Monday Morning Brief | Mail carried by dogs

May 2, 2021, 5 PM

As part of a series focusing on mail delivery and transportation, Scott catalog senior editor Tim Hodge discusses mail carried by dogs pulling mail boats, sleds and carts.

Full Video Transcript:

Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for February 5th. My name is Tim Hodge. Continuing the series on methods of mail transport, today I will be looking at postal dogs. Not dogs like Owney who accompanied the mail, but dogs that actually carried the mail.

Messenger dogs have been used for millennia, while the ancient Greeks occasionally used dogs, the Celts used messenger dogs extensively.

Between the 1825 and 1925, dog teams were used to pull Siberian mail boats upstream along the Yenisei River. Dog sleds were a common mode of mail transport throughout Siberia, Japan, North America south to the Great Lakes, Greenland, Iceland, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Antarctica.

Postal carts pulled by Belgian Malinois or Airedales operated as late as the 1920s, throughout rural Belgium and Holland. France used Saint Bernards into the 1950s to pull postal carts. Even in Great Britain, a few towns in the Sussex seaside used postal cart dogs at the end of the 19th century.

More recently, dogs have been used for commemorative mail routes and even a local post. As we come into the Year of the Dog, we can look back at how much man’s best friend has assisted in the timely delivery of mail.

Thank you and have a wonderful day.