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The Dog Days of Summer

The sunny, sultry days of July and August are often referred to as the “dog days” of summer. Ancient civilizations noticed what they thought was a correlation between the hottest days of summer and the heliacal (or, at sunrise) rising of the star Sirius in the constellation known as Canis Major (the “Big Dog”). Although Sirius does not actually have an effect on the temperature, its heliacal rising does coincide with some of the hottest days of summer in many parts of the northern hemisphere. “Canicular days” (from the Latin word for dog) made their first appearance in print in English in 1398. The Old Farmer’s Almanac puts the timing of the Dog Days as July 3 through August 11.

As we sweat our way through the dog days of summer, here is a selection of dog images from our collections!

From the Photo Album of Laird C. Robinson of Philadelphia, 1904:

Photo: Man with hunting rifle and dog Photo: The Whole Family and the Dog

A watercolor painting of a puppy:

Watercolor painting of a puppy

Photograph, Nagasaki Dog:

Photograph: studio portrait of a small dog in Nagasaki

From the Photograph album of traveling theater companies and vaudeville acts in America, 1910-1921:

Photo: dog named Ditto, sitting up with paws in the air Photo: dog named Trouble, sitting up with paws in the airPhoto of woman with dog in her lapPhoto of woman kneeling next to a small dog named Trouble.Photo of woman and dog staring at each otherPhoto of woman holding up a small dog on her shoulder

From the Photograph album of the Oxford Trio, vaudeville act travelling America in 1914-1916:

Photo of a dog hitched to a cart holding two men and pushing it from behind

From Landseer’s Dogs and Their Stories by Sarah Tytler … with six chromographs after paintings by Sir Edwin Landseer:

A large dog and a small dog looking out of a dog house. A large dog sitting next to a table.

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Last Modified: July 27, 2016

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