Dogs of the carousel

With the seaside playground of Atlantic City in ruins from Hurricane Sandy, I thought it was appropriate to pay tribute (canine style) to the carousel.  Carousels, or merry-go-rounds, are one of the oldest amusement rides (dating back to the mid 1800s).  They are found in many resort towns as well as amusement parks.

Most people associate horses with carousels but did you know that some carousel figures were dogs – and that they are valuable?  The images of dogs on carousels are much more rare and with rarity comes value.

Last year, Guernsey Auctions in New York City auctioned four greyhound carousel figures.    These could not be proven that they were from a famous designer named Charles Looff but were listed as ‘in the style of.’  There was also a Spaniel figure from a carousel designer named Herschell Spillman.

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In a modern twist, Oakland, California is where you will find the studio of Tim Racer who specialises in carousel restoration.  Tim also undertakes custom carving on commission and a favourite motif for his carousel figures is dogs.  Here’s Tim with one of his canine creations:

Photo courtesy of

Mr Racer’s work was featured in the March 2012 edition of Carousel News magazine:

Whether the dog is modern or antique, every carousel dog is different and very collectible.

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