For most of my life I was an only child. I was a typical only child in that I was very independent, often a loner, and had a rich imagination. If you ever looked for me, it would be a 50/50 toss up that I would either have my nose firmly buried in a book or I would be out making friends with the many critters that I encountered, and more often than not, I would be doing both at the same time by affectionately reading to my new friend Mr Spider or Mr Lizard (clearly my imagination had yet to develop to more fitting names for my new companions!). My mom often talks of my adventures with frogs and spiders that had the other neighbourhood girls in a tizz!
When I think back on the many animals that played a part in my life, I always have a soft spot for the many fictional animals that also had a role to play in my growing lifetime love of animals. Those characters made us laugh, made us cry, and taught us just as many (if not more) lessons on the nature of life.
It’s been difficult to narrow down to only my Top Ten Favourite Fictional Canines (nevermind all the other loveable sidekicks of other species!), but without further ado, I present to you the list of my Top Ten Favourite Fictional Pooches:
1. Scooby Doo – Adventures of Scooby Doo
Breed/Type: Great Dane
Why I loved him: Poor Scooby Doo. He’s the Great Dane that just couldn’t get away from all those scary monsters and sticky situations! The whole cast and premise of this show appealed to me, and I’ll even still find myself getting stuck on an episode if I’m channel hopping. I would love to take a ride in the Mystery Machine one day just to hang out with Scooby and Shaggy, get fashion advice from Daphne, see a real jock/gentleman like Fred swoon over his girl, or swap some advice on interesting academic topics with Velma!
Famous Line(s): “Raggy?” ; “Rooby Racks!”
2. Pluto – Disney Cartoons
Breed/Type: Undetermined. Likely mixed breed with Bloodhound and Dachshund
Pluto was always such a sweet-natured pet and faithful friend to Mickey. He is part of the original cast of characters that made the Disney name famous (including Mickey, Minnie, Donald etc). What I loved about him was that even though he was a dog who didn’t take on human characteristics by talking and wearing clothes, he was still one of the kindest and most expressive of the lot.
Pluto was a true dog in that he was faithful, loyal and happy, but would also panic when faced with a potential rival or an unexpected situation. A sweet dog that I’m sure many of us would like to own! For some reason Goofy never really grew on me – whether it was the perpetual clumsiness or downright silliness, I don’t know. But in my view Pluto will always be the most superior Disney Dog!
Famous Line(s): Doesn’t talk
3. Falkor – The Neverending Story
Breed/Type: Luck Dragon
Ok, so technically Falkor isn’t actually a dog, but as one of my favourite fantasy films growing up, I would always think of Falkor as a dog. In fact, my cousins had a large Maltese Poodle x Daschund at the time, and I was convinced that he was somehow related to that beautiful, gentle magical beast that helps Atreyu.
A word of caution for those of you now fondly thinking back to the story and softly humming the theme song, if you are going to find a copy and rewatch it, be warned… It’s really NOT as great as you remember. Buzzfeed did a good summary of the ‘why not to watch it’ here, but what I found when I watched it again recently is just that the magic wasn’t there. The epic movie I remember was replaced with a short, shallow, and quite frankly, very depressing story when watched through my adult eyes. But what remained the same was my fondness for Falkor. What a cutie pie.
Famous Line(s): “Chase? Did somebody say chase?”
4. Fang – Harry Potter
Breed/Type: A Great Dane in the books, Neopolitan Mastiff in the Movies.
Soooooo. I have a small confession to make… I am apparently one of the very few people on the planet who haven’t read the Harry Potter series. And as someone who is an avid reader and bookworm, that sounds odd even to me! It’s just that they never appealed to me. But maybe one day I’ll try them out. I have however watched the Harry Potter movies, and enjoyed them all!
From the first moment Fang came on screen I knew that I loved him already. The bond between him and Hagrid was also tangible and actually quite sweet. You can read more about Fang at the Harry Potter Wikia by clicking here.
Famous Line(s): “There’s nothin’ that lives in the forest that’ll hurt yeh if yer with me or Fang.“
5. Lady & the Tramp
Breed/Type: Cocker Spaniel (Lady) and a Mixed Breed “Pavement Special” Dog (Tramp)
The story of these two star-crossed K9 lovers was my first introduction into the world of romance stories. If only all of them could be as sweet and heart-warming as Lady and the Tramp.
I remember being horrified at the two evil Siamese cats, and feeling the fear of a middle-class girl with no street smarts being lost on the street, only to be rescued by a gruff bad boy with a heart of gold like Tramp. This was a great movie with many cute, but important lessons on friendship an trust.
Famous Line(s): “What a dog!” ; “Just a cute little bundle of trouble” ;
6. K-9 – Doctor Who
Breed/Type: Robot Dog
Yup, I’m a Whovian. I grew up with Doctor Who, and I continue to watch it religiously. K-9 is the cute sidekick for a few seasons, and then makes an exciting and unexpected return during the season with David Tenant as the Doctor who unexpectedly runs into and Sarah Smith again.
K-9 is so likeable as a faithful sidekick because of his keen observation, politeness and oddly formal manner of conversing. If you haven’t watched the show yet, I recommend catching up on some episodes with this adorable robotic character!
Famous Line(s): “Wait! Sensors indicate… No vocabulary available.” ; “Affirmative” ; “Orders, Master”
7. Courage, the Cowardly Dog
Breed/Type: Not specified. Mix Breed
I developed a soft spot for Courage only when I moved into my first home. My housemate moved in with his Fox Terrier, Snoopy, that he had had from when he was young. Snoopy was an incredibly resilient dog who had seen a very eventful life. Poor Snoopy had survived a dog napping and various car accidents, and though she was a loving dog, she developed a nervous disposition and would shake from head to toe just like Courage. And just like Courage, she may have always been scared of the crazy mishaps of her owners, but she always rose above it and saved the day!
Famous Line(s): “Oooh, I know I’m not gonna like this”
8. Brakenjan a.k.a Dogtanian
Breed/Type: Unspecified mixed breed. Possibly Beagle
Back when I was young South Africa had a National broadcaster that showed most international shows dubbed into Afrikaans. Dogtanian was one of these shows that I learned to love and only recently learned was translated into many other languages.
The story of Brakenjan was based on the story of Dartanian and the Three Musketeers. I remember being glued to the television as the 17th Century Canine Heroes went about their adventures.
Famous Line(s): “Ai, tog”
9. Harry – Harry’s House
Breed/Type: Mixed Breed
Another fond memory of tv when I was growing up – Harry from Harry’s House. This was on as I arrived from school to my grandparents’ place where I would sit glued to the tv set as Harry and his (human) friends would take us with them as they all learned about traffic rules, how to tell left from right, and what to pack for a picnic! I struggle to remember the complete theme song now, but for the rest of the day I will probably be singing the chorus of ” Harry’s House! Harry’s House! Let’s all go to Harry’s HOUSE!
Famous Line(s): “Come on in everyone!”
10. Snowy – The Adventures of Tin Tin
Breed/Type: Wire Fox Terrier
Where would Tin Tin be without Snowy? Snowy is the adorable (and occasionally sarcastic) side kick to Tin Tin on his adventures. Like with any good character, he’s smart, good in a bind and able of occasionally being distracted when something tempting, like a juicy bone (or a tot of whiskey!), is in his sight.
Famous Line(s): “Tin Tin! Are you dead? Say yes or no but answer me!”
What canine companions do you have fond memories of as a child?