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Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The brisk air, apple cider donuts and cooler temps. What makes the cooler temps even better? Sweater weather. What makes sweater weather even better? Dogs in sweaters. I thought for this month’s column I should spread a little cheer and share one of my favorite things about fall: dogs in sweaters.

I talk about a lot of things in this monthly column but one of the things that people want to talk to me about the most in life and online are the sweaters I’ve knit for my dogs. I shared how I take my favorite human sweater patterns and adapt them to fit dogs here, but over the last few years there have been more sweater patterns written for dogs that have caught my eye.

So if you have a dog that you want to knit a sweater for or you know someone with a dog you can knit a sweater for, this month’s column is dedicated to you.

A Woof of Inspiration

Seamless Knits for Posh Pups by Sharon Sebrow is the book that got me started on knitting for dogs. I always said I wouldn’t be that crazy dog lady, but who am I kidding? I AM that crazy dog lady. The very first sweater I ever knit for a dog was Sparkle for my dog Cher and she was so cute in it that I have knit it 6 more times for my dogs and dogs of friends.

It is a simple and classic top down sweater that is easy to fit as you go along and quick to knit if you have a smaller dog. The book comes with 14 patterns and there is something for every type of dog in your life. It is definitely the first book I recommend when someone wants to knit for their dog.

Sparkle on, Cher.

Lucky Dog Sweater by Sole Salvo

Most recently, Sole Salvo (behind the Instagram account Haute Dogue) put her love of dogs and design skills to work to create the Lucky Dog Sweater. It is a timeless sweater design with a little bit of drama with the neck ribbing and it comes in sizes XXS to XL to fit a wide range of dogs in your life. You should also really check out how Sole translates runway looks into dog sweaters because it’s kind of amazing.

Purlicious pup

Harness Friendly Dog Sweater by Jacqueline Cieslak

Maybe you’ve knit an Ursa sweater or a Rift tee? If so, you know Jacqueline’s work. But did you know she has an adorable dog, Raii, who she knits for too? She created a harness friendly sweater that’s knit in two parts, a cowl neck for the neck and shoulders and then you pick up stitches for the body. I’ve got this one on my list to knit for Jellybean.

Heart eyes emoji x 1,000,000.

Sweaters not your thing? Then how about a dog hat?

Comfy Dog Hat by Valya Boutenko

There are a so many cute designs for dog hats (with bunny ears, with tassels, with poms, with a cupcake on top) that you can pick the one that best represents your pup. When the air gets really chilly and brisk, Jellybean’s tiny 5-pound frame can’t handle the cold so we layer her up whenever she has to go outside. I figure why not make her as cute as possible?

The Poms are everything.
In the MDK Shop
Be ready to pom pom. Thanks for your purchases. They support everything we do here at MDK.

I know that knitting for your dog can seem silly to some but for times like these, why not inject a little joy in the everyday moments like dog walks when you can? And if you do decide to knit something for your dog, share it with us! Whether you used my formula to come up with a custom knit or followed a pattern, share it on Twitter and Instagram with #yardsofyappiness so we can see it too.

Jellybean in her Linus.

About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • Thankyou Dana
    I’m currently attempting to use your formula to map out a dog version of Joji’s Understated. It’s not an ideal first choice as you talk very sensibly about the advantages of a yoke sweater; but it’s the first sweater I have knitted for myself so it’s appropriate. Loving the joy and challenge it brings me as I am currently in a COVID lockdown in my town. I’m even getting interested in maths again.
    Thanks again for being so willing to talk about how you explored these,

    • Jellybean in her Linus really “takes the cake!” Thank you for the great column. Now to take a deeeeep breath and begin a sweater for an extra large greyhound!

    • Maybe matching sweaters and hats for me and my dog! Your columns are the best, Dana.

      • Ditto from a cat person! Truly adorable!

  • I have been looking for a dog sweater that is made like a cardigan. They step in the arms and button down the back. I have a coonhound with very long legs and pulling a sweater over her head and then trying to get her legs through the arm holes is impossible. Have you come across a pattern like that? Thanks for the article.

    • You could make a pullover and steek it. And adjust the size, if needed, with the button bands!

      • So clever!

  • I can relate. Searched Ravelry and came up with only one such pattern by Vint Hill and named Chloe’s Cardigan Sweater (no relation to me). It is, however, for a small dog and already designed for worsted weight so you may be able to improvise? There are also patterns with no legs holes – basically a fitted blanket held in place with a knitted strap underneath the belly sometimes with a neck hole, sometimes without. This was a short search. There may be more out there.

  • Thank you for sharing your ideas with all of us – your colors are wonderful and bring sunshine on cloudy days in our ‘new normal’ lives.

  • I do sometimes wish my dog weighed 5 lbs instead of 55 lbs! But in spite of her having multiple types of hairy dogs in her genetic makeup, she does not have a super thick winter coat, so a sweater may be in her future. Need a color palette for a red merle with blue and brown eyes and white trim, lots of options!

  • I have a miniature poodle puppy that will need a sweater knitted for him. Where would I find your “formula”?

  • ‘#yardsofyappiness’ I see what you did there. These little sweaters are adorable on their little models. I always love to see you and jellybean matching. Thanks for sharing Dana.

  • What a day brightener! Thanks Dana.

  • OMG Dogs in Sweaters. Love it. I don’t even have a dog.

    • Me either, but I’m going to get one so I can knit for her!

  • Take that yarn and knit caps for people in homeless shelters, kids in foster homes, or for a group home for people with disabilities. Weigh the good that you can do versus what your dog wears

    • Dogs do get cold, and have to go out.

    • How do you know people are not doing both? Is something that brings people joy really a waste of time? Maybe they give in other ways and knit sweaters for dogs to make them and others happy (and because dogs get cold, too). Your have neither the knowledge or the right to judge what others do with their time.

      • Thank you, Andrea, for saying exactly what I was thinking. I remain astounded by the nerve of people who think they have a right to make judgments about the way that other people spend their time. There is no “wrong” thing to knit, and the type and amount of charity we engage in is not anyone else’s decision to make. Why is that so hard to figure out?

  • I’m a cat person, but I do love your dog sweaters. They bring me joy — and goodness knows we all need that right now. So thank you.

    Another stylish dog that I stumbled across online is Tika the Iggy, on Insta. She lives in Montreal and had a rather extensive, and very stylish, wardrobe. Makes me smile…just like you!

    • I was just trying to imagine getting my cat to wear a sweater …

  • I’m ok being a crazy dog lady. Embrace it! My rescue, Toby the Wonder Dog, is a vessel for love. We need a lot more love in our world. Thank you for writing and teaching, Dana. Thank you Ann & Kay for supporting Dana.

  • Great column, Dana! (Kay, are you paying attention? Kay? Kay? Kay? Bueller?)

  • My dogs dislike anything on their body, but that hat!!!! It is fabulous!! Dana, I love reading your columns, it would be fun to take one of your classes.

    • Love the sweaters and the hat. That type of hat may also have a calming effect on the dog. It is similar to the “Happy Hoody”.

  • Thanks for the inspiration, Dana. I plan to knit sweaters for the Chihuahuas who find their way to the animal shelter where I volunteer. So far I’ve knit for a 3.4, a 4.1 and a 5.2 lb. Chihuahua. One size does not fit all on these little guys. Cher and Jellybean are lucky pups!

  • The dog hat with poms especially made me smile. Every cat in the world is laughing at that. Thanks for brightening my Monday.

  • This is so timely! I just met my daughter and her boyfriends tiny rescue, Mona (Mo, Mosey) and had mentioned you and your adorable dogs in their sweaters. She wears a harness out, so thanks so much for that link to Jacquie’s sweater, but I also love your adaptations. My daughter wasn’t so sure, but I have a feeling Mona will be getting a sweater for Christmas! 🙂

  • When I clicked through to Ravelry to view each sweater and some projects, I found one knitter made an adorable Lucky Dog for her Guinea Pig! A Lucky Pig sweater?

    Another great post Dana

  • It would be ok with me if you posted dogs in sweaters everyday, LOL.

  • So adorable ! Dana you are the best and Jellybean is so lucky!

  • Hi Dana — Thanks for sharing your cheer and the adorable Jellybean with us. Your “rainbows are a neutral” attitude towards color has been an inspiration for my yarn choices during the quarantimes, and it really does help to see more color everwhere. Hope the academic calendar is settling down a bit.

  • Jellybean in her elbow length sleeves will get me through a month of Mondays.

  • I don’t remember seeing the Linus before. You’ve made my day!

  • Thank you, Dana, for the inspiration! Especially love the mini “Linus” sweater. I don’t have a dog of my own, but I’ve recently become a “grandma” to a poodle pup in NYC, who I think will need sweaters for the winter!

  • I’ve always been so sad that my mini poodle categorically refuses to wear sweaters. If I attempt to put something on her, she acts like I’m torturing her. Maybe if we didn’t live in California, and it was actually cold outside during winter, I could be more persuasive. She’s got a lot of fur, so we skip it.

    I love seeing Jelly Bean in all her glory.

  • I love this, i got to knit for Lucy before Christmas

  • Though my large dog’s coat is not very thick, she absolutely refuses to wear anything no matter how cold it gets (I live in New England so it gets cold). My two cats refuse even more pointedly. However, I can get all 3 of them to wear a loosely tied scarf and they look pretty adorable in them, so they sometimes get a scarf to match some of my sweaters. 🙂 Dana, your dogs pictured with you in their matching sweaters are just the cutest. I can imagine how much your neighbors must love seeing you out for a walk with them!

  • Thank you, Dana! I smiled thru your article and photos. I have an 8lb Maltese who wears sweaters l knit for him. I so appreciate the photos because l find it hard to find a pattern small enough for him.

  • When I had to have my last Westie put down, I had a WONDERFUL vet. come to our home and he allows you and your loved ones as much time as they need. He is also a soft tissue surgeon and I gave him the last dog sweater that I had knit for his surgical patients. After a very long time, I decided that I couldn’t tolerate life without a dog. The local agency had online adoptions and I was given the gift of this little bit of a dog weighing about 9 pounds. And she must have a sweater as she is so tiny. As to the one negative comment that I read, I knit for the simple joy of the process and I only knit for those whom I love. Please don’t be critical of other’s in such a divided time in our Country.

  • I have followed you for quite some time now and having seen Jellybean (and Cher) in their awesome coats, I decided to knit one for my cav King Charles. It was dark grey with white and light grey colour work. It was brilliant for the winter. He sadly passed away a year ago and I could not bring myself to throw it away. So I frogged it and incorporated it into a sweater for me.

  • Really enjoyEd your column, lightened my day!

  • I recently used the Perfect Fit Dog & Cat Sweater pattern by JL, and it worked great. You figure out the gauge you’re knitting to with the yarn and needles you’ve chosen, then do a little math and you get all the measurements you need. They came out great. I love having sweaters for my 7-pound Yorkie!

  • Oh great. It looks like I am going to have to add a few names to my Christmas knitting list. And I really have to knit that hat!

  • Dana, you bring us such joy, thank you. I loved seeing your photo of Cher; you and Jellybean must miss her. All of these models are cute as can be! Love the poms! I’m sure that brings a huge smile to everyone! Yes, let’s all try to be positive and support each other. There is no need for judgement. Happy Saturday everyone!

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