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The answer can be found in historical reference relating to the Industrial Revolution and the core industrial production within towns and cities of England.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 industrialisation 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!