Who Invented the Chia Pet


It’s one of the hottest novelty gifts of the year. Made of terracotta in various shapes and styles, moistened chia seeds are attached to the terracotta and they eventually grow to create the look of hair or fur, depending on the style selected. The very first Chia Pet, known lovingly as Chia Guy, was created in 1977 and a trademark for the name was filed a month later. Nearly 500,000 are sold every year according to estimates and licensed models, including Scooby-Doo and The Simpsons have been sold in the three decades since.

Walter Huston Is Known As the Inventor of the Chia Pet

The story of the Chia Pet’s invention begins with a man name Walter Huston. He was importing small little chia figurines from Mexico and Joseph Pedott saw that they were selling out like crazy. Huston sold the importing business to Pedott right away and that’s when the trademark of the Chia Pet was filed. They continued to be manufactured in Mexico for some time, though they are now made in China.

What is unique about the Chia Pet is that it is the name that is protected, not the invention itself. It is an open source item, so anyone can create terracotta figurines, smear them with moistened chia seeds, and sell it as a product. The innovation that Pedott brought to this figurine, however, occurred in 1993 and allowed people to grow herbs from tiny terracotta pots in a kitchen window thanks to growing sponges.

How popular has the Chia Pet been? There’s one in the New York Times time capsule that was placed in the ground and won’t be opened until the year 3,000.

Chia Seeds Have Been a Food Item For Years

Although the Chia Pet at best might be considered a novelty, the chia seeds that are used to create the look have sustained people for almost as long as human history has existed. They help people to stay hydrated and are popular in many parts of the world as a way to lose weight. That’s because they can help people feel fuller faster thanks to their ability to absorb almost 10 times their weight in water. Even diabetics can benefit from their ability to control blood sugar.

You could order a Chia Pet and eat the seeds if you wanted to do so, but it would be more fun to grow the plants and create a fun terracotta figure that can be displayed in your home. They’re only available around the holidays and in select stores, so watch for advertisements and pick one up when you see one so that you too can enjoy this invention that comes from Mexico.

Benefits of Chia Seeds