Selecting the right holiday gifts for friends and family is a process often fraught with anxiety and second-guessing. Got a dog guy in your life? We’ve scoured the Internet to make giving him a gift just a bit easier this year. From the practical to the fanciful, from clothing to custom-made art, and from factual histories to fictionalized, full-cast audio dramas, find some inspiration for the dog guy on your list!
1. Lighted leash
Used responsibly, retractable leashes permit your dog a bit more freedom of movement on long walks. Now that we’ve reached that time of year when the sun leaves us in utter darkness by mid-afternoon, shed a bit of light on your evening walks with a combination leash and light. This Trailblazer from LL Bean looks nice and sturdy!
Not a fan of the retractable leash? No problem. I really like the LED leashes from Dog-e-Glow. If you’re anything like me, you like to know what others think of things before investing in them. These leashes and collars get consistently impressive ratings on Amazon. As a dog guy myself, I appreciate and value things that are both practical and durable.
Winter is coming, but the dog still needs to be walked! How about an amusing novelty hooded sweatshirt! From Dog Is Good, purveyors of a wide range of dog-related products, we have the “Dog. Codependent.” unisex zippered hoodie! Not only is it comfortable and warm, it also provides a reminder of all that our dogs mean to us!
Dog guys will appreciate that the messages emblazoned upon this hoodie illustrate sensitivity and strength. The no-frills font is a bonus, because there’s nothing a dog guy dislikes more than Comic Sans. Available in sizes small to extra-extra-large, the dog guy in your life will love it.
The iconic mascots of a Bay-Area chain of eateries from 1949 through 1986, the Doggie Diner Dachshund heads were once common in San Francisco and beyond. Originally crafted from fiberglass, the remaining heads are being renovated, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2014. In Bill Griffith’s daily comic strip, Zippy the Pinhead, the title character has strange and delightful philosophical conversations with a Doggie Diner head.
Griffith’s design, originally created for the crowdfunding campaign, is now available to all through his Zazzle site! Know a dog guy who loves nostalgia and likes to grill? Get the Doggie Diner design on an apron! A guy who tends to accent sharp suits with bold neckwear? Try a necktie! Check out Zazzle’s coupon-code page for potential savings, and learn more about the history of these San Francisco icons here!
Dogster has featured Seth Casteel’s photographic work with dogs before. As a follow-up to his popular 2012 book, Underwater Dogs, Casteel published Underwater Puppies in 2014. Both books feature a series of entertaining photographs and are available in hardback, paperback, and ebook formats.
If you’re looking for something completely unique, there are a range of artists on Etsy who create custom portraits of dogs based on provided photographs. Take some good photos of your friend’s dog, or ask for a copy of his self-professed favorite picture, and look into one of these lovely gift options. Here, we’re featuring the work of Lamanda Designs, a store with an stellar track record judging by the customer reviews and ratings.
This listing is for a 12-inch-by-12-inch custom portrait, but these paintings are available in a variety of sizes and price points, from 8 inches by 8 inches up to 11 inches by 14 inches. Make sure you order early! The dog guy in your life will appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity involved, especially if he’s a patron of the arts, or an artist himself!
Whether you want to announce your dog’s presence in a more artistic way than your bog-standard “Beware of Dog” sign, give a flair to the entrance of her dog house, or commemorate the loss of a dear and treasured companion, a custom-made mosaic based on a dog’s likeness from Custom Mosaic Memories on Etsy is a sturdy and beautiful item.
Be mindful, however: Each of these handmade mosaics takes from two to four weeks to create and ship, so take time into account for future holidays, birthdays, or other gift-giving occasions. It’s the ideal accent for your dog guy’s garden or urban farm, or to set off the dog house he built with his own manly hands.
Hallie is a rescue longhaired Dachshund living in Washington who is also a talented and celebrated painter! Even more extraordinary, Hallie is blind following a bout with sudden acquired retinal degeneration in 2010. Her indomitable spirit led her to re-learn the craft of painting. Proceeds from each piece of Hallie’s artwork go to the Purple Heart Rescue in her home state. Supplies of her canvas art are very limited, but Hallie also paints ornaments for holiday trees! These may even inspire your favorite dog guy to start training his dog to paint!
Olesya Turkina’s meticulously researched book Soviet Space Dogs (2014) chronicles the astounding (and, of course, involuntary) achievements of dogs in the Soviet Union’s space program during the 1950s and ’60s. Full of gorgeous images, Soviet Space Dogs examines everything from photographs of Laika, the first Earth-born creature in space, to the subsequent myths, folklore, and art that sprang up around the USSR’s space-faring dogs.
Recently profiled in the New York Times and discussed on Dogster, this is a book certain to pique the interest of any dog lover and to remind us of the sacrifices these amazing dogs made as our first extra-planetary ambassadors. It’s especially recommended for the dog guy who is a space fanatic or simply a history buff.
Laika the space dog also features in Jonathan Morris’s Doctor Who: 1963: The Space Race, from UK-based Big Finish Productions. I personally recommend this for the dog guy who enjoys sci-fi or high-quality speculative fiction. Available in three formats — CD, MP3, and MP4 audiobook — The Space Race finds the Doctor and Peri embroiled in international and extraterrestrial intrigue set amidst the U.S. and Soviet Union’s 1960s space rivalry.
Central to this inventive, and at times terrifying, full-cast audio drama is the question of what might have happened if Laika and other early space-traveling animals made first contact with alien beings. Like a movie for your ears, this is a great listening experience for dog walks, commuting, road trips, or a night at home!
Share your gift suggestions!
Did you get something dog-related for your birthday this year, or for the holidays last year, that you thought was generally awesome or particularly thoughtful? From the ornamental to the functional, from matching sweaters for a guy and his dog to your favorite book about dogs, let everyone know what’s on your wish list in the comments! Also share items you’ve picked out as presents.
Read more holiday gift guides:
- 11 Games and Gadget Gifts for Techie Dog Lovers
- 10 Holiday Gifts for Dogs and Dog Lovers That Cost $25 or Less
- 8 Hanukkah Gifts for Dogs and Dog Lovers
- 10 Holiday Gifts for Outdoors-Loving Dogs and Their Owners
- 10 Unique Holiday Gifts for Dog Lovers on Etsy
- 10 Thoughtful Holiday Gifts for New Dog Owners