As all good things must inevitably come to an end, so does Dream Dogs’ week long pageant of pooches. If there’s one common theme that’s been present, it’s that each dog we’ve talked about has been a real dog. However, the moment is upon us to look at the staple of kids animated TV shows – the cartoon dog.
There are so many animated shows featuring dogs that this was a hard one to trim down to five. Inevitably, the results are controversial. There are some that you may have thought as an obvious shoe-in that cruelly didn’t make the cut. There was much discussion here at Dream Dogs Towers over who should be included. Other technicalities arose, such as whether K-9, Doctor Who’s radar-eared sidekick should count as a dog at all – after all, he was real in some sense – or Dino, Fred Flintstone’s pet who acted like a dog but looked like a Brontosaurus.
Fisticuffs ensued and noses were bloodied, but after the dust settled we were left with this, our list of the top five cartoon dogs.
Arguably Hanna Barbera’s flagship cartoon show; the show stuck to a tried and tested format, with dull-as-ditchwater Fred, minx Daphne and spectacles-dropping frump Velma playing the straight man to Scooby and Norville ‘Shaggy’ Rodgers. Scooby and Shaggy would split from the rest of the gang on the hunt for ‘Scooby snacks’ (whatever they were), and what would follow was predictable. Scooby and Shaggy would try to escape the monster by pretending to be chefs or barbers, Scooby would fall into a trap laid by Fred and someone would appear behind a secret wall panel.
Don’t even think of mentioning Scrappy Doo.
Cursed/blessed with a memorably catchy theme tune that seemed never-ending, and terrible dubbing; Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was a take on Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel. This cartoon managed to win a place in the hearts of kids everywhere, despite the dodgy animation (how did Dogtanian ever manage to slice that apple in to slithers whilst it was in mid-air?).
Accompanied by Porthos, a German shepherd, Athos, a St Bernard and Aramis, a Spaniel, he conspired to make the life of Cardinal Richleux a misery. There was also the suggestion of some inter-species how’s-your-father between Dogtanian and Milady, a mysterious feline.
Dick Dastardly’ erstwhile companion and member of Wacky Races’ Vulture Squad, Muttley was a mix of a bloodhound, pointer and hunting dog. He’s famous for being completely unintelligible – his dialogue usually consisted of something along the lines of ‘Sassafrassarassum’ – which leads me to suspect that Don Messick, the actor who originally portrayed him, managed to slip some swear words past the censors. Like any real dog, Muttley craved affection, and Dick Dastardly would reward his nefarious deeds with a medal.
The dry witted, epicurean, alcoholic pooch is the pet of the Griffins in cartoon show Family Guy. A budding novelist, his books are a running joke on the show; Faster than the Speed of Love, his only novel to be published, failed to sell a single copy. Rather than resorting to usual canine tropes involving licking oneself where the sun doesn’t shine, Brian is the voice of reason, even if he can’t resist rummaging through the garbage.
Being gay, Stan’s beloved pet Sparky in South Park is unusual in the world of animated dogs. Dismayed at the thought of his pet being a “gay homosexual”, Stan tried to force the pooch into being more masculine, but he showed no interest. Instead, he ran off with Big Gay Al, who had a menagerie of gay animals aboard his Big Gay Boat Ride.
As is usual for South Park, the children all learn something about tolerance and freedom of choice from it. The show won plaudits for its portrayal of gay characters, even though George Clooney, a manly bugger by anyone’s standards, voiced the chiffon scarf wearing pooch.
Well there you have it. Our week long list of lists has come to an end. Sure, some choices were controversial – but if you think we’ve missed some deserving dogs out, be sure to leave a comment and put us straight – unlike Stan managed with Sparky.
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