Pit bulls have a bad reputation, but the feared breed is also one of the most misunderstood. Historically, the original American pit bull terrier was bred for fighting, but today, that’s not necessarily the case. Many pit bulls are assumed to be dangerous just because of how they look, but they’re just as sweet, loving, and loyal as any other domestic dog. In a bid to change perceptions of the breed, Illinois-based dog lover Erin Crowley (of Pittie Clothing Company) creates colorful attire, especially for pit bulls.
Crowley’s love for pit bulls began in 2015, but just like many others, she felt some trepidation at first. “On the way to the shelter, my boyfriend showed me a photo of a large, white pittie mix named ‘White Cloud,’” reveals Crowley. “I hesitated. ‘Well, we can meet him and see,’ I said. I didn’t know anything about Pit bull type dogs except all of the negativity I had heard in the media.” Thirty minutes later, the couple immediately fell in love with White Cloud—renamed Duncan—and took him home.
Duncan had a lot of love to give, but outside of the family’s home, it was rarely reciprocated. “I quickly understood that people reacted to him differently than they had to my childhood dog,” says Crowley. “They would cross the street when we were walking towards them. Tenants in our high rise would wait for the next elevator instead of riding with us.” She adds, “We even overheard one woman tell her daughters, ‘Don’t pet him. He’s a naughty dog.’ I was heartbroken.”
Crowley decided to try and show off Duncan’s “loyal, goofy, and lovable” personality by dressing him up in cute clothes. However, she wasn’t able to find something to fit his body, since pit bulls have wide chests. Then, tragically, Duncan began losing weight and Crowley took him to the vet. They found a large tumor caused by a super rare cancer called renal fibrosarcoma, and Duncan died seven months later at just 2 years old.
After saying goodbye to Duncan, Crowley decided to honor his legacy and help other pit bulls. “I really wanted to do something to help soften the pit bull image that is often seen in a negative light in the media,” she tells My Modern Met. “I put out an ad on Facebook looking for people to meet me at parks around Chicago and have their pit bulls measured.” Crowley received over 100 responses from pit bull owners who wanted outfits for their dogs.
After collecting countless measurements, Crowley began making patterns and launched Pittie Clothing Company in 2019. The dog lover and crafter has spent the last three years meeting with many Pittie lovers in order to measure their dogs and the owners themselves. Today, she creates matching dog-and-owner pjs that she describes as the “perfect fit; easy to put on and comfortable to wear.” Crowley’s handmade doggie clothing not only fits, but looks super cute, too. “Everything we make is super colorful to try to make people smile when they see them,” Crawley says. “Our goal in the end, is to make everyone realize that every dog is an individual and doesn't deserve to be judged based on his or her breed.”
Check out some of the pit bulls who are dressed in Pittie Clothing Company attire below.