It’s a Formal Affair: How a Bow Tie Completes Your Dogs Look 

If you’re anything like me, you take great pride in your dog’s appearance. From their shiny coat to their tidy claws and a stunning groom, everything about them is just perfect. A well-presented dog is a sight to behold. 

Choosing the perfect accessory tops it all off. For me, that’s a beautiful bandana or bow tie. Whichever your pooch is sporting, they’re sure to turn heads when out and about, so let’s explore how wearing a bow tie can complete your dog’s look – and why it might just be the perfect addition to their dog portrait experience! 

A dashing accessory 

I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s a special something about a bow tie that makes almost any dog look polished and dashing! It can be the perfect finishing touch to their portrait experience, lending an air of formality and sophistication or whimsy and playfulness.  


Dog Bow Tie

Bow ties come in all shapes, sizes and designs, so there’s sure to be one that suits your dog’s personality. Plain and formal or full of colour to add a little flair, whatever you choose, a bow tie is the ultimate accessory for making your dogs personality pop. Choosing the right colour and pattern can really take your dog’s portrait to the next level. 

Fraser, a miniature chocolate and tan dachshund was recently photographed in my studio in Thame. We found the perfect accessory in a chequered bow tie.

A Short Interlude… The History of Dressing up Dogs

While it has certainly come in to its own in the last few decades, dressing dogs up isn’t new. There is evidence that the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt would adorn their pets with engraved leather collars and even Henry VIII apparently dressed his dogs in colourful outfits and armour. 

However in England, up until the 18th Century, the general mindset was that dogs were working animals that needed to earn their keep. All this changed towards the end of the 1800s when pet-keeping started to become acceptable, with people believing there was moral value in keeping pets in the home and in children learning how to look after them.  

The Victorians started breeding pedigree dogs and Queen Victoria herself made dressing them up trendy and was well-known for putting jackets and dresses on her dogs. In fact, she made dressing up dogs so popular, that fashion houses just for dog clothes began popping up all over Paris. 

Below are a couple of pictures I found of ‘fancy dogs from the 1800s. I particularly love the top hat being worn by this gorgeous Labrador, captured in a photography session in 1895. Do you have a Labrador and want to re-create this unique picture? If so, we would love to hear from you!

Dog Bow Tie

Will you go out with me, Fido? by Alfred Stevens, 1859 – In this painting, the dog wears a pink bow.

Dog Bow Tie

This photograph is from a dog photography session in 1895.

Choosing a bow tie for your dog portrait session 

The Labrador pictured above must have been incredibly patient during his photography session, but yours doesn’t have to be. If your dog isn’t used to wearing a bow tie, fear not. Most dog bow ties are made from lightweight materials that won’t weigh your dog down or cause them to overheat. Many of them even clip on to an existing collar so they won’t even notice it. 

When choosing a bow tie for your pet portrait experience, think about your dog’s unique personality and how you want them to be represented when you hang their portrait proudly on your wall. Are they a cheeky Corgi that will suit a riot of colours? Are they a debonair Dachshund that deserves a refined look? Perhaps they’re a traditional terrier that looks great in tweed. With so many options on the internet and in pet stores, play around and find a bow tie that looks great and makes you smile whenever you see your pup wearing it  

So, there you have it a few reasons why a bow tie should be at the top of your list when it comes to accessorising your dog! Whether you’re looking to add a touch of formality or a little fun and ensure that they look their best in a portrait, a bow tie is the perfect way to go. 

But of course, if your dog doesn’t suit a bow tie, don’t worry, I’m more than happy to photograph them au naturel. 

Either way, check out our dog portraits and get in touch to start your dog photography journey with us today.