Victorian Frenchie Carved Dog Head Walking Stick

Many walking stick handle or  pommel head studies of the Georgian & Victorian period have an interesting background. In part, an integral ingredient to understanding the social and industrial development  of Britain

As a dog lover and a collector of dog head walking sticks, I have always admired, sadly never owned the French Bull dog or more commonly addressed as the ‘Frenchie’. A lovely ‘domestic companion’ dog breed.

Sporting Dogs V’s  Domestic Companion Dogs

If you love dogs as a walking stick collector you will love hand carved Victorian dog stick handles . Collectors will likely hold some superb hand carved French Bulldogs and similar Boston Terriers. The  carvings produced  in the Victorian period by  outsourced wood carves and then mounted by walking stick manufacturers.

The most popular dog head study of the later Georgian and early Victorian period was the ‘sporting’ dog . These dogs being the whippets or greyhounds. These dogs used in hunting and racing. This begs the question as to how a domestic companion dog like the French Bulldog became so popular as a walking stick mount.

The answer can be found in historical reference relating to the Industrial Revolution and the core industrial production within towns and cities of England. The link with the French Bulldog is Nottingham and the Lace making industry.

Frenchie  & Lace Making

The toy sized canine, that has DNA links to the bulldog, is suggested to have evolved through good and bad  British breeding. This little, good, compact  ratting dog found  favour with  the lace workers, of Nottingham.

Increased industrialiation throughout Europe aided  the free movement of labour. Many Lace makers emigrated to France to seek a higher income, taking with them, their loving companions, the little Frenchie.

The Opportunity For Stick Makers

It’s not surprising that  this  little breed of dog became popular throughout Europe and America. The  high degree of popularity of the canine, suggest the reasoning why the walking stick makers adopted the Frenchie so readily. The  dog carvings outsourced to wood carvers on piece work basis. On completion   returned to commercial stick manufactures,  to adorn many a walking stick shaft.

YOU WILL LOOK  at that that little Frenchie and Boston Terrier in a different light  the next time you cross paths!



Victorian carved horn greyhound on bamboo shaft
Victorian Carved Greyhound Walking Stick

For further information on this little dog:

Carved Dog Head
Victorian Carved Wood Boston Terrier /Frenchie Glove Holder Gadget Walking Stick

Information on the French Bulldog as a breed

Collecting Carved Dog Heads

Researching Strategy for the Walking Stick Collector ( Part 1)


The world of walking sticks & canes is huge. For your initial collection objective make your target sticks as narrow as possible but not un-achievable. This will make life a little easier for you.

Secondly, define an area that there are sticks available and at a price you define, as reasonable.


Whatever area or type of collection, you wish to pursue, then research is essential and time consuming. Without a basic knowledge supporting your purchasing decision, you likely be buying  a bogus imitation.  Fraudulent imitations are not reproductions as their purpose is to deceive in order to achieve a premium price.  This has been prevalent during the latter 20th Century on wards with highly prized ceramics and Georgian tea caddies etc. Ivory snooker/pool balls re-engineered into an exact copy of a Georgian or early Victorian figural pommel.

Internet Research

The internet is possibly the easiest and cheapest source for base level research. There are  bucket full’s of material relating to woods,  metals, precious metals, precious stones, hallmarks, walking stick makers, metal standards etc.  This will aid you in defining the difference between ebony wood and ebonised wood when purchasing a cane.

Hard Copy Desk Research Material

Now, to the nitty gritty, the hard copy material. Reference material does arrive quite readily, but, at a much higher price than a soft backed copy of Mills & Boon. Therefore, do shop around online and offline.  Prices do vary and based a lot on availability. Some material only arrives as second hand used copy format, that may be a little tatty, but still information viable.

Suggested Texts

The suggested texts  below will give you a good introduction-choose 1 or 2 to explore as many texts tend to go over the same ground. Boothroyd is a good little text book but try to avoid the 1st Editions as they appear to be very highly priced.


  • Canes: From the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century-1998- Jeffrey B Snyder
  • Canes &Walking Sticks: A Stroll Through Time & Place- -1993-Jeffrey B, Snyder
  • Walking sticks -1998 –ULRICH KLEVER
  • Fascinating Walking Sticks – A.E.W. Boothroyd

So time to brew the coffee, switch on the computer and let your fingers jog over the  key pad!


Display collection of antique Victorian silver ,white metal  & ivory embellished walking sticks
Collection of Victorian Walking Sticks in white metal,ivory and silver



Displaying A Walking Stick Collection

Early Victorian brass boot walking stick stand
Early Victorian brass boot walking stick stand
Walking Stick holders arrive in a large range of designs and age


Unlike collecting classic cars walking sticks are little easier to store and display. However, that is dependant on how many- get over the thousands and you may need a collection/ display  room or possibly a warehouse!


You do not need to be an avid collector of walking sticks to appreciate a good display of attractive walking sticks. The great advantage being that walking sticks make a great display in any size residence.


Many people use ceramic pots to store and display walking sticks. This type of display does look good but beware someone, some day, will ram a stick with a metal ferrule down too hard into the pot and crrracckk- there goes the lovely display pot. The solution to this being is to place a rubber ferrule on the base of all the sticks that have metal ferrules.


We all have something we dislike in respect to a collection. The author’s  pet hate is scratched walking stick shafts. So when using any pot, be it ceramic or metal try to line inside the container with felt to stop the scratching as you remove the cane.


Alternatively, you can get stick sleeves / socks but these can be expensive and generally only arrive in one size. However, you can make your own with a little time and help from a sewing machine.


The key point in displaying in pots, is do not throw every walking stick in. This will only result in overcrowding and damage.


You can purchase a stick stand be it old and a collectors item or new and made from MDF. The prices again will vary, based on the age, size, material etc. In general stick stands with age are a good investment, as well as a means of storage and display.



If you do not have a lot of floor space then think about displaying your sticks on the wall. A great project, for the DIY enthusiast. Alternatively, you can buy a wooden gun rack, which does very well with a little tweaking. Just enter wooden gun rack into Google and you will see the potential for that wall stick display.


 Have fun in displaying your walking stick collection


Measuring For a Walking Stick

For the comfortable use of a walking stick or cane it is important to select the correct length.

Key Tips in determining the correct length for general use are:


  • Firstly ensure you wear your normal footwear when determining the measurement.
  • Secondly, stand near a wall for support.
  • Have someone available to take the measurements. Alternatively, use a long brush handle as a measuring guide.
  • Measure from the crease on the wrist to the floor see diagram – This is the length you will need in a walking stick. 

    If you are dependant on a walking stick to aid mobility we strongly advise you seek professional advise to the length,style and strength  of the walking stick you require in relation to your height and needs.


Collecting Walking Sticks & Canes

People collect all sorts of things be it buttons, napkins, spoons, antiques, cars…… So collecting walking sticks is not unusual, and in the long term may prove to be a good investment if the right sticks have been bought.


No one can say you must only collect a certain type of walking stick, after all a collection is a personal choice. However, to make collecting a little simpler one could start by having the collection based on ‘the unusual.


Wow!!! that is going to be a really big collection of walking sticks. The solution then would be to think a little narrower in your collection objectives.


By material


Ivory / bone

Scrimshaw Canes




By design

Animal head

Horse Heads

Systems / Gadget Canes

Country Sticks

Folk Canes

Swagger Sticks


Sword Sticks


By Date /Historical Period




New and Unusual


By Nation /Maker

Briggs – London


By Precious Metals




By Celebrity


“A cane twirled by silent film star Charlie Chaplin in movie Modern Times has been sold for £47,800 ($92,000) to a private US buyer at a London auction”



Factors Affecting



The price of a walking stick can start at a few pound to thousand of pounds, depending on the age, rarity of the cane, maker etc. In your collection objectives you have to determine what you are willing to pay for a stick and the monetary or aesthetic value, it will add to your collection in the longer term. Like any collection, many low quality canes will hold much less value than one good quality walking stick.




More and more people are collecting walking sticks and once a stick enters a collection it may be decades before it returns to the open market. Hence, good quality sticks are becoming more difficult to find. But depending on what you are looking for, there is sure to be something if you search. With the internet it is a global market for you to investigate.




A good collection can arrive in every price band. However, it is best to obtain a stick that is not totally battered, split or broken unless you are prepared to undertake or pay for the restoration.


Restoration can work out to be very expensive and may not add much value to the stick if common or low value. Some walking sticks are just beyond repair so avoid and keep your money for a walking stick that is in good condition.


However, do not forget old collector’s walking sticks should not be as new. There should be evidence of wear and tear, wear on the shaft, worn or replaced ferrules will show the stick holds a history and not a reproduction.





A good collection is based in part on doing your homework and getting to grips with the differing styles/ periods of walking sticks. For example if you are collecting silver walking sticks learn about silver and hallmarks.If you are collecting ivory canes, work to recognising different types of ivory and the age of ivory. As your knowledge grows you will be able to identify a good original walking cane against a poor and  possibly reproduction that has far less value or historical interest to add your collection.



These brief points should help you on your way to collecting walking sticks or any other collection .


So are you ready to start collecting?