Homemade entertainment has been a big part of our lives recently, as we have hunkered down with family, flat-mates, lovers – and pets. We’ve all seen those videos and images on social media of dogs doing amazing tricks with random things around the home – such as balancing boxes of eggs or piles of doughnuts on their noses. As a tribute to these clever lockdown buddies, here are five sculptures of balancing dogs (who knew that was even a genre?!).

5 artworks
  • Dog Performing Head Stands

    Bet your dog can’t do this! There is something wonderfully joyous about this sculpture. On first glance it looks like a tree or an abstract shape – and then you realise it’s a dog standing on its head, (probably for no other reason than because it feels like it).

    Artist Marjan Wouda uses animals like characters in a dream or story to explore and give expression to the human experience.

    Dog Performing Head Stands
    Marjan Wouda (b.1960)
    H 6.8 cm
    Bury Art Museum
    Dog Performing Head Stands
    © the artist. Image credit: Bury Art Museum

  • Architectonic Bitch

    Taking multi-tasking to new levels – not only is this bull terrier balancing precariously, she is ALSO determinedly hanging on to a circular ring in her mouth.

    This realistically modelled sculpture is testament to the dogged (no pun intended!), uncompromising nature of the terrier. Artist David Annand describes his sculptures as ‘dealing with vitality, balance, gravity and irony.’

    Architectonic Bitch
    David Annand (b.1948)
    Bronze resin, brass & wood
    H 135 x W 97 x D 48 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Architectonic Bitch
    © the artist. Image credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Deerhound Hall Table

    How about pulling a chair up here to eat your beans-on-toast!

    Made in 1855, the corners of this magnificent table are balanced on four life-size deerhounds. They sit on their haunches looking up adoringly – perhaps hoping for a few tasty tidbits from dinner. If you look closely you can see that the noses of the dogs look tarnished where generations of hands have patted them.

    It may not be the most practical piece of furniture, but just imagine…

    Deerhound Hall Table 1855
    John Bell (1811–1895)
    Cast iron
    H 105.7 x W 190 x D 133 cm
    Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
    Deerhound Hall Table
    Image credit: Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

  • Dog and Dog's Dinner

    Check out the admirable self-control (as well as balancing prowess) of this fellow! (It’s not entirely clear whether the dog is waiting for its dinner – or the bird IS the dinner – what do you think?)

    Artist Sue Whimster started making clay animals while looking after her young family. She was inspired by illustrations from children's books, nursery rhymes, trips to London Zoo and walks in her local park.

    Dog and Dog's Dinner c.1990–1995
    Sue Whimster (b.1948)
    Unglazed pottery
    H 18 x W 23 x D 10 cm
    Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)
    Dog and Dog's Dinner
    © the artist. Image credit: Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

  • Model of a Dog

    OK, so balancing on haunches isn’t the cleverest trick in the dog world – but managing to stay balanced while people flock to pet you (which with this fur must inevitably be a problem), is impressive.

    Made from terracotta clay, Joseph Gott has individually modelled the curls of fur creating texture and a real sense of the tousled mop of this dog’s coat.

    Model of a Dog
    Joseph Gott (1785–1860)
    H 7.8 x W 7 x D 9.5 cm
    Model of a Dog
    Image credit: Hospitalfield