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Dog fashion and clothing use is bigger then ever these days! Everyday we find more and more ways to dress up our lovable furry friends.

With all these amazing fashion and clothing options, it can often be hard to work out what will fit your dog. Dogs come in many different shapes and sizes, as well as different brands having very different ideas of what “Large” looks like. WE KNOW YOUR PAIN!!

So to help make buying for your pooches easy, we have come up with 3 easy steps and tips anyone can do to ensure the new clothing will ALWAYS fit. 

We will start with how to measure your dog, then move on to tips on shopping online.

Tools to measure your dog

You will need-

1) Soft ruler (the floppy one the tailor uses)

2) Brush to get the hair flat and 

3) Paper with a pen to write the measurements down (or phone)
Pro Tip: If you only have a hard ruler available, use the dogs lead to get measurements, then hold it against the hard ruler.

Tips before Measuring

Use caution not to strangle or hurt the dog. When taking the dogs measurements, you want the tape to be snug against the body, without applying pressure or allowing the tape to be loose. 

When shopping with custom dog shops like Swanky Paws, they will want the snug cm’s and will add the room to move themselves. However, for pre made clothing when shopping yourself, add extra for “room to move” where needed. (Explained Below)

Maltese dog showing off luxury tuxedo dog bandana at Studio1000
Maltese wearing a tuxedo dog banana

What 3 measurements do I need?

When buying dogs clothing online often you will need 3 measurements-

1) Back Length- between the neck and tail

2) Neck- distance around the base

3) Chest- distance around chest behind front legs

Some custom outfits may require more but these 3 cover almost everything. 

These 3 measurements allow you to compare your pups measurements against the shops standard sizes. Like human clothing, every shop seems to have a different set of standard sizes. 

Pro Tip: Just because your dog is a small at one shop, does not mean you are a small with everyone!

1) Back Length

Diagram on how to measure a dogs back length. From the base of the tail to the base of the neck

This is the distance from the base of the dogs neck to the base of the tail. This is also the most used measurement for standard size pooch clothing. 

Find The Starting Point-

Simply run your fingers down the back of the dogs neck until you reach the base where the neck meets the back, this is where the collar would normally sit. 

Hold the tape at the base of the neck and run it along the top of the dogs back, until you reach the base/start of the tail. The distance between the base of the neck and the base of the tail is the dogs back measurement.

Write this down in cm’s like this Back-42cm

Having troubles finding the base of the dogs neck? Try this way instead- 

At the base of the dogs neck you should be able to feel 2 shoulder blades out of the top of the back (One for each of the dogs front legs). This is the point you want to start the measurement.

Another way to find the top of the shoulder blades is to follow up the dogs front legs from the side, until you reach the top of their back. Press down slightly at this point (use caution not to hurt the dog) and you should be able to feel the dogs shoulder blades. Directly in the middle of these shoulder blades is the perfect point to start the back measurement!

2) Neck

How to measure a dogs neck for collars and clothing. Circumference around the base of the dogs neck

For the neck measurement, you will need to run the tape the whole way around the base of the dogs neck, roughly where the collar would normally sit.

Start by placing the tape at the base of the neck from behind (the same place as the start the back measurement was) and run it in a circle around the neck and back to the place you started. Use the widest part which is usually just above their chest.

Pro Tip- Include any thick hair or rolls the dog might have when taking the snug measurement. Any clothing or collar etc will need to be wider than the widest part on the dog.

Room To Move- For shopping online, add +5cm to your dog neck snug measurement

Write this down in cm’s like this Neck-38cm

3) Chest


The chest measurement is the distance the whole way around the dogs body, just behind the front legs.

Start the tape on top of the dogs back on the spine, just behind where the front legs come up. Then run the tape under the dogs rib cage behind the legs and back up to the starting point.

Pro Tip- You want the widest point which is usually just few cm’s behind the front legs.

Room To Move- For shopping online, add at least +2cm to the dogs chest measurement

Write this down in cm’s like this Chest-52cm

Cute dog wearing a custom dog tutu and Bling Swarovski collar

Is Measuring Different For Puppies To Adults?

The way you measure puppies is exactly the same as how you measure fully grown adults. The only difference is that puppies still have a lot of growing to do. To compensate for the growth still to come, we need to either-

A) Add more room for growth. The Chest, Neck and Back will all get bigger

B) Keep re doing the measurements each time the dog is due for a bigger size.

Most dogs are fully grown height wise by around the age of 1 but some breeds like bulldogs continue to grow thicker for another year or so.



Trying to work out what size to buy your dog doesn’t have to be difficult. Now you know how to measure your dogs back, neck and chest including a few pro tips based off experience. These 3 measurements will ensure you always order the right outfit/clothing for your pup and can avoid the pain needing to swap or return goods.

Simply save the measurements in your phone and you can access your dogs correct size anytime, anywhere!

If you need help in measuring your dog or would like one of our professional seamstresses to make you a custom outfit click here to contact us or browse our website for dog accessories and dog clothing.


Should I use inches or cm’s-

When doing the measurements its best to do so in centimetres (cm’s) as its more accurate. Some businesses will use inches instead of cm’s so it can be handy to have your measurements written down in both before shopping.

To shop for dog fashion accessories and clothing including custom, please check out our store.

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