Get Real: Foo Dogs

June 19, 2008

Becky from Hatch wrote in this week with a few words about Foo Dogs for our Get Real question of the week. If you have a question to submit for next week, please send me an email.

Get Real: Foo Dogs
Becky writes, “There are those awesome huge ones (foo dogs) on Jonathan Adler’s and Simon Doonan’s balcony, all the way down to the ugly pillow by West Elm. I know they were a trend, evident by how prices soared for them on eBay, but who liked them and who didn’t?”

Care to dish?

(images from Happy Mundane, Cleopatra’s Boudoir, MWTWT, and West Elm.)


  • Reply Justine June 19, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    yeegh! Excuse my while I go hide under my pillow! oh wait… my pillow is scary ugly too!

  • Reply R. Robyn June 19, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I did look at eBay, only after I thought it was ridiculous that West Elm would sell them. I just don’t get it when antiques, or cultural icons (such as the foo dog) are reproduced by big companies. It totally takes the authenticity and story out of the item. Like, what’s the point?

  • Reply susy June 19, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I have been a fan of foo dogs for as long as I can remember…and so I’m torn. I really hate to see something so culturally significant turned into a ‘design’ commodity…but, at the same time, happy to see they are finally getting recognition for the interesting objects they are.

    I think their scariness is part of their beauty, personally.

  • Reply Liquid Sky Arts June 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I love foo dogs, they have so much character and history… but that pillow is awful, what was west elm thinking?

  • Reply Tasha June 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    They’re all the rage in tourist markets in China – multiple sizes for under $20.

  • Reply Cindy Ann Ganaden June 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I really like them. I’m especially drawn to their historical and cultural significance of being a lion like creature that guards temple gates, home entrances and estates as well being a symbol of energy and value. However I’m not so keen on big companies capitalizing on them just for a profit. And I agree that West Elm pillow is terrible. I guess it’s just another big company trying to be on the trend bandwagon. What are your thoughts on following trends vs. creating your own?

  • Reply Elizabeth June 19, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    what r.robyn said.

  • Reply Tracey June 19, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    I am not a fan of any animal(real or statuary) that looks scary. I own a fluffy, white/black Cock a poo- ‘nough said! And yes, his name is Oreo, like the cookie!

  • Reply Magpie Interior Design June 19, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I personally think they are hideous. Just my 2 cents since you asked! ;)

  • Reply Jennifer Ramos June 19, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I’ve always liked those LITTLE GUYS, I’m surprised I dont own a couple!

    Jen Ramos
    ‘100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More’

  • Reply Kelly C. June 19, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    i LOVE them, but haven’t yet found a pair that were *just perfect* for my house. i’d like to find an old pair someplace kind of random… like at an estate sale or somewhere… the history of the pieces is important to me.

  • Reply Shelly G & Hope P June 20, 2008 at 2:34 am

    I think I am getting foo fever… I

  • Reply Shelly G & Hope P June 20, 2008 at 2:36 am

    I think I am getting Foo Fever :)~

  • Reply Rainjar June 20, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I like them, but then I’m from a Chinese home and have been used to seeing them around since I was a kid. I certainly like them more as an adult than I did as a child! As for their being a design commodity, they’ve already been that for a long time, in Asian homes. My aunt used to have a couple. She used them as bookends. So it’s probably too late to save their purity as cultural icons, ha ha! If you like them, put them in your home, that’s what I say. The real ones are still impressive when you see them. :)

  • Reply Elaine June 20, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I am a foo dog fan myself. I remember Jon writing about them in Happy Mundane a year or more ago, and ever since, they have been turning up everywhere. I could definitely get behind that trend. Foo Dogs for the masses. Why not.

  • Reply Anonymous June 20, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I was about to get a pair but my traditional chinese mom, aunts and uncles forbid me. They say foo dogs not belong in a home. A restaurant entrance maybe, but not a home. Something about the ferociousness of the statues that can lead to unbalanced chi or something to that effect…., I tend to tune them out when they go on cultural rants….but I think they are right.

  • Reply Lyndsey June 21, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I bought a pair of turquoise foo dogs several years back when I saw House & Garden’s feature on Ivanka Trump’s apartment (designer was Emma Jane Pilkington)…I loved the way the little, blue dogs popped right off the page. I adored the eye catching color and glaze, and I still enjoy them.

    The pillow is over the top, though. Almost a parody…or a something for someone with a sense humor about trends.

  • Reply Meg June 23, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    So odd, I had no idea that they were a trend. We have two that my grandmother gave me. She lived in Japan in the 1960’s and collected a few handcrafted sets, so we have them proudly displayed. One dog has a closed mouth to keep in good spirits, one has a open mouth to gard against bad spirits, so they gaurd our door. She does not call them Foo Dogs though, she used another name…
    I do like them, I’m not sure I feel about them being a trend, and I *don’t* like the overly designy ones pictured. I’d get the real thing (if I didn’t already own them!)

  • Reply Mandy February 3, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I happen to like the foo dogs, and I believe they represent “protection”

  • Reply betty sellick August 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    i have a collection of foo dogs they are earth colours and i love them i have in sixes from 10 inches in hight down to very small ones mine date back from the early 1070″s i don’t like some that are now selling on differant sights but other wise i have quiet a collection about 29 to be exact hope they protect me but mainly i have them because i like the little guys the male has his mouth open and the female has her mouth shut or so i have been told i have them in my lounge room facing the outside door or entrance to my house

  • Reply rikke April 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    How can i get these to Norway???
    .-= rikke´s last blog ..Torsdag… =-.

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