Fashion Police: Dog Snob Edition

31 May

You know how in some activities there is a sort of unofficial uniform? Not things that require actual uniforms like… water polo, but more like, let’s say, golf. No one decreed on the first day of golfdom “All men shall wear argyle and ridiculous hats, this is my will. Let it be so.”


“At least we think so. Did the lord of Golf decree this?”

Anyway, what we were getting to before things got all “Legend of Bagger Vance”…. people that do the same activity tend to have a certain code of dress, style, or even brand that they are dedicated to…. and Dog Sports are no different. Today we are here to give you a handy guide to guessing what people are doing at a dog show… based purely on their clothing. So basically… stereotyping. Our favorite activity!


Exhibit A)



We’ll start with an easy one. Pastel suits and sensible shoes.  Awkwardly fitting skirt suits in any color generally are an indicator that a woman is involved in conformation.  Men can be a little trickier, as they range from crisply pleated khakis to impeccably fitted black suits.   Sequins are generally reserved for judges, but occasionally a young (read: under 60) upstart will dare to wear them as well.


Exhibit B)


Photo courtesy of Katy Johnson

Photo courtesy of Katy Johnson

Vibrams AND tight pants.  (Photo courtesy of Kelli Roman)

Vibrams AND tight pants. (Photo courtesy of Kelli Roman)

Once upon a time, If you saw someone wearing Vibram shoes and yoga pants, there was a good chance that  person was involved with agility. Nowadays, it’s easier to spot Vibrams and yoga pants at your nearest college campus, but if you have a foot fetish and a hankering for leggings worn as pants… an agility trial is still a good place to go. While there,  it is also highly likely to see people wearing tie-dye shirts (bonus points if it’s a the Best Q is a ResQ shirt), athletic shorts, and even ill-fitting sweatpants.  A solid guide. The more intense the person is about the sport, the more intense their clothing gets. (Either that or they’re a giant newb with a mastercard.) See someone in running tights and shoes that cost more than your first car? It’s a solid bet they are heading back to their crate to grab their Border Collie, strap him into his y front harness and tug lead and have him drag them all the way back to the starting line.


Exhibit C)

Yee haw!  (Photo courtesy of Jamie Ohman)

Yee haw! (Photo courtesy of Jamie Ohman)

Fine, this is a RuPaul's Drag Race contestant.  Close enough.

Fine, this is a RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant. Close enough.

If someone is roaming about wearing copious amounts of glitter and sequins or dressed up as some type of septuagenarian cowgirl or urban matador, it’s a pretty sure bet that they are involved in canine freestyle.  If the dog on the end of their leash is also dressed in costume then it’s a guarantee. We aren’t sure who started the match your dog craze in freestyle… but we would like to meet them. Possibly go through their closet. There’s guaranteed to be a lifetime’s worth of sparkle in there. We like sparkle.


Exhibit D)

Photo courtesy of Renee Wagner

Photo courtesy of Renee Wagner

Reflective windbreaker.  Check.  Boots.  Check.  What are you looking at ladies and gentleman is someone involved in tracking. Can we really mock this? Utilitarian is the name of the game in tracking, apparently. Needs more creepy toe shoes.


Exhibit E)

Honestly, since you can’t read her shirt there isn’t a lot to mock here… but that dog’s face is life changing.(Photo courtesy of Nicole Vaughn)

Honestly, since you can’t read her shirt there isn’t a lot to mock here… but that dog’s face is life changing.(Photo courtesy of Nicole Vaughn)

More yoga pants? Yep.  They’re pretty much a dog sport staple.  Get used to it.  In terms of flyball-specific gear, look out for groups of people wearing color coordinated t-shirts with ball-related sayings (heheh…balls).  Although not technically a fashion accessory, they are also easily identifiable by their hordes of screaming dogs hanging from the end of brightly colored fleece tugs.


Exhibit F)

Photo courtesy of Melissa Phillips

Photo courtesy of Melissa Phillips Grant

See that person wearing camo, Carhart pants, and waders?  No, you don’t see them? (Camo joke. Please excuse us.) They aren’t Duck Dynasty rejects, they’re people doing Hunt Tests with their dogs.  People that ordinarily wouldn’t be caught dead in camo may just don it to title their dogs… and we’re pretty sure that’s the only acceptable time to do so. (That and… you know… actual hunting… You can wear camo when you hunt.)


Exhibit G)

We can’t explain this. We just can’t. It may  haunt us though. (Photo courtesy of Trent Steele)

We can’t explain this. We just can’t. It may
haunt us though. (Photo courtesy of Trent Steele)

Big black dog named Vader, Dorky team name on hat, Darth Vader Tshirt to match team name/dog. (Photo courtesy of Karen Cummings)

Big black dog named Vader, Dorky team name on hat, Darth Vader Tshirt to match team name/dog. (Photo courtesy of Karen Cummings)

When dockdiving folks aren’t parading around in spandex, it’s much more likely to see them in shirts with Team names, or even sponsors. When not wearing team shirts, it can be difficult to tell your average dock diving enthusiast from your average college football tailgater. Tie-Dye is not uncommon on the dock.


**Surely we missed something.  Tell us in the comments.  Or show us your own fashion stylings.  Just be prepared to be mocked.  It’s what we do.**

32 Responses to “Fashion Police: Dog Snob Edition”

  1. paigeandspaniels May 31, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    If I didn’t love you guys before bringing up RuPaul’s Drag race sealed the deal. And yes I do wear yoga pants when I run agility with my dog… not vibrams though. Those freak me out.

    • Kara May 31, 2014 at 2:49 am #

      That’s not a contestant, that’s *the* contestant—Sharon Needles.

      But yeah, Dog Snobs just cemented my love with a Drag Race mention.

      • paigeandspaniels May 31, 2014 at 2:51 am #

        Meh Willam was my fav that season.

    • Kara May 31, 2014 at 3:14 am #

      Willam ❤

      Though, this year everything is Bianca and Bianca is everything.

      • paigeandspaniels May 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

        Loved her from the start. I was so happy she won. She’s one of the most deserving, polished queens that’s been through.

  2. wkmtca May 31, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    where is obedience attire? the ‘match your pant color to you dog color’ so no one can tell if your dog is lagging/forging/etc???

    • Vilma June 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

      Exactly! Color cooridinated pants in obedience. The invisible dog obedience outfit. Along with a vest, and very sturdy “sensible shoes” that you probably borrowed from the cleaning lady at the mall, or your 90 yr old Great Aunt Hilda. And dont forget all the pockets have been chewed out, b/c you forgot and left treats in there one nite.

      • DG June 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

        oMg, I knew I was dressing wrong for doing obedience- no wonder I had all those points off. Going to the mall right now to get some pants to match my dogs fur color! LOL!

  3. Pam Lowrey May 31, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    Is there an Obedience &/or Rally uniform?

  4. Amanda May 31, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Muck brand boots! the must have accessory! darn expensive barn boot if you ask me.. but what do I know, been known to wear camo at clinics and trials.. Some of us are on a budget and do multiple venues..:)

  5. TC May 31, 2014 at 3:06 am #

    You should include the smocks that groomers wear during competitions!

  6. Alicia Graybill May 31, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    Obedience has a uniform, especially for those A-list competitors. Pants that match their dog’s coloring (insanely amusing when paired with a Golden or a Siberian), a nice crisp Polo shirt and the little plastic holder for their number. Don’t forget the orthopedic shoes in white so they aren’t uncomfortable during the long stays. 😉

  7. Donna Soderstrom May 31, 2014 at 5:40 am #

    And what about obedience? Frumpy “business casual”? Vests or jackets with dogs on them. All the fashion of an elementary school teacher. Not high end athletic shoes, just
    run off the mill. Maybe Sketchers. Or even… Naturalizers.
    I show in conformation, Obedience, Agility and have done Hunt Tests. The only dog sport “uniform” I can wear to Whole Foods is my agility garb. Agility is for the cool kids.

  8. Kitten May 31, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Obedience, rally, and herding (I don’t think the rally people dress the same as the O people).

    Herding is utilitarian blue jeans and barn boots + sunshade blouse or weather appropriate jacket and SPF 80, so someone who shows up dressed for agility in running shoes and no sunscreen *gentle cough* looks like a freak.

    • CrazyFunDogs May 31, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      Good to know. Now I won’t show up looking like a freak. And I ALWAYS travel with my sunscreen. 🙂

    • Megan May 31, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Herding is definitely about practicality. Now you see mostly waterproof hiking boots. They have good grip in mud and are made for walking in all day. Everyone I know has fallen down while herding when the sheep run into the backs of your legs or while making a fast move in deep mud.

    • Gina July 3, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

      I was about to make a herding uniform comment but I’m happy someone made it! I’d definitely say blue jeans and barn boots, and (depending on the type of herding) lanyards for whistles.

  9. Marcia May 31, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    I guess you’re saving us Obedience people for our own column?

  10. CrazyFunDogs May 31, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    My Mom the Dog Trainer wears vests. Comfy pants, t-shirts, dog themed vests, and crocs. Or dog themed shirts. I’d love to poke fun but I’m just as bad except I don’t do vests.

  11. CrazyFunDogs May 31, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Dog Snobs. As always, you have made my day!

  12. Lynne May 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    this was pretty good, but what about carting/draft dog attire???? Can’t for get that or nose work dogs……

  13. WorkingDogDoc May 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    With protection sport, the ring sport people have their training vests. Some of the PSA and IPO people use them as well. IPO folks wear tracking boots of course. The decoys often wear Under Armour style compression shirts and tights because it makes bitework in a suit slightly more comfortable.

  14. Patrice June 1, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    Schutzhund has a dress code, so you will see a white polo shirt and khaki pants at regional and national events. Windbreakers or jackets should be a solid color and are most frequently navy or khaki. Some people follow the dress code at club trials also, but it’s not required.

  15. Taryn June 1, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    And don’t forget about all the dog related bling we all wear! Pawprint rings and earrings, hearts and paws pendants, agility equipment charm bracelets, sheep pins, and of course the breed specific pieces. LOL! I am particularly susceptible to the jewelry! I even wrote a post about it a few years back: .

  16. Leaena June 1, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    You were right about everything except freestyle! In freestyle because it is against the rules to dress up the dogs the owners need to over dress themselves. Dog can only wear coillar must use all my sequins and sparkles on myself!

  17. Kim June 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I laughed until I cried. I went shopping yesterday for some athletic-type capris for agility and the whole yoga pants thing is EXACTLY why I came home empty-handed. I think the expiration date on people looking at form-fitting clothes on my backside was about 30 years ago. And i probably look better than 80% of the women wearing them!

  18. Lindsay June 1, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Weight pullers in jeans and t-shirts prominently promoting either the sport or their own kennel. 🙂

  19. ChrisL June 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    “Are you wearing pants that match your dogs coat color? You must be involved in the sport of obedience. Obedience enthusiasts feel if the dog matches the handlers pants, the judge can’t see the dogs positions when near the handler”

  20. Drdm June 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Don’t forget mushing and disc dogs.

  21. wmwid June 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Also missing – Lure coursing and racing folks! (Since a lot do both, I’ll just lump them all together)

  22. Tracking Judge June 26, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Okay, I DO love the Ru Paul one.

    That being said, as they say in dogs, “Form follows function.”

    I’m a tracking judge. Over 20 years.

    I have simple concerns. I want to stay warm/cool. I want to stay DRY. If it’s hunting season, I want something reflective. I want something to keep off the ticks. Ditto snakes. Sun and rain protection (ie. UGLY hats). Something to keep my paperwork dry.

    Did I mention “Gortex” is my middle name?

  23. Piper Mahoney September 2, 2015 at 1:31 am #

    Thank you for existing Dog Snobs. I plan to go against the flow and wear nice clothes and pretty shoes, no palm beach skirt suits for me. Think Charlotte on SITC. Plus my mom won’t let me look dumpy.

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