National Dog Day

“Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.” ~ Caroline Knapp

National Dog Day is celebrated annually on August 26. Observance of National Dog Day began in 2004 thanks to animal behaviorist Colleen Paige, who wanted to bring attention to animal abuse and assist animal charities. Paige also wanted to highlight the contributions dogs make to society as loyal companions, service animals, and in the line of duty with law enforcement or military operations.

The history of canine domestication goes back between 27, 000 and 40, 000 years. It is believed that gray wolves made the first move toward domestication by following nomadic tribes for food scraps. It may have only taken between forty and eighty years for people to adopt wolves as their pets.

Per, “it’s been estimated that approximately 57% of all of the people in the world own pets—and of that 57%, approximately 33% of them own dogs.” Recent studies have additionally concluded that about 45% of dog owners sleep with their dogs.

Since the celebration of National Dog Day began, it has expanded globally. Often times it is used as a platform to encourage dog adoption of all breeds, volunteering in rescue shelters, or donating to charities that assist dogs to live happy, abuse-free lives. Today, many people use social media to share stories and pictures of their dogs, though this is not a recent development. Below are some historic photos of people celebrating their beloved pets from the collections of the Research Library.

Written by Nicole Diehm

National Dog Day 1

National Gallery photo copy of painting by Juan Bautista del Mazo 1666 of Mariana de Austria Queen of Spain in mourning as widow of King Philip IV. She is shown full length seated with dog at her feet.

National Dog Day 2

“Rena and Flossie” A picture of a little girl and a dog, circa 1850.











National Dog Day 3

This undated slide shows a lady with a parasol standing in the garden of 143 St. George Street with the Cathedral Bell Tower in the distance.

National Dog Day 4

This is a portrait of a young boy sitting with a dog. On the back is written: “Raymond Clee w/Patsy & pups.”

National Dog Day 5

This is a photo of Frankie Walker in Easter Finery on April 18, 2004, holding her dog, Jenny.

National Dog Day 6

This is a picture of acclaimed author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Baskin sitting on a couch, and holding a tea cup. There is a tea service on a tray in front of her, and a dog on the floor.

























Avendano, Katarina and Yaa Bofah. “50 Best Dog Quotes That Will Touch Any Pet Owner’s Heart”, January 9, 2023, accessed June 7, 2023.

Crystal. “National Dog Day 2023: August 26th and 10 Fun Ways to Celebrate”, February 23, 2023, accessed June 7, 2023.

National Dog Day. accessed June 7, 2023.

National Dog Day – August 26, 2023. accessed June 7, 2023.