New Exhibition: Kennel Club rewinds time looking at dogs in ads

Kennel Club Exhibition Credit The Kennel Club - Luisa Foster
Kennel Club Exhibition Credit The Kennel Club | Luisa Foster

The Kennel Club Art Gallery, based in Mayfair, London, has unveiled a new exhibition, open to the public now, tracing canines featuring in commercials.

The exhibition tracks the beginnings of marketing and advertising moguls discovering the enticing power of puppy dog eyes to sell products and delves deep into the variety of places and products that feature man’s best friend, alongside cultural shifts in Britain and across the world.

Antique advertisements, artefacts and trophies dating back to the mid-19th century, and more modern unique collectables including badges, water bowls, postcards, toys and original artworks, have been carefully curated to illustrate how the beginnings of ‘pet culture’ impacted advertising and marketing.

Ciara Farrell, The Kennel Club’s Library and Collections manager, said: “This new exhibition is a wonderful visualisation of how dogs increasingly became an integral part of our society and families.

“Visitors may recognise some well-known brands, and those clued up on their dog history will spot Spratt’s Pet Food, created by James Spratt, who is beloved by all dogs for creating the first commercial dog biscuit in 1862. Up until the social and economic changes of the 19th century, dogs were an unaffordable luxury for most people, but from the mid-19th century to early 20th century pet culture really started to kick off, with more homes welcoming dogs as companions.

“James Spratt’s dog biscuit company started a revolution in how people fed and cared for their dogs and Spratt’s Pet Food became a major sponsor of dog shows at the time. The market for health products, accessories and services for dogs then started to take off.”

With advertising reflecting, and sometimes even creating, cultural shifts in the popularity of dogs, and individual breeds, due to the exposure from iconic brands, this exhibition looks back over the power of advertising over the years and seeks to highlight the importance of people doing their research into dog ownership and different dog breeds, rather than being influenced by advertising or celebrity endorsement.

The exhibition is open to the public, by appointment only, at The Kennel Club Art Gallery at 10 Clarges Street, Mayfair, W1J 8AB, from Monday - Friday 9:30am to 4:30pm from now until 30 August 2024.

To book your visit, please email or call 020 7518 1064.  

To find out more about The Kennel Club Art Gallery, visit our website or follow the Gallery’s Instagram.