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For the plant used commonly known as Houndstooth, see Cynoglossum officinale.

Houndstooth, hounds tooth check or hound's tooth (and similar spellings), also known as dogstooth, dogtooth or dog's tooth, is a duotone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, often in black and white, although other colours are used. The classic houndstooth pattern is an example of a tessellation.

A smaller scale version of the pattern can be referred to as puppytooth.[1][2]

Design and history[edit]

Houndstooth checks originated in woven wool cloth of the Scottish Lowlands,[3] but are now used in many other materials. The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and weft/filling woven in a simple 2:2 twill, two over/two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. In an early reference to houndstooth, De Pinna, a New York City–based men's and women's high-end clothier founded in 1885, included houndstooth checks along with gun club checks and Scotch plaids as part of its 1933 spring men's suits collection.[4]

Examples of use[edit]

The Australian department store David Jones uses a houndstooth pattern as part of its corporate logo. The branding—a black-on-white houndstooth pattern—is one of the most recognized corporate identities in Australia. A government sponsored panel judged it in 2006 as one of Australia's top ten favorite trade marks. The origin of this motif is due to the store founder's intention not to use the name on its packaging; the store would be so well known that everyone should recognize it simply by this motif.[citation needed]

Houndstooth designs of black and white, brown and tan, and other earthtone weaves, are very popular designs in tweed materials used for sport coats and other casual clothing. Houndstooth is a common design in casual hats and caps, perhaps most notable in the deerstalker, the kind of cap seen so often in illustrations and portrayals of Sherlock Holmes. College football coaching legend, Paul "Bear" Bryant was frequently seen wearing a houndstooth or checkered patterned hat.

Houndstooth is commonly seen today throughout the culinary arts on chefs' pants, as the pattern hides dirt smudges and food particles.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The Independent, Nov 2 2009, Frankel, Susannah. "Ready to Wear: Houndstooth is fierce, and signifies power over and above prettiness". London.
  2. ^ Charles Tyrwhitt, London webpage on Dogtooth
  3. ^ Dunbar, John Telfer: The Costume of Scotland, London: Batsford, 1984, ISBN 0-7134-2534-2, 1984 (paperback 1989, ISBN 0-7134-2535-0)
  4. ^ "Gun Club Checks". The New Yorker (New Yorker Magazine, Inc.) 9: 28. 1933. OCLC 1760231. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 

External links[edit]