Ever see a dog bed that looks just like a Big Barker, but it has a different brand name and costs significantly less?
Be warned! Don’t get roped into buying a “fake,” imitation bed from any of these copycats. My undercover investigation revealed 3 disturbing little secrets they won’t tell you about their beds, but I will!
If you’re not already familiar with Big Barker, we designed the first therapeutic mattress specifically for big dogs. Engineered to keep dogs youthful for longer and bring older dogs back to their best. Once the 5 star reviews started piling up on Amazon and thousands of proud dog lovers shared their pictures on social media, the Big Barker became a smash hit.
Of course… when innovative products take-off in popularity, they get knocked off. I get it. In many ways it's a huge compliment to all the hard work we've put into our American-made product since we sold our first bed in November 2012.
The knockoff artists saw Big Barker grow to become the Internet’s favorite dog bed and a staple in over 50,000 homes across America. And totally lacking in imagination and integrity, they said to themselves, lemme copy their every move!
A sampling of the rogues gallery of rascals who sell blatant Big Barker “knockoffs.” This is just eight of them. I wonder where they got their design ideas from? Hmm... (all images courtesy of Amazon)
Let me be clear that I don’t hate the makers of these knockoffs. America is the land of opportunity. We all have to make a buck somehow.
So, until now, I've taken the high road and publically ignored their efforts to undermine our business. But time and again they’ve fooled people into thinking their beds are the equal of a Big Barker. And because I’ve bit my tongue, I fear that I've been part of the problem. I’ve given these copycats free reign to get away with bloody murder.
That’s why I went undercover to expose the scandalous inner-workings of their business.
The shocking findings I want to share with you may disturb and even anger you. But by the end, you will be the smartest pet owner on your block. Able to protect yourself as a consumer and make a wise and loving choice for you and your dog.
The final straw!
Meet Jaime… she does a wonderful job of heading up our customer support team here in Pennsylvania. She told me recently how she’s been besieged more than ever by confused dog owners.
Jaime and I at the Soaring 76 awards ceremony, where Big Barker received an award from the Philadelphia Business Journal for being one of Philadelphia’s fastest growing companies.
People are asking Jaime:
What is the difference between Big Barker vs Kopeks? Or Big Barker vs Bully Beds? Or Big Barker vs Pet Support Systems, Clever Paw, FrontPet, Pep Step, G3 Elite, or any of the other fly-by-night companies that shamelessly knock us off.
I knew I had to it finally set the record straight.
I’ll be the first to admit, on the surface, these imitation beds absolutely do resemble a Big Barker, or at least they look like a close cousin. Yet as I’ll explain, venture beneath the surface and it’s a whole other story.
You’re about to discover why looks can be incredibly deceiving. And why, without exception, the dozens of made-in-China knockoffs scattered across the Internet are all pale (and even dangerous!) imitations of a REAL Big Barker dog bed.
DISCLAIMER: Obviously, I don’t work for any of these “companies” - so my statements are solely based on the knowledge gained during 12 years of experience in the dog bed industry, building and making (here in the USA) the top-rated dog bed on the Internet. Naturally, this gives me a very detailed insider knowledge about the costs of dog bed materials and common manufacturing processes.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let's shine a light on what these parasites don’t want you to know about their beds...
Yes, those beds that look like Big Barkers almost all hail from Chinese factories. We can thank giant Chinese online marketplaces for this. The most famous of which is called AliBaba.
Marketplaces like AliBaba connect Chinese factories with people worldwide (including here in the USA) who want to get their hands on cheaply-made “knockoff” products they can resell to consumers.
In short: The AliBaba marketplace is a destructive force directed at anyone who’s trying to make a high-quality product here in America.
AliBaba is laughing all the way to the bank, but by making it so easy for people to get “knockoff” products made and shipped to the USA, it’s hurting consumers.
Then, after pledging to clean up their act, they made the blacklist for the second year in a row in 2017!
Their parents must be very proud :)
A person or a company in America or Europe can simply go to the AliBaba website, buy the Chinese factories’ sub-standard version of our Big Barker bed, then put their own brand name on it.
That's the shady way “brands” like Kopeks, Bully Beds, and others come into being. Not by innovating - but by piggybacking on the hard work of others.
Here’s one of the Chinese manufacturers on AliBaba who sell imitation Big Barkers to these “brands” - a not-so-delightful company named Jiangsu Kejian Sponge Co., Ltd.
Those images of the bed are all stolen from our BigBarker.com website. I blurred out the price for a reason, we’ll come back to this shortly. They obviously can’t sell a real Big Barker because our beds are American-made with the highest quality materials. But these Chinese manufacturers will gladly make something that looks a lot like it.
In the course of my undercover investigation I contacted seven of these Chinese manufacturing companies that were advertising fake Big Barkers. I used an assumed name “Brian James.” (my younger brother’s first and middle name!)
And I proceeded to ask each some simple questions about their product.
Right out the gate, three of them even had the nerve to claim they are the actual manufacturers of Big Barker!
Yes, these three separate Chinese factories claim to be the makers of our beds!!! News to me :-) And certainly news to our American manufacturing partners!
This obviously doesn’t speak well to the honesty and integrity of these Chinese factories that they are willing to tell such a doozy of a lie. But let’s dive even deeper into their filthy web of deceit…
Above are the seven factories that I personally contacted in the course of my undercover investigation.
Every single one of them raised at least one blatant red flag during our conversations.
There are boatloads of these factories out there. If you’ve got an hour to kill just go to Alibaba.com and try searching for things like extra large dog bed, memory foam dog bed, or that sort of thing.
Notice that more than half of the factories above stole Big Barker photos directly from Amazon. Too lazy and cheap to even take their own photos? Or just deliberate deception?
This is the underhanded ploy used by the makers of the knockoff Big Barker beds you see across the Internet.
It works like this: you find a product that’s popular on Amazon, like Big Barker, then you locate a Chinese assembly-line factory that’s already knocking it off. You import small quantities of the knockoff goods, slap a new “brand name” on them (like Bully Beds, or Kopeks, etc) and sell them for significantly less than the original.
Here’s a video explaining this America-hating scheme in more detail.
WARNING: you might need a shower after watching this. This is a dirty, dirty business that honest people would never dream of entering!
There’s literally thousands of YouTube videos on how to do “private labelling,” it’s sickening.
You can find all kinds of “knockoff” stuff from dog beds to dining room chairs to cozy winter hats. You name it, it’s yours on AliBaba to buy and rebrand. Just like these knockoff bed brands do day-in and day-out.
Turns out, it’s a cinch for an unscrupulous person to start their own “brand” of product. They don’t have to know ANYTHING about the product or materials that go in it. They never even have to meet anyone at the factory. If they’ve got a credit card and can do some simple internet searches, they can start their own dog bed brand too.
It’s so easy that it's a business they could easily run out of their Mom’s basement.
Private labeling is a “lazy man’s” business strategy that requires no elbow grease, expertise or talent. You just sit back, slap your imitation goods on the internet, and hope to make a couple bucks!
Here’s a great example of private labeling in all it’s shameful glory. G3 Elite “makes” an imitation Big Barker, and also soccer goals, hammocks, and sun shades!
These “jack of all trades” want you to think they are masters of making dog beds. Gimme a break! See how little priority the dog bed gets?! That’s true passion for dogs right there!
The reality is…
They have no specialization whatsoever and no singular long-term focus on dog health.
Fact is, you don’t need expert knowledge or manufacturing capabilities to make a buck as a private labeler. These knockoff brands prove it everyday!
“But wait! They said they’re a family owned American company!”
Yeah. This is one of the most frustrating parts. Some of these companies have sections of their websites that say how they’re a “small, family owned business.” They claim they invented their product because they have a dog that has problems and they wanted to help their best friend.
Sounds awfully fishy to me...
They clearly didn’t invent anything. Most likely, they set out to make a buck, learned about “Private Labeling,” saw Big Barker as an easy money target to knockoff, came up with a brand name, found a similar Chinese-made bed to slap that name on, blatantly copied the Big Barker language, warranties, and free shipping policies, and started advertising their product as if it was something brand spankin’ new and unique.
I doubt they went through all that to help their dog. If they really wanted to help their dog, they would have just bought a Big Barker! Much easier!
Of course, technically, they might be American; technically, they might have a family. But ultimately they’re just reselling Chinese knockoff goods! Not good for America, and not good for consumers who deserve a quality product that’s going to last.
If you truly want your dog to experience the benefits of a REAL bed, then the company who makes that bed should know what they’re doing.
The Big Barker is able to “keep dogs youthful for longer and bring older dogs back to their best” because of all the efforts we’ve put into creating a bed perfectly calibrated for the sizing and support needs of big dogs.
Me and Hank in 2005, back at the beginning. It was Hank’s hip dysplasia diagnosis around this time that started me on the journey to build a better bed for big dogs.
I’ve personally been in the dog bed industry since 2006, and our lead product engineer has been making bedding, furniture, and inventing foam products since the 1970’s. Without exception, all our products are proudly made in America.
Dog beds are the only thing we do, and I have no problem acknowledging that we’re the best in the world at it.
The owners of knockoff “private label” brands typically have no experience in the product they’re selling. That’s one of the reasons it’s so attractive to people. Because they can start a business without doing any real work.
Sadly, when you buy one of their beds and you’re opening the door and basically letting these imposters and their “fake beds” stride right into your home. But let’s throw a wrench in their plans to separate you from your money.
Take stock of these questions you can ask to find out if the owner of a dog bed company is legitimate, or a total fraud:
1) Before you started your dog bed company, did you have a background in the pet supplies, bedding, or foam industries? (If they’re being honest, most will say “No”...)
2) How did you meet your supplier? (The true answer will likely be they found their beds through the notorious Chinese website Alibaba.com, or through one of their many sister companies)
3) Was your supplier already selling dog beds with a headrest before you started buying from them? (...this proves they’re just low-level resellers)
4) Have you ever been to the factory that makes your beds? (It's a good bet they've never stepped foot in the Chinese factory where their beds originate...)
5) What exact product improvements or innovations were you responsible for? (Expect lots of stuttering because they haven’t innovated a single thing.)If they tell you the truth (and that’s a mighty big “if”) these answers will be be a sure sign of a “fake bed” maker. Someone who is an opportunist, not an innovator. And certainly not someone who is in business to actually make a REAL bed for dogs.
Of course, the only logical reason these knockoff brands sell any beds is because they cost less than the Big Barker.
Our beds are more expensive than normal dog beds. That’s because they’re made in the USA with super premium materials. They're REAL beds! There’s over 10,000 reviews that will vouch that the Big Barker is well worth the investment.
Their beds are cheaper. Sometimes more than $100 cheaper.
Well, very simply, because their materials are cheap. Which also makes them far less likely to hold up under heavy use.
Let’s head to AliBaba again and see just how cheap these knockoffs can get a dog bed made. Because these Chinese factories offer prices on foam that are insanely low. The prices below in the green boxes may not mean anything to you and there’s no reason they should. But to me, after being in the dog bed industry for 13 years, these prices are bottom-of-the-barrel.
Check this out… this is the pricing proposal sent to me by Nantong Hefeng Textile Co. They are shamelessly cloning our design and sizes EXACTLY, so this is a great apples-to-apples comparison.
The 1st bed listed is their imitation version of our Large size Big Barker. They’re asking $41.45 for it. That’s for the whole bed. Foam, cover, packaging, labor, fulfillment. They’re also throwing in a waterproof liner.
That’s CHEAP. And not the good kind of cheap. This is the kind of cheap that makes people in the furniture business think “yup, typical China!”
In my experience, the only way to make a dog bed that cheap is to use flimsy fabrics that aren’t up to serious furniture quality standards - and to use cheapo Chinese foam. This is why most dog beds flatten like pancakes and fall apart over time.
To put it into perspective, Big Barker spends more than double that price on JUST THE FOAM. We use the good foam, the high quality American foam. They’re using Chinese junk foam, which has a terrible reputation when it comes to durability, consistency, and safety.
And remember... these numbers aren't the actual factory costs. In a typical keystone pricing scenario, that factory is spending closer to $21 to make the bed, then reselling it to one of the knockoff companies for $42. After a company like Bully Beds or Kopeks imports that knockoff bed to the USA they're doubling or tripling the price AGAIN before it's purchased by the end user - benefiting from the low cost of Chinese materials & labor to make huge markups from unsuspecting dog owners who were duped by their predatory business practices.
If you look at that proposal closely, you’ll also see that they’re asking for a paltry $6.45 for an extra cover.
Even if we estimate around $2 for labor (Chinese labor is super-cheap), that would mean they’re only spending a tad over $4 on fabric.
For comparison’s sake, our fabric costs significantly more than that. For $4, our fabric supplier would send us a piece that wouldn’t even cover the underside of the bed! But again, that’s because we use high quality fabrics that an interior designer would be proud to use in your home. The knockoffs are using the cheap flimsy stuff.
So Grandma’s words of wisdom are truer than ever. You really do get what you pay for.
But the one thing you probably didn’t think you had to worry about was the safety of your dog bed.
Well, bad news on that front… because there’s good reason to believe these knockoff beds could contain some nasty chemicals that you definitely do not want your dog breathing in as they sleep.
An important study by the Ecology Center in Michigan found lead, arsenic, bromide, and all kinds of crazy toxins inside of Chinese-made dog beds.
You can read about the details of this study here:
In short… Chinese foam is bad news! And these knockoff beds are made in Chinese factories using Chinese foam! And this Chinese foam, that may or may not be riddled with toxins and poisons, ends up in your home.
This is NOT a scare tactic on my part. I would encourage you to read the gruesome details of the study by the Ecology Center at the link above - it’s enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. This is a true scandal that more dog lovers need to know about!
Of course, let’s give these Chinese factories the benefit of the doubt. They likely don’t fill their beds with these chemicals because they hate your dog and want to slowly poison him or her from across the Pacific Ocean over a long period of time. They do so because adding fillers makes the foam heavier, and they can say things like “4.5 lb density” - which allows the foam producer to charge more, and the reseller to raise the price to the consumer.
Do the clueless owners of these knockoff brands know anything about this?
Probably not. My guess is that most of them know absolutely nothing about foam... they haven't heard of the Eco Center study that found lead and arsenic inside popular dog beds... they haven’t done ANY chemical analysis of their own product... and they haven't demanded that their supplier provide verifiable documentation.
The only way to know that the foam inside of a dog bed is safe for your dog is to look for this logo.
CertiPUR-US® is a certification program for flexible polyurethane foam used in bedding and upholstered furniture. It’s administered by a non-profit organization dedicated to safe, healthy, environmentally-friendly foam.
However, the vast majority of dog beds sold to US consumers are NOT certified by CertiPUR-US®
This may leave your dog at risk if they’re sleeping on a bed that contains lead, arsenic, or other harmful materials that have been found in non-certified pet products.
Enrollment in the CertiPUR-US® certification testing program is voluntary, and almost all of the participating companies produce or sell products for humans.
Four of the Chinese factories I contacted of claimed to use certified foam, but they couldn’t supply adequate proof. I even contacted the CertiPUR-US® organization and they couldn’t confirm they were certified either.
Here’s a crazy example of the level of ineptitude l encountered...
First they say they are certified… then they offer a shifty-looking certificate with the name blurred out… then they say they’re not certified. Which is it??? They can’t seem to get their story straight!
This is the "doctored" certificate she tried to scam me with.
These people seem “all over the map” about the safety of the foam in the beds they make! First they say it’s CertiPUR-US® certified… then they say it’s not!
For your own confidence and peace of mind you might want to browse the updated list of approved CertiPUR-US® brands, see here:http://certipur.us/list-of-participating-companies/
Of course, Big Barker is on the official list above. We’ve always used high-quality, certified American-made foam, and we’re proud of it.
Notice that you don’t see any of the knockoff brands on the official approved list. Even though at least one of them has the CertiPUR-US® logo slapped all over their website. So buyer beware!
Before Big Barker, there was no such thing as a warranty against a flattened dog bed.
If a dog bed flattened under the weight of a big dog, you just had to fork over for yet another dog bed. Not good! And over time the money and inconvenience stacked up fast.
So when Big Barker came along asking if dog lovers were “sick & tired of dog beds that flatten like pancakes?” and then we backed it up with a previously unheard-of 10 year warranty, it was an instant hit.
Naturally, the knockoffs now offer a 10 year warranty too. As you’re no doubt starting to see, they mimic our every move.
Of course, given the poor quality of their materials (you’ve now seen how cheap they are), whether they can live up that warranty is a whole other question entirely! But we're not done yet. The horror show continues...
When I contacted the Chinese companies who make these beds, they sent me the results of their “factory audits.” These are inspections performed by a European organization called BSCI who promote the human rights of workers across the globe. A good thing!
So BSCI does important audits of the working conditions in Chinese factories to provide assurance to Americans that these overseas operations aren't exploiting their workers. So the reports these factories sent me was shocking to say the least...
Poor audit results from Nantong Fuying Foam Products, aka Nantong Hefeng Textile
The categories scored with “C’s” and “D’s” were:
In other words… these factories treat their employees (and the environment) like garbage. And these are same factories that the Big Barker knockoff artists seem a-okay with buying their dog beds from! They’re happy to turn a blind eye to this shocking behavior. Because they're making money, they don't seem to care.
Four of the factories I contacted sent me these audits, filled with less-than-impressive results - three of them didn’t want to send me a report. So I can only imagine what they have to hide.
Then it hit me. This is just NORMAL for them. Here in the USA we have much higher standards when it comes to employee safety and well-being. We treat people how we would like to be treated. But in China, sadly, it’s a very different story.
These knockoff beds are made by low-paid and often times, mistreated and poorly looked-after Chinese factory workers. A far cry from the skilled, respected American craftsmen and craftswomen who make every Big Barker with such care and precision.
The choice is now yours.
You’ve seen the shady, underhanded practices these knockoffs use to mislead people. You’ve seen how inept these Chinese factories are, and the cheap, cut-price, shoddy materials they use. You know any knockoff bed you come across could very well contain toxins like lead or arsenic.
And now you also know how we do things the RIGHT WAY here at Big Barker. The American Way!
Thankfully, you don’t have to take my word for it. Over 50,000 happy Big Barker owners are scattered across each of our 50 states. They’ve gladly shared their experience with our small family company all over social media and in thousands of Amazon reviews.
They’re delighted they own an original, REAL, American-made Big Barker bed. I know you and your dog will be too.
Thank you for reading!
This is the original. Try it for a year. If you don't feel the same sense of pride that I do when you see your own dog resting peacefully on their new bed, let me know, and you won't pay a penny.