Seattle Confidential – White Rover Dog Food

[Click to Enlarge – sometimes TWICE]



Now that Christmas is Christmas Past, and all the presents are delivered and opened, it is, we hope you will agree, time for us to think again about our pets, and learn now of the wonderful nutritional opportunity that comes but one time a year – this time.  Feed your best friend White Rover Dog Food, the only diet for dogs made from reindeer meat.   It’s the well-balanced food that both Huskies and Wolves – like White Rover – prefer.

This first local ad (below) for White Rover Dog Food included an offer hard to resist: 3 cans for 23 cents.  The Bartell’s ad appeared in the Jan. 21, 1932 Seattle Times.

For the young, White Rover borrowed on the long-lived popularity of the Hollywood star, Rin Tin Tin.  For the older dog food consumers, White Rover recalled the heroics of another Alaskan, the dog Buck, in novelist Jack London’s most popular work, Call of the Wild. (1903)   Buck was a combination of Saint Bernard and Scotch Shepherd.  White Rover, who walked on his own paws, was a mix of 3/4th Yukon Wolf and 1/4th Husky.  (These details and more about White Rover are shared in some of the newspaper clips that follow.) In February, 1932, White Rover promotions found their home in the Bon Marche.  The big dog appeared regularly on stage in the department store’s auditorium.

The grandest day of White Rover promotions was bundled on Feb. 19, 1932, when the big dog was given his own car for reasons that are sort of explained in the clipping below.  [DOUBLE CLICK this one, please.]

Advertisements continued to appear throughout 1932.   The one below dates from Nov. 21 and still pushes the reindeer meat attraction in spite of Santa’s imminent needs.

The last WHITE ROVER DOG FOOD ad I could find with the S.Times (thru the Seattle Public Library) key-word search is for Oct. 15th, 1942.  It is one of the few products featured in a (back to) Bartell’s ad that compliments “Mrs. War Wife” for shopping where “bargains are really bargains.” And White Rover Dog Food has pretty much held its price through the Great Depression and into the next Great War: three cans for a quarter.  The ad does not mention the reindeer.  By then whatever Hollywood associations had helped shine the white coat of White Rover, were dimmed by “the most famous dog in the world.”  – Lassie.   Eric Knight’s short story “Lassie Come-Home” appeared first in the Saturday Evening Post in 1938, and was then stretched into a novel in 1940 and followed by the first of many films in 1943.  It had me crying then.




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