What is the Museum of the Dog?

As a dog lover, you can’t get enough of this beloved animal. If you want to see artistic interpretations of these companions, you may enjoy the Museum of the Dog.

May 7, 2024By Sara Payne
what is the museum of the dog

The AKC Museum of the Dog is a place with exhibits showing dogs' role in society. It is an educational museum in New York City that has a collection of fine art and interactive exhibits that highlight the human-dog relationship.

Read on to learn more about the exhibits you can see at the Museum of the Dog as well as suggestions for other dog museums around the world.

History of the Museum of the Dog

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Originally located in The New York Life Building, the AKC Museum of the Dog was founded in 1982. The museum was a part of the American Kennel Club headquarters at first. Benefactors Frank Sabella, Marie Moore, Nancy-Carol Draper, and the Westminster Kennel Foundation made donations to start a museum with a permanent collection of art about dogs.

The museum moved location in 1987 to Queeny Park in Missouri. In 2017, after over 30 years of operation, the museum decided to reunite with the AKC headquarters again and moved back to New York City. The AKC Museum of the Dog is now housed at 101 Park Avenue in the Kalikow building where it features rotating exhibits alongside its permanent collection.

Today, the museum is open most days of the week between 11 am- 6 pm. You need an admission ticket. Currently, these tickets range in price from free (for children 2 and under and members) to $15 for adults. It is best to check the museum’s website for any current pricing and requirements.

Permanent Collection at the Museum of the Dog

painting with dog and boat
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Much of the permanent collection at the Museum of the Dog was formed from the donations of its benefactors. A substantial portion of the collection is 19th-century and 20th-century art.

One example of the works in this collection is the oil painting “Deerhound and Recumbent Foxhound” by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer. Landseer was famous for his portraits of animals and sports. He became a favorite artist of Queen Victoria, who knighted him in 1850.

There are many other beautiful oil paintings by equally impressive animal artists including “English Setter in Field” by Percival Rosseau. There are also several pieces by Maud Earl and Arthur Wardle. Animalier bronzers are also present in the collection by famous artists Pierre-Jules Mene and Antoine Louis Barye.

Twentieth-century pieces by Richard Fat and June Harrah are also a part of the permanent collection. Many different breeds are represented in these collections, but Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Great Danes, and German Shepherd dogs are particularly abundant. However, most breeds are shown in the collection, although they may not all be on display.

Rotating Exhibits at the Museum of the Dog

fox terrier
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Alongside the permanent collection at the Museum of the Dog, the museum also has rotating exhibits. These exhibits change based on the season. They typically follow a certain theme, such as “Outfoxed: Fox Terriers and Friends” or “The Dogs That Serve.” Some of the rotating exhibits also focus on the art of a singular artist.

Famous dog food and dog-related companies also sponsor some of the exhibits. These pieces only remain at the museum for a couple of months and then are replaced by a new rotating exhibit. If you plan to visit the Museum of the Dog, you can check out the website to discover which exhibits are present during your visit.

Interactive Exhibits at the Museum of the Dog

dog and man look alike
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In addition to ceramics, bronze sculptures, watercolor and oil paintings, and many other pieces of fine art, the Museum of the Dog also has several digitally interactive displays. The museum has a touch screen and interactive table. This allows you to browse through the AKC-registered breeds.

With a game-like experience, you can find your favorite breed on the screen and pull it down into the interactive doghouse. Then, you can learn more about your breed’s personality, traits, history, and the art collection that depicts them.

Another interactive display at the museum allows you to take a picture of yourself, and then it uses visual recognition software to pair you with the dog breed that you look like.

There is also an interactive display where you can learn hand signals and commands used to train working dogs. Then, you can go to the virtual dog display to practice these commands. The virtual dog “Molly” responds to your commands in real-time.

Other Dog Museums Around the World

dog plant sculpture spain
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Many other dog museums celebrate the role of dog companionship in human history. You can visit several in the United States such as the following:

  • The National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee
  • Iditarod Museum in Wasilla, Alaska
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, New York
  • Museum of Dog in North Adams, Massachusetts

Other museums around the world are dedicated to dogs such as the following:

  • Dackelmuseum in Passau, Germany
  • The Dog Collar Museum in Kent, England
  • Barryland in Martigny, Switzerland

There are many displays and art pieces at other museums around the world that are dedicated to dogs, even if the whole museum is not. At the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, a dog sculpture covered in plants called “Puppy” guards the entrance.

Other museums may have traveling exhibitions, such as “Dogs! A Science Tail,” which is an exhibition sponsored by the CaliforniaScienCenter that explores the bond between humans in four sections: dog history, dog care, dog’s perspective, and dog companionship.

The Museum of the Dog: A Unique Exhibition

dog growling painting
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Throughout the centuries, people have made beautiful works of art dedicated to our best friend: the dog. The AKC Museum of the Dog is a fascinating place to learn more about AKC-registered dog breeds and explore fine art showcasing dogs and their longstanding relationship with man. There are also several other dog museums around the world you can visit to learn even more.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.