Gourmet food, pet hotels, designer accessories — it seems there’s no limit to the time and money we lavish on our dogs. In fact, we’re so dog-obsessed it is expected the UK pet industry will be worth £2 billion by 2023.
Now the latest trend is ‘doggie twinning’, where owners dress their pooches in outfits to match their own.
Some owners favour high-end brands such as Ralph Lauren Pets or Max-Bone that do ranges of coats, sweaters and even bow ties specifically for dogs, which they can co-ordinate with their own clothes.
Others commission dressmakers to ensure their dog’s outfits are a perfect match.
Rebbecca Haselden, 26, a teaching assistant, lives with boyfriend Darren and French bulldog Koda in Manchester
And now the High Street is catching on with brands including Next and Boohoo selling canine fashion, while H&M has launched a range that comes in human and dog sizes, so owners can dress just like their pets.
Here, we speak to three women who insist their dogs look as stylish as they do, no matter what the cost.
I’VE SPENT £1,500 ON MY COCKAPOO
May Wong, 60, is an interior designer and lives with her cockapoo Miss Darcy and rescue dog George in London. She says:
Six years ago, I went to Harrods Pet Kingdom in Knightsbridge for the first time to buy Miss Darcy a bed and saw the coat section.
My initial reaction was, ‘Oh my goodness, I’d never put my dog in clothes.’
Then I saw a coat that looked like my own Barbour with a fur-lined hood. It was so funny.
Because it was reduced in the sale to £35, I decided to buy it. That’s how the twinning started.
May Wong, 60, is an interior designer and lives with her cockapoo Miss Darcy and rescue dog George in London
I realised that clothing my dogs is actually quite practical. They live in my flat and sleep on my bed, so I want them to be as clean as possible.
I started buying them bomber jackets, raincoats, duffle coats and a selection of sweaters that match my own.
If they get dirty, I can wash them, which is more practical than bathing my dogs every day.
Now Miss Darcy and George probably have about 20 outfits each. When Moncler started making coats for dogs, I thought why not buy them ones like mine for when we go skiing and to cold countries in Scandinavia together?
I got a black one for George to match my own but a red one for Miss Darcy as it suited her more. Theirs cost £320 each, while my coat was around £100 more.
Matching what I wear with my dogs is such fun. Yes, it’s a bit extravagant —but it’s harmless.
Miss Darcy and George’s collection
Most expensive item: Moncler jackets, £320 each.
Favourite outfit: Max-Bone yellow raincoats, £55.
Favourite doggie brand: Currently Moncler but hopefully my own soon.
Overall spend on dog clothes: £1,500 on Miss Darcy and £1,000 on George.
When we go out in the rain I wear my Petit Bateau yellow rain jacket, and they wear their matching ones from Max-Bone.
I really like good-quality items, so I often buy bespoke coats for my dogs. I had a one-off Barbour waxed cotton jacket specially made for Miss Darcy to match mine, and have had jumpers made with my face on them for the dogs, and ones with their faces for me. I’m hoping to start my own line of dog coats.
My dog-loving friends think that twinning is fantastic; non-dog friends think it’s weird.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve gone a bit overboard but Miss Darcy and George look so cute in their coats.
There will be people who say dogs shouldn’t wear clothes. If they didn’t like it, I wouldn’t make them dress up, but they happily run through the park with their coats on.
People always smile at us and what can be better than making people smile on a rainy day?
HE TELLS ME IF AN OUTFIT WON’T WORK
Rebbecca Haselden, 26, a teaching assistant, lives with boyfriend Darren and French bulldog Koda in Manchester. She says:
At first, I’d only ever dress Koda up for fun. I’d buy him reindeer outfits for Christmas, for instance, take photos for my Instagram account, then take them off straight away.
Darren is really against it. He says he’s a proper dog, not a toy breed, and I shouldn’t make him wear clothes.
But one winter Koda wouldn’t go outside because it was freezing. So I went online and discovered that experts advise putting French bulldogs in a coat when it’s cold.
Rescue dog George (left) and cockapoo Miss Darcy look snug in matching red padded jackets
So I bought him a bright yellow one and it made such a difference to his mood, I started buying more.
Now, when we go out, I try to dress us in cute matching outfits. If we go for a walk, we’ll both wear a jumper or a waterproof fleece-lined coat in fun colours.
I buy Koda’s clothes from Next or Boohoo, which sell outfits for dogs for under £10, and try to buy similar outfits for myself.
We both own a lot of mustard, and black-and-white patterns.
Sometimes I’ll just stick a matching scrunchie in my hair to go with Koda’s bandana or bow tie but I really love going out in our denim jackets.
When my boyfriend and I bought our three-bedroom house two years ago, I wanted Koda to have his own room.
Most expensive item: Pawsh Paws boutique puffer coat, £14.
Favourite outfit: A Boohoo denim jacket, £9.60.
Favourite doggie brand: Next.
Overall spend: £1,000.
He’s got a teepee bed, all his bowls, harnesses and his own wardrobe with more than 30 outfits — but he still sleeps in our room. We have matching pyjamas from Matalan.
My only bad experience was in a restaurant when Koda was wearing a jacket with a red bow tie.
A man said I was treating the dog as a fashion accessory. But the staff gave Koda a treat for being so adorable.
Koda really likes dressing up. He suffers from anxiety but when he’s wearing clothes, he’s much braver.
If he’s ever feeling uncomfortable in an outfit, I can tell from his face. His ears go down and he’ll look at me to say, ‘It isn’t working, Mum.’ I’ll take it off immediately.
MY GREYHOUND’S BESPOKE JUMPERS
Paz Castro, 38, is a jewellery designer and lives with Lloyd, an Italian greyhound, in East London. She says:
When I got Lloyd three years ago, it was the first time I’d ever had a dog. I didn’t have a clue that without a jacket, Lloyd, a type of sighthound, would get shivery.
My partner at the time said there was no way we were going to put him in a coat. But he needed one to keep warm.
I found brands such as Coat, a label that specifically caters for sighthounds, and Fetch & Follow, offering timeless pieces like my own.
We started matching because I just buy what I like, whether it’s for me or Lloyd. Plus, we spend so much time together that I thought, why not dress alike? He’s an extension of myself.
Paz Castro, 38, is a jewellery designer and lives with Lloyd, an Italian greyhound, in East London
If I’m wearing black, I like Lloyd to wear black, too. I dictate the trend. We mainly wear neutrals in matching tones.
I like things having a similar aesthetic, so I make sure we never clash.
Lloyd has more than 20 outfits now. We wear a lot of jumpers; his can cost from £30 to £100, and his raincoats can go up to £120.
On a normal day, Lloyd goes out in a short or long-sleeved jumper; if it’s raining, I put a raincoat on top.
We often wear stripes, and I have a guilty obsession with animal prints, so he has a leopard-print onesie.
Most expensive item: A £100 black raincoat bought in Japan.
Favourite outfit: A bespoke cream knitted roll-neck jumper.
Favourite doggie brands: Coat, Dogsnug and Fetch & Follow.
Overall spend on dog clothes: £400.
I also love a roll-neck on him because he looks so cute. I have had some knitted for him, which cost £40 each.
I wouldn’t put him in cream for the park though — that’s more of a pub outfit.
Around 90 per cent of people think our twinning is sweet and ask if they can take pictures.
But I get the odd negative comment. Some people think I use Lloyd as an accessory.
But I’d never do anything to make him feel uncomfortable or that he wouldn’t be happy with.
I used to laugh at people who had Instagram accounts for their dogs. But when my friends got bored with me posting 100 pictures of Lloyd a day, I decided to give him his own account.
He now has 16,000 followers, and is so used to having his picture taken that he poses naturally for photos now.
Every owner becomes really attached to their dog, but Lloyd is my best friend.
I knew from the beginning I wanted a dog who could adapt to my life and that’s exactly what has happened. We’re Paz and Lloyd now.
Where to go to snap up matching fashion ranges for you and your dogs
A pink hoodie with the Misguided logo can be bought for £10.80 for dogs
The online retailer sells a range of matching knitted roll-necks, hoodies, T-shirts and slogan jumpers from £12, while the human equivalents are £25.
Star buy: A hoodie with the Missguided logo; £10.80 for canines and £14.40 for women.
Launched a dog-and-human range last autumn in collaboration with Pringle. Jumpers for people at £19.99, matching dog versions for £17.99.
Star buy: A £13 burgundy dog cable-knit jumper and matching £24 women’s cardigan.
A range of dog wear and accessories that can be twinned with children’s clothes.
Star buy: Provence Rose dog wax coat, £35, twinned with a kids’ jacket, £25, or kids’ rucksack, £18.
The fast-fashion online retailer offers dog jumpers to match human ones. Best for a range of festive matching outfits, such as Christmas jumpers or Halloween outfits — all under £10.
Star buy: Get a Halloween bargain in early with a £4 pumpkin dog jumper and matching £3 dress.