If cartoons have been kind to any creature, it's been those of the canine persuasion. <p>The first animated dog was Bobby Bump's sidekick Fido, who took his cinematic bow way back in 1915. Since then, the world of animation just wouldn't be the same without the likes of Betty Boop's Bimbo and Pudgy; Tex Avery's Spike the Bulldog, Jonny Quest's Bandit, Hong Kong Phooey, or Batman's Ace and Superman's Krypto. <p>Still, the question has to be asked. Amongst this legion of cartoon hounds, just who is top dog? <p>Newsarama counts down our Top 10.
One of legendary director Tex Avery's creations, after Bugs and Daffy of course, this stone-faced, beleaguered sort-of basset hound is an eternal champion. Whether thwarting another one of Wolfie's nefarious schemes or just sticking it to Spike, Droopy would take on any challenger with the same incredible look of ennui and always come out on top. Couple Avery's incredible ability to come up with those most amazing gags with one of the most unique voices ever given a critter, originally provided by actor Bill Thompson, and it was a truly unbeatable formula.
Okay, they're really a duo. Still, it's impossible to think of one without the other. This is one of Hollywood's great romances, even if of the four-legged variety and the spaghetti scene will go down as one of film history's most memorable of all time
John Kricfalusi's madcap creation contains the mighty macho of Kirk Douglas in his prime trapped inside the body of an asthmatic Chihuahua. It didn't hurt that the diminutive pooch was a psychotic loon, either. Accompanied by his simple-minded cat buddy, Stimpy, Ren is a truly different breed that still is talked about in revered tones.
And why should there be a superdog in this list? While Superman's pal Krypto deserves his animated props, none showed more daring-do and just plain fun than J. Watt's Biggers uber-hound. As voiced by comic Wally Cox, Underdog took on the likes of Simon Bar Sinister, Overcat and many other nefarious evil doers and still had make Sweet Polly Purebred's heart go into overdrive every time she saw him. Now that's one smooth dog.
Yes, Hanna-Barbera made their TV animation entry with a cat/dog combo called Ruff and Reddy, but it was their second creation, that horribly howling blue hound Huckleberry, that really put their fledgling studio on the map. Whether pestered by some sort of pernicious pest, trying to just to hold down a steady job or attempting to just live the simple life, ol' Huck endured the everyday pains of animated existence with a song (horribly sung) in his heart and an optimistic attitude that tomorrow would be a better day. It didn't hurt to have legendary voice artist Daws Butler give Huck that Southern-fried drawl, either.
Though perhaps not technically a dog, Fred Flinstone's prehistoric pooch could alternately be the bane of animation's #1 prehistoric family's existence or their greatest ally. Whatever he did, he did it with a love for his family that could never be broken, even if his constant jumping of Fred should have broken that caveman's back many times over. Any house with a Dino as their primary pet is a truly lucky one indeed.
Time hasn't been as kind to Mickey Mouse's #1 pal as it should have been. First appearing in the 1934 short Playful Pluto, which featured the good-hearted mutt getting entangled in flypaper, every 'toon thereafter would feature the dog getting into one new sticky situation after another. Yet Disneyfiles love him almost as much as his master, the Mouseworks is still producing new shorts, now for TV, featuring Pluto.
The martini-swilling, Lois-leering pet of the Griffin family is probably the closest one comes to a voice of reason on "Family Guy". Then again, if you had Peter Griffin as your master and Stewie as your constant companion, who wouldn't be a stone-cold alcoholic? Not that it matters, families all over the world still will tune in to Fox every Sunday for the latest sardonic statement on life from this malcontent mutt, and are all the better for it.
To paraphrase Chuck Jones, everyone wants to be Snoopy, but in real life we're all really Charlie Browns. Whether taking on the Red Baron, hanging around high school as Joe Cool, helping his bird pal Woodstock out, giving Lucy von Pelt a smooch or just being a true pal to Chuck, Snoopy is the eternal winner. Everyone loves a winner, especially one like Snoopy.
Think about this. Scooby Doo is Warner Bros. top licensed property. He brings in more loot and viewers than Bugs Bunny, Superman, Batman, you name it. Why? It's really a mystery. Yet here he now is, going on 40, with literally scads of TV shows, DVDs, movies, merchandise and whatever else, and his fan base continues to grow. There's just something about this foul-smelling, food-snatching, mystery-solving Great Dane that strikes a chord in animation fans everywhere. Let someone else explain it. Scooby truly is animation's top dog. Long may he reign.