Nodding Dogs: Have we sent our former best friends to the kennels?

Do you remember car decorations? Not the pimped up rides of today, but the good old days of his ‘n’ hers stickers on the windscreen and furry dice hanging from the mirror? We used to love personalising our vehicles, and arguably the most popular accessory was the nodding dog. That little British bulldog summed us up – a nation of drivers and dog lovers.

So what’s happened to the humble little nodding dog? Do you consider it a relic of the 1980s, or are you still fond of a little friend in your car who nods along with your driving?

Apparently, the dog began life as an indicator of smooth driving – if its head moved a lot you knew you weren’t driving very smoothly. That’s why people put them in the back window, so people behind them could see how they were driving, but then they ended up turning into more of a decorative item as people just couldn’t resist the cute little novelty nodder.

These days, you can get them dressed up in funny clothes; wearing your favourite football colours and, of course, a replica Churchill dog. When Churchill introduced the character into their adverts back in the 1990s it gave the world a new, more corporate nodding dog. One designed to sell us insurance. What did this do for old Noddy’s popularity? It actually seems like it might have given a new lease of life to sales of the agreeable canine, which have become less and less visible in vehicles over the decades. The stuff that we used to put all over our cars is now viewed by some people as “naff” or unattractive, at odds with the newer sleek designs of modern cars. But, it’s often happens that things which are cool become naff, but then often get picked up again by fashion as “retro” or “ironic”. In online shops, nodding dogs are often described as “retro”, as if this makes them more appealing and adds a level of humour to them.

So what do you think? Is it time to put the little nodding dogs to sleep, or is there a place in your car for man’s best friend?

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