Foo Dogs . . . . Up On A Roof

Foo Dog Pack
December 17, 2014 at 12:00 A.M.

Foo Dog. An ancient Asian custom to use these on rooftops and entry gates to protect occupants inside from evils.

These ferocious guard dogs come from a long pedigree, that interestingly can be found guarding homes in our modern-day neighborhoods. Just down the street from my house is a large pair of these sentries guarding the front of the home on the driveway.

A pair of Foo Dogs from Ingram Antiques, Charleston S.C.

The western term Foo Dog is really a cross between a dog and a lion and it is said having a pair of these dogs, provides protection, peace, harmony and goodness to the household within. I like them because they are just cool up on a roof. There are many colors and designs to be discovered perched high up on old rooftops. It does not surprise me that these dogs can be found in antique shops all around the world. When very old roofs are replaced collectors grab them as collectibles. I found this pair available to purchase in Charleston, South Carolina at Ingram Antiques . . . . give Kirsten a call if you are interested in adding them to your décor.

At sixteen inches tall they look awesome. Notice the way these ceramic dogs are attached to a barrel tile. It takes years of weathering to get that patina these foo dogs have. Some large buildings like the Temples of Asia have multiple styles of dogs and even packs of dogs to protect the owners.

Why would anyone have these Foo dogs on their roof? The brief history; Having a pair of Foo Dogs {Shisa} resembling a cross between a lion and a dog would ward off evil spirits if placed on a rooftop. Having both a male and female guardian dogs would benefit the household. The male, with one paw on a ball symbolizing the world, if his mouth was kept closed would keep bad out of the home and the female, with one paw on a baby cub, symbolizing taking care of the family inside, keeping her mouth open, would share the goodness. I have read variations of this but basically, having these dogs around is a good thing.

Foo Dogs Guardians of the Home

With roots in Buddhism, these dogs would be found only at imperial palaces or homes of high-ranking aristocrats. The more curls on the Foo Dogs mane the higher the official, the number thirteen being the highest number of curls. There is much symbolism that can be read about these guard dogs keeping watch from the rooftops. A Google search is well worth the time. Whether large or small these Foo Dogs have found an architectural presence in buildings found all over the world. Some variations in types of animals can be found like gargoyles, sea serpents, turtles and many other creatures. The story is the same as this creature all make the residents feel protected.

 

Have a question? AskARoofer HERE

Need a contractor?  Check out our list of Roofing Contractors HERE.

 

 



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