Cold Nose, Strong Heart

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

I mentioned last week that I was toying with the idea of adding a third regular feature to my blog, Flashback Friday.  These posts would be about some memory I have from my younger days that just happened to jar itself out of my head one day because I hadn’t even thought of it in years.  Most of the entries would be from the 80’s, 90’s, and given the way things become obsolete in a flash anymore, perhaps even from the past decade as well!  For my very first Flashback Friday post, I’m going to write about the subject that inspired me to begin this series in the first place….

While me and a few of my friends over on the message board were in our chatroom one night about a month ago, one of them mentioned about something being “can shaped”, and flashback fridaythe image that popped in my head was essentially what I led off this post with, and that in turn led me to recall the days of feeding our dogs when I was just a little boy.  Grab the can opener, struggle to pop open a can of Strongheart dog food, and dump the solid, can-shaped contents on top of the dry food in the dog’s bowl.  I then realized I hadn’t even thought of Strongheart in who knows how long, and wondered if it was even still manufactured today…

So for this Friday’s flashback, let’s talk about Strongheart dog food!

Woof!  Woof!

Woof! Woof!

First off, credit for the above image, which I found in a series of posts on Strongheart dog food labels from the blog Grandma Slump.

The first thing I noticed in doing a rudimentary search on Google is that there are very few references to Strongheart at all, which leads me to believe it likely is a defunct brand, or at least as we knew it over three decades ago.  According to this article from 2006, it looks like a company named Natural Life Pet Products bought out the Strongeheart dog food brand sometime in the 1980’s, but it doesn’t go into specifics whether they continued to use the brand name or not.

Anyway, this was the popular low-tier brand of dog food back in the early 80’s, and as far as I can tell, the peak of its popularity seemed to be in the 1950’s and 60’s.  A quick glance at the label shows it was first manufactured in 1931.  The labels were quite distinctive and colorful, and they all featured a happy looking German shepherd looking out at you from inside a circle.  Of course, I didn’t think he was all too happy looking since I knew some pretty mean German shepherds from the neighborhood that used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid…

You're lucky for the invisible fencing, kiddo!

You’re lucky for the invisible fencing, kiddo!

I was unaware until doing my research this morning that Strongheart dog food was named after a very famous actor from the 1920’s!

Or as they'd be known in the tabloids today, Strongule....

Or as they’d be known in the tabloids today, Strongule….

That’s Strongheart there on the left, obviously, who was one of the first canine actors in movie history!  His real name was Etzel von Oringer (yes, even dogs apparently need an alias in Hollywood), and he was a police dog in Germany before he came to the States to begin his acting career.  According to his biography on IMDB, Strongheart appeared in movies throughout the 1920’s such as “White Fang”.  He frequently co-starred with a female German shepherd named Jule, who became Strongheart’s love interest, and many of their offspring themselves later became movie stars.  Forget the Baldwins, the Douglases, and the Marx Brothers… the Stronghearts were the original acting family!

Eat your heart out Paul Newman!

Eat your heart out Paul Newman!

So, do any of you have any memories of Strongheart dog food out there, or know of its current status?  I was surprised how little I could find about it on the internet where even retro items generally have devoted fans out there and seemingly everything from modern US history is documented somewhere.  At least the lack of information on it justifies its status here as a truly forgotten memory of days gone by… and isn’t it such a joy to be reminded of something you hadn’t given a thought to in a long time, no matter how trivial or mundane it may seem?

Until next time, (plop) enjoy your canned shaped dinner!

No Rainbow Donkeys were used in the manufacturing of Strongheart dog food.

No Rainbow Donkeys were used in the manufacturing of Strongheart dog food.

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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23 Responses to Cold Nose, Strong Heart

  1. fransiweinstein says:

    Never heard of Strongheart until now. Put something on Craigs List. Would be fun to see if anything turns up.

    • You know, I just noticed where it says “Twin Pet” in the upper left corner of the can in the Liver Flavor picture! We sell the Twin Pet brand at Mecca (absolutely cut-rate and terrible product labeling, nothing near as lovely as ol’ Strongheart), and I wonder if that’s what Strongheart got absorbed into…. I must look into that!

  2. “100% nutritionally complete” with all the beef “flavor” yer dog can handle. yum. yum.

  3. The Cutter says:

    I just realized why I hate cranberry sauce. Because when it comes out of the can, much like dog food, it remains can shaped, complete with ridges.

    Plus, I just don’t really like the taste that much.

  4. What handsome dogs the “original acting family “are. German Sheps have such a presence!
    I never saw anything like that over here but then we usually make up our own dog food of meat, pasta and veggies. I find canned dog food can give dog’s gass.

  5. That must have been before my time, or slipped away into past disregarded memories.

  6. Her Majesty says:

    It was jellied cranberry sauce that started the conversation in the first place. The best shape for food is “can”, it’s the food of the gods!

  7. Larry Fencyk says:

    I worked as a retail merchandiser for Strongheart in the mid ’70’s, until Swift & Company bought them out. Ten years later I worked for them again as a Regional Sales Manager. The President had been my old Sales Manager. Our plant and main offices were still in Kansas Ave. in Kansas City, KS, but the owner of the company had an office outside of Pittsburg, KS ( Frontinac, KS ).
    In addition to packing Strongheart pet food, they also did a lot of co-packing for a dozen other labels. I haven’t seen any of there products in the Kansas City area for many years. It was one of the original pet food brands on the market.

  8. Kirk struhart says:

    I remember there was for awhile ,a horse meat flavored one…

  9. Matt says:

    I just snapped a picture of the tile mosaic of Strongheart that still meets visitors to the old plant in Kansas city is along with a pic of the plant from the road. Not sure what’s in the building currently. I’d be happy to forward the pictures via email if they can be posted

    • Absolutely! My email address can be found in the Contact Me page (Under Important Stuff) in my blog’s header. I have a catch-all type photography feature I run on Tuesdays, and I’d love to use your picture, with proper credit.

  10. timeriders 69@gmail.com says:

    when I was a kid we used to have 15 cats and in the 60’s strongheart used to cost 10 cans for a dollar…it looked like it was more cereal than meat…but for the price what would you expect

  11. Triciahawkins88 says:

    I just bought a case of it at a discount store called ‘Dirt Cheap’. It’s still available and is distributed by aSimmons Pet Food out of Siloam springs Arkansas.

    • Thank you for letting me know! I could find nothing at the time I wrote this post whether dog food was still made under the Strongheart brand. I’m curious if the cans still have the classic label design… the Simmons Pet Food website contains almost no information at all.

  12. Kim says:

    Strong Heart canned food is on sale at Job Lot (chain of stores in New England) in RI this week at 2 for $1. I had never heard of it and found this article looking it up. Label is a bit updated but still has the former German Police dog/actor. I won’t be buying it but just want the writer to know it’s still on the market. Made by US/Canada co Simmons. Check out your pet food at DogFoodAdvisor.com or make your own.

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