6 cute summer harness ideas for your small dog

When the weather warms, you want to help your small dog stay cool, while being safely held in their harness. For summer, I choose fabrics that are lighter in weight and feature brighter and lighter colors. And instead of using a double layer of fabric for the main body of the harness like in the cooler weather versions, there’s just one layer of fabric making it breath easier.

I recently finished a batch of these custom summer harness — with matching bow ties! — for a lucky little Morkie named Maks, who models one below.

Maks in his Oxford Dogma summer harness and collar with matching silent ID tag


“I really like the blue check fabric with the red plaid. It’s cuter than cute! I love the way you trimmed the neck with it…it’s a cute touch. Again, can’t thank you enough!!! Will be ordering more soon.”
— Missy, dog mom to Maks


custom Comfort Vest Harness for a small dog in red and blue plaid with matching bow tie
custom Comfort Vest Harness for a small dog in orange and white gingham with matching bow tie
custom Comfort Vest Harness for a small dog in blue plaid with matching bow tie
custom Comfort Vest Harness for a small dog in blue and yellow plaid with matching bow tie
custom Comfort Vest Harness for a small dog in blue and white seersucker with matching bow tie
custom Comfort Vest Harness for a small dog in green and navy gingham with melon pink accent

If you’d like a custom made harness sized for your small dog (under 20 lbs), you can request a custom order in my Etsy shop. Matching bow ties are also available for $10 each. Happy summer!

Classy summer fabrics for small dogs

I did a little materials shopping over the last few weeks that got me in the mood for some summer style creations.

new fabrics summer 2017

The Madras on top was intriguing to me because most of the other Madras plaid fabrics I’ve sewn with have been more pinks & purples in color. This one has a more masculine feel while still being breezy for summer. Pairing it with the light blue gingham fabric would be a fun and tasteful combination.

spring and summer 2017 fabrics for handcrafted dog accessories

I’d love to use the navy and green gingham with a coral pink and medium tan. Together they make a preppy summer set that reminds me of beachside relaxing. I think it has a Southern twist to it as well — a classy combo that Reese Witherspoon might like for her dog, Pepper!

spring and summer 2017 fabrics for handcrafted dog accessories

When I found these bright gold and orange gingham pieces I pictured the orange on my little blonde Pipsqueak, and the gold on my chocolate brown Bosco. You can’t go wrong with navy and white gingham, so I had to grab that one. And the tan and striped fabrics were a couple I had on my shelf that pair nicely with any of this set.

Can’t wait to get started on some of these projects!

Interested in a custom order?

If you see a fabric that would look great on your dog as a collar, harness, or bow tie let’s chat — you can contact me about a custom order with details about your dog’s sizing and what you’re interested in. Size adjustments to existing products are available, and there’s no additional cost for in-stock materials.

How to put those pet photos filling up your smartphone to use

custom portrait of Archie the Chi-Minpin-Chinese Crested by Oxford Dogma

This post is a part of Custom Pet Portrait series, where I share an in-depth look and answer questions. The rest of the posts are linked at the end of this post.

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Archie

Put those pet photos collecting in your smartphone album to good use!

As a loving pet parent, you get a ton of joy every time you are around your pet. And if you’re anything like me, 90% of the photos you take are of your pet.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to frame the photos to hang around your house. Maybe you don’t love the quality of them (a snapshot that’s too dark, grainy, and a weird angle), or the style doesn’t quite fit with your style of decor, or there are elements you don’t want included in the frame.

A thoughtful gift for pet-crazy friends and family

I’ve found that many people want a Custom Pet Portrait as a gift for a special pet parent in their life. It’s a way to show someone you understand how much they love their furry kid without worrying about choosing the right size and color, or whether the item works with their lifestyle. It’s a personal and distinctive gift that they won’t already have. And don’t we all know people who we have such a hard time shopping for??

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Izzy

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Angie

“Angie’s posture and facial expression are perfect. I love these so much!”

— Danette, dog mom to Watson and Angie

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Zanzi

“Love these! So cute!”

— Jessica, mom to Zanzi and Archie

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Bailey

“The illustration of Bailey is my favorite picture in the house.”

— Matt, dog dad to Bailey

What you get

The Custom Pet Portrait is an entirely custom product made to order. I create the illustration based on 2–4 photos that you provide of the pet, from different angles and showing any unique characteristics you’d like to include. (read more about how the process works in this post)

Each portrait includes an 8×10 inch unframed art print, printed with archival inks on matte archival paper.

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Fiona

Doing more with your portrait: upgrade option

Interested in having other items made with your pet’s portrait? For an additional $35 per pet you can purchase the digital artwork file as well. With this file, you can order things like greeting cards or other stationary items, or accessories like a t-shirttote bag, mug, or pillow. But this is totally optional — if you’re happy to simply get the 8×10 print, there’s no need to purchase the digital file. The file will be available for purchase in the future if you change your mind so it’s not something you need to decide right away.

What makes this illustration unique

My background as a graphic designer + my penchant for subtle details and order influence my illustration style. The result is a portrait with a clean, simple, and timeless style — a bit like a classic screen print. And based on the details you provide about your pet, I translate the photos into a single iconic portrait that sums up your pet and makes you smile.

Many pet portraits are painted, with brushstrokes and expressive style, but that’s not a fit for everyone’s decor or taste. Pet parents have expressed to me that it can be hard to find other options that fit their style. So the Oxford Dogma portrait might be a good option for you if you like understated, refined, or iconic art and design.

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Watson

Custom Pet Portrait collection - Scordato-Solomon-trio

How to order your own Custom Pet Portrait

Do you know someone who’d love to receive a custom-illustrated art print of their pet? (Or is that someone you??) Send me a note with the form on my contact page and I’ll follow up with next steps.

And if you have any questions, please let me know! You can email me at amy@oxforddogma.com or fill out my contact form.

Want to read more about the Custom Pet Portrait? The other posts in this series can be found here:

Holiday Collection dog collars

Holiday Collection dog collars by Oxford Dogma

Recently at Jackalope, an indie artisan market, a customer asked if I had a Christmas plaid collar. Actually, a few people asked for them! So I thought it would be fun to make a small batch of collars that are good for this time of year.

Made from a couple of cozy-looking upcycled button-down shirts, these dog collars are great for that time of year between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. But since they’re more subtle and classic, there’s no reason you can’t keep it on your dog beyond the holiday season.

The first chance to shop this collection will be at Crafeteria, the annual Phoenix indie craft festival, on December 2. If there are any left after the event, they’ll be found in my shop.


Jeans go with everything: pairing with camel tweed

camel tweed and denim - a classic stylish Oxford Dogma combo

A. Bag Dispenser in Camel Tweed Wool / B. Reclaimed Denim Leash with Gold Stitching

Camel pretty much looks great with everything. And camel tweed with pink creates an impeccably-refined juxtaposition with casual denim.

I had been struggling with how to incorporate some brighter colors with my Fall/Winter color and fabric themes…when someone suggested pink and brown would work. Genius! I loved how the bright pink turned out with the reserved tan, especially the wooly tweed texture.

Jeans go with everything: pairing with Madras

denim and madras plaid - a classic stylish Oxford Dogma combo

A. Bag Dispenser in Madras Plaid and Denim Colorblock / B. Bag Dispenser in Denim with Madras Plaid Lining / C. Reclaimed Denim Leash with Taupe Stitching

Bright and colorful Madras plaid paired with denim makes me think of slightly-cool summer weather, and has a vague ruggedness to it. Like when you’re doing something industrious with your time but don’t want to look sloppy doing it.

Jeans go with everything: pairing with plaid

denim and plaid - a classic stylish Oxford Dogma combo

A. Bag Dispenser in Plaid and Denim / B. Reclaimed Denim Leash

There’s something about the menswear combo of dark wash jeans with a crisp plaid buttondown. It just says “Fall” to me. The weather is finally cool enough to walk around outdoors in dark colors — even better when the sun warms them up a little to take off a chill. That’s the inspiration of this product pairing of a plaid and denim poo bag dispenser and an upcycled denim leash. It looks especially good with dogs that have dark fur (I discovered this with Bosco, our chocolate Dachshund!)

Smart and casual plaid in classic all-American red, white, and blue

Smart and casual red white and blue plaid dog collars handcrafted by Oxford Dogma

Dobbie is looking so cute in a classic red, white, and blue plaid collar. When I put it on, his pet nanny, Amber, was instantly charmed and said “He looks so confident!”

Little did she know that the feeling of confidence is one of the qualities I keep in mind when designing for pets and their humans. It’s always a good feeling when that comes through without even being explained!

See the plaid dog accessories available in my Etsy shop.