There is simply too much going on, so take a well-earned moment to enjoy this cavalcade of canine costuming.
At some point in the early ravages of time, humans and canines formed a mighty alliance. It was transactional in nature – in return for home and food, the dogs would give us protection, long range hunting retrieval and the opportunity to put a hat on them and/or make them wear shoes.
A greater partnership the earth has never seen.
When not wrapping up dead cats like burritos, the ancient Egyptians would adorn pet jackals with elaborate collars. But it wasn’t until the 1900s and the mass manufacturing of cameras that people suddenly realised the staggering potential of dressing up dogs in human clothes. Since then, we’ve never looked back.
Right now, It’s time to take stock, reflect and recharge. The planet is currently overheating, shaking with political polarisation and squirming with viruses like the contents of a dozen petri dishes stuffed into an old sock. Accordingly, here are 20 of the best dogs wearing dog costumes that I have managed to find online.
20) Reindeer antler headpiece
Christmas is a time of sharing, and what better time to involve your furry friend in confusing human holiday customs? In this scene found on AliExpress, Puffles is screaming in confusion from the cultural dissonance he’s experiencing from wearing a yuletide accessory in what is an obviously Halloween setting. He doesn’t understand. And he never will.
19) Walking Teddy Bear Costume
In the 2001 film AI: Artificial Intelligence, director Steven Spielberg spent millions of dollars to make a teddy bear talk and walk around like a little Ray Winstone. Twenty years on, all you need is 15 minutes, an old raggy scrag of a teddy bear and a near to breaking point Shih Tzu called Munchkin to create the same effect. How do those Oscars feel now, Steven?
18) Old Man Smoking a Cigar Costume
Houston, the 1-year-old Shih Tzu, demonstrates here how to tear the marrow from life: by mixing the luxurious sophistication of velvet smoking jackets with angry pipe smoking. Or is it a subtle homage to surrealist painter Magritte? Or is it, in fact, a plush cartoon golf club? It’s certainly not a cigar, as listed by owner and costume creator Kordy on costume-works.com. The wave of confusion and anxiety this costume generates puts it in the 18th slot.
17) Dog Costume Coat Outfits British Wedding Outdoor Winter Dog Clothes Puppy Clothes Dog Outfits Black Costume for Girl and Boy Dog Cotton S M L XL XXL
Simple. Elegant. Classy. I would marry any dog that promised to wear this to our wedding. That’s not to say it would be an easy courtship. I’m a middle-aged human man, this is a fluffy haired poodle. The chances of there being numerous cultural complications and misunderstandings would be greatly increased. But, at some point during the evening, he’d turn and look at me over his shoulder.
And just like that … my heart would be his.
16) ‘Funny’ Spider Costume
There’s a couple of things going on here. Firstly, I’m pretty sure those are boobs attached to the head of this costume. Secondly, that is the same wispy white fur one would usually expect to see on a discounted cushion at Kmart, so kudos for the upcycling.
Thirdly, you wear the costume, you play the part. I can see from the look on this dog’s face that it’s been empowered by the totem of the spider. This canine is no longer Rufus. He is now Sharrrughlur, Lead Hunt Mistress of the Undying Blood Moon. And he is going to hunt down some arachnophobes and scare them back into the womb.
15) Sailor Costume
Another pooch who’s completely disappeared into the role. The look on his face conveys a complex web of emotions.
Angus Squatobee, first mate on the USS Bonedigger, watches the shore slowly grow smaller and smaller. His love, Miss Snowball, is just a white dot, but he will not look away until she has disappeared from view completely. He had to accept the Navy’s commission, their 18th pup was on its way and Angus needed to provide. But at what price? Will the remittance back home to help the pack survive another winter be enough to wipe all the blood off his paws?
Yes goddammit. He would kill who he needed to kill and a thousand more if it meant the pups and Miss Snowball were safe. He would rain down hellfire on the whole world if in return they would continue to laugh and bark and wee outside.
If by that his damnation would be sealed, he would walk into the fire laughing and singing a song of the sea. And love. Always love.
14) Penguin Costume
This isn’t complicated. There’s a jaunty bow tie and not only is this a penguin, but it’s a King Penguin. A costume worthy of 14th place.
13) Star Trek: The Original Series Spock Dog Costume
It’s a widely misunderstood aspect of Mr Spock and Vulcan psychology that people think Kirk’s cool mate was without emotions. In actual fact, Vulcans are chock full of feelings, perhaps even more than us humans. They’re just really good at pushing them deep down inside until they all come bubbling up again when they’re on heat and want to get busy with anything that moves.
What better way to emotionally oppress Mr Binkles by slapping some hobbit ears and a horrific bowl cut wig on him? Nice gold trim too.
12) Puppy Latte Pet Costume
The first food-themed costume on our list and it’s a good example, albeit a morally confusing one. The ruffles are absolutely gorgeous, and the purple pops against the coffee-brown of the comfortable-looking felt material.
But what is a puppy latte, exactly? Would you drink one if it was presented to you in a tense situation where you didn’t want to cause offence? The answer is: of course you would.
11) Zorro Dog Costume
This is here mainly because of the little gloved hands on this costume. Are they not the cutest little gauntlets you’ve ever seen? Imagine them trying to grasp a normal-sized glass of water. I would absolutely squeal.
10) Lobster Chihuahua
Someone thought to themselves “man, I need some passive income”, borrowed their mate’s pet chihuahua with the bug eyes, and a dog lobster costume, and hit the beach. Not long after, they were running a photoshoot which would form the basis of an indispensable stock photography portfolio.
And you’ve got to admit, it works. This little lobster dog is all of us: quivering little balls of meat inside a hard shell. I bet this is exactly what Jordan Peterson was on about when he used lobsters to argue that hierarchies are naturally occurring and therefore justifiable in human society.
9) Casual Canine Hot Diggity Dog with Mustard Costume for Dogs
I did say there was going to be more food costumes and this one is a stone cold classic. I mean, it’s undoubtedly why sausage dogs were bred in the first place. And if that doesn’t prove our mastery over nature, well, I don’t know what will.
What I do know is that if you chuck this little guy on the hot plate outside a local Bunnings, I will come running because this banger-bark-machine looks good enough to eat.
8) Cowboy Rider Dog Costume for Dogs Outfit Knight Style with Doll and Hat Pet Costume
As we work our way into the single digits, it’s getting harder and harder to contain my excitement. This is where we’re getting to the absolute vinegar strokes of the exercise. Because it seems like some kind of magic trick that one simple costume design can produce such joy in one’s heart.
The dog above is clearly dog sized, but also, somehow, bigger than a human!? This is what all great art does, it shakes up your frame of reference and forces you to look at the world from a different perspective. That’s a cowboy, but somehow it’s also “knight style”? What kind of design is “magic tape”? There’s not a hope in hell we’ll be able to answer any of these questions, but just maybe the answers we’re looking for are inside all of us.
7) Pity the Fool Mr. T Pet Costume
Credit where credit’s due, this is a well-detailed costume clearly made with respect for the original. The muscle sleeves are rippling with power, the gold chains are rippling with shiny gold pizazz, and the mohawk skull cap is rippling with follicle power.
The dog model is, of course, absolute perfection. That face is a fierce mug, at one moment asking you to pity the fool and at the next warning you about the dangers of using drugs.
6) Elf Pet Costume
A great dog costume doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It can only become great when filled by the perfect pooch for that costume. Here is a example of costume and dog working together to create something that elevates both.
I’ve never seen anything succeed in retaining dignity while wearing a silly pointed hat with a bell on it. By all rights this dog should be cowed in shame. Instead she is proud, secure, laser-focused. Again, here is something we can learn from the dogs. She achieves this nobility because she gives less than two fucks about what you think – she’s just here to make sure Santa gets those goddamn gifts ready and loaded onto the sleigh. Productivity was down by 1.8% compared with the same quarter last year, and she would rather give up her stock options than fail to achieve on this quarter’s OKRs.
5) Yoda Dog Costume
We’re getting to the business end of this vital and personally rewarding list, and it is classics all the way down.
This costume makes great use of the “walking costume” format which, if used in conjunction with a small to mid-sized pooch, can achieve a scale-accurate Yoda. Imagine having the wee Jedi master walking around your house, or standing by you looking hopeful while you cook dinner?
This costume is priced at $29 USD but I would happily pay 1.5 times that to have Yoda in my life.
4) The Joker Pet Costume
Is this the best dog costume? No. Is it the best gift for a dog-owning incel? Yes. The Joker has given solace to misanthropic nerds everywhere, so of course the invisible hand swooped in and provided the perfect way to dress up their doggy pal. It’s a win for everyone, but none more so than this dog who is rocking this look with confidence.
Honestly, this is a perfect argument for why God should have given dogs hair.
3) Pup Star Guitar Player Dogs Halloween Costume
This costume provides us with an example of the great paradox of human/dog relations. If a person was to turn up on my doorstep wearing a stripy t-shirt and brandishing a cheap guitar with the intention of belting out some Jack Johnson, I’d put the hose on them. However, picture the same scenario with a forlorn wee pug dressed exactly the same, and I’d invite the poor thing inside for a sampler box.
Eventually, I’d probably agree to going in on a timeshare in Paihia with them.
2) Leprechaun Boy Dog Costume
Simplicity and ubiquity is why this costume ranks so highly. The internet is awash in dogs dressed as the famous wee Irish imp. You can go for an attached pot of gold or a fake beard and pipe, but really all you need is some cheap green cloth, a hat and a cardboard buckle.
1) Pirate Thieves (Thief!) Dog Costume
And so here we are. We’ve reached the pinnacle of dog costume technology. Hundreds of thousands of years of constant innovation have led us to this: the realisation that each pair of legs on a dog could represent a single humanoid figure. Once we realised this, there was no way back.
Yes there are other variations on the four leg optimisation format, but this costume remains, in my mind, a classic and the high water mark of the field.
Firstly, check out the detailing on that chest. That’s high level design research of a standard not seen since mid 90s fantasy RPG video games.
Speaking of RPGs, there’s some excellent character work being realised here. The pirate captain is a rakish rogue and retains only a sliver of dignity from his days in the Royal Navy. General hygiene and regular skincare has been abandoned in favour of a rapacious love of gold that led him to the bandit ways of the high seas.
By contrast, his bosun taking up the rear is clearly an alcoholic wastrel, judging by his leaning posture. He might tip over at any point, he’s already lost an eye to a drunken escapade – probably involving a fire pit and an impromptu game of beach skittles.
Exquisite and thoughtful world-building makes for a memorable and compelling dog costume. Here we find stories of bravery and daring on the ocean, but also cautionary tales of our inherent shortcomings under the eyes of God. Dogs can be our companions and even our servants, but their most important role is that of teacher. They want to help us, but will we listen? Or just give them belly rubs?
Honestly, I’ve got to an age where I’m willing to admit that either is good.
Subscribe to Rec Room a weekly newsletter delivering The Spinoff’s latest videos, podcasts and other recommendations straight to your inbox.