The islands originally received their names from sailors who heard barking when they moored there, and assumed that they must be dogs. However, the barking noises were made by Caribbean monk seals. The sailors also regarded the Caribbean monk seal as a good source of fresh seal meat; as a result, they are now believed by scientists to be extinct.
The Dog Islands are situated about six mile north-east of the territory's largest island, Tortola, and about two and a half miles north-west of Virgin Gorda, at the mouth of the strait named Sir Francis Drake Channel. The coordinates of the main islet, Great Dog Island are 18°28′96″N and 64°27′70″W.
The uninhabited islets are of volcanic origin and have a total area of about 173 acres.
The group consist of 5 islets:
- Great Dog Island, main island, about 98 acres
- George Dog Island, about 15 acres
- West Dog Island, about 27 acres
There is a subgroup known as the Seal Dogs about two miles north east of Great Dog Island containing:
- East Seal Dog Island, about 2.2 acres and
- Little Seal Dog Island (mostly called 'West Seal Dog'), about 5.7 acres.
Lying to the west of George Dog is a small islet named Cockroach Island.
About the islands
Today the waters around the islets are a popular site for scuba diving.
West Seal Dog is now a BVI National Park.
- Location map: 18°29’17"N, 64°27’40"W
|The British Virgin Islands|
Anegada • Beef • Bellamy Cay • Buck • Carvel Rock • Cockroach • Cooper • Dead Chest • Diamond Cay • Dog Islands • East Seal Dog • Eustatia • Fallen Jerusalem • Frenchman's Cay • George Dog • Ginger • Great Camanoe • Great Dog • Great Thatch • Great Tobago • Green Cay • Guana • The Indians • Jost Van Dyke • Little Camanoe • Little Jost Van Dyke • Little Thatch • Little Tobago • Marina Cay • Mosquito • Nanny Cay • Necker • Norman • Old Jerusalem • Pelican • Peter • Prickly Pear • Round Rock • Saba Rock • Salt • Sandy Cay • Sandy Spit • Scrub • Tortola • Virgin Gorda • West Dog