Topical Reference Page
Owney the dog with tags

Owney was a scruffy mutt who became a regular fixture at the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. His owner was likely a postal clerk who let the dog walk him to work. Owney began to ride with the bags on Railway Post Office (RPO) train cars across the state . . . and then the country! The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags from his stops on his collar.


Postal workers in Albany, New York’s post office became attached to Owney, a scruffy mutt, in the late 1880s.  Discover Owney, Mascot of the Railway Mail Service.

Illustration of Grandpa playing guitar and singing The Owney Song to Sam
Enjoy a musical telling of the Owney Story, sung by Trace Adkins and written by Stephen Michael Schwartz.

Related Blogs

Owney: Item #42

The museum keeps a permanent file for each donation or transfer of objects, called an accession file. The file for the 1911-12 transfer is identified with the unique accession number “52985.” Each item transferred through this accession is given an identifying index number. Owney’s full accession number is 52985.274. The original papers in the accession file identify Owney as item #42.

Postal Museum Launches Owney the Dog Curriculum

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has announced the development and release of new curriculum and supporting materials based on the museum’s beloved “Owney the Dog”

Meet the Owney the Dog Look-Alike Contest Winners

More than 70 dogs across the country lounged on mailbags, dressed up in letter carrier uniforms, and posed by mailboxes, competing to be Owney the Dog’s modern-day look-alike. 

Photographing Owney's Tags

As a Postal Museum follower, you may already be aware of Owney the dog and his notable relationship with the postal clerks of the late 1880’s. In case you aren’t, it is important to know that he spent most of his time riding trains and sleeping on mailbags, he was considered a good luck charm for the Postal Service workers, and he was given tags and medals to record his travels almost everywhere he went.

Object Search

Owney Collection Objects

Discover all the Owney objects in our collection, including the many tags and the souvenir spoon commissioned by a group of Cleveland, Ohio, postal clerks for Owney.

Related Content

Toy Owney the Dog For Sale at Museum Shop

Now you can buy an Owney! Approximate size is 12 x 6 x 6 inches. 
To order, please contact the Museum Shop.

Owney's Facebook Page

Owney shares photos, fun facts, answers questions, and more. Find out where Owney traveled on today's date in history. Many of Owney's posts are useful for classroom teachers.