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In Germany, A Magazine For The Dog-Tired

Not everyone's a dog lover. A new magazine in Germany caters to the haters.
Not everyone's a dog lover. A new magazine in Germany caters to the haters.

Here's something to chew over:

With such magazine titles as Mein Hund & Ich ("My Dog and Me") and SitzPlatzFuss ("SitStayHeel"), Germany's newsstands have been basically a canine lovefest.

No more.

The recent launch of Kot & Köter (Poop & Pooches) is already taking a bite out of the admittedly small but vastly underserved niche market of dog haters.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, it all started in 1992 when four Guinness-swilling journalists in Germany challenged one another to come up with the most absurd magazine titles. Kot & Köter was their drunken brainchild.

The Journal writes:

"For two decades, the magazine remained a joke — but one that got a lot of attention. One of the journalists, Wulf Beleites, trademarked the name — also a joke — and unexpectedly became a minor celebrity when the fictional title was reported in the German press. Between 1992 and 1998, he appeared as editor in chief of Kot & Köter on 18 local TV talk shows, despite the fact that the magazine didn't exist.

"But suddenly today, Kot & Köter has become reality. Mr. Beleites, struggling to stay afloat in the wounded media business, decided to launch Kot & Köter for real—and it was a hit. The first issue, of 1,000 copies, sold out in days, and a further 1,750 copies were quickly printed. The second issue, published this month, contains a further 48 pages crammed with anti-dog material."

You might assume that Kot & Köter wouldn't stand a chance in the dog-eat-dog world of magazine publishing. After all, Puppyset.com ranks Germany just above the U.S. at No. 5 on its list of the "Top 10 Dog Friendly Countries."

But as Der Spiegel noted ahead of the magazine's launch: "There are plenty of people in Germany who can't stand man's best friend. But they lack a platform to express their displeasure."

Last year, a doggedly determined Beleites decided to crowdfund a premiere issue of Kot & Köter and see where it went from there.

After raising more than $9,000 to put out the first issue, Beleites sold out of the first 1,000 paper copies. Then, he printed 1,750 more and "recruited several friends and family members to handle the flood of orders," the Journal says.

In the first issue, dog-hating readers, many no doubt stroking lap cats, could relax with articles ranging from the story of Hitler and his dog, Blondi, to the virtues of electronic burglar alarms over German shepherds.

Possibilities for future issues are endless, Beleites insists. Among some working titles for possible stories: "Abandonment tips for vacation: The best rest stops road tested" and "He's not doing anything, he only wants to play: What dog owners say and 20 punchy responses."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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