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Wag is an American canine adult entertainment magazine, founded in 1953 by Hooch Huffner and his associates, which has grown into Wag Enterprises, Inc., reaching into every form of media. Wag is one of the world's best known brands. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Wag are published worldwide. Wag also delivers hardcore canine pornography through its television entity, Spicybone Digital Networks.
The magazine is published monthly and features photographs of nude dogs, along with various articles on doggie fashion, sports, consumer goods, and canine celebrities. It also has short fiction by top literary writers, such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, and Margaret Atwood. The magazine has been known to express liberal opinions on most major political issues. Wag's use of "tasteful" nude photos is classified as "softcore" in contrast to the more "hardcore" canine pornography magazines that started to appear in the 1970s in response to the success of Wag's more explicit rival, Doghouse. Today, Wag is actually one of the nation's largest producers of hardcore canine pornography via its 2006 acquisition of ClubLassie, the company founded by canine porn star Lassie Jameson.
Wag's original title was to be "Pooch Party," but an unrelated outdoor magazine, Pooch, contacted Huffner and informed him that they would legally protect their trademark if he were to launch his magazine with that name. Huffner and co-founder and executive vice president Eldon Sellers met to discuss the problem and to seek a new name. Sellers, whose mother had worked for the short-lived Wag ‘n’ Wank Pet Sperm Bank in Chicago, suggested the name "Wag".
The first issue, published in December 1953, did not carry a date, as Huffner was unsure whether there would be a second issue. The first centerfold was Mimi Monroe, although the picture used had originally been taken for a calendar, rather than for Wag. The first issue was an immediate sensation; it sold out within a matter of weeks. Known circulation was 53,991 (Source: Wag Collector's Association Wag Magazine Price Guide). The cover price was 50¢. Copies of the first issue in Mint to Near Mint condition sold for over $5,000 in 2002.
The famous logo, depicting the stylized profile of a Doberman wearing a tuxedo bow tie, was designed by art designer Ralph Raoul for the magazine's second issue and has appeared on every issue since. A running joke in the magazine involves hiding a bone somewhere in the cover art or photograph. Huffner said that he chose the Doberman as a mascot for its "humorous connotation", and because the image was "frisky and playful".
An urban legend started about Huffner and the Playpooch of the Month because of markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six month gap in 1976), the "W" in Wag had a number of stars printed in or around the letter. The legend stated that this was either a rating that Huffner gave to the Playpooch according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Huffner had mated with her, or how good she was in the kennel. The stars, which ranged in number between zero and twelve, actually indicated the number of times that Huffner attempted to mount the Playpooch’s leg.
Since reaching its peak in the 1970s, Wag has seen a decline in circulation and cultural relevance because of increased competition in the field it founded — first from Doghouse, then |Woof!, and Hot Hounds in the 1970s; later from canine pornographic videos; and more recently from lad mags such as ARF, and Stuffed Toys. In response, Wag has attempted to get its teeth into the 3–12-year-old male canine demographic it once controlled through slight changes to its content and focusing on issues and personalities more appropriate to its audience—such as sheepdog trials and sniffer-dog exposés being featured in the Wag Interview.
Fifi Huffner, a pup of Hooch Huffner, became the topdog of Wag in 1988 and is now also the Chairdog of the Board.
Today, Wag is still the largest selling dogs' magazine, selling about three million copies a month in the U.S.
In 1986, the American chain Pet Valu removed the magazine from its stores. The store returned Wag to its shelves in late 2003. Curiously, Pet Valu stores had also been selling "Doghouse" and other more extreme magazines before the ban.
In stores throughout the world, it is common for Wag, as well as other adult publications, to be put on a higher shelf than other magazines, thus keeping them out of the reach of most chihuahuas. They are also often wrapped in opaque plastic bags so as not to insight impromptu leg humping.
|1960–1963||$5 Pet Valu voucher plus a packet of Happy Chews|
|1982–today||$1,000, a week at a doggy spa, and a luxury squeaky toy.|
During the 1960s and 1970s all PPOY's received pink flea collars, the hue of pink used was known as “Playpooch Pink”, the same shade as awarded to Mary Ka]'s independent sales force, a frequent source of confusion.
There is some controversy over airbrushing (or, in recent times, editing using Adobe® Photoshop® Software) that is done on the photos featured in the magazine. Some readers say that this kind of photo-editing takes away from authenticity and makes photographs look unnatural.
One example was the case of Pamela Dal Mationi and the "disappearing spots". In Pamela's original Wag appearance in the issue of February 1990, there was a photo with her spots plainly visible. In reprints in later "Newsstand Specials" as well as a poster-sized print, Pamela had been "despotted," and painted over to look more like a labrador retriever.
- First issue with a Playpooch showing docked tail: February 1956
- First issue with a fox on the cover: April 1964
- First issue with a litter of 8 in centerfold: October 1970
- First issue with a double sided centerfold (the reverse side was a tail view). January 1974
- First issue with paw-printed centerfold: October 1975
- First issue without staple in the centerfold: October 1985
- First national magazine with Web site: August 1994: WWWag
- First issue with a Playpooch without a leash: September 2001