My entire extended family are huge dog lovers. My dad’s side of the family treats their little dogs like they are tiny humans; my mother’s side treats theirs the same way. Growing up, we always had a dog in our home. Now that I’m a grown up (which is still being debated), I actually have two.
I don’t necessarily consider myself a “dog lover.” My two boys are barky, jumpy, and will steal food out of your hand in 1 second flat. They are a big pain when they are not asleep, but I love them nonetheless. However, you might not know that I wasn’t a smitten kitten for dogs if you walked into any of the rooms in my home that I’ve decorated since I came into my own decorating style.
In just about every room, I have incorporated some sort of dog figurine. No, I don’t have a lighted curio cabinet filled with a ceramic dog collection. But, there is one in my bedroom. One in my living room. One in the uncompleted playroom. Without knowing it, putting a dog in the room has become an odd little signature of mine. It’s a quirk that I fully embrace.
One of my favorites is this brass cocker spaniel figurine that I picked up in a local antique store. He sits among the books in my china cabinet, along with his “brother,” a vintage Paint By Number of another cocker (the first in the dog-themed PBN collection that I hope to grow). My very first dog was a blonde Coker Spaniel – she was my parents’ first baby long before I came into the world.
I often keep my eyes peeled for other interesting dogs to add to future rooms that I’m decorating, so I thought I’d share with you the four key types of vintage dog figurines that I search for.
How to Shop for Vintage Dog Statuettes
1. Vintage Cast Iron Door Stop – Using a dog figurine as a door stop has been popular since the Victorian Era. They are normally black cast iron (although some have been painted) and thus quite heavy. Because of the popularity of this type of dog figurene, they often cost over $100. I’m always on the lookout for one that’s priced lower than that, but I haven’t been successful yet.
Vintage Cast Iron Scottie, listed by VintageBeth on Etsy
2. Brass – I love the look of tarnished brass, and dog figurines are easy to find in that state. I particularly love when there is a lot of detail carved into the brass, such as on my cocker spaniel or the statuette pictured below. Depending on the size of the dog, you could pay anywhere from $10 to $75 for one in perfect vintage condition. I like them to be at least 6 inches tall, but the larger the better as far as I’m concerned.
Vintage Brass Dog Statue, listed by RelicTreasures on Etsy.com
3. Hand painted – When you are looking at the hand painted variety of dog figurines, you have to be very careful. It’s important that the markings look realistic and that the animal’s features don’t look cartoon-y. I like to find these animals in a natural pose. Just like with the brass statuettes, these can run $10 to $100 depending upon size. I prefer these to be large – generally about a foot long. The one pictured below is a nice example.
Hand Painted Vintage Springer Spaniel, listed by WildWildWest1 on Etsy.com
4. Paintable – There is a whole world of dog figurines out there that can only be saved by a can of spray paint. I know you’ve seen them in thrift shops and at garage sales. A brightly colored high gloss or lacquer can do wonders. I generally look for smooth, ceramic versions for paint. You can pick these up for cheap at second hand sales, or you can buy one already repainted on Etsy (such as the sky blue guy below).
Upcycled Ceramic Lab in Sky Blue, listed by ThreeTangerines on Etsy.com
Don’t be afraid to embrace something like this as part of a signature style. It helps to create a home that is uniquely yours, and gives you a little secret that ties each room together. Keep them large in size and the collection minimal. You don’t want to go overboard like a crazy cat lady!
Do you have something that you add to each room as your signature, whether you realize you d0 it or not?