Dog Blanket

Dog blankets, sometimes called tuppies, were intended for show, not for warmth or protection.

Written by Amelia Fay

April 4, 2016

Colour photograph

If you think dressing up your pets with cute clothes and accessories is a new thing, think again!

This dog blanket from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century is one of many beautiful examples in the HBC museum collection. Dog blankets, sometimes called tuppies, were made from wool or felt and decorated with beaded or silk-embroidered flowers, ribbons, yarn, and bells.

These blankets were intended for show, not for warmth or protection. Dog teams would be dressed up just prior to reaching a trading post, with the jingling bells announcing their impending arrival.

This blanket was made in Ontario, although the record unfortunately does not provide details on the community from which it originated, or about who made or used it.

Dog blankets appear to have originated with the Red River Métis, but the practice spread, and examples can be found from many subarctic Cree and Dene communities.

Amelia Fay is the curator of the HBC Collection at the Manitoba Museum.

This article originally appeared in the April-May 2016 issue of Canada’s History. 

This article is also available in French.

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