Pretzel, the Pickup Pooch from Transogram (1963)

Company: Transogram | Release date: 1963 | Where to purchase: eBay

In 1963, Transogram released Pretzel, a mechanical pet that played a rudimentary form of fetch.

Measuring approximately 18-inches long, Pretzel was fabricated of rigid plastic and made to resemble a cute puppy, albeit one branded with a pretzel on its right hindquarters. A simple motor was embedded in the body, providing battery-free operation. A metal lower jaw and four wheels attached via steel axles completed the design.

When placed approximately six feet away on a flat, uncarpeted surface, Pretzel earned its nickname “the Pickup Pooch” by automatically catching balls rolled into its open mouth. Once a ball was secured, Pretzel moved forward at the tug of an attached leash, which activated the engine/wheel combination.

Once within petting distance, pushing down on Pretzel’s ears released the ball and automatically rolled backwards to the original starting point, waiting for the next ball toss. In addition to catching balls, Pretzel also made barking noises.


Pretzel was on the market for approximately four years. Despite getting an advertising push on network television, the toy wasn’t one of Transogram’s sales successes. Collectors looking to acquire the Pickup Pooch should ensure their acquisition includes two balls, the original string leash attached to its collar, and the attached sticker with Pretzel’s name in good shape.

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