5 Ways Dogs are Like Reindeer

Could History Reveal Commonalities?

With the holiday season upon us some pet owners are inspired to include family pets in the festivities, often—we gather, based on the amount of photos we’ve seen—dressing up dogs as reindeer (much to their delight, we’re sure).

So, we wondered: Could dogs have anything in common with reindeer besides the (fake) antlers we prop on their heads for a cute photo opp? We did some digging…


Magura cave art

1. Dogs and Reindeer Featured in Cave Art

Both dogs and reindeer are featured in cave art dating back thousands of years. For instance, the Spanish cave, Cueva de las Monedas, depicts dogs and reindeer on its walls.

Experts estimate the drawings date back to the Ice Age.

Magura, France’s Paleolithic cave, also features drawings of dogs and reindeer, dating back at least 15,000 years. What does that tell us? Dogs and reindeer have been around for a long time.


Domesticated reindeer

2. Dog and Reindeer Domestication

Both dogs and reindeer are some of the earliest animals to be domesticated.

Experts believe dogs were domesticated roughly 12,000 years ago; reindeer possibly 8,000 years ago. People used both species as working animals.



3. Dogs and Reindeer Adapt to Cold Weather

Furry reindeer

Have you ever noticed that your dog’s fur gets thick and fuzzy during colder seasons? So does reindeer fur!

Both species adapt to cold temperatures by growing extra hair, especially around the muzzle, to reduce heat loss while out in the elements.



4. Dogs and Reindeer Share Physical Skills

Reindeer swimming

Most dogs are excellent swimmers and many also possess ninja-like jumping skills. Guess what? So do reindeer! Reindeer are adept at swimming and known to jump to high heights.

Which means if you owned a reindeer you might catch it taking a dip in the backyard pool or worry about it practicing escape artist moves over the back fence.



5. Dogs and Reindeer Pull Sleds

Reindeer and sled

The Grinch trained his little dog, Max, to pull a sleigh up and down the cliffs of Whoville. Real dogs do it, too.

Best known sled dogs include Alaskan malamutes, Siberian huskies and huskies. Of course, reindeer will go down in history as the most famous sled-pullers of all.