Close-up of a Nipper statue.
Close-up of a Nipper statue.


The iconic image of a mixed fox/bull terrier, Nipper, looking into a phonograph became an international symbol of quality and excellence for The Victor Talking Machine Company.

Nipper was a real dog who lived in England and enjoyed chasing rats, "nipping at the backs of people's ankles, and listening to music." Reportedly, Nipper was doing just that when artist Francis Barraud thought the scene would make a great painting and created Nipper listening to "His Master's Voice" in 1899.

The painting and copyright were purchased for use as the trademark for The Gramophone Company in London. The original painting featured Nipper listening to a cylinder phonograph but was changed to a Berliner Disc Gramophone as a condition of the purchase.

E.R. Johnson acquired the U.S. rights to the painting from Emile Berliner in 1901, leading to a merger with The Berliner Gramophone Company to form The Victor Talking Machine Company. Johnson, an astute businessman, launched Nipper's image and company name to world-wide fame by branding everything from Victrolas and recordings to salt and pepper shakers. Nipper is buried in Kingston-Upon-Thames in England.