Free Dog Sweater Knitting Pattern

This free dog sweater knitting pattern uses basic knit and purl stitches. 

It’s a one-piece design which doesn’t require a great deal of knitting skill. All you need to be able to do is follow instructions!

The Autumn-Halloween design and colors are what I chose to use; however, you can use whatever colors and designs you like.

Pebbles in a dog sweater

Creating a Custom Fit

  • Rather than giving you a set number of stitches to work with, you will learn how to tailor this free dog sweater knitting pattern to your dog for the best fit
  • The sweater gets its contours by adding on or casting offstitches. Instructions are provided as to how to do this.
  • Inches, centimeters OR millimeters can be used, it doesn’t matter.
  • It’s a little bit of calculation up front but well worth the effort in my opinion because you can create your own free dog sweater knitting pattern to use for any size dog.
  • Get a notepad or piece of paper that you can find again and a pencil to write the numbers down.

If you’d like to skip the next part, you can look at measuring your dog, or go straight to the free dog sweater knitting pattern I created for Pebble.

Determining Your Knitting Gauge

Using the yarn and needles you plan to use for your project, make a test swatch to determine your knitting gauge:

  • Cast on 20 stitches 
  • Knit 10 complete rows, each consisting of one row of knit and one row of purl stitches. 
  • Without stretching the knitting, go across your swatch and measure how much width (W) you knit per inch or per cm.
  • Measure the complete rows (one knit, one purl) in your swatch to determine how much length (L) you knit per inch or per cm.
  • Write these numbers down.


If you change the yarn or needles for the next sweater you knit, you will need to do another test swatch.

You may need to adjust the number of stitches you knit.

Measuring Your Dog

A side view of the dog sweater
  • Look at the photo of the sweater on Pebble at left.
  • Measure your dog across the rear (R); across the middle to the end of the rib cage just past the privates (M); and all the way around the torso (T) behind the front legs. 
  • Write the measurements down!

Determining Stitch Count

  1. Using the W measurement, figure out how many stitches to cast on for the rear section
  2. Using the M measurement, calculate the number of stitches needed for your dog’s middle, just past the privates.
  3. Using the T measurement, calculate how many stitches you need for your dog’s torso. 
  4. Subtract the answer in number 2 from the answer in number 3 to determine how many stitches will need to be added between the middle section and torso.
  5. Finally, calculate approximately how many rows to knit for the length of the sweater. 

Calculations for Pebble’s Sweater 

Using the above process, I calculated the measurements for Pebble’s free dog sweater pattern as follows:

Rear (R) – 5 inches wide:

Since my knitting gauge width was 4 stitches per inch, I cast on 20 stitches (4×5=20). 

Middle (M) – 10 inches wide:

At 4 stitches per inch, the middle measurement was 4×10 or 40 stitches. 

Torso (T) – 20.5 inches wide:

At 4 stitches per inch, the torso measurement came to 4×20.5 or 82 stitches.

Gradual, tapered increase from R to M:

40-20 = 20 stitches or

10 stitches on each side are added over a length of 5 inches.

Sudden increase from M to T:

82 – 40 stitches = 42 stitches

21 stitches on each side are added in the same row for the belly strap area.

Length from Rear to Tail:

My knitting gauge length for this free dog sweater knitting pattern was 7 rows per inch. Pebble is about 13 inches from tail to collar area, which is why I knitted nearly 91 (7 x 13) rows. However, I made sure to check the work on her as I was knitting to get the closest fit possible, so I ended up with 89 rows for the length rather than 91. 

Materials Needed

  • A skein of yarn for each main color used 
  • About a 4-foot [120 cm] length of yarn for each design you plan to add
  • A pair of knitting needles 
  • A crochet hook to create the designs (optional)
  • Matching buttons
  • A yarn needle to weave in the loose ends (also to embroider designs)
  • A sewing needle for the buttons and for attaching designs
  • Thread that will blend in with your knitted project
  • At least six inches of sew-on Velcro
  • A pair of scissors

Part 1: Free Dog Sweater Knitting Pattern


K = Knit stitch 
P = Purl stitch 
Inc = Increase (Add a knit stitch in between one stitch and the next. Simply put the right hand needle into the loop that lies across the back of the next knit stitch [on your left hand needle]. Put the yarn over and pull through just like a knit stitch. Knit the next stitch as you normally would.)
YO = Yarn over 


  • Cast on 20 stitches [or your number] in your first color.
  • Row 1: K across to end.
  • Row 2: K1, Inc 1, K to 2nd last stitch, Inc 1, K last stitch.
  • Row 3: Purl across.
  • Rows 4-32: Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the number of stitches equals 50 [or your increased number].
  • Row 33: Instead of knitting the next row, cast on 16 additional stitches at the beginning [or your desired number], then K across, and cast on 16 more stitches OR you can cast on the total number [32 in this case] on one side. This will create your belly band so it depends on whether you want to attach the Velcro in the middle underneath the dog or at the side.
  • Row 34: Purl across 82 stitches [or your total].
  • Row 35-49: Alternate rows of K and P and end with a K row.
  • Row 50: Change color if desired and P across.
  • Rows 51-69: Alternate rows of K and P, ending with a P row [if your dog is longer than Pebble, keep knitting alternate rows until the sweater reaches the back of the front legs]
  • Your belly strap section is done


  • Row 70: Using K, cast off the extra stitches [32 in Pebble’s case] you cast on. K the remaining stitches [50 in Pebble’s case].
  • Rows 71-80: Alternate rows of P and K, ending with a P row.

Congratulations, you’re over halfway there! To continue with the free dog sweater knitting pattern, proceed to Easy Knit Dog Sweater, for Part 2