Celebrating 50 Years in Business
Fifty years ago, Volhard Dog Nutrition was founded in Phoenix, New York. We could not be more excited to celebrate our history, our success, and all of the incredible accomplishments achieved thanks to our employees, customers, partners, and the country at large.
Reflecting on Generations of Success
Fifty years is a big deal to us. While no one could have predicted the current landscape of the industry and the events of the past year, we are thrilled to celebrate this milestone anniversary and our history as a family-owned company.
“This milestone is even more special when you reflect on the generational aspect of our history,” said Owner and CEO Brian Berg. “We are proud to say that we have successfully transitioned from Wendy Volhard’s founding company to the company you see today.”
At Volhard Dog Nutrition, we are proud to celebrate 50 years of fresh dog food manufacturing excellence, especially given that some companies do not make it one, five or even 10 years, let alone 50. This milestone provides us with plenty to celebrate!
The Transformations That Have Shaped Our History
In 50 years, we have had several transformations in our history, which have helped build the company into what it is today. Our humble beginning started in 1973, when our founder Wendy Volhard, a well-known dog trainer, breeder, and educator, was motivated to create a fresh, natural diet in her kitchen to save her beloved Landseer Newfoundland, Heidi, UD, who at the age of five, was diagnosed with severe liver and kidney disease and given a mere six months to live. Wendy gave up her career at the Wall Street Journal and literally went to the dogs and Heidi lived another seven years. When fellow students saw what she was doing and her success, they wanted to do the same thing for their dogs. Wendy would hold “cooking classes” to teach them how to make their own diets and show them where to buy ingredients.
With the help of her veterinarian, she began a protocol of periodic clinical tests to see if the diet was balanced for the dogs. For over twelve years, she took blood, feces, and urine from as many dogs as she could from her students, from different areas of the country, different breeds, and different ages. She had to tweak the formula to make sure that she was getting the results from the recipe that she wanted. Satisfied, she finally published the recipe in 1984 under the title “Back to Basics.”
During these years as a breeder of Landseer Newfoundlands and by feeding her diet, she was able to eliminate from her breeding program hip and elbow dysplasia and almost doubled longevity for the breed which was at that time seven years. Her “Newfs” lived to 14 years. She participated in performance events, working and showing her dogs until they were at least 10, and only then were they retired under protest. They wanted to keep working!
She also had other dogs, all of whom lived to ripe old ages: a rescue Springer Spaniel, a rescue German Shepherd, a Yorkshire Terrier, a Briard, Labrador Retrievers and Standard Wirehaired Dachshunds. All were trained and were shown in performance events. She was able to observe their dietary needs under stressful and high-energy output conditions over the course of many years. More importantly, she was helping many dogs become well again. She began to lecture and give seminars throughout North America and Europe on the subjects of canine health and nutrition.
In the early 1990’s her work came to the attention of Howell Book House, a division of Wiley Publishing, and she was asked to write a textbook. She accepted the invitation and, together with Kerry Brown, DVM, wrote The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, published in 1995. The book was such a success that she was asked to write a second edition which included case histories, which was published in 2000 under the same title. Wendy has published 25+ books on various canine topics. Her books have been published in multiple languages and distributed throughout the world and are still available.
In 1999, she formulated a dehydrated formula for her recipe. She teamed up with a dog food company to market her Natural Diet Foundation AM and Natural Diet Foundation PM. This product promotes good digestion, not only in healthy dogs, but also in dogs with delicate digestive systems, or chronically ill dogs. She then developed NDF2, an all-in-one dehydrated food that offers owners an even simpler way to feed their dogs. Realizing that not everyone could offer homemade diets to their dogs, she developed a supplement called Endurance which, when sprinkled over kibble, supplies all the necessary ingredients for health and stamina.
Wendy Volhard was the first to bring a natural diet to the United States. As a hidden figure in the industry, she has often been copied, but never successfully. Her natural dog foods are without a doubt the most 3rd party tested dog foods on the market and the dogs eating them have been clinically tested for the longest durations in the industry. Wendy, began the natural, raw food wave that is now sweeping the country. No company can match VDN foods that have been tested over that many generations of dogs. For more information and 3rd party analyses go to www.volharddognutrition.com
After starting a company all on her own and working for decades as a woman-owned small business, Wendy decided to retire from the day-to-day business space and passed the torch in 2018 to dog professionals Brian and Lisa Berg who are our present owners. Upon retirement from their 25 years in law enforcement, during which Brian was a K9 handler and unit supervisor for 10 years, they started K9 Basics Dog Training in Marlton, NJ. Located on 24 acres, they developed a very successful professional dog training business, which then grew to include a dog boarding and daycare division as well as a nonprofit, Semper Fido, Inc., which rescues dogs and trains them as service dogs for veterans with PTSD. Responsible for training and caring for thousands of dogs, they are proudly celebrating 20 years in business this year. Brian and Lisa continue to bring ethics, knowledge, and excellence to Volhard Dog Nutrition.
New Generation, New Logo, Same VDN
The latest transformations in our history and one designed to work in conjunction with our 50-year celebration was our company’s rebrand, highlighted by a new logo and website. The new logo displays a bold, modern look for VDN as we have grown and evolved over the years.
We have refreshed our look to reflect who we are today and to symbolize our future. A small team inside the company worked to find something that appeared fun, approachable, smart, friendly, and connected to all generations without losing the history of the Volhard dog and mission. We are proud of our rich history and deep roots so we have retained the original logo’s core element: the Volhard dog named Diggy.
Compared with royal blue, the lighter teal blue is cool and refreshing, while the darker, slate-blue feels a bit scientific. The colors in the tagline “Fresh. Healthy. Balanced.” are orange and lime green to represent the fresh, whole vegetables we put in our food while the blue represents the water we add to rehydrate the nutrients. The Baskerville font is deliberately clean, modern, and light. Our Volhard dog Diggy got a refresh that put an eye and mouth on a smiling face which is eager to eat, wearing a bandana with the respective Volhard “V” on it!
To the outside world, our logo reflects the close partnership between family, company, customers, and employees, all working together to provide value in the form of natural dog food. However, internally, the logo has a slightly different meaning. “In the context of 50 years, this logo represents the next generation of the company,” said Berg.
Along with announcing our new brand identity, we have launched our new website featuring a modern, clean design. The new site delivers rich content in a more visual and organized way to provide visitors easy access to learn about our Dog Nutritional products. Our new website employs what is called a “responsive design” that dynamically resizes to fit the user’s browser. This means that no matter what device you are using, the site will adjust to provide you with a pleasurable viewing experience.
The new website and brand identity reflect the bold, energetic and forward-looking culture of Volhard Dog Nutrition and is designed to inspire and further elevate us as we continue to provide quality and value to our customers. We hope you like this new look and feel for Volhard Dog Nutrition! Look out for more updates, like an updated look in our product labels and other marketing literature as we continue to try to better serve our customers with clean, modern, user-friendly technology.
Our Mascot: Diggy’s Story
Everyone, meet Diggy.
Diggy (who lived to be 18 1/2) is the official mascot of Volhard Dog Nutrition and has been used for decades in various marketing campaigns and on Volhard’s training materials and food labels. It’s also important to note that little Diggy is actually a “she” and a registered trademark. When Wendy was creating the Volhard Motivational Training Method, she had a very special dog who was very instrumental in the development of her new method of training. This dog was a wirehaired Dachshund called Ch. Rivendell’s Paradigma CDX or Diggy for short.
Diggy made her debut back in the early 1980’s as part of the Volhard logo. Throughout the years, the logo has changed slightly but Diggy was always the focus.
The updated Volhard Dog Nutrition logo features Diggy wearing a bandana with the Volhard “V” on it. Diggy is a hit—and why wouldn’t she be? Our customers are always very eager to see more of Diggy, so the VDN marketing team responded by plastering the dog all over print, digital, and direct marketing later starting in 2018.
In honor of this year's 50 year celebration, you will see Diggy featured on all kinds of fun products: hats, shirts, sweatshirts, cups, mugs, etc. Diggy will make your day by making you laugh with her funny antics and entertaining sayings.
This Year of Celebration
In honor of our 50th Anniversary, Volhard Dog Nutrition has done a lot to make our website more interactive and informative. We have a few highlights featured below:
- Canine Calorie Counter: Use our calorie calculator to see how many calories your dog should be eating per day.
- Build-a-Bowl: to pick a Volhard diet , add your protein and get the nutritional information in real time.
- Live Chat: Our all-new live chat feature allows visitors to talk to a nutritional coach and get help with whatever you need. Still have questions? Click the chat bubble below.
- Nutritional Consultation: Do you have questions that go beyond live chat, we off nutritional consultations aimed helping dog owners make sound dietary and nutritional recommendations for dogs with medical conditions using the Volhard Diets and Supplements.
Please join us for our 50th Anniversary celebrations this year. We are doing everything we can to build on our cornerstones of continuous improvement and providing quality dog food to our customers. We continue to strive to create repeatable successes in the route to becoming a world-class dog food producer. Reaching this status is more of a journey than a destination, but VDN would not be where we are today and would not have had the success we have experienced without the incredible and dedicated team that continues to help us grow.