Dogs have long been a popular subject in entertainment since the dawn of television and movies. Learn more about some of the most popular cartoon dogs and their breeds.
Dogs are a perennially popular topic in cartoons because they are relatable and lovable pets who bring joy to so many people’s lives. They are often portrayed as loyal, playful, and friendly companions who are always there to support their owners as sidekicks. Some of the most famous cartoon characters are anthropomorphic dogs, or those with human qualities, making them even more endearing and entertaining.
It’s worth noting that all of these characters are fictional and don’t necessarily adhere to typical breed characteristics, so their breeds may not accurately represent their actual appearance and behavior.
1. Snoopy - Charlie Brown (Beagle)
Created by Charles M. Schulz for the “Peanuts” newspaper comic strip in 1950, Snoopy is a white-and-black beagle who is also a skilled WWII fighter pilot (in his imagination) and a master of many other talents.
The beagle is a small breed of dog that originated in England. They were originally bred for hunting rabbits, and their excellent sense of smell and stamina made them well-suited for the job. Today, they are known for their friendly and playful personality and make good family pets.
Facts about the Beagle
- Breed group — Hound group (American Kennel Club)
- Intelligence — Medium
- Barking — Often and loud
- Life span — 10-15 years
2. Pluto - Mickey Mouse (Bloodhound)
This Bloodhound character first appeared in a Disney cartoon in 1930. Pluto is Mickey Mouse’s pet dog and is known for his loyal and playful nature.
Originally from France, the bloodhound was bred for its superior sense of smell and was used to track game and people. They are also employed by law enforcement to track criminals and fugitives. Today, they are known for their tracking abilities as well as their calm and affectionate temperament.
Facts about the bloodhound
- Breed group — Hound group (AKC)
- Intelligence — Highly intelligent.
- Barking — Often and loud, known for bawling and howling
- Life span — 10 to 12 years.
3. Spike - Tom & Jerry (American bulldog)
Spike is a bulldog who is known for appearing in various Tom and Jerry cartoons. He is usually portrayed as a tough and muscular bulldog who tries to intimidate Tom.
The American bulldog is a medium-sized breed of dog that is instantly recognizable for its heavy, stocky build and wrinkled, squished face. The American bulldog initially served as a cattle dog and property protector in the southeastern United States. The breed descended from the English bulldog. Many American bulldogs make great family pets, including in homes with young children or other animals.
Facts about the Bulldog
- Breed group — Non-sporting group. (AKC)
- Intelligence — Medium
- Barking — Barking is seldom, but expect snoring and grunting
- Life span — 8 to 10 years
4. Scooby Doo - Scooby Doo (Great Dane)
Well known in popular culture, many consider the most iconic dog cartoon character to be Scooby Doo. Created in the late 1960s, the character known for his “Scooby Dooby Doo” catchphrase has been a classic cartoon character for generations and has remained a favorite among children and adults alike. With his goofy voice and lovable personality, Scooby has become an endearing phenomenon in popular culture.
Originally from Germany, the Great Dane is a giant breed of dog that was bred to hunt boars. They were also used as estate guard dogs, and their imposing size was often enough to deter intruders. Today, they are known for their gentle temperament and make good family pets.
Facts about the Great Dane
- Breed group — Working group (AKC)
- Intelligence — Medium
- Barking — Moderate
- Life span — 7 to 10 years
5. Brian Griffin - Family Guy (Labrador retriever)
This canine character appears in the popular comedy TV show “Family Guy.” He is a white Labrador retriever who speaks English, and is best friends with his owner Peter. He is often portrayed as the voice of reason in his dysfunctional family.
Labrador retrievers originated from Newfoundland, Canada, where they were bred to retrieve fish and game for fishermen. They later became popular as hunting companions and family pets. The white variant of this breed is relatively rare and is often the result of a genetic mutation.
Facts about the Labrador retriever
- Breed group — Sporting group (AKC)
- Intelligence — High intelligence
- Barking — When needed
- Life span — 11 to 13 years
What iconic cartoon dogs teach us
Cartoon dogs, especially those featured as pets, tend to have specific features that make them unique and instantly recognizable. For example, cartoon dogs often have oversized heads in comparison to their bodies, large expressive eyes, floppy tongues, and curvy tails. The human-animal bond is often the focus of cartoons, and cartoon canines often provide comic relief, affection, and entertainment.
The human-animal bond
In terms of common themes, cartoon dogs are portrayed as being loyal and friendly companions to humans. They are often depicted as being able to communicate with their owners, understand commands, and display human-like emotions. Cartoon dogs are often featured in humorous situations that involve them causing chaos or getting into mischief!
Overall, cartoon dogs are a beloved part of popular culture and are often used to convey important values, such as loyalty, friendship, and companionship.
Dogs reduce loneliness
Human-animal interaction has been shown to reduce feelings of depression in older adults. Living with felines tends to decrease the number of aging-related health issues. AARP’s national poll on healthy aging states that, “those benefits seem to be even more pronounced for older adults who live alone or struggle with their health, 72 percent of whom say pets help them cope with physical or emotional symptoms.”
According to the AVMA, pets help with social isolation, “As ambassadors for the human-animal bond, veterinarians should be familiar with the science showing the health benefits of pet ownership, such as reducing the harms of social isolation.” This is even more important as loneliness is a U.S. epidemic according to the Surgeon General.
The Human-animal bond is a kind of affection that is rare between humans but which allows individuals to feel safe and to grow. There are many stories about the affection a dog or cat has for its owner that it is unconditional and without boundaries. Allowing a dog to play with you can improve your dog’s overall feelings of happiness. They find play rewarding, so if they begin to associate you with playtime, the bond will be reinforced.
Other favorite cartoon dogs
Aside from those on our list, there are tons of other famous cartoon dogs beloved across the world. Some of these other great dog cartoon characters include Santa’s Little Helper from the Simpsons, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Lady and the Tramp of Disney dog fame, Astro from the Jetsons, and Mr. Peabody. Man’s ‘cartoon’ best friend ranges from a talking dog to real-life animated canines in movies, film, and TV. Some are fictional characters, bad guys, serious villains, and mixed-breed dogs. For decades, canine characters have made an appearance on the silver screen in the popular Mickey Mouse films.
Which of these dog cartoon characters is your favorite dog? Is there a famous mixed-breed dog or a different type of dog that should be on our list? All dog lovers have their favorites, and some folks are partial to those of certain breeds, like a golden retriever, cocker spaniel, or German shepherd. Man’s best friend comes in all shapes and sizes when it comes to animated movies. And so do cartoon characters! Thankfully many of these fictional characters have been main characters since the dawn of television. Even in the early days, animated dogs have always been heroes!
Who is the most famous cartoon dog of all time?
This is a subjective answer, but some of the most famous cartoon dogs include Scooby Doo, Snoopy, Goofy, and Pluto.
What cartoon features a dog that wears a collar with a diamond on it?
This dog is Diamond, the pet dog of Penelope Pitstop from the cartoon “The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.”
What is the name of the dog in the cartoon “Tom and Jerry?”
Spike is the name of this dog, and he is an American bulldog.
What is the name of the dog from “The Simpsons?”
The Simpson’s family dog is named Santa’s Little Helper, and he is a greyhound.
What is the name of the dog in the cartoon “Garfield?”
The dog’s name is Odie, who is a beagle.