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The most common shutter dog used on exterior shutters is the “S” scroll.

The scroll shape, a volute, has been used in architecture for thousands of years. Found on the capitals of Ionic and Corinthian columns, scrolls are a comforting contour that nature creates all by herself in fiddlehead ferns, snails, seashells, and in flowers as the petals unfurl into bloom. Maybe it’s this natural subtle sliding (twisting) form that prompted someone long ago to carve them into architectural features including stair rails and in string instruments such as the top of a violin and cello.

Scroll, or “S” curve, shutter dogs have been made for over two hundred years. Hot Iron shaped in two spirals, one reversed mirroring another forming the common “S” design, was an easy to make item for a blacksmith. However, I do understand that it used to be The Blacksmiths Test of readiness since it was only easy for a good blacksmith to make the repetitive “S” shapes that would match.

Eventually casting and stamping steel replaced the Old World Blacksmith’s hand forged “S” curve leading to the number of variations available today.

We sell a half a dozen “off the shelf” cast, stamped steel and cut steel type. While these shutter dogs all share the common “S” shape, the differences in each are in appearance and material :

s-curve shutter dogs

Below are close-up pictures of each ot the shutter dogs shown above, listed from left to right. All of the shutter dogs below except the first one ( HE7-201 ) are fully functional. The plastic shutter dog is the only design that is for decorative uses only.

plastic s-curved shutter dogs
Item Code : HE7-201Material : Exterior Grade Plastic
Size : 2.1/2″ x 6.7/8″
Price : $9.99 / pair

Made In Pennsylvania, USA

cast iron s-curve shutter dogs with hammered edges
Item Code : HE3-254Material : Cast Iron w/ zinc phosphate and black powder coat
Size : 2.3/4″ x 6.3/4″
Price : $18 / pair

Made In Taiwan, ROC

cast iron s-curved shutter dogs with smooth beveled edges
Item Code : HE3-257Material : Cast Iron w/ zinc phosphate and black powder coat
Size : 2.5/8″ x 6.3/4″
Price : $18 / pair

Made In Taiwan, ROC

stainless steel s-curve shutter dogs
Item Code : HE6-409Material : 304 grade Stainless Steel w/ black powder coat
Size : 2.1/2″ x 6.7/8″
Price : $34 / pair

Made In China

stainless steel floral s-curve shutter dogs
Item Code : HE1-851Material : 304 grade Stainless Steel w/ black powder coat
Size : 2.1/2″ x 7″
Price : $22 / pair

Made In Pennsylvania, USA

If an S-design is not for your home’s style or even your personal preference we offer many other shutter dog designs to choose from – Thirty-seven shutter dogs in all !

A naturally beautiful and renewable choice- Wood shutters and doors by

Kestrel Shutters & Doors, Inc.   1-800-494-4321 /

A hoKestrel Exterior Shutter Doguse with functional wood shutters but lacking shutter dogs is like a kite without a string. Without this type of exterior hardware a louvered or panelled shutter will swing freely banging against the outside wall and window.  There is also the possibility of the shutter taking flight with a sudden gust of wind!  To avoid all of this from happening a home needs a good dog, that is, a shutter dog.

“Dog” is an Old English word that means “a simple mechanical fastener”, a “Shutter-Dog” is a simple mechanism to tieback a shutter.

On many old farm houses and even on newer homes you just might find exterior shutter dogs positioned differently then the original intended design.  Just by looking at the shutter dogs pivot point it is easy to see that one side is larger or longer then the other.  The heavier end is designed to hang downward. *The Federal Shell Long-Arm style shutter dog in the picture below is up-side-down.

We often will see S-Curve shutter dogs intalled upside down.  One curve is definitely longer then the other which will naturally want to “fall” to the bottom because it is heavier. *The S-curve shutter dogs in this picture to the right are installed correctly.

How do most bottom mount shutter dogs work? The top end of the shutter dog comes in contact with the bottom of the shutter panel as a stop keeping the panel leaf held against the wall.  By manually rotating the shutter dog up to 90 degrees the stop tips over and out of the way allowing the shutter to pass by in order to open or close.  Once the dog is released it is designed to swing back into its balanced position on its own or with a nudge.  It’s a neat and simple design that extends to being a very decorative element found in a variety of cast and wrought iron patterns.

Installed upside-down, right-side up, and even sideways a Shutter Dog will still satisfy its purpose just as well by making an exterior shutter sit and stay.  Good Dog.

>Shop Now for Shutter Dogs

Shutter Dog TM - Original artwork by author

A naturally beautiful and renewable choice – Wood shutters and doors by

Kestrel Shutters & Doors, Inc. 1-800-494-4321 /

For years we have offered a variety of standard S-curve shape shutter dogs, a.k.a. shutter tiebacks, in several materials including an imported cast iron variety.  This very popular cast iron version has a scalloped edge.  Now, we have a cast iron scroll with a smooth edge.  Simple but very elegant. Just $18.00 a pair! Item: HE3-257

S-curve Shutter Dog with Smooth Edges

Kestrel Shutters & Doors

A naturally beautiful and renewable choice – Wood shutters and doors by

Kestrel Shutters & Doors, Inc. 1-800-494-4321 /

In my last post, “Finding a Wood Shutter”, I included this picture as shown. While it is a beautiful picture of Kestrel European Board and Batten Shutters with a breadboard top, I noted that there is something wrong with the hardware installation. It will be easier to see if you imagine the shutters closing over the window.

For starters some of the slidebolts were installed on the wrong sides. This is the hardware that is located in the middle of the shutters. When the shutters are closed, the bolt on one shutter slides into the catch on the ajoining shutter to securely lock the shutters closed. The slide bolts would need to be mounted to the outer side of the shutter, not to the inside next to the window as shown on the right in this picture.

The other error that we noticed in looking at this picture is that the shutter dogs, also known as tiebacks, were installed a bit unusual. Most shutter dogs are typically designed to be mounted below the bottom outer corner of the shutter in order to hold the shutter steadfast against the wall. Shutter dogs have a “weighted” or heavier bottom side to allow the piece to stay in an upright position to hold the shutter in positon. These shutter dogs were installed on the vertical sides instead. While the shutter dogs may not function properly if mounted this way, it can still be aestically pleasing. Keep in mind though, that we do have offset shutter dogs available which are designed and weighted for side mount installations.

Kestrel Shutters & Doors

A naturally beautiful and renewable choice – Wood shutters and doors by

Kestrel Shutters & Doors, Inc. 1-800-494-4321 /

This is a very common question and one where the answer really depends on how you plan to use your shutters. Will you be closing them daily to help insulate your home or only for the next hurricane? Maybe your shutters will be strictly decorative.

As a general rule of thumb there are two reasons why you will need hardware for your shutters. One is that you need the shutters to function and the other is that you simply want your shutters to look like they function.

Exterior shutter hardware is broken down in to 4 types of pieces: hinges, shutter dogs, security and pulls. Even if you need, or want, exterior shutter hardware you may not need all the different pieces.

Hinges: These would be needed when you want to be able to open and close the shutters, or easily remove the shutters from the house. These include both surface mounted strap hinges and edge mortised hinges. One big benefit of using hinges, even if the shutters are just for show, is that they will hold the shutters at an angle to the house which is traditional. One of the biggest mistakes people make when installing shutters is to fix them flat against the face of the house. A working shutter, on hinges, would always be sticking out along the window side by an inch or more.

Shutters Dogs: Also called “shutter holdbacks”, “shutter stops” and “shutter ties”. These are used to hold the shutters open against the face of the house. If you plan to open and close your shutters these are a must. They are available in many different styles including the most commonly found S-curve shape as well as whimsical dolphins, traditional English rat tails and a Little French Girl design. Even if you do not plan to use your shutters you should consider using shutter dogs. It is a simple way to add a decorative touch while giving the appearance of working shutters.

Security: If you are going to close your shutters for storm protection, or for security, you will need a way to keep them closed. There are a few ways to do this. The most common in the United States is a slide bolt. In Europe you will find cremone bolts used to lock shutters. Both of these are decorative and functional. Another more rustic option are the bar staples which are heavy pieces of steel that hold a 2 x 4 to secure the shutters.

Ring Pulls: These are small rings, mounted to the outer edge of the shutters, used to make it easier for the homeowner to pull the shutters closed from inside the house. If you plan to close your shutters often this is definitely something to consider.

So if your shutters will be fully functioning you will need hinges, shutter dogs and something to secure the shutters when closed. Depending on how often you will close your shutters you could optionally add ring pulls. If the shutters are only for decoration then which pieces of hardware to add is purely a matter of personal preference.

Kestrel Shutters & Doors

A naturally beautiful and renewable choice – Wood shutters and doors by

Kestrel Shutters & Doors, Inc. 1-800-494-4321 /