Doggie Diner Heads

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The Doggie Diner chain used giant Dachshund heads on top of its signs. The company's first hot dog stand was built in 1948. There were about 30 locations in the Bay Area. These nine-foot-tall fiberglass dog head signs were developed in the 1960s. Two men claim to be the artists behind the heads. By one account, the character was designed by Stephen Coulthard of Blaze Signs. He supposedly modeled the head after one of his mother's Dachshunds. Another possible designer was Harold Bachman who claims that he drew the dog in 1965. In either case, it is believed the actual sculpture for the molds was created by Bill Swan. A mold from Swan's sculpture was then made by International Fiberglass. They produced the fiberglass heads from that. The heads revolved on top of 20-foot-tall metal poles, earning the nickname "Dachshunds on Sticks". I believe all of the bowties were originally blue with white polka dots. Approximately 24-50 of these heads were produced (stories conflict). About a dozen of them are believed to have survived.

Doggie Diner head
San Francisco, CA
This Doggie Diner head was installed in the Ocean Beach neighborhood opened in 1965. It was the last location left when it closed in 1986. The sign was still in place when the City of San Francisco acquired it in 2000. The following year, the fiberglass head was knocked off its pole by high winds. The damage was substantial, particularly to the dog's nose. The head was repaired and repainted in its original colors. The sign was reinstalled one block from its original location as a memorial to the popular chain. In 2014, this Doggie Diner head was refurbished and reinstalled. For more, see this website. [map]

Doggie Diner heads
San Francisco, CA


This trio of Doggie Diner heads are owned by John Law, a private collector. The heads are nicknamed Manny, Moe, and Jack after the Pep Boys characters. The trailered trio appears at parades and special events. In 2005, they were towed behind a bus on a roadtrip to New York City, stopping at various roadside attractions. In 2013, they were covered with crochet. They were located in Emeryville for several years. They were kept in a storage yard to protect them from vandalism when the 2008 photos were taken. In 2015, one of the dogs was missing. The dog on the left was being painted. In 2016, all three dogs had been restored and are on display on Treasure Island. [map]

Doggie Diner head
Berkeley, CA
Doggie Diner head
San Jose, CA
Doggie Diner head
Plymouth, CA
The Doggie Diner head in Berkeley is located in someone's back yard.

The Doggie Diner head in San Jose is located inside Streetlight Records. This one may have come from a Doggie Diner Fremont, CA.

The Doggie Diner head in Plymouth has been located at the Via Noceto Winery since 1985. The owners bought the head at an auction. It came from a Doggie Diner location in Hayward or Emeryville. The head was restored in 2012.

Doggie Diner head
Napa, CA (now Pomeroy, WA)
The Doggie Diner head in Napa was owned by Kip Atchley. He bought the head in 2014 and had it restored. This could possibly be the original head or one of the earliest since it has the diamond studs on the collar which matches Swan's original sculpture. None of the surviving heads have this. Atchley hoped to eventually revive the Doggie Diner chain. In 2023, the head was sold to David Webb, aka The One Man Swap Meet. For more, see this website. [map]

Doggie Diner head
Stagecoach, NV
2014: 2023:
The Doggie Diner head in Stagecoach was installed in someone's front yard when this photo was taken in 2014. By 2015, it had been moved to the Big Dawg used car dealership. For more, see this website. [map]

Doggie Diner heads
Hayward, CA
2015: 2017 & 2018: 2016: 2017:
The two Doggie Diner heads in Hayward are located at Bell Plastics where there are many other statues. Bruce Kennedy, the owner of the business and the signs, had the first head shown above restored (3rd and 4th photos above). The other head with the blue and white polka dot tie has been restored and installed on a pole in front of the business. It revolves as it did originally. [map]

There are about five other Doggie Diner heads known to exist. There is one at a bed and breakfast in Mendocino County, CA [no details] and one at Sheep Dung Estates in Boonville, CA. The others are in private collections in Fremont, CA and San Rafael, CA. There was one in Maui, HI which is gone now. There are reports of two in Reno, NV but I have not been able to find anything out about them. If you know of any others or can confirm the existence or removal of the statues just mentioned, I'd love to hear from you.

More Doggie Diner Heads:
Oakland, CA [gone]
Port Costa, CA

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