What Type of Dog is Snoopy?
The immensely popular comic strip Peanuts gave us an unforgettable character in Snoopy. First published as a daily strip in October 1950, the series eventually ended its continuous run up to 2000, although reruns are still printed today.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Peanuts is considered the longest story ever told in history?
Peanuts are about a group of young kids, their daily lives and the adult world around them. The main protagonist is Charlie Brown, a young boy who’s trying to find his place in the world. But the unofficial start of the show is Snoopy, Charlie’s dog best friend who doesn’t speak but is portrayed to possess human intelligence.
Snoopy is what’s called an anthropomorphic dog. That is, he’s a character represented as having human characteristics. Snoopy’s case includes walking upright on two legs, sleeping in a bed, and wearing clothes. He also has a wide range of emotions and can communicate with the other characters, even though he can’t speak.
While he’s not the only anthropomorphic dog in comics or animation – other notable examples include Goofy from Disney and Brian Griffin from Family Guy – Snoopy is the most famous.
But what kind of dog is he?
The first few issues of Peanuts didn’t talk about or reveal what breed Snoopy was. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that Charles Schulz, the creator of the series, decided to make him a beagle.
This made sense for a number of reasons. For one, beagles are small dogs, and Snoopy is definitely on the smaller side. Beagles are friendly, smart and active – all traits that Snoopy possesses.
Schulz’s inspiration for Snoopy’s appearance is unknown; avid followers of the comic strip claim that he is derived from Spike, who happens to be a childhood dog of the creator. Spike was a mixed breed with equally prominent black and white fur.
Snoopy walks on his hind legs most of the time and can use his front paws like hands. His favourite pastime is imagining fantastical scenarios in which he is the protagonist, i.e., a fighter pilot, a lawyer, and an author. But the most hilarious of all his alter-egos is probably when he pretends to be Joe Cool, a college student who doesn’t care about anything.
Snoopy was mostly used as a running gag in the early years of the comic strip. He would do or say something silly, and the punchline would be that he’s just a dog, not a person. But as the series progressed, Snoopy became more and more developed as a character. In fact, there are some strips in which he is the only focus, and Charlie Brown doesn’t even make an appearance.
The popularity of Peanuts transcends that of a comic strip, and Snoopy, in particular, has become an icon. He has been featured in several TV specials and movies and even has his line of merchandise.
One of the reasons Snoopy immediately became a fan favourite is his expansive imagination. He often daydreams about leading exciting lives. However, the comic strip and the ensuing TV series showcased that most of his imaginations turned out to be failures, albeit hilariously.
For instance, his plane Sopwith Camel usually gets shot down by the “Red Baron,” his imaginary German fighter pilot rival. He also frequently writes novels as an author, although none of them gets published.
Located in Charlie Brown’s backyard, Snoopy’s official residence is worthy of an entire discussion on its own. Serving as the beagle’s refuge, headquarters, and sometimes even his mode of transportation, the doghouse has seen better days. It is often shown to be in a state of disrepair, with various parts of it falling off or being held together by tape.
But it stands out because it’s portrayed as a larger-than-life abode, befitting Snoopy’s big personality. It has multiple floors, a staircase, and much other stuff inside.
Charlie and Snoopy
Charlie and Snoopy’s relationship is one of the most important aspects of the comic strip, yet it’s not as peaceful as one would think. Snoopy hilariously forgets Charlie’s name, often calling him the “round-headed kid.”
Both have had their fair share of pranks and jabs at each other, but they always reconcile in the end because of their unbreakable bond. The comic strip portrayed Snoopy as a dog who cares for his human companion despite their differences.
In a lot of ways, Snoopy is Charlie’s opposite. Where the latter is shy and introspective, the former is outgoing and carefree. But that’s precisely what makes their friendship so special – it shows that two people can be complete opposites and still get along perfectly.