If any toy was going to make be a sure-fire success it was one that gave kids everywhere the chance to own man's best friend - even if Mum and Dad said no to the real thing. Pound Puppies might even have been a bit better than the real thing. You never had to feed them, take the for walks in the rain or scoop up their nasty deposits. Of course, the downside was the lack of interaction you got from a Pound Puppy - apart from the ability to actually deliver its pups!
The idea for Pound Puppies was thought up by Mike Bowling, who by day worked with an entirely different type of Rover as a mechanic. Inspired by the success of other 80s toy ranges, like the Cabbage Patch Dolls (who shared the same adoption twist that Bowling's pups would) he set to work on fine-tuning his dream - and ignoring anyone who accused him of being 'barking mad'. And luckily his day job gave him a flair for design: he came up with a range of plush dog toys featuring three different ear types, three eye colours and six furs colours... one big family if you will.
Toy manufacturer, Tonka, soon took the bone and ran with it, producing an animated cartoon to go with the release of the soft Pound Pupplies. Packaged in their own doghouse creations, the Pound Puppies - complete with droopy mouths and sad eyes - were crying out for kids to adopt them (see that cabbage Patch Doll angle), which worked a treat. Some mutts even came with Velcro tummy pounches to keep their tiny puppies in, which was an extra treat.
By 1986, Pound Puppies had achieved such levels of success -shipments over five years amounted to $300 million - that Tonka decided to launch a range of Pound Purries in case you weren't a 'dog person'. And like Lucky Trolls had been, Pound Puppies and Purries had limited availability which made them appear more collectable, even to the untrained eye. You could also spot the real from the fake by the heart-shaped badge by each pup's ear. Additional ranges eventually featured Pound Ponies and Pound Ocean creatures for the more adventurous adoptees. In 1988, Pound Puppies hit the big time when a feature film was released by TriStar Pictures called Pound Puppies And The Legend Of Big Paw.
So, cartoon series, massive worldwide sales, added ranges and even a film dedicated to them, with those kinds of royalties the pups must be Mike Bowling best friends!