Why dogs love Gangsta Dog and you will too
By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
Gary Hughes and his wife created their hit pet store, Gangsta Dog, on a bar napkin one night. With the ideas flowing and a name secured, Hughes got to work brainstorming what they should sell in the store. After attending a cookie baking class, Hughes enjoyed it so much he decided that’s what Gangsta Dog needed to sell. “We developed recipes, so if you have a dog on Facebook I friended you and started sending out dog biscuits all over the country for a year or so. If one dog didn’t like a recipe I would redo it and say ‘What about now?’ If two dogs didn’t like a recipe we would do away with it. All we wanted in return is to tell us how we did: Did the dog like it? Did it arrive broken? Any mold? And we came up with 50 bulletproof recipes,” explained Hughes. And thus, Gangsta Dog was born.
Now you’re probably wondering how Gangsta Dog got its name. Well, Hughes has had many dogs in his life, but after his beloved German Shepard passed away, he was looking to get a much smaller dog. He wanted a small dog but a feisty dog and a Norwich Terrier, he decided, was the perfect feisty little dog for him. After purchasing their new Norwich Terrier puppy, they noticed that as he got older, he wasn’t looking as much like a purebred Norwich Terrier. After doing a DNA test, which you can see on his website, gangstadog.com, they discovered that he was a mix of many different dog breeds. Due to his different makeup, people were curious about what kind of dog he was. Instead of referring to him as a mutt, he was referred to as a Gangsta Dog.
Gangsta Dog now sells dog biscuits, dog food, dog supplements, dog-themed wine glasses and more. All of the items are made with dog-friendly ingredients, and you can actually watch Hughes bake batches of the biscuits and treats in the store. “We have one cookie that is so good we actually named it the ‘Oh Damn’ and we actually own the trademark ‘Oh Damn.’ It’s called that because when a dog eats it, you can see the dog think ‘Oh damn, what was that?’ We’ve gone from our own cookies to our own line of dog food, to our own line of soft treats and supplements,” Hughes explained. All of the products are made either in-store or in the United States.
Hughes explained that he created the store just for fun as a way to keep busy and to do part-time, but with the popularity of Gangsta Dog exploding, Hughes had to retire from his full-time job two years early. “I just wanted to do farmers markets on a Saturday, but this thing grew legs and took off on its own. The thing about it is, there’s been nothing about it that hasn’t been fun,” explained Hughes. Gangsta Dog can be found in five farmers markets, their flagship store on Lime Kiln Lane, two new stores in Virginia and soon they’ll be available in independent groceries and pet stores. Gangsta Dog is based on three pillars: quality, customer service and honesty. Hughes believes his business would not be able to thrive without those three pillars all in play.
Gangsta Dog’s two most popular products are the Oh Damn Biscuit and the Cannabone, a CBD biscuit for dogs. If you haven’t caught on yet, Hughes loves puns. So, pawse your everyday activity and head over to Gangsta Dog to treat your dog with healthy, delicious treats that they’re sure to love.
2400 Lime Kiln Lane, Suite A-1
Louisville, KY 40222