People loved having photographs of their children made. The children often wanted the family pet in the portrait. This was a little complicated when the portarits were taken in the photographic studio. Still some were taken and they may be useful in identifying who is who in 19th century portraits. Cats were probably more common for girls and dogs for boys, but this was in no way a strict rule. With the advent of the Kodal Brownie at the turn of the 20th century and family snap shots there was an explosion of photographs of children with the beloved family pet. This appears to have been a common trend througout Europe and America. Often these images show the family home as well. Of course the children's clothes change over time, but the pets look the same--although people's preferences toward pets do change.
Pets ahave been enjoyed by the entire family. Many families afforded their pets an important place in family. Disgracefully some families treat their pets terribly. But most families take great care with their pets. People loved having photographs of their children made. The children often wanted the family pet in the portrait. This was a little complicated when the portarits were taken in the photographic studio. This changed with Kodak Browine made it possible for the averahe person to easily take snapshots. We thus begin to see images like the Shaefer family pets. We also note many drawings, often rather sentimentally done, rendering family pets. Here it is usually dogs that are depicted.
Children have had many different types of animals as pets. The two favorite pets are of course cats and dogs. The tabby cat seems a standard for children. There are of course many different breeds, but we note that the basic tabby is usually the cat pictured with children. Dogs have come in many different breeds and we see children with virtually every different breed as wellmas the standard mutt. While cats and dogs predominate as pets, we see many other pets that children have enjoyed. Guinnea pigs are popular pets for younger children who parents may not think are ready for the responsibility of larger pets. Or parents who live in apartments or other circumstances that make keeping pets difficult. Farm children of course of much greater lattitude for keeping a wide range of pets.
Photography for most of the 19th century was studio bound. For photographyto move out of the studio and be available to ordinary people, it was clear that a dry method was required. Many experts contributed to this, but it was not until George Eastman released the "Brownie," in 1900 that amateur photograpy became a real possibility for virtually everyone and snap shots began to reveal the everyday lives of people. This was a major development and explains why so many photographic images begin appearing in 1900 of
everyday people in all kinds of dressy and informal outfits going about their lives. Snap shots began to appear in the 1890s with the introduction of the box camera, but it was the low-cost Brownie in 1900 that caused the snap shot to become an integral part of everyday life.
This appears to have been a common trend througout Europe and America. There were national differences concerning family pets, but we are just beginning to develop information on this topic. The popularity of pets and children leave us with a wealth of images to chronicle changing fashion trends. Often these images also show the family home as well. Of course the children's clothes change over time, but the pets look the same--although people's preferences toward pets do change. Of course the animals native to a specific country also affect the animals that are popular to keep as pets. While cats and dogs are common in most countries, attitudes toward animals change around the world as do the loval fauna.
Children's literature is full of pets. Yhis is especially true of American and Britisjh literature. This may be true of other countries, but our information is still limited. The most famous pet is probably Lassie. He was originally depicted in a book, bit there have been major movie and TV productions. Rin-tin-tin was once also very well kjnown, but has since been rather forgotten. The comic strips tend to associate dogs with boys: Buster Brown (Tigre), Charlie Brown (Snoopy), and Dennis the Menace (Ruff). We can think of fewer cats, but of course there is Mary ??? (Thomasina). There are exceptions of course such as Dorthy (Toto). Pet mice and rats.Mischievious boys have a mouse or two in their pocket and this causes mayham when it escapes. Rats are the preferred pet of naughty boys in horror stories. There was a story once about a boy with psychic powers he was the god of the rats that had attacked a community! Owls rats and cats in Harry Potter. Northern Light. Its the pet daemon that is attached to you that is your pet and guardian. Railway children a pet dog that runs away. Enid Blyton Georgian has a pet dog called Timmy. Dragon's are the friends of nice little boys who have relationship problems. Pete's Dragon The boy who is bullied in Never Enfding Story rides a dragon. There is a film from the 1950\s about a boy who finds a dragon but I do not know its title.
Dolphins in Free Willy. A Baby Joey (kangaroo) in Skippy.
Elephant Boy The 1934 Korda film had an Indian boy actor Saboo playing the boy who loved elephants. Jungle book Mowgli talks to them all. He's ver friendly with a bear called Baloo.
Tarzon liked Wolves they brought him up.
All children like animals. Pets are thus often held by boys and girls. Girls might be more likely to hold a cat and boys more likely to hold a dog. One researcher reports that she had heard that during the Victorian era, boys were generally given puppies as pets and girls kittens, but neither she nor HBC has any written evidence substantiating this. Certainly this was an issue that must have ben addressed by some of those advise books and eomen's magazines that were o popular in the 19th century. Children's literature does seem to make this connection. HBC has noted that in the old photographs that we have noted, that dogs are more common with boys and girls with cats. This is certainly not a perfect indicator, but as a general rule, we believe that it does tend to be the case. We note, however, that there are many complications including country differences an chronological trends as well as other factors. The ease of handling dogs as compared with cats may affect how common portraits were--especially the older photographs taken in studios.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to Main home activities page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]