Top 10 Favorite TV Cartoon Dogs of All Time
Television has introduced us to some unforgettable animals, but none quite so memorable as the many cartoon dogs we’ve all grown up watching. While these animated mutts may not be real, they’ve each achieved a superstar celebrity status surpassing that of any of those Kardashian-Jenner characters.
We recognize that limiting such a list to only 10 entries forces our hand in some cases. Because we’re of a certain age, our bias toward some of the more old-school cartoon dogs is likely evident. Sure, we love us a good Ren & Stimpy Show episode featuring the series’ neurotic Chihuahua, Ren Höek. And one could argue for coloring our list with the likes of the title characters from Clifford the Big Red Dog or Nickelodeon’s Blue's Clues. All are worthy of recognition, but then we’d have to omit some of the favorites we grew up with during the golden age of American animation.
Some of these cartoon dogs may have first appeared in print as comic strip characters before debuting on the small screen. For the purposes of our list however, we’re focusing primarily on each character’s animated television or movie appearances. Our list, our rules I suppose. So, without further ado, counting down from number 10, we present our Favorite TV Cartoon Dogs of All Time (number one might raise an eyebrow or two).
That laugh. Like a raspy wheezing chain smoker’s laugh. The show came out when I was just 5 or 6 years old. More than 50 years later I still mimic that crazy snicker on a fairly regular basis.
- First appearance: Wacky Races (1968)
- Full name: Muttley
- Breed: Bloodhound-Pointer-Hunting Dog mix (per original Wacky Races narrator)
- Role: Faithful sidekick of villain Dick Dastardly
- Created by: Iwao Takamoto
- Voiced by: Don Messick (original)
- Movies and TV: Wacky Races (Hanna-Barbera, 1968-69); Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines (Hanna-Barbera, 1969-71); Yogi's Treasure Hunt (Hanna-Barbera, 1985-88)
9. Huckleberry Hound
We love the countrified North Carolina drawl. We love his terrible singing voice. We love his silly hat and red bow tie. But, what we really love is Huck’s resilience. Despite different jobs that always seem to backfire on him, his persistence and good fortune usually turn things around for him and he comes out on top.
Huckleberry Hound is also the name inspiration for our rescue coonhound, Huckle B.
- First appearance: The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958)
- Full name: Huckleberry Hound aka Huck
- Breed: Bluetick Coonhound
- Role: Country hound dog who speaks with a distinct North Carolina Southern accent; known for his off-key rendition of “Oh My Darling, Clememtine.”
- Created by: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
- Voiced by: Daws Butler (original)
- Television: The Huckleberry Hound Show (Hanna-Barbera, 1958-62)
Originally a dog belonging to zillionaire J.P. Gottrockets, Astro joined the Jetsons’ clan after he and boy Elroy found each other in the park during episode number four. Astro eventually won out over the family’s electronic dog “Electronimo” becoming George Jetsons’ best friend.
One running gag at the end of each episode featured George walking Astro on an automated treadmill outside the apartment. When a cat appears, Astro goes nuts, causing George to fall and start spinning around the treadmill’s belt, the whole time screaming at wife Jane to “stop this crazy thing!”
- First appearance: The Jetsons, "The Coming of Astro" (1962)
- Full name: Astro (originally “Tralfaz”)
- Breed: Great Dane (blue)
- Role: Jetson family pet. Astro’s favorite pastime is jumping on father George by way of greeting him.
- Created by: Iwao Takamoto
- Voiced by: Don Messick (original)
- Movies and TV: The Jetsons (Hanna-Barbera, 1962-63) Space Stars: Astro and the Space Mutts (Hanna-Barbera, 1981-82)
7. Santa’s Little Helper
Santa’s Little Helper, the Simpsons family dog, is something like 32 years old in cartoon years. That’s 224 in the commonly accepted standard for dog years. That’s longevity, folks!
What we love most about Santa’s Little Helper are the circumstances surrounding his introduction in the series premiere of The Simpsons way back in 1989. Despite losing the last of their money betting the long shot greyhound, Homer and Bart rescue the dog when his racing owner kicks him to the curb. Santa’s Little Helper ends up being the family’s best Christmas present ever.
- First appearance: The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (1989)
- Full name: Santa's Little Helper (formerly “No. 8”)
- Breed: Greyhound
- Role: Simpson family pet. Once a racing greyhound, Santa’s Little Helper was rescued by Homer after they both suffered another loss at the track.
- Created by: Matt Groening
- Voiced by: Frank Welker (1991-95), Dan Castellaneta (1995-present)
- TV: The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-present)
6. Mr. Peabody
Something about the way the show’s creators flipped the script on the dog-human relationship appealed to us. Despite his canine pedigree, Peabody is a Harvard graduate, inventor, Nobel laureate, Olympic medalist and more. He adopts human orphan Sherman after witnessing the bespectacled redhead being attacked by bullies. Concerned about his adopted boy’s need for running room, Peabody invents the Wayback Machine so the pair can exercise both body and mind via time travel
- First appearance: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends: Peabody's Improbable History (1959)
- Full name: Hector J. Peabody aka Mister Peabody aka Peabody
- Breed: Beagle, white
- Role: World-renowned genius and owner of adopted human orphan Sherman.
- Created by: Ted Key
- Voiced by: Bill Scott (original)
- Movies and TV: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends: Peabody's Improbable History (Jay Ward, 1959-60); The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (Jay Ward, 2015-17)
We’re aware that Dino is technically NOT a dog but is, in fact, the Flintstones’ family dinosaur. Nevertheless, we’ve included him on this list because of his distinctly canine-like characteristics. He’s really just a dog in a dinosaur suit, so to speak.
- First appearance: The Flintstones, "No Help Wanted" (1960)
- Full name: Dino
- Breed: Snorkasaurus
- Role: Flintstones’ family dog-like pet dinosaur.
- Created by: Hanna-Barbera
- Voiced by: Mel Blanc (original)
- Television: The Flintstones (Hanna-Barbera, 1960-66); The Flintstone Comedy Hour (Hanna-Barbera, 1972-74); Fred Flintstone and Friends (Hanna-Barbera, 1977-78); The New Fred and Barney Show (Hanna-Barbera, 1979); Fred and Barney Meet the Thing (Hanna-Barbera, 1979); Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo (Hanna-Barbera, 1979-80)
Slow talking and slower moving; Droopy is the unlikely hero of animated shorts throughout the 40s and 50s. Always the master of his domain, he is typically pitted against one his nemeses, Wolfie the Wolf or Spike the Bulldog. There’s something about Droopy’s voice, appearance and mannerisms that we absolutely adore. Despite the fact he looks just like former Attorney General William Barr, Droopy’s face is impossible not to love. And his famous catchphrase, "You know what? That makes me mad!" is hilarious every time we hear it.
- First appearance: Dumb-Hounded (1943)
- Full name: Droopy McPoodle (unnamed until Señor Droopy in 1949)
- Breed: Basset Hound
- Role: Dubious droopy-faced hero who always comes out on top against his archenemies.
- Created by: Tex Avery
- Voiced by: Bill Thompson (original)
- Animated Shorts: Dumb-Hounded (MGM, 1943); The Shooting of Dan McGoo (MGM, 1945); Wild and Woolfy (MGM, 1945); Northwest Hounded Police (MGM, 1946); Señor Droopy (MGM, 1949); Wags to Riches (MGM, 1949); Out-Foxed (MGM, 1949); The Chump Champ (MGM, 1950); Daredevil Droopy (MGM, 1951); Droopy's Good Deed (MGM, 1951); Droopy's Double Trouble (MGM, 1951); Caballero Droopy (MGM, 1952); The Three Little Pups (MGM, 1953); Drag-a-Long Droopy (MGM, 1954), and others.
You know a character is strong when his catchphrases and favorite treats are still part of the cultural lexicon so many years later. Seriously, who among us hasn’t shouted the phrase “Scooby Dooby Doo!” at some point in time? And, every one of our real life dogs knows exactly what a “Scooby snack” is.
One of our favorite things about Scooby-Doo is his relationship and shared traits with sidekick Shaggy. I’ve always assumed the pair were closet stoners because they had the perpetual munchies. “Ruh roh, Raggy!”
- First appearance: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969)
- Full name: Scooby-Doo (originally “Too Much” in early pitches)
- Breed: Great Dane
- Role: Sidekick and best buddy of amateur sleuth Shaggy Rogers
- Created by: Iwao Takamoto, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
- Voiced by: Don Messick (1969-96); Frank Welker (1979, 2002-present)
- Television: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (Hanna-Barbera, 1969-70); The New Scooby-Doo Movies (Hanna-Barbera, 1972-74); The Scooby-Doo Show (Hanna-Barbera, 1976-78); The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour (Hanna-Barbera, 1976-77); Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (Hanna-Barbera, 1977-78), others
It’s hard not to love a character with as much staying power as Snoopy. He’s been around for more than 70 years now, in both print and television, as Charlie Brown’s loyal pet dog. Snoopy’s extraordinary make-believe adventures keep his life more exciting than just an average dog though. He’s a WWI flying ace battling the Red Baron. He’s the big dog on campus as Joe Cool. And, when he’s not in the middle of one of his many imaginary exploits, naps atop his famous red doghouse are epic.
- First appearance: Peanuts (comic strip, 1950)
- Full name: Snoopy aka Flying Ace aka Joe Cool
- Breed: Beagle
- Role: Loyal and good-natured pet of Charlie Brown
- Created by: Charles M. Schulz
- Voiced by: Bill Melendez (original)
- Television specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1964); Charlie Brown's All Stars! (1966); It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966); You're in Love, Charlie Brown (1967); He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (1968); A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973); It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (1974); You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown (1975); You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown (1979); A Charlie Brown Celebration (1982); It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984); Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985); You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1985); Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! (1986), others
1. Brian Griffin
When I first heard the Griffin’s dog on Family Guy ask, “Whose leg do you have to hump to get a dry martini around here?" I knew I loved Brian. Turns out, he’s perhaps one of the most well developed cartoon characters ever; definitely more than just the family dog. He drinks, he smokes, he cusses. He supports legal weed and gay marriage. He fancies himself an intellect; loves jazz, speaks French, and is a member of MENSA.
One of our all time favorite episodes of Family Guy is the season one finale “Brian: Portrait of a Dog.”
For some reason in the season 12 episode “Life of Brian”, the writers decided that Brian would be struck by a car and killed. After that airing though, the fan outcry was so strong that Brian was written back in just two episodes later when Stewie traveled back in time to save him. Thank goodness for the suspension of disbelief, huh?
- First appearance: Family Guy, "Death Has a Shadow" (1998, pilot, rough-cut)
- Full name: H. Brian Griffin
- Breed: Labrador (white)
- Role: Unemployed struggling writer; martini connoisseur; Griffin family pet
- Created by: Seth McFarlane
- Voiced by: Seth McFarlane
- Television: Family Guy (Fox, 1999-present)
So there you have it ... our top 10 favorite cartoon dogs. We've had to leave out a bunch of really good choices. Sorry Goofy! We'd love to hear who your favorites are. Tell us what you think in the comments below.
NOTE: All image rights and credits to their respective owners.