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William Drenttel

Dogs and Their Designers

Maude Beatrix Drenttel, age 3, Vizsla

Today is August 26, also known as National Dog Day. In honor of all our faithful four-legged friends, we are re-running this post, which originally posted on November 11, 2008.

I love our dogs, Ruby Eleanor and Maude Beatrix. Ruby is the mother, age 6, and Maude is one of her six puppies. (Jessica delivered them all.) Each of our children is linked at the soul to one of these dogs, and they sleep together. Our dogs do tricks: they can open doors. (Regrettably, they have never been able to shut them, which explains my constant, frequently loud lament: "Where were you raised — in a barn?"). And we're not alone in this: other designers seem to love their dogs, too. I am constantly amazed when I meet dressed-in-black designers from San Francisco who have wee pups, or seemingly-sweet Minneapolis types with bulldogs or pit bulls.

True, dog owners often resemble their pets, as the old adage goes — but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Design Observer posted an open call for designers to submit photos of themselves with their canine companions. Click here for Cats and Their Designers and here for Gardens and Their Designers.
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Comments (52)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT >>

For our next Designers and their Animals post, we are doing cats. Send Photos (600 pixels wide) of your cat to jade[at]winterhouse[dot]com. Please include your name, your cat's name, the breed/type of cat and the city and state/country in which you reside.

Jade-Snow Carroll
11.19.08 at 12:57

It's a shame I missed this. Donté would have loved his 15 minutes of fame.
11.19.08 at 01:49

Great post, great dogs! Reminds me of my own personal "Be Careful What You Wish For" story... I've always wanted to work in a small environment with a team that depended on me being the go-to guy, The Man! Well, I got my wish - I work from home as a designer and consultant with my team, Ringo and Dazy and that's right - I'm the man!


H. Michael Karshis
11.19.08 at 02:25

Are you kidding? Rome burns and we're looking at pictures of doggies? Thanks for the relevance, Design Observers.
11.19.08 at 02:53

slow news day...

lifestyles of DO editors, yawn
11.19.08 at 03:42

Well, burning Rome and not-newsworthy aside, I think it's a good way for Design Observers to interact with their readers in more ways than just commenting. And one of the things I noticed is the diversity of designers. A couple of post back concerning a panel of judges consist of only white men didn't bother me much because in my opinion and from what I observed, most of the respected name in design (coming from previous generation) do fit that description, white, and male. Gender is not so much a factor (or may be it is, I'm not a woman) I think, because I know of a lot of great female designers. But Black and Asian designers? Well my first boss was, but he's young, local, and not so famous yet. Anyway, it's nice to see a diverse group of designers on here.
Panasit Ch
11.19.08 at 03:56

ah, i had forgotten about this offering! woof!
11.19.08 at 04:09

Are you kidding? Rome burns and we're looking at pictures of doggies? Thanks for the relevance, Design Observers.

Sorry! Until the global financial crisis is resolved, there will be no talking or thinking about dogs here or anywhere else!

But first, this.
Michael Bierut
11.19.08 at 05:26

Why weren't we invited to this party?
Robynne Raye
11.19.08 at 06:08

my dog's name is kitty. i would've gotten disqualified
felix sockwell
11.19.08 at 07:57

I've been worrying about Rome burning for the past eight years and I'm sick of it. If it weren't for my dogs, I probably would have offed myself by now.

My question is: what is it about Vizslas that designers find so compelling? Is it the formal efficiency, the imperiousness, the clownishness? All of the above, for me.
caren litherland
11.19.08 at 10:43

Speaking of Rome (ablaze or not), I understand that in Italy, feral cats have been protected by law since 1991 — which leads me to the following two points: (1) Glad to here the casting call for cats is forthcoming, and (2) In light of the unconscionable number of pets killed needlessly each year in the U.S. (between three and five million — the lack of an accurate count a testament to their perceived disposability, I’m afraid), I’d like to see fewer designer pets and more mutts. (Think of their pedigree-less origins as just another design constraint.)
Peter J. Wolf
11.19.08 at 11:46

In Istanbul the cats and dogs have no owners or seem not to. The tourists are amazed. One feral cat snuck into the Haggia Sophia and was sitting on the giant urn. I've never seen so many people with cameras get excited about taking pictues of a cat. I wasn't recording much on film, but i was so tempted to take a picture of all those cameras pointing at a wandering cat, who probably just ate a ra...mouse, who ate cheese, that was standing alone.
11.20.08 at 01:35

Are you kidding? Rome burns and we're looking at pictures of doggies? Thanks for the relevance, Design Observers.

Et tu brute? Surely design, if nothing else, has a responsibility to look sideways once in a while. The dog story is great. Mr Drenttel, your Viszla looks suspiciously like my Rhodesian Ridgeback. Niiiice.
11.20.08 at 04:15

When I was a freshman or sophomore at SVA I used to see Paula Scher with her Aussie at the dog run at Madison Square. Felt like a celebrity sighting.
millie rossman kidd
11.20.08 at 04:22

Surprising lack of 'design' names. Was expecting to see the odd 'Milton', 'Brody' or 'Sagmeister' amongst these pooches. Not one 'Bembo', 'Rockwell' or 'Dingbat' either.
Derek (number 13)
11.20.08 at 07:04

I've got a dog named Brockmann!
11.20.08 at 09:20

agreed, when rome is burning don't hug the kids, or give the doggies a treat.

speaking of politics, italy, istanbul, let's visit peru La Festival Gastronomico del Gato.

looking forward to the cat series...
11.20.08 at 09:34

Well, there aren't many squirrels that i could see in Istanbul so the replacement with cats was fine. these cats understood their boundaries and weren't begging for scratches or petting. I think that domain belongs to a different minor species of migrants in the city.

11.20.08 at 09:52

What the hell does this have to do with design?
John Forbush
11.20.08 at 10:29

Decorators love their dogs too! We have a slide show of them up on the domino site!
Scrappy Girl
11.20.08 at 10:48


Interesting. 'Doggy-style' rooms...
Did they design the rooms around the dogs or the dogs around the rooms ie. 'we just need a basic-black terrier to compliment our minimalist decor?'

: )
11.20.08 at 12:00

What the hell does this have to do with design?

Really? I can only speak for myself but the relationships of designers to loved ones (which might include pets) shape the way we process information and live our lives. I can't tell you how many projects I've worked on with my dog right by my side (or under my feet).

To me seeing designers with their pets is just as interesting as seeing photos of their well designed studios. If for nothing else, this was a fun post.

Lighten up.
11.20.08 at 01:25

This is fantastic. I've enjoyed the slide show very much. I think it opens up the pace of the blog in a wonderful way.
11.20.08 at 03:33

aw.. how cute! I love my doggie.. He is my best bud. :)
11.20.08 at 07:46

OK. If Ezer can put up a fake dog, I can put up an old one. So…

In the beginning there was Peaches.A lover of speeches.

Then Whitey caught her eye. Oh, my. What a guy.

What began as an attraction, ended in an action. And… oh, what two good dogs … oh, my…

But whatever, they're dogs. right?

Joe Moran
11.20.08 at 08:50

I love dogs, but am unfortunately allergic to most of them (and all cats). My sister had a beautiful weimaraner named Emma, who, as a pup, came to our wedding. We all mourned her passing at 15 a couple of years ago. She was loaded with personality, and great with kids.
11.21.08 at 12:47

What Your Dog Says About You
Man's best friend offers interesting clues into his owner's psyche.
By Jeanine Poggi
11.21.08 at 01:42

Geez, boy do we have dog's in the office. where do you post?!!

These guys jump on clients, bark during meetings and sleep under our desks...

we just operated on Lazlo for cancer on his back and Buckley is a nuisance during client meetings; barking like a bitch (male), running into the meeting room trying to jump on clients laps... we hate it, but he's family. What can you do? He's family...
ian b. shimkoviak
11.21.08 at 06:28

Dear Bill,
Here a suggestion for Peckers and Their Designers or vice versa.

I also love dogs. Had one,for many years, a darling chihuahua.I got him when I just arrived in New York. His name was Chiquinho Dudley.I would carry him everywhere.Into the Metropolitan Mueseum,Asia Society and even drew the ire of Anna Wintour,one day when I showed up at the Vogue's editrix office for an assignment. Chiquinho appeared also in one of my Village Voice poster campaign,which was all over New York City in the subways entrances and in the subways walls.
Years before,when I was 10 my mother got for me a canary .
His name was Fabiolo,which was also the nickname of Don Jaime de Mora Y Aragon,the brother of Queen Fabiola of Belgium.
Fabiolo,would sit on my head when I played the piano and was very tame,which was quite unusual.I always had birds and have lots of photos of my lovebirds Lua and Venus, my parakeets Jello and the others ones.Oh yes,there was Omar,the love bird and Samba the blue parakeet.And the cockatiel Fio and Daza.And Star. And my Brazilian cardinal,the very elegant one who lived always free on the top of my bookshelves in Tribeca .His droppings become part of my paintings.Ha!And Bahia,my jandaia conure.And of course Star,my cockatiel.and now Josie,my cockatiel,Venus and Jello and my finch family.the couple had four chicks and all live in harmony with us ,the ginger plant,which I brought as a cutting from Jamaica as a stowaway 9 years ago and my blooming narcissus.....

11.21.08 at 08:38

I like dogs and cats too but don't own either. How about a blog on other designers pets...I have two Ornate Box Turtles named Upper case and Lower case (yes one is bigger than the other). I adopted them from a turtle rescue organization 8 years ago. Just a thought.
11.22.08 at 10:06

Am sad I missed the call for entries, Egon Sharif is ready for his close up (my gorgeous giant German Shepherd).
11.22.08 at 10:42

Nice article. I've used my dog in advertisements before. And i agree, people do select dogs that look like themeselves! If you want proof of that, just go to a dog beach and watch all the dogs and owners playing together.
David Eisaiah Engel
11.24.08 at 03:46

Very funny! Man's best friend is good for creation. Good to see something like that in burning times ...
11.24.08 at 12:07

What about designers and their rats? The furry type - not the colleagues.
Anastasia Beaverhausen
11.25.08 at 08:18

so sorry i missed the call for entries too!
you all could have lived without my face, but my two golden retrievers, zach and oliver, would have brightened your day!
kathryn mccormick
11.25.08 at 11:00

Two years ago, I sent holiday cards designed with the likeness of my wonderful Schnauzer/Jack Russell mix. Last year, I purchased (gasp) cards. I can't even count the amount of disappointed comments, asking where her portrait was for the year.

This year, she is back on the cards. Greeting Santa, I think.

What do dogs have to do with designers? Mine inspires, comforts, and saves me every day. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here designing.

I'm sorry I missed the chance to show off my loving baby in the gallery.
11.25.08 at 03:58

I love dogs and cats, though I find playing with my human child far more rewarding.
11.26.08 at 11:23

Love it - great post :-)
creativedge - logo design
11.27.08 at 08:15

Just a reminder: For our next Designers and their Animals post, we are doing cats. Send Photos (600 pixels wide) of your cat to jade[at]winterhouse[dot]com. Please include your name, your cat's name, the breed/type of cat and the city and state/country in which you reside.


Jade-Snow Carroll
11.27.08 at 02:47

Unique post. Thanks, I enjoyed seeing other designers with their dogs :)
Jon Williams
11.29.08 at 01:47

Aww.. no chinese cresteds?
Chris Espiritu
12.02.08 at 04:14

can i send to you my photo with my dalmatian? =) please send me the contact email.
12.09.08 at 03:06

awwwwwwwwww no giant Frnch lop rabbits too
he behaves like a dog and is bigger than a jack russelldoes that count? :0P
12.17.08 at 10:12

Someone asked, "What the hell does this have to do with design?" Well, finding design jobs in my case. I was at a dog park in Seattle right after grad school and started chatting with this guy I didn't know from Adam.

Turns out, he had a cousin who worked at the Seattle office of Gensler, which was one of the companies I was targeting. I didn't even know they had a Seattle office until I met this guy! Anyway, after exchanging cards and a few emails, I got a job at Gensler. It remains one of the funnest places I've ever worked and I made some really good, lifelong friends there.

And who do I have to thank for this? My two beautiful Weimaraners, Oslo and Mies (as in van der Rohe)! Here we are on the couch:

I believe that Weimaraners are the *true* designer dog. Ahem.

Anyway, I'm collecting ads with Weims in them:

The Weim on the NPR site is my very own Oslo. If you happen upon any ads, please send them my way!
Callie Neylan
02.18.09 at 07:13

"What the hell does this have to do with design?" ... nothing and that is the joy of it!

04.02.09 at 12:13

what a fussy bunch of designers. relevance? everything is design!
please for the next session, dogs and their designers 2.0. I want to include my Whippet Tibor.
Tyler Johnson
04.07.09 at 10:34

So sorry I came late to this party. Photograph my two boxers every day and DOON is the CEO of the company.
Designers would be doing cave paintings if it were not for dogs.
Howard Stein
05.03.09 at 12:36

Wow. This landed on the right day...and not because it's National Dog Day.

My dog, Mabel, tore her ACL and had to have surgery. She comes home this afternoon.

She normally spends her days hanging out with me in my home office, but it'll be tough to keep her crated in here for the next ten weeks.
Jon Sandruck
08.26.10 at 11:46

The Bounceman and I appreciated this post.
Charles Austen Angell IDSA
08.26.10 at 05:06

Ooh, ooh wait a minute... we've got a "designer" dog! Drum roll please........ we have a "Terriver" (Terrier and Retriever mix, get it?) named Dixie. She's an awesome mutt!
08.28.10 at 10:40

Didn't renew my website -- so the old photos are gone. But here's Whitey again -- a "Greater Missouri Speckled Cow dog." Woof!!!


08.29.10 at 09:28

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A slideshow of dogs and their designers.
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William Drenttel is a designer and publisher, and editorial director of Design Observer. He is a partner at Winterhouse, a design consultancy focused on social change, online media and educational institutions, and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management.
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BOOKS BY William Drenttel

Looking Closer 5
Allworth Press, 2006

Looking Closer 4
Allworth Press, 2002

Looking Closer 2
Allworth Press, 1997

Looking Closer 1
Allworth Press, 1994

More books by contributors >>