Cartoon dogs are very popular today but it was the white beagle with black ears that flopped to and fro, none other than the infamous Snoopy, who is believed to have started the trend. Snoopy first made an appearance on October 2, 1950 to rave reviews in creator, cartoonist Charles M. Schultz's comic strip Peanuts. Before Snoopy, cartoon dogs had merely been nothing more than loyal, and generally quiet and obedient companions to their owners. Snoopy made his mark in cartoon history by changing the way dogs were viewed and making himself important and most of all, front and center. In Peanuts, the people played second fiddle to the star: the cartoon dog who lived in a small wooden doghouse in the backyard of Charlie Brown's house.
Charles Schultz got his idea for Snoopy the cartoon dog from his own dog, Spike, whom he was given as a pet for his thirteenth birthday. Besides the popular comic strip, Snoopy became even more of a household name when he appeared in a number of TV cartoon specials and a cartoon series. This strong minded and very well loved cartoon dog also inspired the band the Royal Guardsmen to record a song called "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" that became a hit in the 1960s. Interestingly enough "Snoopy" was the name chosen for the 1969 Apollo 10 lunar module. Snoopy had so many adventures that it's a wonder that Charlie Brown didn't have to purchase dog insurance for him!
Snoopy was only the beginning in a long line of cartoon dogs that were to follow. Cartoon dogs in the form of Offissa Pupp from "Krazy Kat," Deputy Dawg from "Hi & Lois," and Otto from "Beetle Bailey" soon became a fixture in television programming.
Cartoon dogs continue to be very popular with today's children and many adults as well. No one could deny the charm of the lovable but cowardly Great Dane Scooby-Doo created by the team of Hanna-Barbera for the cartoon series "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" who helps solve mysteries with his four best human friends. Sometimes they are even joined by Scooby's adorable diminutive nephew Scrappy and on one occasion by Scooby-Dum (Scooby-Doo's less intelligent country cousin). It was CBS executive Fred Silverman who came up with Scooby-Doo's name after listening to Frank Sinatra's hit song "Strangers in the Night," which contains lyrics using the words, "scooby-dooby-doo."
Other cartoon dogs that have delighted audiences with their mixture of hilarity and canine superiority over the years include Ace Heart, Astro, Augie Doggie, Bandit, The Barkleys, The Beagles, Beethoven, The Biskitts, Blue, Charlie B. Barkin, Chopper, Courage, and Daisy. But this list is by no means exhaustive. Other famous cartoon dogs worthy of mention include Eliot Shag, The Ford Dog, Hong Kong Phooey, Huckleberry Hound, Kipper, Mad Dog, Mr. Peabody, Pongo & Perdite, Pound Puppies, Ren the dog, Snuffles, Spike the Wonder Dog, Tige, and Underdog.