Obama Answers the Great Dog Pants Question

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

“Our brand of democracy is hard,” said President Barack Obama on Tuesday night, during his final State of the Union address.

“But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen — inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.”

Well. I’m sure Obama is very inspired by all those voices, and I am sometimes too, but I would like to know which voices in particular are counseling him about one of the great issues of our time: dog pants.

And not just any issue around canine locomotive fashion, but the great one: If a dog wore pants, how would he wear them?

Utopian Raspberry - Modern Oasis Machine / Facebook

As I wrote last month, and as all right-thinking people agree, the four-legged pants are correct. Dogs have four legs, and pants cover all your legs, ergo: Dog pants should be four trousered, and the lefthand image wins.

But Politico reports that the president chose otherwise on Friday:

“You gotta go with this,” Obama said immediately pointing to the diagram featuring a drawing of a dog with pants on just its hind-legs. “This, I think, it’s a little conservative…too much fabric,” he said about the pair that would cover all four legs.

Poorly done, Mr. President. I’ve had your back many times in the past, but don’t expect me to come running when that horse-sized duck finally shows up. Update from a reader:

I realize this is meant to be a silly question, but since I have a third option, I figured I would send it in. My answer is a dog wouldn’t wear pants. Just like dresses, which are designed specifically for a woman with breasts, pants are designed for bipeds, not quadrupeds. Thus, if you wanted to cover a dog, you would have to redesign with the animal’s body in mind. This is why most dog clothing are onesies that mainly cover their upper bodies rather than legs.

However, if I had to choose, I would go covering all four legs, simply because what’s the point of covering the dog’s back two legs unless you were planning on putting a shirt on it as well. This is another reason why dogs wouldn’t wear pants—because pants are meant to be worn with a shirt.