A t the age of six Josef Pallenberg started, after a visit to the Cologne zoo, to draw animals. From 1899 he studied at the Acadamy of Arts in Düsseldorf and in 1904 he presented 16 animal figures on the Great Berlin Art Exhibition.
The "Zoologic Garden in Berlin provided him with the order to design the bronze statues for the main entrance for its opening in 1907.
His more than realistic animal figures did not only find their origin by accurate observation, and a fabulous artistic eye, but also out of respect for the individual animal, developped by his living together with, for instance, the tame lioness Juste, the lion Hassan and the wolf Prince, in his studio near the Cologne Zoo. He took them often out walking at a leasure in the Streets, which was, for obvious reasons, not highly appreciated by his neighbours.