RCA dog

Who remembers Nipper? The iconic image of “Nipper the Dog”—tilting his head while listening to a phonograph—was used to promote the RCA company for years. This image, popularly known as “His Master’s Voice,” captured hearts worldwide. But who was the real Nipper?

According to RCA, the original Nipper was born in Bristol, England in 1884. His name derived from his tendency to nip the backs of visitors’ legs. The dog’s owner’s brother, Francis Barraud, immortalized Nipper by painting him alongside a gramophone. Nipper would stare at the phonograph whenever a record played, creating an endearing scene. An 18-feet-tall statue of Nipper now graces the rooftop of the Maryland Center for History and Culture in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Located at 600 Park Avenue, this impressive canine overlooks the city.

Nipper’s journey to Baltimore has been unique. The statue originally stood atop the RCA building in the 1950s. It was a proud symbol of the company’s legacy.  The the iconic statue was discontinued a collector came to the rescue.  Jim Wells purchased the statue for a mere $1 and placed it in his front yard at 8731 Lee Highway in Merrifield, Virginia. For nearly 20 years, Nipper resided there, and a townhouse development now stands on that property. The street is lovingly called Nipper Way in tribute. Eventually Nipper found a temporary home with the Baltimore City Life Museums after being sold for $25,000.  Nipper finally found his forever home and settled atop the Maryland Center for History and Culture, where he continues to watch over Baltimore.

Fun fact Nipper’s legacy extends beyond Baltimore.  There are other replicas.
– Albany, New York: Another Nipper sits above an old RCA building.
– Bristol, England: Above the door of the Merchant Venturers Building, Nipper stands tall.
– Camden, New Jersey: A stained-glass window featuring Nipper decorates the victor condo building.