We have four Yorkshire terriers,” writes one prospective customer. “They desperately need new clothing for the fall and winter seasons and a good outfit for Christmas Day.” Attention K-nine shoppers: Ruth Robles and Jane Ulloa can help. Last October the two Miamians founded Haut Dog, a mail-order service for pricey pooch wearables. No, they aren’t the only people making wardrobes for woofers, but their line is the most extravagant—or, as Ulloa would prefer, the most upmarket clothing for dogs. The outfits, which come in four dog sizes(cocktail, ball park, foot-long and jumbo) include a formal gown with ruffled train ($245), a tuxedo complete with studded cuffs ($195), a smoking jacket with matching ascot ($150), a lingerie set with an eight-cupped brassiere of rose satin ($250), a groom’s top hat and tails ($210) and a bridal gown with a four-foot-long pearl appliquéd train ($300).
Robles, a 34-year-old interior decorator, and Ulloa, a 40-year-old part-time real estate agent, got the idea for Haut Dog after Ulloa’s mother, Jane Piatt, gave a trench coat to Ulloa’s 6-year-old schnauzer. Now any aspiring hound can have a similar trench coat—complete with a Sherlock Bones hat in lizard lamé, which matches the coat’s lining—for $115. “I don’t know why anyone would purchase things like that,” says Lyle Benjamin of the Humane Society of Greater Miami. “I think this is a waste of money. I can see a sweater in cold weather, but not this. Besides, I don’t know how the animals would feel.”
They’d feel grrrrreat, says Robles, who admits that she spends between $15,000 to $20,000 a year on her own clothes. “I feel more expensive in a $200 silk blouse than in Fortrel,” reasons the canine couturier. “Dogs have the same feelings.”