Knitted Dogs Pattern

A simple pattern, but you may need to shorten or lengthen the legs to match your dog.
By The Bark Editors, January 2011, Updated March 2021
 Knit Your Own Dog
 Knit Your Own Dog

Immortalize your pup in yarn by following the patterns in Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir and Joanna Osbourne. Using just simple knit, purl and loopy stitches, capture a Bulldog’s wrinkles, a Poodle’s curls or an Afghan’s flowing mane— 25 breeds in all. Download the pattern below to try your knitter’s hand at the Jack Russell Terrier pattern.

Measurements Length: 15cm (6in)
Heigh to top of head: 14cm (51⁄2in)

Materials

•Pair of 2 3⁄4mm (US2) knitting needles
•4 spare 2 3⁄4mm (US2) knitting needles or small stitch holders or safety pins
•20g (3⁄4oz)of Rowan Cashsoft 4ply in Cream 43(cr)
•10g (1⁄4oz)of Rowan Cashsoft 4ply in Bark 432(bk)
•Small amount of Rowan Cashsoft 4ply in Cherish 453(ch) for collar
•Tiny amount of Rowan Cashsoft 4ply in Black 422(bl) for nose and eyes
•2 Pipe cleaners for legs

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Colour Knitting

There are two main techniques for working with more than one colour in the same row of knitting – the intarsia technique and the stranding (or Fair Isle) technique.

Intarsia Technique

This method is used when knitting individual, large blocks of colour. It is best to use a small ball (or long length) for each area of colour, otherwise the yarns will easily become tangled. When knitting your dog and changing to a new colour, twist the yarns on the wrong side of the work to prevent holes forming. When starting a new row, turn the knitting so that the yarns that are hanging from it untwist as much as possible. If you have several colours you may occasionally have to reorganize the yarns at the back of the knitting. Your work may look messy but once the ends are all sewn in it will look fine.

Stranding or Fair Isle Technique

If there are no more than 4 stitches between colours you can use the Fair Isle technique: this is good for the Dalmatian knitting pattern, where you have small numbers of stitches between the spots. Begin knitting with the first colour, then drop this when you introduce the second colour. When you come to the first colour again, take it under the second colour to twist the yarns. When you come to the second colour again, take it over the first colour. The secret is not to pull the strands on the wrong side of the work too tightly or the work will pucker.

Loopy Stitch

Different dogs use slightly different loop techniques, so do check the one needed before you start knitting your dog.

Border Collie, Portuguese Water Dog, West Highland Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Siberian Husky, Poodle

On a knit row, knit one stitch as normal, but leave the stitch on the left needle. Bring the yarn from the back to the front between the two needles. With the yarn in front, loop the yarn around your left thumb. Take the yarn back between the two needles to the back of the work. Knit the stitch from the left needle as normal. You now have two stitches on the right needle and a loop between them. Pass the first stitch over the second stitch to trap the loop, which is now secure. The end of the loop can be cut when finishing the dog.

Poodle (applies only to topknot)

On a purl row, work the loopy stitch knitwise as above. When the loop is complete, slip the loopy stitch onto the right needle, bring the yarn from the back to the front between the two needles. Slip the loopy stitch back onto the left needle, pushing the loop to the back (RS) of the work.

Rough Collie, Cocker Spaniel, Red Setter

Always worked on a purl row. Insert the tip of the right needle knitwise into the next stitch on the left needle. Place the first two (or three) fingers of the left hand behind the stitch and wrap the yarn around the fingers and the tip of the right needle, then knit the stitch without dropping it from the left needle. Keeping the fingers inside the yarn wrap, insert the tip of the left needle from left to right through the front of the stitch just made (on the right needle) and slip this stitch back onto the left needle. Knit the slipped stitch and the next stitch on the left needle together through the back of the loops. Slide the fingers out of the wrap to complete the loopy stitch.

Old English Sheepdog, Afghan Hound

For these dogs the loops are worked in Kid Silk/Tapestry yarn while the base stitches themselves are worked in 4ply yarn. Work loopy stitches knitwise on a purl row in the same way as for the Rough Collie, Cocker Spaniel and Red Setter.

Insert the tip of the right needle knitwise into the next stitch on the left needle. Place the first two (or three) fingers of the left hand behind the stitch and wrap Kid Silk/Tapestry around the fingers and the tip of the right needle, then knit the stitch without dropping it from the left needle. Keeping the fingers inside the yarn wrap, insert the tip of the left needle from left to right through the front of the stitch just made (on the right needle) and slip this stitch back onto the left needle. Using the 4ply yarn, knit the slipped stitch and the next stitch on the left needle together through the back of the loops. Slide the fingers out of the wrap to complete the loopy stitch.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 63: Feb/March 2011