STYLING: Why it's OK to dress your Puggie

PUG STYLING: Why it's OK to dress your Puggie

Haylo Puggies,

Dressing your Puggie is not just about serving a purpose, like a harness for walking, it can also serve as a way to make your Puggie feel special, as well as give you an alternate option to treats to show them how much you love them.

It’s amazing how Dog Apparel has changed over the last 20 years; getting clothes for Louis entailed me going into a shop that I had found in Fremantle, WA of all places, look through a catalogue from a Japanese designer who made clothes for French Bulldogs, order from the catalogue and hope that by the time I had put in my order that it hadn’t already sold out.

The bonus was that when I was successful, Louis was the trendiest dog at the café and it got him so much attention he didn’t know what to do with all the love coming his way, which for a Puggie who had been abused and neglected was a big compliment. Louis loved being dressed up and I loved doing it as well.

If you haven’t already guessed, dressing my Pugs gives me immense pleasure; not only does it make them look cute and get them lots of compliments, I find that it’s a great way to show them I love them without adding (treatie) weight. Is it any wonder that I started a small business selling clothing and accessories for Pugs!

I understand that for some people dressing their Puggie just isn’t their thing or they have a Puggie that prefers to go “au natural”; getting a harness or collar on them is as good as it gets and that’s great. Knowing and respecting what your Puggie wants is an important part of your Puggie/Pawrent relationship and no Pug should be forced to wear something they don’t want to wear unless it’s required by law or recommended by a Vet.

However, if you’re a Pug Pawrent who wants to try something new, or you’re a new Pug Pawrent that wants to spoil their Puggie with non-food treats, then a new outfit or an enhancement to a harness is a great way to do it.

I started out small and once I got my confidence with what worked for Louis, then Winston and Charles, and finally Rosie, I then started to get a little experimental and try things that I wanted to but was initially a little scared of trying as I wasn’t sure how it would turn out … and there have been some fabulous disasters over the years!

The first item for Louis was his collar, and it was my father who actually made it. It was black leather and it had small silver studs along the length – I couldn’t find a studded collar that was small enough to fit Louis’ neck and I thought he’d look cool with a studded collar and his shinny black coat! I do love that my father made it for Louis as well, they loved each other very much and it was a lovely reminder for Louis that he could be loved by a man even if his previous experience was to only experience pain by them.

Next, I brought Louis a ‘Dry-as-a-bone’ jacket for when we went walking in winter and there was a possibility of getting caught out in the rain; I know how dare I make Louis go for a walk in the rain! It took a couple of goes to find the right fit for his chest and the back length went over his tail, but Louis didn’t seem to mind, and the chest fit was the most important thing for overall comfort. This purchase was borne from necessity; keeping Louis warm and dry in winter was the driving factor for the purchase which was a very important one in my mind. Interestingly, it showed me that Louis loved wearing it not for the protection it provided but because of the non-stop compliments he’d receive from complete strangers walking past with their own dogs or families.

With that realisation, I started to branch out to outfits that weren’t particularly utilitarian but reflected Louis’ pawsonality and made him feel special whenever he wore it. Louis had a denim jacket, a faux-leather jacket, a Camouflage Hoodie complete with fur lining, t-shirts, Santa outfit, bandanas and his absolute favourite, a Hawaiian shirt.

Once I figured out what Louis liked and what he needed, especially as he got older and arthritis set in, I would keep an eye out for new outfits that I thought would look good on him and that he’d enjoy wearing. Louis’ tail would wag a mile a minute and he’d get a twinkle in his eye when he realised that we were going to his wardrobe to pull something out for a day out together. I couldn’t think of anything better than to dress Louis up so that he looked as cute as a Pug can be and that would attract people to him so that he got the attention that I thought he deserved.

By the time Winston and Charles arrived I can say that I had already considered the outfits that I wanted to get them, and the fact that they were litter brothers just gave me the opportunity to dress them in similar clothes; one in blue and yellow stripes and one in red and blue stripes for example, painfully reminiscent of identical twin-dressing I know but why let the opportunity pass?

Thankfully they both liked getting dressed up and they both loved getting attention from everyone, so shopping for them was just as fun as it was for Louis; just double the trouble so to speak.

Then along came Rosie and I realised that I was now contending with a girl and that meant dresses and skirts were being added to the mix! There was a short trial period as I figured out how Rosie would go but thankfully, Rosie realised that she looked very pretty in a dress or skirt and the compliments she’d get were almost as good as getting treaties so she was all for getting dressed to go out.

Unlike the boys, I think Rosie really understands just how pretty she looks in her outfits and she’ll take full advantage of it; she’ll stand up in the stroller when she’s hitching a ride with Charles, or walk up to a Hooman and sit daintily at their feet so that she can elicit a compliment and a pat if not a cuddle whether the Hooman was planning on doing it or not.

Interestingly, Rosie won’t wear an outfit all day like the boys who’ll happily wear it all day long. Rosie is happy to wear her outfit whilst out and about but when we get home she’ll start rolling around on the rug which is basically code for, I want to go ‘au natural’ now thanks mum! Again, it’s the beauty of getting to know your Pugs likes and dislikes that helps you to read their mood and make sure that something that is meant to be a positive part of their day stays that way all the time.

Now for those Pug Pawrents who aren’t too sure it they want to dress their Pugs in clothes and accessories, other than the basics, I recommend doing the following to determine if your Puggie even wants to get dressed up or not:

  • Start small: try a necklace or bandana/scarf around home first, give them lots of praise and cuddles but no treats, and encourage visitors to do the same when they drop by and see your Puggie. They’ll let you know if they don’t like it by trying to get it off using their paws or rubbing up against furniture – it could be something as simple as a hair is caught and is pulling or it’s too tight. There should be two fingers room between their neck and the necklace/scarf for pawfect comfort. Check out this video to learn how to tie a scarf around your Puggies neck safely HERE
  • Try something utilitarian but still shouts pawsonality: Jackets or Raincoats are a great first piece of clothing to try; they serve a purpose as well as making them look adora(pug)able so the expense is easily justifiable. Not only do they keep your Puggie warm on a winter’s day walk, but if you get caught out in the rain your Puggie will love you fur-ever because they’ll also stay dry AND other Hooman’s will shower them with compliments when they see them as well. Make sure to tell them how cute they look when you’re dressing them in their Jacket/Raincoat so they can see what a positive thing it is to wear one … and let’s face it, you’re not lying, they do look so cute in a Bumblebee Raincoat, for example!
  • Have an outfit that is special for quality time: as I mentioned before, Louis loved his Hawaiian Shirt more than anything else in his wardrobe and I think it was because that was what he wore when we went to our local café for Mummy/Puggie time or “coffee and cuddles” as I call it. Louis knew that if I pulled that shirt out we were going to do something together and it was OUR time.
I recommend finding something that you think reflects your Puggies pawsonality, be it a bandana, t-shirt, dress or harness and have that as your special Mummy/Puggie time outfit. Pugs are smart so they’ll figure it’s significance out quickly, and for me, there was nothing more special than seeing the look on Louis’ face when he realised we were going out for “coffee and cuddle” time – it made me feel special in his eyes as much as I hope he felt special in mine.
  •  Get to know the signs: if you have a Puggie who just doesn’t like to dress up or will only tolerate it for a short period of time, get to know the signs that say they’ve had enough. Typically, they’ll roll around and try and get one paw out of a sleeve or they’ll start rubbing their body against furniture in an attempt to roll it down their body. Or they just won’t let you dress them in the first place; they’ll dip and duck their head, run off or nip at you. Unless you need to get them to wear something for their health and safety such as a Life Jacket on a boat, walk away and either try another day or accept that your Puggie is a naked Puggie who’s best feature is their natural coat.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment: figuring out what looks good on your Puggie does require a small amount of trial and error. We have shopping guides for all types of Dog Apparel to help you shop for your Puggie (check them out HERE) and take some of the pain out of the experience but at the end of the day, you know your Puggie best. I find the biggest challenge for all my Pugs and our Pug Supermodels is determining the colours that suit them the best. What I find is that although Pugs are either fawn or black, every Puggie has a signature colour that really makes their face and pawsonality pop, for example Rosie is a pastel pink girl, Charles is a light to dark blue boy, Winston was a red boy and Louis was a bright blue boy.

Some colours suit the fawn or black coat better than the other, but the great thing about Pugs is that most bright colours look great on them regardless because they’re such little clowns and the bright colours enhance that pawsonaility trait.

At the end of the day, dressing your Puggie can be loads of fun and a great way to spend time together that doesn’t involve food, and it can be done on rainy days as well … yes Rosie, Charles and I have had our ‘dress up’ days where we try new combo’s with lots of cuddles and visits to the bathroom to look in the mirror and see what we think.

Now it’s your turn to talk Pug, do you dress up your Puggie or are you afraid to try? We’d love to know so please share with us in the comment section below.

Until next time Puggies, have a pawsome week and Hooman's be generous with the snackies. 


From Donna, Charles and Rosie

Founder of Pug Parties and Pug Supermodels  


P.S. wanna browse our collection? Then CLICK HERE!

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Other articles in the Pug Style series:

  • The Subtle Art of Dressing your Pug in a JACKET in 30 seconds. Read it HERE 
  • The Subtle Art of Dressing your Pug in a T-SHIRT in 30 seconds. Read it HERE
  • The Subtle Art of Dressing your Pug in a DRESS in 30 seconds. Read it HERE
  • The Subtle Art of Dressing your Pug in PYJAMAS in 30 seconds. Read it HERE
  • The Subtle Art of Dressing your Pug in a JUMPER in 30 seconds. Read it HERE
  • The Subtle Art of Dressing your Pug in a SHIRT in 30 seconds. Read it HERE
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