Introduction: Lion Dog Costume

Picture of Lion Dog Costume

Tucker had always dreamed of being a lion. He imagined languid days on the Serengeti, punctuated with thrilling hunts, watching the lionesses chase down wild antelope, and then moving in for his share. When he thought about it enough, he could even feel the hot, dry wind blowing through his luxurious mane.

While Tucker may never be a lion (and we don't need to let him know lions are cats, after all), at least part of his dream could be fulfilled. He could dominate his pack of friends with the most glorious mane of them all.

And this is how Tucker got his mane.

Update: lots of people have been asking where to get faux fur, and this stuff looks pretty good! Lots of appropriate colors, and not a bad price for what it is.

Step 1: Get Measurements

Picture of Get Measurements

Since Tucker (a 3-yr-old Golden Retriever)  lives in NYC and I live in SF, we had to rely on email and texting for all communication.  Fortunately, Tucker's people are very savvy and were able to send me great photos of him getting his measurements taken.  You can tell how much he'd been dreaming of that mane by how very patient and well behaved he was during his measurements. 

From these, I was able to construct a mock Tucker head out of paper and tape. 

Step 2: Making the Base

Picture of Making the Base

Once I had a suitable Tucker head model based on his measurements, I could go to town figuring out how this thing was going to work.

I draped a soft lycra piece around the head and collar to use as the foundation for the fur.  The collar piece closed on the side with strips of velcro.

Then I was able to play around with the fur until I could get it to look like what I wanted.

Step 3: Draping the Fur

Picture of Draping the Fur

I took pieces of fur and played around until I had an understanding of how it needed to go together.  One big piece shaped to fit the head would make the fur lay in funny directions that looked unrealistic.  Using strips of fur would allow it to lay more naturally, but didn't provide nearly the volume I wanted to see. 

The answer came in pleating the strips of fur, and stacking them closely together.  In retrospect, I wish I had done two or three more layers of fur for even more luxurious volume!

Be sure to reference Step 3 in How to Cut & Sew Faux Fur if you haven't cut fur before. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way. 

Step 4: Sewing the Fur

Picture of Sewing the Fur

It's best to sew on each layer of fur as you pin it to the base.  Otherwise, you'll have to unpin all of the top layers to get to the bottom ones anyway.

I first sewed down all of the pleats in the fur, and then attached them to the lycra base.  Turns out this wasn't really necessary, and you can just sew the whole thing together all at once.  

Finally, I cut some little ear shapes out of polar fleece and hand sewed them to the top of the mane.  And it was complete! 

Step 5: A Dog and His Mane

Picture of A Dog and His Mane

Now that Tucker had his mane, it was time for him to strut his stuff,. What better timing than Halloween when all good dogs get to be whatever they dream of?  

Tucker wore his mane proudly through the streets, scaring off threats and keeping his pride safe, while garnering adoring awws and treats from the more appreciative onlookers.  After all, how could you refuse pupcorn to this adorable little scamp?  


GrantLevy (author)2017-10-30

Well done! I love this.

CosplayWishes (author)2017-08-10

Hi, sometime in the future I'm going to take this tutorial and try to make a mane for people. I was looking on Amazon for the right colour fur, but I was wondering how many yards you used for your dog. It would be a great help if you could get back to me on this. Thanks!

LilianaPenagos (author)2016-10-22

Hi there! I know this post is a couple months old but I was trying this today for a similar costume. I guess I dont understand how to drape, i tried to just figure it out with my very patient doggy but its a giant mess. Should I make the model head also, can you explain how you got the right shaped pieces?? Thank you!! :)

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-29


Slippery arm (author)2016-07-29

Aww so cute

My dog would kill me if I put a costume on her

AmalR2 (author)2016-03-26

The dog's name is Tucker. Reminds me of Nina Tucker after her her father, Shao Tucker made her a chimera. The saddest scene in all of anime. :'(

lovenayeli (author)2016-01-21

so cool

Ehlers_TV (author)2016-01-11

:-D Pretty cool :-D

Igloocrafts123 (author)2015-12-04

lol it will be a good prank

DarioP12 (author)2015-10-25

could i do the same for my cat?

Zubair Ali Khan (author)2015-10-23

yeah its lion... :-D fantactic idea.

Anas Rehmani (author)2015-10-23

hahaha...i like it

bolaschinas (author)2015-10-23

A very nice dog, I wish I had one like it

TCSC47 (author)2015-10-19

And why not? Great fun. Just imagine you have friends around and the dog wanders in wearing the mane ----- !

FlorinJ (author)2015-10-18

Idunno ... I guess Tucker is a very patient and fogiving dog (like most are). But I wouldn't do this to any dog.

MarkF30 (author)2015-10-18

Loved It! The idea is great and Tucker is to be commended for being such a wonderful model.

XofHope (author)2015-10-18

I'm usually not much for dressing up pets, but this is too cute and funny! And he looks ok with it, so I'm ok too.

Phil_S (author)2015-10-18

Next project?

Poor old doggy is likely to get darted waliking around like that.

Steelform (author)2015-10-18

Very nice!

joshiii92 (author)2015-10-18

I wonder if Mother Tucker would feel ashamed seeing her son dressed as a cat? Anyway, it looks cool. Maybe I can make one for my rat...

EllisZ (author)joshiii922015-10-18

Where is the like button?

kibukun (author)2015-10-18

That dog looks either unhappy, or very bored...

thundrepance (author)kibukun2015-10-18

he looks trusting, cuz he knows how much he is loved

thundrepance (author)2015-10-18

omigosh! funniest thing i've ever seen ~ & ♥tucker is so compliant! your story kills me!! x^D

Gilo (author)2015-10-18

Funny! Great work.

susan.pinckney (author)2015-10-18

I love this costume but don't have a dog and my cats would probably commit mutiny if I tried to do this to them. I ordered fake fur online for a sofa throw at It's a company that used to make stuffed animals but was going out of business and discovered a niche when they started selling off their stock of faux fur. Try the brown/black wolf fur for the look here or there's one here that is described as being "almost like" a lion's tawny mane: Plan to pay about 12:50 for a half yard. Order samples first to make sure you're getting exactly what you need.

billbillt (author)2015-10-18

I think this is the COOLEST thing I have ever seen!!!... LOVE IT!!!....

rkcndy (author)2015-10-08


Hey, I'm in SF too. I've been wanting to make this for my brown pittie. Maybe we'll run into each other and our lions will hopefully be nice.

scoochmaroo (author)rkcndy2015-10-09

Awesome! I hope it works out for you. One adjustment I'd want to make is holes for his ears, since Tucker doesn't seem to like his ears covered up. Can't wait to see a picture of your pittie lion!

rkcndy (author)scoochmaroo2015-10-09

Ah, good to know! The other costume I keep thinking of is to make a tiny pair of T-rex front arms to strap just below my dog's neck. I saw how you did the ears here, and that's the perfect fabric to use for this. Looks like I'll be making two costumes! If the legs turn out hilarious, I'll post a clip of those too...

Braza Rayquaza11 (author)2015-09-19

Ha! Soo cute! My dog already kinda has a mane... Maybe I should just dye him!(na....doesn't sound right!)

AlexB43 (author)2015-09-01

run postal dude, run for you life!

John_the_Builder (author)2015-02-12

Your dog must Love You!
Mine would probably eat me if I tried dressing them up ;-)

PowellMade (author)2015-02-03

This has to be one of the coolest instructables ever!!!! I absolutely love it does he mind wearing it?

EliRob1019 (author)2014-10-23

Where did you find the fur? I'm having a heck of a time finding the right stuff in the right color. And I only have till Sunday to finish! Eeek!

basketpam (author)2014-10-10

You should contact the website Craftsy, which has instructors teach ALL sorts of lessons from Cake Decorating, Sewing, Woodwork, Photography and much more. You SHOULD contact them and see if they would take you on as an instructor in the sewing section to teach this. I bet they would. They are constantly adding new things and this is the perfect time of the year. If you do, please let me know. Thanks!

abbey.mac.7 made it! (author)2014-10-06

I saw your amazing lion's mane after I had ordered a cheapo one online. When it came (and it was pretty lame) I used your ideas to augment it, adding extra layers of pleated craft-fur. It turned out pretty well--not quite as nice as yours. Next time I will start from scratch. Thanks for the great idea!

szq1031 (author)2014-09-29

How much fabric did you purchase for this?

Fikjast Scott (author)2014-09-28

This made my day, great job

wereonlystardust (author)2014-09-26

Saw this just in time for Halloween. Turning my aunts dog into a lion now. This is awesome!!

RushNafikov (author)2014-09-26

Very cute !!

nabukadnazar (author)2014-09-26

He is adoorable.

saskfire (author)2014-09-25

best thing ive seen all day.!

smolkster (author)2014-09-25

Not fair, your dog would win every costume contest. And if you said it was my friend dressed as a dog in a lion could bring him to the bar.

tenchman (author)2014-09-25

Awesome make . looks really kool

awesomelumens (author)2014-09-25


catlily (author)2014-09-24

Cool! tucker is SOOOO cute! I made a loin mane for my cat. Twinzes!

BLR_RAVI (author)2014-09-24

love it..its so new refreshing idea..very well made...literally you transformed a dog to a lion..

gjulia3269 (author)2014-06-24

Awwwww so cute

Jackiebain (author)2014-03-28

Awesome! I have a toy chihuahua I'm going to make this for- will post an update...

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