Its National Dog Day everyone! So in honor of this holiday, and just in time for the last few dog days of summer, I’d like to present to you the Animated Dogs of Disney. (In order of Appearance!)
If you’re going to start a list of Disney Dogs then you have to start with Mickey’s Pal Pluto. Pluto is the only one of the classic Disney gang that isn’t anthropomorphic (or a humanized animal) which makes him unique. And no, I’m not counting Figaro since that quiet kitty debuted in Pinocchio rather than the Walt Disney shorts. Pluto’s first appearance was as an unnamed bloodhound in the Mickey mouse short film The Chain Gang. He next appeared as Minnie’s dog Rover before being renamed and reassigned to Mickey Mouse in the short film The Moose Hunt (1931). Since then this beloved yellow bloodhound has been a favorite of Disney fans.
Goofy is the other Dog in the ‘fab five’ of Disney characters. He made his debut as an obnoxious theater guest in the short film Mickey’s Review. Goofy is happy go lucky, and generally genial with his own brand of slapstick comedy. He acts as a strong foil to the quick tempered, and sometimes mean spirited, Donald Duck. Goofy also starred in a series of ‘how to’ short films where he can be seen along side of whole cities full of look-a-likes going about daily tasks. Goofy is also the only one of Mickey’s gang to have a child, his son Max. (We’ll get to him a little bit later).
The Hunters Hounds
These dogs, in a way, represent the villains of the film Bambi since you don’t generally see the hunters themselves. They are frightening and vicious, but really only have a few minutes of screen time as a whole.
Bruno is Cinderella’s dog. He is sweet and loyal with a strong dislike of Lucifer the cat. Bruno plays an important part in the climax of the film when he chases Lucifer away from the Gus Gus and the Key, helping Cinderella get free so she can show that the Slippers fit and get to her happily ever after.
Nana (Peter Pan)
Nana is the Newfoundland owned by the Darling Family in the Walt Disney Classic Peter Pan. Nana acts as a nanny of sorts for the children, helping them keep the nursery tidy and getting everyone ready for bed. She may not have made it to Neverland herself, but Michael makes sure she gets her own chance to fly.
Lady, the Tramp, and company
Lady is a beautiful cocker spaniel given to Darling by Jim dear at the beginning of the film. The Tramp is a mutt from the wrong side of the tracks. The film is about the love story between the two. There are a few other memorable k9s in the film as well such as Jock and Trusty, Lady’s neighbors, as well as Peg and the Pound Dogs. And we can’t forget the puppies!
These precious pooches make up one of the largest casts in Disney animation. The film starts with Pongo setting out to match his master Roger with Anita and her beautiful Dalmatian Perdita. Both couples hit it off spectacularly and soon the family of 4 becomes a family of 19 as Pongo and Perdita welcome 15 puppies. They attract the attention of the horrendous Curella DeVille who captures the Puppies and sets Pongo and Perdita off on an adventure. Keep an eye out during the evening bark sequence though and you may see some familiar, all be it fluffy, faces!
I almost didn’t include these two, but since the hunters dogs, rusty and Little Brother made the list I thought they deserved an honorable mention. They only show up in one scene, but they love little Ward, which shows that they have good taste.
Napoleon and Lafayette
These two only appear on screen for a few minutes at a time, but they do provide an important plot twist. Just when Edgar, the bumbling, mathematically challenged villain, is driving Duchess and her kittens off to who knows where he is chased down by the two dogs. During the chase he manages to loose the basket with the four cats on board allowing them to eventually make their way back home.
Copper (And Chief)
Copper is the hound half of the Fox and the Hound, while Chief is the cynical old hunting dog who is meant to be his mentor. Copper the adorable puppy that befriends Todd the fox in the early part of the movie. This film has never been a favorite of mine since it ends on such a sad not. Everyone lives, but they can’t be friends anymore because they are just too different. I get that this film was meant to be a social commentary of sorts, but the message it sent wasn’t very positive.
Toby (The Great Mouse Detective)
Toby is an interesting character since it seems that anything larger than a rat is incapable of speech. Toby is Basil’s pet dog that has been trained to assist in cases. Toby also acts as the main form of transportation for the diminutive detective as well.
The Canines from Oliver and Company
Oliver and Company is one of the underrated Disney Films of the 1980s. Its an interesting movie because it’s a remix of Charles Dickens Oliver set in New York City with many of the original roles going to the Dogs (and one Cat). Fagan is a human, but his band of child thieves are now canine crooks led by the Artful Dodger Voiced by Billy Joel. The rest of the canine gang were also voiced by an all star cast including Bette Midler, Cheech Marin, Roscoe Lee Browne and more. It’s a cute film and a clever take on a well beloved story. It takes ‘going to the dogs’ in a whole new direction.
Max (The Little Mermaid)
Max is one of my favorite Disney Dogs. He’s adorable, and he has a better grasp on what’s happening around him than any of the characters who can talk. Which is especially ironic considering that the fish, birds, amphibians, crustaceans and other creatures of the deep can talk but Max can’t. Ah well. Ariel and Eric would have gotten together much more quickly if he could, which would have made for a very short film.
Sultan (Beauty and the Beast)
This beloved pooch spends most of his time on screen as a red velvet footstool, but that doesn’t make him any less of a Disney dog! And while many graphics and websites have him as ‘Footstool’ the character’s official name (as given in the animation credits) is Sultan. Fun fact: Walt Disney Animation was working on Aladdin while they were working on Beauty and the Beast. Does this mean that Sultan’s name was a bit of foreshadowing for the next film? We may never know for sure, but its fun to think about.
Max(A Goofy Movie)
Max is Goofy’s son, and while he isn’t featured in any of the animated masterpieces he does appear in various Disney shows as well as two straight to Home movies and two Christmas specials.
Percy is the spoiled pet pooch of Governor Radcliffe. This pampered pet spends the first half of the film antagonizing, and being antagonized by, Meeko the raccoon. Eventually Percy and Meeko find common ground much like the Natives and the Settlers in the main plot of the film.
Little Brother (Mulan)
Little Brother sole purpose is for some comedic relief at the beginning (and very end) of Mulan. Considering that Mulan is for all intents and purposes a war film, its necessary to have that little bit of levity at the start.
Buster (Toy Story 2)
Buster was the name given to the puppy that Andy was given for Christmas in the first Toy Story film. In the second film we see that Buster has been trained by Woody to do a series of tricks including ‘Reach for the Sky’.
Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
Ok, so I know that Stitch isn’t really a dog, but rather a blue alien experiment numbered 626. But when he’s out and about with Lilo he’s posing as her lovable puppy. His breed? According to the TV show he’s a rare blue-furred ectoplasmic detection dog.
Rusty (Home on the Range)
Rusty is one of the lesser-known Disney Dogs. It isn’t his fault, he only had a few seconds of screen time during one of the worst every Disney films of all time “Home on the Range”. But we won’t hold that against him (Much)
Bolt was the star of the 2008 Disney film by the same name. The story was about a puppy who was made into a tv star on a show about a super dog and his girl. But when the filming stopped and the crew went home for the day Dolt still thought that he was a part of the action. So in an attempt to rescue his girl Penny from the kidnapping at the end of the episode, Bolt escapes his trailer and makes a daring cross-country trek with the help of a stray cat and a hamster. It was a cute film, not quite up to the other k9 films Disney has released over the years, but its still worth at least one viewing.
Dug the talking dog is one of the best parts of an already fantastic film. I always find it funny that Pixar found a way to justify a talking dog in their film; those collars were a stroke of story-telling genius.
So those are the Animated Dogs of Disney and Pixar. If I missed any go ahead and let me know in the comments! And happy national dog day everyone!