The Ultimate Dog Apparel Measuring Guide

How to Measure Your Dog for Harnesses, Collars & Dog Apparel 

In preparation for warm weather, you might be planning to buy your dog new gear— a sweater or raincoat, new harness and collar or maybe a life jacket for boating and swimming. Canine clothes and equipment come in various sizes, so before you buy, measure your dog to avoid the frustration of having to return or exchange an item. 

Here’s how to measure your dog accurately and the measurements you’ll need for each type of gear.


Types of measurements & How to measure

Measuring Guide

Topline or back
• Using a tape measure, have your dog stand and measure along the top of his spine from the base of the neck where it joins the body—usually where his collar sits—to the base of his tail.
• For male dogs you may have to adjust the measurement. If the clothing you’re buying doesn’t have a cut out for his groin and belly, you might want to shorten the length a bit to minimize the chances he’ll urinate on his new clothes.
• If your dog is between sizes, choose the larger size.

Chest girth
• This is the measurement around the largest part of your dog’s rib cage, usually just behind the front legs
• Measure closely all the way around his chest when he’s standing.
• To get the right amount of snugness, use the 'two-finger rule' by slipping two fingers between the measuring tape and your dog.
• If your dog is between sizes, choose the larger size.

Neck girth
• This is the circumference of your dog’s neck, generally where the collar sits.
• Position the tape measure from the dog’s withers—the ridge between the shoulder blades— to the top of his chest.
• Then measure all the way around your dog’s neck, holding the tape measure closely.
• Use the 'two-finger rule.'
• If your dog is between sizes, again, choose the larger size.

Measuring Your Dog for Harnesses

  •  In order to choose the right size of any type of harness, first you’ll need his chest and neck measurement.
  •  Use the 'two-finger rule' for both neck and chest measurements. You should be able to fit two fingers in between your dog and the harness.
  •  Read the product details carefully. Some products are sized by the dog’s measurements; others are sized by the dimensions of the actual product.

Measuring Your Dog for Collars 

  • The only measurement you’ll need here is neck circumference.
  • Measure even if you’re buying an adjustable collar; they still come in sizes.
  • Use the 'two-finger rule.'You should be able to fit two fingers in between your dog and the collar.
  • For Greyhounds and other long-necked breeds, the collar typically sits much higher, at the top of the neck just below the head. But take the measurement lower on his neck, between the withers and the collar level.
  • If between sizes, go with the larger size.

Measuring Your Dog for Sweaters, Jackets, Raincoats & Life Jackets

  • For most Sweater, Jackets, Raincoats & Life Jackets you will need to measure Topline & Back, Chest Girth and Neck Girth.



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