Yesterday, much to Ty and Buster’s delight, we continued our investigation into “Where Dog Toys Are Born” when we visited KONG in Golden, Colorado. Ever since Christine took service puppy Ruby to KONG headquarters we’ve been wanting to go. And, to make it even better, our friend and award-winning blogger, Roxanne Hawn of Champion of My Heart joined us for the tour! We got to meet KONG’s founder, president and CEO, Joe Markham, learn about the history of the company, visit the production floor, and check out some of the company’s upcoming product releases.
Joe Markham developed the KONG toy back in the 70s as a healthier alternative for his dog that loved to eat rocks. It was named “KONG” because someone thought it looked like an ear plug that King Kong might use. Since they began production in 1976, more than 50 million of the toys have been sold worldwide.
Bailey was right at the door to greet us – you may recognize him as the dog on the Wobbler package. He’s one of several dogs that come to work at KONG every day. From product testing, to posing for photo shoots, to greeting visitors – these busy dogs have the world’s best jobs!
Heading down to the production floor, we learned that all of the rubber toys are made in Colorado, and the different colors are not just for decoration. The blue and pink swirled toys are made of a softer rubber meant for puppies. The purple swirled toys are also made of a softer rubber meant for senior dogs. The black KONG is made from the hardest rubber – it’s for the most tenacious chewers. And, the classic red KONG is for all the dogs that don’t fall into one of the other categories.
During our tour we got the scoop that the classic KONG, which now comes in five different sizes, will be available in April in extra-small. It’s the cutest little KONG you’ve ever seen! Of course, my boys could swallow it whole, but for the tiny dogs here in the US and in Japan – the company’s second largest market – it will be perfect.
What starts out looking like big rubber bands:
Turns into this:
Thanks to people like this:
The highlight of the tour was the product sample room, where you can find EVERY product made by KONG. All kinds of balls, plush toys, the fabulous Wubbas (a favorite of our Facebook fans), a whole line of cat toys, and treats a-plenty. There are toys to help clean your dogs teeth, toys for tugging, and toys for retrieving. But, the toy Buster loves best is the Wobbler – though, his joyous hopping around and tossing it in the air within the close confines of the Winnebago present quite a hazard.
This pup apparently though Rod looked suspicious and wanted to check his pockets before we left the sample room. :-)
The boys are excited to try out the new things we got them – well, except for the one that we can use to give them a bath!
Thanks so much to KONG for allowing us to visit – it was lovely meeting all of you! And, special thanks to Brent and Jared, our tour guides. We really appreciated your time.
Disclosure: We received KONG products for free. I did not promise to provide a positive review (or even write a blog post) in exchange for products, and I was not paid for this post.
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