In an alien society, humans, humanoids, bipeds, and quadrupeds mingle on a daily basis. Assuming all the humans and humanoids wear clothes as we are accustomed to them, what would be the quadruped response?

Obviously, one of the primary reasons for clothing is to conceal particular features of anatomy, but I'm having a huge amount of difficulty designing clothing for this purpose without getting results as laughable as this comic:

If Bears Wore Pants

However, I'm also open to reasons quadrupeds might forgo clothes despite the practices of their humanoid neighbors.


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    $\begingroup$ This question is one of the funniest I've ever seen here $\endgroup$
    – bendl
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ Not voting due to age, and it's maybe not entirely a duplicate, but I just noticed: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/37002/10851 $\endgroup$
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 11:20

4 Answers 4


Considering a pair of trousers referers to the fact that they were originally 2 seperate tubes, with a codpiece in the middle, then a quadraped is more likely to wear what looks like a 2 pairs of trousers front-and-back, with a blanket wrapped around their middle - as an outgrowth from a tube of fabric on each leg.

The "all four legs joined together" case as pictured is bad because of the bending in the middle when you move around - this would cause it to sag away from the body or pull tight and restrict movement, like wearing dungarees and bending over forwards or backwards. You would need a belt-strap in the centre going around your back.

(Of course, a bear is actually a more complicated case, since they can alternate between quadraped and biped movement - depending on how long they spend in each state they could dress "top-and-bottoms" like a crawling baby does. If you rank from quadraped to biped, you get something like "Horse » Bear » Orangatan » Human")


I think you are approaching your problem from the wrong angle.

Humans started using clothes not out of prude, to hide what (allegedly) should not be under the shining sun, but simply because we, as fur-less apes, lack any basic protection against weather, and the more we moved out of the savanna, the more we need to get protection from cold and rain. Only afterwards the act of wearing clothes became so deeply carved into our mind to turn into prude.

If your animal are not fur-less there is no stringent reason for them to wear clothes. Also, human females are the only one to have permanent breasts: other mammals have them visible only during breastfeeding. And I hope you agree one doesn't need a bra if there are no breasts to support/conceal.

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    $\begingroup$ You're totally right, and I've considered these things, but with our current psychology on clothing, how would relatively furless or hairless quadrupeds approach this? $\endgroup$
    – C. Hess
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 3:07
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    $\begingroup$ In colder climates, it is quite usual for horses to wear "clothes" - that is, blankets - to keep warm at night. There are other horse clothes in fairly common use, like fly sheets & fly masks. (Not counting saddles and other tack.) Medieval war horses often wore armour (AKA barding), or decorative caparisons... $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 4:26
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    $\begingroup$ The reason for "pants" (or proto-pants, eg. a loin cloth) was because of the tall savanna grasses that, quite frankly, are Not Very Nice on the skin. Either stiff and reedy (whap, whap, whap) or with barbs or other sharp edges (stab, slice), neither of which feel nice on one's Nether Bits, so a thick layer of cloth or leather was used as protection. That later evolved into other forms of protection, eg. vs. weather, weapons, and insects. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 5:13
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    $\begingroup$ Make them all Chihuahuas! Those beast shake and shiver all the time and that's not a race trait. They are just cold. Maybe all of them comes from different biome. So temperature has be lower to match the human but every Quadrupeds are freezing. Just like Those chiwawa in Mexico movie, it's 40°C and they shake like hell. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Draco18s, grazers like horses and bulls are anatomically protected, in the sense their "baby making tools" are normally hidden inside their abdomen and pop out when they need to be used. They don't have anything constantly hanging out like humans. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 6:24

It's a question of the clothes being able to stay on, be comfortable, fit for purpose and suit the societal norms.

One major factor is the location and dexterity of manipulative digits on the being. They need to be able to put it on and off by themselves.

The next thing is what is expected by the alien society. If they don't wear clothes, they're not going to want to change that. Clothes could just consist of belts with pouches, jewelry to show status in society and protective garments.

In reality the design of clothes is based around the design of the creatures and their society.


Though I personally think it is ridiculous and borderline cruel in a few cases, we have to file this one under the "This Exists" file: dog sweaters. There is a whole industry around it with some insiders calling themselves "fashion designers." They've had literally decades to tweak and experiment with both form and function, so why not steal their ideas?

In the image search I link, it seems the majority are more like a cape, that covers around the chest but only over the back, not covering the "particular features of anatomy" you desire. But in between there seems to be a few that wrap around the haunches and between the hind quarters.


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