Zoo Attractions

Some dogs who survived the ice lived out their days in the relative comfort of New Zealand zoo enclosures.

Osman in Antarctica. Canterbury Museum 1975.289.400. No known copyright restrictions

Osman’s dog collar. Canterbury Museum 1967.108.1

Collar used by Osman, a sledge dog on Scott's Terra Nova expedition

Osman the Great

Osman led an adventurous life on the Terra Nova expedition. During a storm on the journey south in 1910, a wave swept him overboard and the next wave brought him back. Captain Scott then referred to him as “our best sledge dog”. Osman had another brush with death when a team he was leading fell into a crevasse.

He returned to New Zealand in 1913 and settled with the Charters family in Christchurch. Three years later, he was presented to Wellington Zoo. Newspapers reported the arrival of Osman the Great to the zoo.

Read more about Osman in this blog post.

Taxidermied husky dog Topsy

Topsy. Canterbury Museum 1976.233.1

From Zoo to Museum

Topsy was born in Wellington Zoo on 8 November 1966. Her father was probably Porridge, a dog from the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Like many Antarctic sledge dogs before him, he was given to Wellington Zoo when his expedition returned to New Zealand.

Considered more like a wolf than a dog, sledge dogs were great curiosities for zoo visitors. Topsy died in Wellington on 31 May 1976 and the zoo donated her body to Canterbury Museum. When taxidermied, she was given a snarling expression that fitted the fierce reputation of her breed.