Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to Make a Dog Snow Sculpture

By Tamara McRill

What snowman would be complete without his own snowdog? It seems only fair to provide them with a little frosty canine companionship. At least that’s what I always thought in college, when I would leave little snow families, including pet snow sculptures, all over the campus.

I graduated to making bigger dog snow sculptures when I had a yard to call my own again. It can be really cute introducing your pet to their frozen doppelganger!  I’ve had dogs get excited, bark at, lick and rub up against these snowdogs.

Thinking my fellow dog lovers and CANIDAE RPO readers would also like to have a go at a dog snow sculpture, I thought I’d share how to build one:

Lying Down Snowdog

Although there is a little more sculpting involved in making a sculpture of a dog lounging in the snow, it’s actually a little bit easier than building a standing dog. This is because the base of your sculpture rests entirely on the ground. Here are the steps for the body, hind legs and tail:

1. Make a mound of snow, slightly curved in the back, as long and wide as you want your snowdog to be.

2. The mound should be shaped and packed down to be narrower at the front, which would be the neck, and wider where it curves in a bit at the back, which would be the dog’s hind end. Make sure the center bulges out just a teensy bit, to represent the belly.

3.  For the hind legs, start with a thin packed roll of snow about half the length of the body.

4. Place this roll alongside the back end of your snowdog, sticking out an inch or two from the back.

5. Above the back leg, pack on a half circle of extra snow to form the upper thigh. You’ll want this to look connected to the back of the leg, but defined with a groove from the rest of the leg and top of the dog body.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 on the other side of your snow sculpture to make the other back leg.

7. The tail should start wider at the base of the hind end. You can either make a roll of snow or just shape it by packing snow on the ground. It should curve around the front and end in a point.

To make the head and front legs:

1. Make a snowball the size you want your snowdog’s skull to be.

2. Place the snowball at the base of the neck, just barely turned inwards.

3. Pack a little bit of snow around the seam between the skull and neck, to make the head look more natural.

4. Make a smaller, more oblong snowball to form the dog’s muzzle.

5. Place the muzzle in front of the skull, also slanted slightly inward and smoothing out the seam to look more natural.

6. Use black rocks or charcoal to put in the eyes and nose.

7. For the ears, either put two pointed triangles of snow on top of the dog’s head for perky ears or form flattened snowballs of the sides of the head for floppy ears. (You can also use leaves.)

8. Make two rolls of snow for the front legs, about ¼ longer than the dog’s head.

9. Place each leg on either side of the head, starting at the neck. They should extend just a bit past the nose.

Sitting Snowdog

If you want your dog snow sculpture to sit up like a good girl, then you will have to make the body a bit differently. You’ll start out by stacking three balls of snow, like a regular snowman, but the front sides of the balls should be even, instead of centered. This will be your neck and body. Then:

1. Pack snow all around the neck and body to smooth out the dog’s form. The neck should be formed straight up, but the body should gently widen as it goes towards the bottom.

2. Starting below the front of the neck, carve out two front legs. (Basically two vertical poles with a groove carved out in between for the chest.) The outside edges of the legs shouldn’t be any wider than the neck.

3. Shape back legs and feet from the outer edges of the bottom layer of your snowdog. The feet should point forward.

4. Make a snowball larger than the neck to form the dog’s head.

5. Place it on the neck and pack in a little snow at the joint to secure it.

6. Form the head so the back flows into the neck, but the muzzle sticks out from the front.

7. Use black rocks or charcoal to put in the eyes and nose.

8. For the ears, either put two pointed triangles of snow on top of the dog’s head for perky ears or form flattened snowballs of the sides of the head for floppy ears. (You can also use leaves.)

9. Make the tail like the “Lying Down Snowdog” or just shape a point sticking up from the hind end.

Standing Snowdog

Making a standing canine snow sculpture is a little bit harder, since your entire base isn’t on the ground. But that doesn’t mean it’s too difficult for beginners, if you don’t worry too much about sculpting the legs. Here’s how:

1. Make four small snowballs of the same size.

2. Place these evenly, where you want your snowdog’s legs to be.

3. Roll two large snowballs (to make the body).

4. Balance the first snowball on the front legs and the second snowball on the back legs.

5. Pack snow in the seam between the two body snowballs and shape.

6. Use the steps above for “Sitting Snowdog” to make the head, facial features and tail.

Snowdog Accessories 

My favorite part of making a dog snow sculpture is accessorizing. Sometimes I use a collar around the neck, other times a cute scarf. If you are making a huge snowdog, a leash works well as a collar. For more life-sized sculptures, you can also use a leash so your snowman can “walk” your snowdog.

It’s also fun to put something in the mouth of your snowdog. Like a stick, CANIDAE dog treat, toy or ball – anything that adds a bit of playfulness and personality.

Have you ever made a dog snow sculpture?

Top photo by Out.of.Focus
Middle: Jason Bolonski
Bottom: Andrew Bowden

Read more articles by Tamara McRill


  1. These were GRRRRRREAT... BUTT we prefer to see them from the WARMTH of our HOUSE..

  2. Ooh, a snow dog AND a snow cat..I'm happy! I think I'll make Mom Julie go out and see if she'll walk one..I mean make one..and walk it, too!

  3. Hay cool snow dog i'm hopping to do one tomorrow in england


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