Behind the Brand : The Little Dog Laughed
Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Behind the Brand is a series of articles about imaginative people who are changing the dog products space in the UK.
With possibly the cutest name for a dog company, The Little Dog Laughed started way back in 1998 when a printed textile designer with a passion for illustration started her business in a spare bedroom.
It has grown into a gorgeous website featuring unique hand drawn dog cards, gifts for dog lovers and a carefully curated collection of dog products from other small UK brands.
The brand debuted with a few beautifully designed gift cards for dog lovers — all drawn by Anna. The brand now boasts cards, mugs, cushions in her own gorgeous style alongside a growing range of thoughtfully designed products for dogs including bowls, key rings, treat bags and dog walking bags.
We caught up with Anna Danielle the company's Founder and Creative Director to talk about inspiration, the new product range and other pet brands she admires.
Behind the Brand : The Little Dog Laughed
Who: Anna Danielle Title & Company: Founder & Creative Director at The Little Dog Laughed Age: 48 Location: Derby (Centre of the Universe known locally as Derbados)
What is the philosophy behind The Little Dog Laughed brand?
To hopefully add a moment of kindness or happy to someone's day. The joy of making someone smile is addictive and brightens your own day. What we do is not ground breaking or clever but we try to celebrate the things in life that make our lives better and stay genuine, honest and grounded in every decision we make.
How did you pick the name - The Little Dog Laughed?
It was my textile degree show caption on my designer profile page. My final project featured cows, lots of them and my work was simple, animal inspired and fun. Being in a bovine frame of mind I had the nursery rhyme "Hey diddle diddle" rattling around my head.
When it came to picking a company name, I wanted something that reminded me of a positive time and summed up why and what inspires me to draw -"the little dog laughed" was a natural choice.
Tell us a little about the dogs behind the inspiration of The Little Dog Laughed.
I was 12 when we got our first dog, Tuffy Jack. A chance discovery of a £10 mongrel from a pet shop randomly situated in the middle of the bus station. He was loving, cheeky, very funny but most of all, my best friend, so inspiration and design ideas were easy.
My mum was also heavily involved with our local animal rescue centre so I often went there to photograph and draw the rescued hopefuls.
Your eye for capturing dog's expressions certainly stands out from the crowd. Where do you go for inspiration?
In the early days, I relied on my own photography skills and animal books but then, with the explosion of mobile phone use and by joining Facebook, inspiration came straight to me.
Brilliant images from our dog and cat loving customers who were happy to share their favourite photos with me.
As well as your own in-house designs, 2006 saw the launch of “the little dog loves”, featuring fellow artists and promoting work that is refreshing and different. How do you choose which other brands to feature on your site?
This is still quite a new addition for us but it started as a bit of a favour to a friend who sewed for us.
Alison is so talented she ended up running our exclusive handmade section and when she became inspired to try her hand at making miniature dogs it was a logical step to showcase them on The Little Dog Laughed .
These one of a kind creations are unique, quirky and delightful.
The other creators are trade show friends we've made over the last twenty years of exhibiting together and whose work and ethos we love and wanted to share with our customers.
Which other pet brands do you admire?
We regularly exhibit at Crufts which is when I first came across Harbour Hounds doggy drying coats. I think their product and branding is lovely and I was thrilled to add them to our website.
My all time favourite is Virginia Dowe-Edwards, a ceramic artist whose work I adore and if you love dogs and animals then you must google her and start saving up!
What is the one thing you wish you could have told yourself when starting out?
Take time to enjoy the wins, oh and maybe do a little study on business and marketing instead of just winging it all the time!
What are your top picks from your Collections ?
It's a well know fact at The Little Dog Laughed that if I like it then it's unlikely to be a best seller but of the few that have appealed to me and the masses then it's the "Growing Old Together" design which features two Battersea rescue dogs enjoying a moment of reflection at the seaside.
This design also has a lovely back story and from customer feedback I discovered it means a great deal to others which is very heart warming.
It's difficult to find well-designed dog products that look nice around your home as well as make your dog happy.
The Little Dog Laughed's pet products certainly fit the bill, from walking pockets and treat pouches to dog bowls and storage tins, they are definitely dog products to have on show and not hide away!
We recently tested their dog travel bowl which is collapsible and available in 3 gorgeous colours, and feature it in our article - Best Dog Travel Bags : Packing for Adventures.
Thanks to the deep bond that most dog lovers have with their dog, there’s no shortage of gift options available on the UK market.
If you're looking to treat yourself, your dog or a dog loving friend and are stuck for gift ideas, take a browse through The Little Dog Laughed gorgeous website for some dog flavoured inspiration. I should also mention that other animals feature on the cards and gifts, it's just I'm a dog person 🐾💛
Thanks for stopping by and reading our article Behind the Brand : The Little Dog Laughed