I am not a dog owner, but I am an “auntie” to a French Bulldog who absolutely destroys every toy I give her, usually within a few hours. Over Christmas, and against my better judgment, I gave her a trophy toy (examples pictured) made by a new company called Mr Dog. It was well priced, nicely designed and I fully expected that the next time I visited it would be demolished. Yet, four months later, it still looks fantastic; the body is in one piece, the squeaker still squeaks, the rope is a teensy bit frayed (but only on one side). It’s a miracle.
“If you’re going to spend $20 on a dog toy, you should get one that works,” says Matthew Morris, co-owner and creative director of the company. Morris knows what he’s talking about – years ago he had a company called Blue Ribbon Dog that made ultra-stylish dog products carried by the likes of Paul Smith. With Mr Dog he is rethinking durability and style, specifically how his product range fits into owners’ homes. “I want to create stuff that looks beautiful on your Einstein Moomjy rug,” he says.
Morris partnered with illustrator Alessandra Olanow on the graphics, which he describes as “a Sharpie look with a Tom Sachs viewpoint”. The artwork is screenprinted onto heavy-duty canvas, with handles made of maritime rope. There are three styles of trophy toy – Grand Champion Select ($18), Best of Breed ($20) and Best in Show ($22) – all sure to be winners with the dog in your life (and the owners, too).