Monday, December 31, 2018

On The Up and Up With This Darling Steiff Strupp

Just try and outfox this Steiff question. Name one of Steiff's most prolific dog breeds. For sure, the company's beloved Dachshunds, Bulldogs, and Boxers come to mind. Also less top of mind to some, but certainly ranking, would be the company's Fox Terriers. Fox Terriers have been around almost as long as the Steiff catalog, which debuted in 1892. Let's take a look at a most unusual pre-war example and see what makes him so interesting from the design and product development perspectives.

Pull up a seat and check out this sitting Strupp dog. He is 17 cm tall, made from white mohair, and is head jointed. He has a few black hand airbrushed spots on his body and back. Strupp has black hand embroidered claws on each of his paws. His earnest face comes to life with oversized black and brown glass pupil eyes, a black hand embroidered nose and mouth, and prominent, jet-black mohair ears. Sitting Strupp was produced in 17, 22, 28, 35, and 43 cm from 1928 through 1932 overall. It is interesting to note that this model of Strupp was only produced sitting; Steiff often produced their dogs and cats from his era in a number of body positions.

Steiff also manufactured a number of Fox Terriers named Strupp in the 1928 through 1934 time frame. However, they looked really different than the sitting Strupp under discussion here. The standing Strupps of the period had black mohair patches on their bodies, a black ear and a white ear, and tawny airbrushing on their faces. The company also made a grey and white sitting tail turns head Fox Terrier named Strupp, but he really presents much more like the company's traditional Fox Terrier design with a prominent, very long mohair muzzle. You can see this grey and white Strupp pictured here on the left; the photo is from Pfeiffer's 1892-1943 Sortiment. So it is Steiffgal's best guess that Strupp might have been a popular name for Fox Terriers at the time, and that is why Steiff called all these different Fox Terrier designs "Strupp."

Now let's paws and consider this Strupp's place on the product development timeline. The first Fox Terrier appeared in the Steiff line in 1899. It was on wheels and made from felt. Since then, Steiff has produced close to 40 different Fox Terrier models pre-WWll and over 20 designs from the late 1940’s onward. As part of the company's strategy to reflect the culture of the "roaring 20s," Steiff updated or launched many new pets that featured distinctly childlike, playful, and innocent personalities. They also started giving their dogs and cats sweet, endearing names - like Molly, Bully, Fluffy, and Foxy; previous to that, most were simply noted as their biological breed. Fox Terriers were a big part of this strategy, with other models including "Ajax," Spotty," and "Foxy." A lovely, rare pre-war wool plush lying Fox Terrier is pictured above; it is from our dear friend and fellow Steiff enthusiast Daniel Agnew. 

And just what makes a Fox Terrier, well, a Fox Terrier? As his name suggests, this dog was bred to assist in fox hunting. Besides breed size and appearance standards, they have to be able to perform three key hunting tasks. First, they have to have the endurance to keep up with foxhounds, who lead the hunt. Second, they have to be small enough follow foxes down into their holes during the chase. And third, they have to be feisty when they do indeed encounter a cornered fox.

Steiffgal hopes you've enjoyed this discussion on Steiff's very rare Strupp pup!

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