Dogs have been humans’ best friends for a long, long time, so it’s not surprising that they appear everywhere in our art and history. Museums are full of these lasting tributes to dogs, and, in fact, you’d probably have a hard time finding a museum that doesn’t feature any dogs. Even the Smithsonian is full of dog art and artifacts. But if you’re really looking to nerd out on pooches and satisfy your fanaticism for all things canine, you should take a look at a museum that is entirely dedicated to pups. From a building full of wiener dog-themed exhibits to a hall of history’s most interesting dog collars, these institutions are definitely worth a visit if you’re planning a trip that will cater to your canine appreciation. Here are five museums from around the world that are entirely dedicated to dogs.
1. Sausage Dog Museum In Germany
The Dachshund breed originated in Germany, so it’s no wonder that the country hosts a museum entirely dedicated to the adorable, long-bodied, short-legged sausage dog. The museum was founded by two former florists and Dachshund owners who wanted to share their love of Doxies with the world, as well as their collection of wiener dog items that they built up over 25 years. The collection features Dachshund stamps, statues, figurines, puppets, works of art, and more. The 80-square-meter Dackelmuseum has over 4,500 items and is said to be the largest collection of Dachshund-themed objects in the entire world. That’s a lot of sausage dogs, but if you’re a fan of the breed, it’s a Doxie paradise. Famous fellow Dachshund fans from history include Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and Napoleon, and while it’s a shame they won’t get a chance to enjoy the Dackelmuseum, you’re welcome to visit and get your fix.
2. Museum Of Dog
David York used to have a career in fashion, but he left that life to follow his passion for dogs. He opened a doggy daycare before moving to Massachusetts where he opened an 8,000-square-foot museum dedicated to dogs. The Museum Of Dog features some works that you may recognize, like photographer William Wegman’s famous Weimaraner photos. It also exhibits incredible sculptures like Mary Engel’s “Watch Dogs,” which are made with parts of watches. You can even see some old dog collars that date back to the 1800s. York also plans to display an exhibit that pays tribute to his own rescue dog, Daisy. Works from rotating guest artists may make appearances, and it’s bound to be a visual feast for anyone who can’t get enough dog art.
3. Akita Dog Museum
The Akita dog breed is designated as a Japanese Natural Treasure, which might be why there is a whole Akita Dog Preservation Society in the city of Odate in Akita Prefecture. On the third floor of the Akita Dog Preservation Society’s building is a museum that features tons of information about the Akita breed, and outside is a statue of Hachiko, an Akita dog who would wait for his owner to return from work every day in the same spot. Hachiko’s owner died in 1925, but the pup still went back to the same place every day for ten years until he finally passed away. The Akita Dog Preservation Society is dedicated to preserving the purity of the breed because of its significance to the Akita Prefecture and Japan, and they hope to share their love for the breed with visitors. Admission is cheap, and there’s even an Akita goodwill ambassador dog who greets people when they arrive at the building.
4. The National Bird Dog Museum
The National Bird Dog Museum in Tennessee celebrates the hunting dogs that have joined their owners throughout history. It’s run by the National Bird Dog Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving traditions and knowledge of sporting dogs. Over 40 breeds of Pointers and Retrievers can be spotted in various photos, paintings, and sculptures, as well as artifacts and memorabilia in the museum. Taxidermy used to be more common when it came to pets, and Count Noble, a hunting dog that lived from 1879 to 1890, was donated to the museum after being on display at Carnegie Hall for decades. The museum also pays tribute to winners of the National Field Trial Championships for bird dogs and their owners. If you and your pup are a hunting team, or if you just want to learn more about the history of hunting dogs, this museum will teach you a lot.
5. Dog Collar Museum
One of the most obvious visual signs of the bonds we have with our dogs is the collar. Dog collars have been around for longer than you might think, and some dog collars throughout history look absolutely nothing like the ones we have today. The Gatehouse of Leeds Castle in England houses the Dog Collar Museum, and the collection of dog collars stored there is absolutely fascinating. Almost 100 collars from Medieval to Victorian times can be seen, and some of them are incredibly rare. A few of these collars have terrifying spikes, which were used to protect dogs’ necks from wild animals while they accompanied hunters. Others are incredibly ornate and were clearly used by wealthy dog owners as status symbols. Some of the collars have significant quotes or coats of arms from the families that owned the dogs. We’ve come a long way with our strips of cloth and engraved tags, which makes these collars that come from times that span over 500 years of dog ownership all the more interesting. If your pup could see these collars, they’d probably be thankful that the collar you put on them is so comfy.
Do you know of any other dog museums? Where else should dog lovers visit? Let us know in the comments below!