At the beginning of production, on March 20, 1985, Sylvanian Families were created and released in Japan by Epoch, which uses the concept of dollhouses and anthropomorphic animal figures. The first releases of the dollhouses and other playsets were made of porcelain and the furniture was made of wood. However, later releases replaced the materials with plastic and metal in the production.  The toys were later released in North America the same year, but with different packaging and minor differences to the characters themselves. The toyline was originally titled Pleasant Friends of the Forest Epoch System Collection Animal Toy Sylvanian Families (森のゆかいな仲間たち エポック社 システム・コレクション・アニマルトーイ・シルバニアファミリー, Mori noyu kaina nakama-tachi Epokkusha shisutemu korekushon animarutōi shirubania famirī). However it was changed to its current name.