We live in an era when if you want a stuffed Snoopy, you can certainly get a stuffed Snoopy. They are available in all sorts of sizes, textures, colors, with a marvelous range of costumes.
But in the mid 1950s, this was not the case. In 1955, with Peanuts becoming quickly popular, there was just one stuffed Snoopy dog available… and it’s not the one you’re thinking of.
In 1955, Elka Toys of New York was offering a stuffed pup named Snoopy, and filed for a trademark for the logo you see above (assuming that you’ve got images turned on.) A golden young dog, Snoopy wore a red ribbon which made him look a mite less butch than a male dog may desire.
And what do you do when you have a Snoopy character? You license him out, naturally. Rand McNally & Co. published the book Snoopy the Nosey Little Puppy as part of their Elf Book line, their equivalent of the Little Golden Books. Written by Jules M. Lieberthal and illustrated by William Neebe, it tells the tale of kennel puppy who really wants to find a family. Then he is bought by a family, and he lives an idyllic life helping find lost objects around the house (he is a snooper!), and one day when the kids get lost SPOILER ALERT he finds them. (this is the first of three books Mr. Lieberthal has to his credit; he followed it the next year with Muggsy the Make-Believe Puppy and rounded out the classic trilogy in 1957 with Slowpoke the Lazy Little Puppy, also illustrated by Neebe. All of these books were based on Elka Toys stuffed figures.)
Elka Toys having this trademark apparently caused some difficulties for United Feature Syndicate. In the long run, UFS assumed the federally-registered trademark, keeping it registered through the late 1990s, but ultimately allowing the registration to expire. And now all that appears to remain of this other Snoopy is a book on the used book shelves, possibly some carefully maintained stuffed dogs in collections, and a poster print of the book cover.
Now, I hear what some of you are thinking: “How did they get away with it? How could they come out with another Snoopy when Schulz’s Snoopy was obviously the original?” Well, there’s one problem with that claim, and that problem comes via this:
The Story of Snoopy The Nosey Little Puppy by “Harriet” is a book that I don’t (yet) have in the AAUGH.com Reference Library, so I can’t tell you whether it has any relation to the content in the Rand McNally book… but this thing was published by Maxton Publishing in 1946, four years before the launch of Peanuts. And for all I know, there’s a whole other legion of Snoopy dogs yet to be discovered!