What kid of the 1980’s doesn’t remember wanting to adopt the adorable, lovable Pound Puppies? They were cute, cuddly and they needed a loving home! It was the next best thing when mom and dad said no to a real puppy. These soft, easy-to-care for pets were on everyone’s Christmas list at the time.
A Little Puppy History
Original Pound Puppies® first hit the shelves and hearts of many eager kids in 1984. This innovative yet simple plush toy was created by Mike Bowling of Cincinnati Ohio, an entrepreneur and dreamer with determination. He worked on an assembly line for Ford Automotive for 18 years. The idea for Pound Puppies came to him when he watched how his daughter loved and showed off her new doll. He realized people love their kids and their pets and after thinking about his childhood dogs who he had adopted from the pound, the Pound Puppies idea came to life. He decided that a new best friend in the form of a plush dog was an idea worth pursuing.
It wasn’t an easy start for Mike Bowling, not having any experience in the toy industry but persistence paid off. After being rejected by many companies, he decided to seek help from an intellectual property lawyer who helped him trademark the Pound Puppies name. This proved to be a very smart step. Another smart and gutsy thing he did was to write a letter directly to the famous Hanna-Barbera company describing his Pound Puppies and how he thought it would make a great cartoon. Amazingly he heard back a week later that they were interested and Bill Hannah wanted to meet and discuss the show idea.
In 1984 a Canadian company called Irwin Toy licensed the products and immediately they were a success. Before the cartoon even came out the Pound Puppies name was a huge success. They were then produced in the U.S. by the company Tonka. In 1991 Hasbro acquired Tonka and still own the Pound Puppy name today.
Puppies Cartoon TV Series
Before the TV series started, a one time special was released in October of 1985 called The Great Escape. The main character, Violet Vanderfeller, was dognapped and ended up in the city pound. A group of pound puppies save her and reunite her with her family. The official Pound Puppies show aired in September 1986 to February 1989.
Another show was produced by Hasbro Studios in 2010 and ran until 2013. On this show the puppies were more defined to look like different breeds. Favorite characters Patches, Rebound and Cupcake formed The Super Secret Pup Club that helped pups find new homes. Actor John Dimaggio was the voice of many of the characters including Niblet. Other actors included Yvette Nicole Brown as Cookie, Michael Rapaport, Betty White,Eric McCormack and more. Kittens were a part of this show as well and featured a group called Kennel Kittens who worked with the puppies to save pets from the pound.
The Huggable Puppies
With floppy ears, soft bodies and droppy eyes, the puppies came in brown, gray or white. Some had spots and some were without. Each one came in a package shaped like a doghouse and was complete with an official adoption certificate. The first puppies had an embroidered emblem near their tail in the shape of a dog bone with a PP logo and a puppy peaking above it. Later a heart shape was used.
The puppies came with a name tag that could be personalized. When a smaller version, the pound puppy newborn, was introduced kids were just as excited to adopt their very own pet. Later a line of kitties called Pound Pur-r-ries was brought to market as well in both large and small sizes. We’re always excited to get the original Pound Puppies in our store, Kerbobble Toys, but they are getting harder to come by. Today the newer Pound Puppies are just as lovable and huggable.