The Sand Dog Sculpture – Update on Fake Claims

26 February 2016 · 22 comments

in Art & Music Outdoors, Early Years Outdoors, Urban

Post image for The Sand Dog Sculpture – Update on Fake Claims

Back in 2102 I blogged about the sand dog sculpture below. I was genuinely delighted at the ingenuity of the person who was creating a dog from a small bag of sand.

In the years that followed I’ve received numerous enquiries from people about whether these dogs are fake – whether it’s a scam. I wasn’t able to publish all posts as some varied from being vaguely racist to down and outright rude about immigrants. I’ve even had a national radio station make a formal enquiry. Who would have thought that such an innocent subject could cause so much controversy.

Anyway this week I was in Edinburgh and to my delight there was a sand dog sculpture. As you can see from the photo, the dog is only just beginning to be made. It is clearly NOT A FAKE!  Furthermore the person who was creating the dog insisted that I didn’t give him a donation but requested that I gave it to a homeless person further down the street. He also let me poke and prod the half-made dog. It was sand all the way through.

Now, to also debunk any more myths. This is February and the temperatures are below freezing. So four hours later I walk past the same place and a different person is now making the sand sculpture. Look closely. The dog is completely different.  Different person, different dog, same place. Common sense says that shift work will happen. I hope all involved got a hot cup of coffee.

Sand dog 2 Feb 16

I hope this ends the debate. I will continue to keep a look out and post photos. Why dogs? My conclusion is that they are the equivalent of snowmen. Everyone builds snowmen from snow. Dogs are easier to sculpt from sand.


Recently I passed a guy in the street. He had a bag of sand, a bottle of water, an old rag and three different sized paint brushes laid out on a piece of material…

Armed with these materials he set about making this sand sculpture. It reminded me, once again, that it’s perfectly possible to make do with only a little sand.

And that it can be an interesting and absorbing medium for children and young people of all ages.

And that you can wrap a little sand up, transport it and use it in any wee space.

What would you create with a bag of sand?


Sand Dog Watch – Update 2017

I was in London, January 2017 and happened to be passing this sand dog. Again, I was allowed to touch it, prod it and so on. It is sand. It is different to the other dogs I have seen. I am yet to find a fake dog.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share the knowledge...

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon April 4, 2014 at 19:53

Did you see him making it?

We have two people doing this in our town. I’ve come to the conclusion they are fake. Was impressed one day as only saw one of the guys but he was only touching it up, then the next day saw two of them, one down each end of the street. The dogs looked pretty much the same from the day before and you never see them fully build it. You only see them brushing it, pretending to touch it up. Pretty sure if you watch them when they leave, they are ready made models.



Juliet Robertson April 6, 2014 at 21:47

Thanks Jon

That’s a really interesting comment. I can’t remember and I’ve checked my photos to see if I took “before” and “after” photos – I didn’t. This was in Chester – North England.

So perhaps other visitors to this blog post can tell us now… “Sand Dog Watch!”

Best wishes


Juliet Robertson April 9, 2014 at 17:51

This came up as a topic for discussion on Facebook. I did some more online digging and found this article…

I don’t think it’s a fake – I think it’s the same guy travelling around the UK doing sand dogs as they are all slightly different.

If anyone does see Stan the Sand Dog man, perhaps you could ask nicely if you could carefully poke a hole in its back – then send me the photo to confirm it’s sand all the way through. 🙂


Chester Angel March 20, 2016 at 17:37

Im in Chester and have seen a sand man take a dog mould out of his bag and just place it on the mat on the floor, he just pretends to touch it up all day. Sad but true I’m afraid.

If you notice it is always the same dog, always the same position and always looks exactly the same.

I know there are genuine sculptors out there, but the one I seen in Chester is not one of them.


Juliet Robertson March 20, 2016 at 19:13

Thanks for this comment – I can’t find a sand dog mould online to purchase… any idea where or how to get hold of one?


Joe October 27, 2014 at 20:05

I’ve watched from start to finish and they definitely aren’t fake but it’s funny how people believe that just because they’re on the street! 🙂


Juliet Robertson October 27, 2014 at 20:13

Oh how helpful to know! Thanks Joe for your eye-witness account!


Tony November 1, 2014 at 11:01

I’m not saying they are faked BUT I’ve seen them all over the country and the dogs all look like they come from the same litter 🙂


Juliet Robertson November 1, 2014 at 20:12

Oh clever comment, Tony! Now I’m going to have to have a closer look, AGAIN!


Linda April 3, 2015 at 20:53

They are fakes, it’s a conspiracy!


Juliet Robertson April 4, 2015 at 22:50

Thanks Linda. I may have to try making one on a beach. My other thought is perhaps it’s quite an easy sculpture to make so perhaps that’s why so many are seen.


Gary Porter April 27, 2015 at 21:02

Two observations based on 3 experiences in three different UK cities.

1. The artists were diffetent people. The dogs were the same as the one in the photo and were all having “finishing touches” applied.

2. Despite the fact that three different people are all (coincidentally) adept at producing a dog, there is no evidence they have ever done any other kind of sculpture.

I have concluded it’s a scam.


Jon May 2, 2015 at 00:29

Back to this again because they are back in town with the same scam, yet again.

Annoyingly I can’t find it now but others have seen them setting up in the morning elsewhere and they were ready made models.


Juliet@CreativeSTAR May 2, 2015 at 08:13

Thanks again Jon. I found this article which also seems to support your argument


Kit June 9, 2015 at 08:04

There were two people making sand sculptures of dogs in Glasgow yesterday. Both were completed, with a little pile of sand nearby, both were applying finishing touches to the dogs as if it was part of the process. One of them was still there applying finishing touches to the dog when I walked back home at the end of the day. I don’t doubt that there are one or two people out there making real sculptures but I suspect the vast majority aren’t.


Juliet Robertson June 9, 2015 at 08:54

Thanks for your comment Kit. I think you are probably right – some sand dogs are genuine start ups and then clearly some that are not made from scratch.


John June 21, 2015 at 19:02

early morning before theres many people around, they quickly put a model on the floor and throw a bag of sand over it, so it looks like a pile of sand, then wait til it starts getting busy, then they get a brush and a few tools and start brushing the surplass off it.



Juliet Robertson June 22, 2015 at 05:15

Thanks John – have you seen this actually happen early in the morning? I haven’t – but then I’ve only ever seen one sand dog – the one in my photo.


Darren December 12, 2015 at 11:01

I’ve seen a few of these in various towns, but never seen them in any state other than complete and being touched up. From a practical point of view, the volume of sand that would be needed to make a sculpture of this size is not inconsiderable. I certainly wouldn’t like to carry it any kind of distance!


Sam February 27, 2016 at 04:26

I haven’t seen any of these buskers. Perhaps they haven’t spread to Australia yet. We did, however, see some very impressive larger sand sculptures at the Hawkesbury International Sand Sculpting Championship. From what I can remember, they use a special kind of sand with grains that are more cuboid than beach sand. They pack it all into a box with frequent additions of water, and sculpt it using techniques like those used for ice sculpture or wood carving. The artists in the competition have about a week to create their sculptures. One year when we visited, sadly, many of the sculptures had been vandalised. I’m not sure if it was running last Christmas.


Juliet@CreativeSTAR February 29, 2016 at 08:51

Hi Sam

The link you have added is amazing. It takes sand sculpting to a new level. Thanks so much for your comment.


davidlittle December 20, 2016 at 17:29

these highly skilled migrants contribute to british society so much with these wonderful sand dogs…they are also fantastic big issue sellers…im a remainer.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: