01 Apr 2021

Ancol Pet Products celebrate landmark birthday

Ancol Pet Products celebrate landmark birthday

Ancol Pet Products celebrate landmark birthday

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Ancol Pet Products. 


Founded in 1971 by husband-and-wife team Ann and Colin Lane, the company originally focused solely on British–made leather dog collars and leads. Based in Walsall, the historical leather capital of the UK, Ancol soon became popular in the pet industry, due to a simple mix of quality products, product knowledge, and customer care. 

Through the Years/ Expanding offering

In the past 50 years there have been huge changes to the industry and Ancol rapidly expanded to meet the demand for dog coats, toys, and training tools, and soon incorporated product lines for cats and small pets. Director of Operations Simon Lane remembers the first time the family considered expanding the range to include plush toys for dogs. ‘At the time, dog toys were simple rubber bones and balls. We decided to trial new and exciting plush toys, and they were an immediate success.’ Today, the company sells a huge variety of toys to ensure there is something perfect for every dog, whether they prefer an interactive toy, a cuddly toy, or a good old-fashioned tennis ball. 

Family Business

As the business grew, so did the family. Managing Director Johnathan Lane was first introduced to the world of work as a babe-in-arms; placed carefully in the passenger seat of the Ancol van to sleep, whilst his mother Ann drove around the West Midlands delivering products. The couple’s three children, Simon, Sarah, and Jonathan all followed in their parents’ steps to become active members of the business, managing operations, sales, and finance respectively. The latest addition to the workforce from the Lane family is third generation Annabelle, who manages Ancol’s social media and is the in-house photographer. 

Charity Work

Ancol is and always has been a business run by a family of dog-lovers. As such the company has always shared its success with charity partners. Their ongoing partnership with local charity Birmingham Dog’s Home has seen the staff supporting sponsored walks, judging dog shows, meeting dogs in need as well as annual donations to provide funds for the home’s dogs whilst they await their forever home. Last year, the company also partnered with StreetVet, a wonderful charity that provides care, vaccinations, essential products, and food for animals owned by homeless people. Knowing that a pet is a huge lifeline for anyone, particularly in hard times, Ancol were keen to step in and developed winter and summer ‘pet parcels’ to keep pets safe and comfortable in extreme weather. 

Modern Day and Innovation

UK-made leather collars and leads are still made by Ancol at their Walsall premises, and whilst some things, such as the family-feel of the company will never change,  Ancol constantly develops and innovates. The most recent focus has been on the environment. Solar panels have provided the factory and warehouse with renewable energy for six years and the company has committed to eco products, 100% in-house recycling, and plastic-reduced packaging to ensure they do their bit to trade responsibly. In the grooming rage alone, the 99% plastic packaging reduction will reduce plastic use by over 3 tonnes per year. 

New products, such as recycled collars and leads, beds, toys and compostable small pet accessories have proved to be a huge hit, Director of Operations Simon Lane explains: ‘We knew we wanted to offer more eco-friendly products but we also pride ourselves on our affordability. It seemed to us that many ‘eco’ products on the market come with a hefty price-tag. We worked long and hard to ensure that our eco offering would be affordable, as people should not have to pay more for ethical products.’ 

To the future

What’s next for Ancol? After a year that has seen business closures, independent pet shops struggling to survive, issues with shipping and supply, Ancol representatives unable to visit shops, business meetings done over the computer, and a huge uptake in UK pets, the company is proud to now be busier than ever and ready to help their customers and the trade bounce back from a difficult 12 months. When the covid measures are lifted, the family are keen to show off the new products and development, the Ancol Customer Suite, and have a stand planned for PATS 2021. They look forward to seeing friends, customers, and business partners in Telford in September, and have some exciting surprises ready to celebrate their birthday which takes place that month. 

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