shutter dogs

7.7 Fake shutters don’t need shutter dogs

7.7.USA-2-detial-c Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

We can rethink operable shutters.

Old houses are often loaded with design innovations that come to life on close inspection. These are “shutter dogs” in the upper right, where the metal part above the pivot holds open the shutter against the wall. The lower corner drawing shows the cross section of the dog if you were looking at it from right next to the wall. I like shutter dogs, and I dislike fake shutters that are nailed, screwed, or glued on the side of someone’s house. Real shutters feel more substantial when they can swing back and forth with ease and, most important, when they have the functionality to close to protect your house.

For more on shutter dogs see:


Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to widows and shutters through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on functioning design elements, we hope that you enjoy exploring You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as shutter dogs.

This description is one of many examples of the learning benefits for children that come from pausing to learn from looking at something as common as window shutters to find the rare shutter dogs. If you are a parent or grandparent of grade school children, you may enjoy reading more in the Learn from Looking book about ways to inspire children to take some time away from the ubiquitous screens that often dominate the hours of their days. Looking for shutter dogs and the difference between real and fake shutters on a walk or drive around the neighborhood or on errands or road trips, may help heighten the kids’ power of observation and overall curiosity to look more carefully at details in the world around them.

Note that many suburban houses have “S” shaped shutter dogs that were originally intended to rotate sideways to release the shutter. Many of these shutters appear to be operable, but they are actually fixed in place. In some cases, you will see that the horizontal width of the “fake” shutters does not add up to the width of the window. This is the case for many bay windows or larger windows where the shutters are for aesthetic purposes and the “S’ shutter dogs are equally just ornamental.


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