Some people intensely dislike seeing clothes on a dog. They say it's unnatural.
Some also intensely dislike "small dogs." They say that little dogs are not real dogs.
If you feel this way about either thing, my photography is not for you. Move on...
I got my first Chihuahua (a Smooth Coat) as a child. Being a "Toy Breed", she got played with and dressed up. I was very, very young and she was happy to share in with whatever I wanted to do. We had a special bond. I also grew up with a Collie (large Breed; ie, "real dog"). He also got played with and was my best friend & protector. He never got dressed up. In Wintertime, the Chihuahua physically needed a sweater. She got cold. In Summer, she was fine naked. The Collie never got cold. So, he wore only his own coat all year round... He did get brushed a lot.
Forward to my getting married young and taking my childhood Chihuahua (who was then a senior citizen) with me. She no longer got dressed in cute outfits like when I was a child. But she did still require a Sweater in Wintertime to keep her warm. That girl was my only dog ever to actually need a sweater for comfort. However, when I got my first Long Coat show dog (that was mine and not my mom's), I put a sweater on her too when she went outside in Wintertime.
My husband's and my Chihuahua family grew from there. Only the original two wore a sweater when going outside in Winter. No one got dressed up in a "cute, little outfit" for no good reason. As an adult, I didn't believe it putting clothes on a dog "just because." The sweater on my very first Smooth Coat Chihuahua had a purpose. The younger dogs, after her, didn't seem to want or need it.
Forward to my raising many generations of show dogs. They all got weekly groomed and constantly babied and were very spoilt. They slept in bed with us. They were dogs, but they were also family.
When I bred my own first Champion Smooth Coat, I tried to get her to wear my original Chihuahua's sweater to go outside in Wintertime. That was a "no go." She didn't like the sweater. That was her decision. So, I then went many, many years without ever thinking about clothes (for any reason) on a dog. The 8 generations to follow (both Long Coats and Smooth Coats) went outside in subzero weather naked. If I tried to put a sweater on them, they'd freeze in place like a statue. They hated it. That put an end to even the idea of a doggy sweater for warmth. I respected my dogs wishes. No sweaters. Instead, they learned to be super-fast when going outside in Wintertime to go potty. Even at minus 5 below zero Fahrenheit, they still went outside "naked" because they didn't like wearing a sweater.
When I got into Obedience showing with my Conformation Champion Chihuahuas, a new world opened with my dogs getting work as professional models for Hallmark. They had an agent and all. From Hallmark, the work expanded to other modeling jobs in advertising and publication. Sometimes, I was the paid photographer. Other times, a different photographer did the job. But every time, my dogs got paid extremely well. And they absolutely loved all the attention they got (from a whole crew of humans) when doing a professional shoot. As an extra bonus after some shoots (that required one of my dogs to wear a costume), I often got that costume to take home and keep. However, my early models never wore those outfits again. Frankly, I never considered dressing them up just for fun. The only exception was the annual Halloween costume contest party at our local kennel club. Then, everyone (with big or small dogs alike) would dress their dogs up; just like they'd dress in costume themselves for the holiday. The dogs and people just had fun together.
Things changed with 2 1/2 pound Bailey. Bailey's breeder dressed her puppies up. So when I got Bailey, she was used to the idea of doggy clothing. Far more than me... Like many of my homebred Chihuahuas of the past, Bailey now has an active, professional modeling career. Although not formally trained (like my previous models) for anything beyond the Conformation show ring, Bailey has proven to be a natural photography model. I accidently discovered that when she was a puppy. From there, the agent got her real work.
Bailey also started a new trend at home. My other two, current girls (younger than her) also like (not just tolerate) their modeling outfits. Guess they learned from her. The outfits now don't get totally packed away after a photo shoot. Our current dogs occasionally get to wear them at home. I will even sometimes even buy holiday outfits (beyond what they get in another way) so that all the girls get treated equally. Their wearing doggy outfits is not an everyday thing, but it's fun for both me and for them when they do. We play together. The dogs like this a lot. Although I'm sure they didn't care what they're wearing, they truly enjoy showing off.
Not originally being someone who believed in dressing a dog up, I'm still amazed at just how much these three girls actually love being dressed up. If I'm just holding an item of doggy clothing, all three will run over and try to push each other out of the way to be the one that gets dressed up. I don't have to say a word. It's kind of weird, but also nice.
Why do I occasionally dress my current, little dogs up at home? Because it's fun. For me and for them. What more do you need? They make me smile, and I make them happy. That is the basic function for a Toy Breed dog. We're all very bonded. However, although they may be super small and a Toy Breed, they are also "real dogs". They're dogs with personality. Here is an interesting article about modern day pet ownership: https://www.forbes.com/sites/pamdanziger/2018/10/18/the-pet-retail-market-is-hot-and-getting-hotter-by-the-day/?sh=703f38fb7ecd
Copyrighted Image. DO NOT DOWNLOAD, copy, reproduce, or use in any way without written permission from Elizabeth Bickel.