Recently while browsing a catalog of weekend wear, I saw a super relaxed model posing with her coffee, newspaper, and fluffy puppy. I just about ordered the sweatshirt she was modeling; if only I had that outfit, I too would be that stress-free. And we’ve all seen those winter-toasty inviting scenes in holiday catalogs, both online and in print. To sell cozy flannel, snuggly fleece, and comfy slippers, a family is shown sipping hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire, their Golden Retriever at their feet. And in the warmer seasons, the portrayal of dogs playing alongside people on beaches, campgrounds, or tailgates entices us to buy swimwear, outdoor gear, or athletic apparel.
Dogs help sell products, even products unrelated to dogs. An attractive dog helps sell just about anything: if a child sets up a lemonade stand, a Labrador puppy may double the sales! But which breeds are the most commonly used as salesmen?
We may see the occasional Pug, Greyhound, or Rottweiler, but in general, we see:
- For holiday wintery snowy scenes, perhaps a Bernese Mountain Dog , Siberian Husky or Samoyed. Usually a young one, if not a puppy. (The senior dogs with graying muzzles are regretfully underrepresented; is there a class action suit in the making?)
- For athletic scenes on the beach or trails, sporty dogs such as the Vizsla or Weimaraner.
- For present packages such as Valentine’s day gifts, some of the super-snuggly, lap-friendly breeds, such as the Maltese or Toy Poodle.
- For pajama and loungewear pages, usually a super fluffy puppy, most oftentimes a Golden Retriever.
- For camping, hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear, as well some home goods catalogs, we often see a Labrador. A recent Home Goods magazine showed a Lab pup walking up the walk to his house with his owner. (No one mentions that breakable, non-washable fancy home goods and a rambunctious, shedding Labrador are arguably incompatible)
- Companies such as Lands’ End that sell, along with people products, dog products such as beds and sweaters, use an assortment of dog models. A recent Lands’ End catalog showed a Cairn Terrier wearing a lovely plaid sweater, shaking hands with his owner.
- Businesses that sell dog products use a plethora of dog models. I’ll go out on a limb and generalize that most companies use well-known breeds. I don’t see many Xoloitzcuintle or Komondors in catalogs. In part the absence is due to the breeds’ inaccessibility. Good luck finding a Kromfohrlander for a photo shoot to sell comfy slippers. But in addition, companies probably realize we like to see dog breeds we recognize, or even better, dog breeds we own. If I see a German Shepherd (my breed) in a catalog hiking happily alongside a woman wearing a surprisingly sensational hiking vest**, I may run out to buy one.
- No dog in advertising piece would be complete without mentioning the Chihuahua that helped sell tacos for Taco Bell. She made us all want to eat them.
- And lastly, let’s not forget the Bull Terrier that to this day helps woo shoppers to Target.
*Not one single solitary statistical compilation, expert, or report was consulted for my statements. My data is purely anecdotal, and based on my obsession with randomly browsing catalogs. Want to contribute data? Please share your own observations in the comment section below.
** I have yet to find a vest labeled surprisingly sensational, but if I did, I would buy one. So would my German Shepherd.