A ship following the Dog Star

PS Sirius exhibition model (scale 1:96) and detail of the figurehead.

Select each image above to see a larger version.

This exhibition model of paddle steamer Sirius was made for the Merseyside Maritime Museum in the 1930s.

The original passenger and cargo ship was built in 1837, and the following year made history as the first ship to cross the Atlantic under steam power alone.

The figurehead is in the shape of a Newfoundland dog. They are working dogs, known to excel at water rescue because of their natural swimming abilities, water-resistant double coat, and powerful build.

The ship was named after Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, which also explains why the figurehead is a dog, since the star is sometimes referred to as the Dog Star. This is because the star is found in the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

  • Accession number 37.37