Knit a Sweater for your Dog
by Esther Smith Bozak, Copyright 1995.
All rights reserved.(Please read the detailed
copyright notice located at the end of the pattern.)
Revised December 19, 1995
Last Updated: January 2, 2005
I ran in to two major difficulties: either
the pattern was sized only for small dogs, or if it did come
in sizes for large dogs, the neck and chest measurements (the
two usual measurements one was asked to take) didn't match
If I made it to fit her chest, the neck was droopy and the
dog's movement would pull it down around her shoulders. Additionaly,
none of the patterns I found provided what I felt was sufficient
protection for our dog against the snow and wind of an Central
New York winter. So, I decided to make my own pattern and
developed the following sweater to be worn by our "snow
puppy" in those harsher conditions.
All comments are welcome! Please let me about your success
or problems in using this pattern. Please include your dog's
breed and neck & chest measurements as this will help
determine how robust the pattern really is. I can be reached
via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. TYPE: I strongly recommend using wool (or a wool blend
that is at least 50% wool) because a sweater made in wool
will remain warm even if it gets soaking wet. Sweaters made
from synthetics will not. Your dog will thank you.
2. WEIGHT: Sport, DK, or worsted weight are all appropriate.
Pick whichever is best for your area's winter weather.
3. AMOUNT: Anywhere from 1-12 ounces or more, depending
on the size of your dog, split between the colors you are
using. Very small dogs will generally need approximately 1-3
oz. total; medium sized, 4-8; large dogs, 9+. Buy an extra
skein or two -- it's better to have too much than to run out,
and you can use any leftovers to make you a matching pair
You will need three different sizes each in double-pointed
and/or circular style. The actual lengths of any needles you
use will depend on the size of your dog and your actual gauge,
and hence, the number of stitches on your needles (described
in the Preparation section below.)
1. The needles used for the body of the sweater should be
a size appropriate for the weight yarn you've selected, dp
pointed for small dog sizes, circular for medium & large
2. For the ribbing (neck, bottom edge, and sleeve), use
one size smaller than the needle size used for the body.
3. For the sleeve's cuff, use needles that are 3-4 sizes
smaller than the ones used for the ribbing.
For example, if I have decided to use a size 8 (American)
for the body of the sweater, I will need a size 7 for the
ribbing and 3 or 4 for the cuff.
1. Decide what pattern stitch(es) you wish to use for the
sweater. Just about anything goes -- stockinette, striped,
Fair Isle or other 2+ color pattern, Aran/cables, mosaic,
etc. Also, decide what type of ribbing stitch you wish to
use. Two good choices are K1,P1 and K2,P2, although you can
get as fancy as you wish.
2. Decide what type of yarn you want to use and choose a
needle sizes appropriate for the yarn's weight.
3. Make gauge swatches: Using the needles you have chosen
for your weight yarn, make a swatch:
1. of your chosen pattern stitch and determine the st and
2. in stockinette stitch, if this is not your chosen pattern
Measure your dog:
1. Neck -- around the neck (just collar-level, or midway
up the neck, is good).
2. Chest -- around the biggest part of the chest.
3. Leg width -- across the side of the upper front leg,
at its widest point (just at or below shoulder/underarm area
is good). Alternately, you can measure the leg's circumference
at the underarm.
4. Leg length -- along the back of the front leg, from the
underarm to the elbow. Alternately, you can measure from the
center back (the spine) down the dog's leg to the elbow. The
corresponding measurement of the sweater will be from its
center back to the bottom edge of the sleeve.
5. Neck-to-underarm -- down the front, from where you measured
the neck to the underarm of the front leg.
6. Neck-to-chest -- along the front & underside, from
where you measured on the neck to the end of sternum/rib cage.
7. Neck-to-tail -- along the neck & back, from where
you took the nec measurement to the base of the tail. This
measurement will most accurate if taken with the dog in sit
5. Add ease to some of these measurements:
1. Add 1/2 to 1 inch to measurements 4a & b for ease and
convert them to stitch counts, rounding up to a whole number.
(The larger the dog, the more ease you probably will want
to allow.) Use your pattern stitch's st/inch gauge for measurements
4b; use the stockinette stitch's st/inch gauge for measure
4a. You may need to round up/down 1-2 stitches for measurement
4a to give an even number of stitches for a K1,P1 ribbing.
If you are using a K2,P2 ribbing, adjust the number of stitches
to be a multiple of 4. (If you are using some other fancy
ribbing, determine the necessary stitch repeat multiple and
round up/down appropriately.)
2. Add up to 1/2" ease to measurements c & f. For
measurement c, if you measured the dog's leg circumference,
you will need to approximate the leg opening width as follows:
(circumference/2) + 1/2". If your dog is exceptionally
large or has very muscular legs, you may need to add more
6. (Optional) Convert measurements 4c, d, e, f, & g
to row counts using your pattern stitch's row/inch gauge.
Round up to a whole number. (Don't forget that measurements
c & f should have some ease added in from step 5b.)
Using the needles chosen for the ribbing, cast on the number
of sts needed for your dog's neck measurement (measurement
4a plus ease). Place a marker between the first and last stitches
of the round. Work rounds in ribbing of your choice for 1-2
inches or desired length of neck ribbing.
Round 1: Changing to largest sized needles, work
all sts in K, increasing
evenly to 70-75% of total maximum number of stitches you
need based on your dog's chest measurement (measurement
Round 2: Work even in desired pattern stitch.
Round 3: Work in pattern increasing 1 st after the round's
and one st before the round's last st.
Repeat Rounds 2 & 3 until you have achieved the total
maximum number of sts needed. [The percentage you use in
Round 1 will depend on the depth of the yoke (measurement
e) and the number of increases you will need to make in
this area to achieve the total number of sts. You should
plan your increases such that the total max. number of sts
has been reached preferably by the time the yoke is completed,
or no later than within the first two rows of the leg openings
section. Adjust the % increased to in Round 1 accordingly.]
At the same time, when you have reached the desired depth
to the front legs' underarms (measurement 4e), cast off for
the leg openings as follows: work 9.5% after marker (1/2 of
underside section between legs), cast off 8% for leg opening,
work 65% for back section, cast off 8% for second leg opening,
and work remaining 9.5% sts to end of round. (Round up/down
where necessary, keeping the same number of stitches for the
two leg openings and centering the back section sts and the
underside sections each between the two legs.)
This next section can be worked as back and forth as two separate
sections (back and underside) or with steeks over the leg
openings -- your choice. If you decide to work as 2 separate
sections, you may attach a second ball and work the back and
underside simultaneously, or you may work one at a time, being
careful to work the two sections for the same number of rows.
This is especially important if you are using any pattern
stitch other than stockinette st; the sections' patterns must
match when they meet up again.
If you have decided to use steeks, on the next round, cast
on 5 sts over each leg opening for the steek.
Working either in rows or rounds, continue in pattern over
the back and underside sections for a length equal to the
front leg's width (measurement 4c plus ease). It doesn't hurt
to knit a couple extra rows/rounds for ease if you feel you
want a bit more.
If using steeks, bind off the steek sts on the last round
worked; if working rows, back and forth, begin rounds again
at this point.
Work in pattern and over each leg opening, cast on the same
number of stitches you cast off for the opening. Work even
until sweater length reaches the bottom of the rib cage/sternum
(measurement 4f plus ease).
Next round: Cast off 22% of the stitches for the belly stitches.
Again, you may work the rest of the sweater back and forth
in rows, or you may work in rounds, using a steek over the
Round/Row 1: Work even in pattern. If working in rounds,
cast on 5 sts
for the belly steek.
Round/Row 2: Dec one st each side edge; use SSK at beginning
round/row and K2 tog at end.
Round/Row 3: Work even in pattern.
Repeat Rounds/Rows 2 & 3 until 55-56% of total max.
sts are left for the lower back. Work even until sweater
length, as measured along the center back line, equals 1
inch and 5 rows less than total desired length (measurement
4g). If working rows, end such that right side is facing.
Next round/row: SSK, work to last 2 sts, K2 tog.
Repeat this round/row 4 more times. If using a steek, bind
off the steek sts on the last of these rounds. Cut yarn and
place remaining sts on a holder. Alternately, you may simply
bind off all remaining sts.
Cut any steeks open.
BELLY GUSSET & BACK RIBBING:
Hold the sweater belly up & with right side facing. Using
circular needles of the size selected for the ribbing, starting
at left-hand side edge, pick up 1 st per row along side, k
sts at lower back edge from holder to needle, and pick up
1 st per row along right hand side edge.(If you have cast
off the lower back edge sts, then pick up 1 sts per sts along
this edge instead.)
Continuing, pick up 1 st for each cast-off sts at the underside
-- these sts will be referred to as the belly sts, and the
rest of the sts, the side sts.
Place a marker one st after the first belly st and one before
the last belly st picked up.
Row 1 (Wrong side): Work in desired ribbing across
*belly sts only*. As you
work this row, adjust the number of sts by decreasing when
so that the resulting number of sts is an appropriate multiple
1/2 multiple for your ribbing st AND that you end with P
each side. (These end belly sts will be K sts on the right
For example, if you are using a K2,P2 ribbing, you will
multiple of 4 + 2 sts and the ribbing will be done as: K2;
repeat from * to end. For K1,P1 ribbing, you will need an
number of sts, and the ribbing will be knit as: K1, *(p1,k1),
from * across.
Row 2: Turn work to right side; with yarn behind,
sl 1 side st from
right-hand needle to left, K2 tog, rib to st after 2nd marker,
(last belly st and next side st on left needle.)
Row 3: Turn work to wrong side; with yarn in front,
sl 1 side st on
right-hand needle to left, P2 tbl, work in ribbing to st
2nd marker, p2 tog (last belly st and next side st on left
Repeat Rows 2 & 3 for 1" for small dogs, 1.5"
for medium dogs, 2" for large dogs, or until desired
gusset length is reached. (The gusset should be long enough
to cover the "hollow" immediately below the dog's
sternum.) End after a Row 3 has been completed.
Turn work to right side. Begin working in rounds, ribbing
across all belly and side sts as follows:
Round 1: Sl 1 side st from right to left needle,
K2 tog (belly st and
slipped side st), rib across belly sts to st after 2nd marker,
SSK (last belly sts and next side st), rib across all but
last side st, adjusting side st count to be an appropriate
multiple for your ribbing pattern.
Round 2: K2 tog (last unworked side st and first
belly st), rib across
belly sts to st after 2nd marker, SSK, continue around side
maintaining ribbing as established to last side st.
Repeat Round 2 until side ribbing is 1" in length (1/2"
for small dogs.) Bind off all sts loosely in ribbing.
Using the needles chosen for ribbing, pick up 1 st per row
and 1 st per cast-off st around leg opening. Work in rounds
in the ribbing st you've selected, adjusting (by decreasing)
the number of sts to be an appropriate multiple for your ribbing
st. When sleeve length is approximately 3/4" from desired
total sleeve length (measurement 4d), switch to the needles
selected for the cuff. Continue ribbing until desired total
sleeve length. Bind off in ribbing.
Repeat for second sleeve. Be sure to adjust the number of
stitches, if necessary, to be identical with the number of
stitches used in the first sleeve.
APPENDIX A: ALTERNATE SLEEVES
ALTERNATE SLEEVE #1 WITH SNUGGER CUFF:
For K1,P1 ribbing -- Work as for original sleeve to cuff.
Switch to smaller needles. On next round you will decrease
25% of the sts currently on the needle, 2 sts at a time, so
first calculate what 25% of the sleeve sts is. Round up/down
to an even number. Plan the decreases evenly along the round,
placing them at (k1,p1,k1) sequences.
Now knit first cuff round as follows: Work in ribbing until
you reach the 1st k1,p1,k1 sequence for a 2-st dec, sl 1 knitwise,
k2 tog, PSSO (3-st sequence has now been decreased to one
k st). Continue ribbing around, performing 2-st decreases
at planned points. At end of round you should have only about
75% of original number of sleeve sts left and the ribbing
should still be in "perfect" k1,p1 sequence. Continue
work on reduced number of sts until desired sleeve length.
ALTERNATE SLEEVE #2:
Pick up sts around sleeve opening. Work in same pattern stitch
as used for sweater body (or some related variation to it)
until ready to begin cuff. Switch to smaller needles for cuff
and work in desired ribbing st around, decreasing evenly to
about 75% of total number of sleeve stitches on the first
round of ribbing. Make sure you end up with an appropriate
multiple for the ribbing st you wish to use. Work cuff in
ribbing until sleeve is desired length. Bind off.
APPENDIX B: SUGGESTIONS
You might want to make the first sweater for your dog without
steeks so that you can have him/her try it on at various points
to check the fit. These points are: 1) after the neck ribbing
is completed; 2) before you bind off the leg openings; 3)
before you bind off the belly sts (checking the length of
the leg openings, too); and 4) before you decrease at the
lower back edge to round the corners. I have made sweaters
using steeks which required ripping out and adjusting *after*
I had cut the steeks. Doable, but definitely *not* fun.
(Yes, I am implying you make at least *2* sweaters for your
dog. If she/he is anything like mine, she/he'll get one wet
playing in the snow and then want to go back out before the
sweater has time to dry. Just like a kid, who always needs
several pairs of mittens for this same reason. :-)
If you are using a K2,P2 ribbing, when you are working on
the first round involving all the belly and side sts, you
may find the ribbing will lie flatter if you increase one
st between each of the sts you picked up over the area of
the rounded corners.
Write down all measurements (both actual and those resulting
after adding in the amount of ease you used), type of yarn
used, sizes of needles used, gauges, st/row counts, inches/rows
actually knit in sections, etc. Anything that you may need
to make your dog a second sweater and have it fit as well
or better. This will save you a great deal of time if you
decide to use this pattern for your dog or someone else's.
Used with Permission
- copyright 1995, 2002 Esther Smith Bozak
Copyright 1995, 2002 by Esther Smith Bozak. All rights expressly
reserved. This pattern may be used by individuals for personal
use only. It can be distributed to and shared with others
as long as it remains fully intact, including this copyright
notice. It may not be sold, used to produce items for sale,
or used in a compilation or archive of any kind without the
expressed written permission of the designer.
January 2, 2005 Esther S. Bozak, email@example.com
Used with permission.