Pound Puppies was a Flash-animated reboot of the toy franchise, and the second cartoon based on them. Pound Puppies continued to be popular throughout the 80s and early 90s, and were redesigned at the turn of the century to represent actual dog breeds instead of the generic model that was in use. The line would come to an end in 2002 and laid dormant until Funrise acquired the license and restarted the line in 2014.
In the interim, Tonka, who had introduced the Pound Puppies to the American market after gaining the rights from Irwin Toy, ran into financial trouble from purchasing Kenner Parker in 1987. They themselves ended up needing to be bought out and were purchased by Hasbro in 1991. In 2009, Hasbro entered into a joint venture with Discovery Communications to re-launch the Discovery Kids channel with family-oriented programming. Since Hasbro was responsible for acquiring and developing the programming, they turned to their own toy franchises as the starting point for them. Pound Puppies became one of the launch programs for the network that would be known as The Hub.
|Niblet, Strudel, Lucky, Cookie and Squirt in front of Shelter 17.|
Like the original animated series from the 80s, Pound Puppies focused on a group of dogs who operated in secret out of a dog pound to find “a pup for every person, and a person for every pup”. However, this time the dogs, designed by Martin Ansolabehere, were less anthropomorphic and more dog-like; resembling their respective breeds. Amongst the Pound Puppies was Lucky (Eric McCormack), a German Shepherd/Scottish Terrier/Golden Retriever/Jack Russell Terrier mix, the group’s cool and collected leader; Cookie (Yvette Nicole Brown), a Boxer, the tough-talking but sweet second-in-command; Niblet (John DiMaggio), an Old English Sheepdog, who was clumsy and dim but had a big heart; Strudel (Alanna Ubach), a German Dachsund, the resident egotistical genius of the group that invented all the gadgets used by the Pound Puppies—particularly the computer database that helped find puppies matches; and Squirt (Michael Rapaport), a Chihuahua, the street-smart pessimist of the group who was Niblet’s best friend. They worked underneath Shelter 17 at the Happy Valley shelter with the aid of Strudel’s squirrel assistants (who handled her building due to her lack of fingers). A running gag included Lucky and Cookie’s unspoken attraction for each other; unspoken because every time Lucky got the nerve to act on it something would interrupt him.
|The Super Secret Pup Club: Cupcake, Rebound and Patches.|
As the series progressed, it was shown that the Pound Puppies were just one of many units around the world. They even had an unofficial side branch, the Super Secret Pup Club, started by Patches (Jessica DiCicco): a Dalmatian puppy that idolized Lucky. Cats even had their own version called the Kennel Kittens, which were run by Ace (McCormack) and Fluffy (Brown), who were virtual copies of the Puppies in cat form. Pups adopted out were given a doghouse-shaped tag for their collars, because “once a Pound Puppy, always a Pound Puppy”.
|McLeish and Olaf.|
The human running the pound was Leonard McLeish (René Auberjonois); a short-tempered man who hated his job and always demanded things be done the right way. His employee was the eccentric, kind caretaker of the pound, Olaf Hugglesbjork (M. Emmett Walsh), and often helped visitors find their ideal pet. Ketchum was the silent, seemingly emotionless dog catcher that would bring new dogs to the pound, often instigating that episode’s quest.
|The General with 67 charges she needs adopted. Easy peasy, right?|
Other characters included Leonard’s mother Agatha (Betty White), who initially hated dogs until she met Niblet’s sister, Rebound (Brooke Goldner); Leonard’s brother-in-law Mayor Jerry (Dabney Coleman & John Larroquette), who often pushed Leonard into doing things for him and berated him for any mistakes; Dolly (E.G. Daily), a pink poodle and legendary member of the Pound Puppies network; Agent Ping (Lauren Tom), an Akita Inu who worked with the Chinese Pound Puppies; Cupcake (Cree Summer), a Boxer/Labrador mix who was a member of the Pup Club and Cookie’s adopted daughter; Claudio (Jeff Bennet), an Italian fisherman; and Dot Henderson (Grey DeLisle), Lucky’s eventual owner and the only human who knew about the Pound Puppies.
|The base under the shelter.|
Pound Puppies started on October 10, 2010 with the launch of The Hub. Like the 1980s series, it utilized elements of The Great Escape and Hogan’s Heroes in depicting how the pups got in and out of the pound and kept McLeish in the dark. It was developed by Wendy Moss Klein, Nancy Steingard, Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere and produced by Hasbro Studios and Paul & Joe Productions for the first season. 9 Story Entertainment worked on the first seven episodes before DHX Media/Vancouver took over for the remainder of the series. Writers included Germain, Ansolabhere, Bart Jennett, Mark Drop, Rachel Lipman, Eric Truehart, Rich Fogel, Billiam Coronel, Jule Selbo, Silvia Olivas, Steven Tsapelas, Tony Infante, Mike Ferris, Nancy Steingard, Peter Hannan, Janna King, Alan Hanson, Evan Gore, Merriwether Williams, Chelsea Meyer, Richard Whitley, Stephen Cedars, Temple Mathews, Phil Walsh, Benji Kleiman, Sib Ventress, Jos Humphrey, Joe Purdy, Lisa Melbye and Jean Ansolabhere. Jonathan Evans for Spaceman Music composed the series’ theme, while Daniel Ingram and Steffan Andrews handled the series’ score.
|One of the DVD sets.|
The series ran for 3 seasons, ending after 65 episodes; enough needed for syndication. It has continued to air on The Hub and its successor in reruns. In 2012, Hasbro produced a new line of toys for the show, adapting several characters into plush toys and small figurines. The plush toys came with an adoption certificate, which was also available through a website. Shout! Factory released 57 of the episodes across 11 DVD collections between 2012 and 2016. In 2019, Hasbro would license the brand out to Basic Fun! who produced reproductions of the classic 1980s toys.