The History of Houndstooth

What is houndstooth?

Countless people ask us what the pattern means or represents… Interestingly, it can mean many different things. To people from the state of Alabama, and crimson tide fans across the globe, it represents the tradition of their beloved football program. The famous black and white check pattern covered legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s famous wool fedora. It has become a symbol of the University program in many ways and continues to be seen across the Tuscaloosa campus during tailgates, and other events. In fact, Alabama has become so connected to the pattern that the pattern created a lawsuit over the proper usage of the pattern. Check out the incident here.


Countless fashion designers also use the pattern to cover anything from women’s skirts to mens dress shirts… It comes in different sizes, colors, and fabrics… It is seen is countless manners. It has found a way to be a staple in classic American style. How did this come to be, you may ask? Lets look at the history behind houndstooth.


Houndstooth is also known as  dogstooth, making it even more of a perfect pattern for us here at Bird Dog Bay. It is a two tone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, usually in black and white, although other colors are and can be used. Here at Bird Dog Bay, we even created a christmas houndstooth, using red and green.  The classic houndstooth pattern is an example of a tessellationHoundstooth checks originated in woven cloth, usually from wool, found in the Scottish Lowlands, as a clan pattern that was easily recognizable, but are now used in many other materials, like woven silk! From Scotland, it found its way to England mills, in and outside of London around the Industrial Revolution… Eventually British fashion found its way across the pond, to our great country… The pattern has recently made a revival in American fashion… It also had quite a showing during the 1970’s!



The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and weft or willing woven in a simple 2 by 2 twill, two over/two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.We use the pattern to make houndstooth cufflinks, houndstooth cummerbund sets, houndstooth neckties, and houndstooth bow ties! We even have pre tied houndstooth boy’s bow ties

 In essence, houndstooth has become a classic traditional pattern that pairs incredibly well with everything from formal attire, to a white oxford shirt and khakis for a Southern tailgate. Roll Tide!