Cartoons are an important part of many people’s lives. They’re often the first introduction to TV and movie media, and many people feel like they can relate to the characters in the cartoons they watch. One way that makes cartoon characters relatable is seeing their relationships with their dogs.
Dogs are exceptionally important to us, and that importance carries over to cartoons, although some cartoon dogs are also a little on the snarky side. Here are some of our favorite/famous cartoon dogs spanning the last few decades.
The 15 Most Famous Cartoon Dogs
|Color:||White with black spots|
Snoopy is one of the most important Peanuts characters, serving as the most loyal friend Charlie Brown has. Snoopy has been present in every rendition of Peanuts, from comic strips to cartoon and computer-generated movies. He has an exciting life, far more exciting than the average dog, even having fought the Red Baron in World War II. Snoopy may not have much to say, but he has plenty of facial expressions that give away his emotions and thoughts.
|Color:||Brown with black spots|
Scooby-Doo and his mismatched crew of mystery solvers have been around in various forms, from cartoons to books, since the 1960s. Scooby-Doo’s best friend is Shaggy, the like, rad hippie dude. Whenever the team splits up, Scooby and Shaggy are always together, often sharing a snack of Scooby snacks with each other. Don’t let his large size fool you, though! Scooby-Doo is a big scaredy-cat, but somehow, the mysteries always get solved in the end.
|Origin:||Clifford the Big Red Dog|
If you’ve had kids or been a kid in the last few decades, then you’re probably familiar with this enormous pup. Clifford’s breed may be unclear, but he’s bright red and stands somewhere between 10–60 feet on all four legs, making him the biggest dog in his city. Clifford is a constant companion to his little girl, Emily Elizabeth. Emily Elizabeth is a precocious and curious girl, and Clifford is the perfect companion for her adventures. His gentle nature, loyalty, and obedience to Emily Elizabeth make everything about this dog unforgettable.
Astro was the canine companion to the cartoon family of the Jetsons on a TV show of the same name. Like Scooby-Doo, Astro had some knowledge of English and was able to speak it clearly, although he often replaced letters with an “r” sound. In one episode of The Jetsons, Astro was discovered to be a long-lost dog of a zillionaire and was returned to his rightful home. However, when his owner realized he was happier and better off in the loving home of the Jetson family, he was returned.
Brian Griffin is the sarcastic dog belonging to the Griffin family of Family Guy fame. Brian walks on two legs, speaks fluent and clear English, and enjoys martinis, making him more human than a dog. Brian is often accompanied by the family’s megalomaniac baby, Stewie, often getting wrapped up in less-than-ideal situations together. The Brian dynamic of the show is comical because he seems so human, but in multiple episodes, Brian is put into the role of a dog, reminding the viewer that he’s a beloved pet and not a human.
Pluto has been the constant companion of Mickey Mouse since the 1930s, making him one of the oldest dogs on this list. Pluto is officially listed as a mixed breed dog now, but in the early days, he was considered a Bloodhound. Although Pluto is one of the six most famous Mickey Mouse characters, he’s the only one that doesn’t wear human clothes or speak. By all accounts, he’s simply an intelligent dog, although he does show some level of communication through facial expressions and body language.
|Origin:||Tom and Jerry|
Spike is the Bulldog famous for making multiple appearances in Tom and Jerry, although he’s also sometimes called an American Bulldog. Spike serves as a foil to Tom the cat, often stopping Tom from getting his way. In true foil fashion, Spike is opposite to Tom in his personality and temperament, with Tom being ill-tempered and cruel and Spike being gentle, kind, and patient to everyone aside from Tom. In multiple episodes of the cartoon, Spike can be seen showing off his parenting skills and love for his pup, Tyke.
Odie is the happy-go-lucky counterpart to the grouchy cat, Garfield. It’s unknown what his breed was intended to be, but in the live-action Garfield movie, Odie was portrayed by a Dachshund and terrier mix. Granted, this live-action dog looked very little like the goofy caricature of a dog that the cartoon Odie exemplifies. Odie is a loyal companion to his owner, Jon, and he sticks by Garfield’s side, even when Garfield is grumpy with him.
9. Santa’s Little Helper
Santa’s Little Helper may be an unusual name for a dog, but it’s likely the least unusual thing about The Simpsons. Santa’s Little Helper is a Greyhound who appears on the show as Bart’s pet, although his adoption occurred after Homer and Bart witnessed the dog being abused by his owner at the Greyhound race track. He doesn’t serve a major part in the majority of the show’s episodes, but he can regularly be seen around the family’s home and in family photos. Santa’s Little Helper does manage to father multiple champion racing Greyhounds.
It’s been over 25 years since Blue’s Clues came onto the scene, and Blue, the title character of the show, has shown nothing but star power ever since. This adorable pup speaks to her owners, who have changed a few times throughout the years, through barks, yips, and semi-talking dog noises. With Blue’s help, the viewer is encouraged to solve puzzles, using clues found throughout each episode of the show. Blue has lots of friends on the show, but her main canine companion is another female dog named Magenta.
11. Deputy Dawg
|Color:||Pale blue, white|
Deputy Dawg was the star of his own cartoon in the 1960s, with 104 episodes of the show being made. Originally, he was a pale blue color, but he was later turned completely white. It’s unclear what breed of dog Deputy Dawg is supposed to be, but he has distinctly hound characteristics. This anthropomorphic dog was a sheriff’s deputy who spent the episodes of the show fighting crime. The foil to Deputy Dawg in the show was a muskrat named Muskie.
This may be the second Mickey Mouse dog to show up on this list, but Goofy couldn’t be more different than Pluto. Well, except in appearance, because there are some physical similarities between the dogs. While Pluto walks on all fours and is generally considered to be Mickey’s pet, Goofy is a friend of Mickey’s and is completely anthropomorphic. Goofy first made appearances under the name Dippy Dawg in the 1930s.
|Origin:||The Fox and the Hound|
The Fox and the Hound is a real tearjerker of a movie, and Copper is one of the characters that makes the emotional toll of the film possible. Copper is a Bloodhound or Bloodhound mix who befriends a young fox, by the name of Tod. This story is almost a Romeo and Juliet story, with Copper and Tod being destined to be enemies but becoming friends instead. Although they hit a major rough patch when they begin to mature, they eventually become friends again. Tod and Copper are destined for different lives, though, and in the end, Tod returns to the wild.
15. Lady and Tramp
|Breed:||Cocker Spaniel and Mixed|
|Color:||Reddish-brown and blue|
|Origin:||Lady and the Tramp|
Lady and the Tramp is a classic story of love between two dogs from very different backgrounds. Lady, the Cocker Spaniel, is a beautiful, well-bred dog who lives in the lap of luxury until she ends up at the pound. Tramp, on the other hand, is a mutt who has spent his entire life on the streets. Lady and Tramp start off on a rough paw, but they eventually fall for each other. In the end, they are both living a life of safety and luxury with their newborn puppies.
There are tons of famous dogs that have shown up in a variety of cartoons, but these are some of the most beloved and well-known. Whether they’re talking dogs or simply pets, these dogs all exemplify some part of the relationship that we share with dogs. They remind us of the importance of building relationships and providing a safe and happy home for our own dogs.