What Kind of Dog is Scooby-Doo?
Have questions about Scooby-Doo? We have answers. We’ll tell you:
- The origins of Scooby-Doo.
- Fun Facts about Scooby-Doo.
- And, what kind of dog Scooby is!
Since September 13, 1969, just about every kid in the United States has grown up knowing that Scooby-Doo is the lovable canine that solves mysteries with his buddy Shaggy and friends Freddy, Daphne, and Velma. That’s when Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? debuted on CBS’s Saturday morning cartoon line-up. The original series ran for just two season and had 25 episodes. But Scooby was a huge hit and the original series was followed by spin-off cartoon series, television specials, made-for-TV movies, and videos, not to mention two feature films. Today the series is regularly shown in repeats on cable channels. TV Guide ranked Scooby-Doo as the fifth greatest TV cartoon of all time.
With all of this success people still have questions about Scooby. One thing people always ask is what kind of dog is Scooby-Doo. Any guesses? Answer below!
Origins of Scooby-Doo
Scooby-Doo, the character and the series, was created by writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears for the animation company Hanna-Barbera for CBS’s Saturday morning cartoon line-up. At the time, there were protests from parent groups about cartoons that were perceived to be too violent for children and some of these objectionable cartoons came from Hanna-Barbera. CBS was looking for something new for their Saturday morning line-up. They had already achieved success with The Archies and its musical numbers. The song “Sugar Sugar” from The Archies was the most successful Billboard number one hit of 1969.
Joe Ruby and Ken Spears came up with an idea for a series called Mysteries Five about a musical band that solved spooky mysteries. It featured five teens in a band and their dog. The dog was named Too Much and he played the bongos. When they weren’t playing music, they solved mysteries. This first pitch was not successful. In another pitch for the series, Fred Silverman, CBS’s head of daytime programming, renamed the dog and the series Scooby-Doo. By this time the dog was a main character. Silverman got the idea for the name from lyrics in Frank Sinatra’s hit song “Strangers In The Night,” which uses the nonsense scat phrase “be-doo-be-doo.”
10 Fun Facts about Scooby-Doo
- According to the official magazine that came out with the 2002 movie, Scooby is seven years old.
- Voice Actor Don Messick did all of Scooby’s voice work from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969 until Scooby-Doo! in Arabian Nights in 1994, including the 1995 video game Scooby-Doo Mystery and the 1996 Burger King commercial.
- Don Messick was also the voice of Astro in The Jetsons. If you thought the voices of the two big dogs sounded similar, they do. It’s Astro that says, “Ruh-roh!” Not Scooby.
- Actor Frank Weller (the voice of Freddy since 1969) has done the voice of Scooby since 2002. He began voicing Scooby with What’s New, Scooby-Doo?
- The human characters in Scooby-Doo are based on the characters in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a popular early 1960s television comedy starring Bob Denver (pre-Gilligan’s Island).
- Fred Silverman at CBS originally wanted to base the new cartoon series on a cross between The Archies and Dobie Gillis, with a musical band solving spooky crimes with their bongo-playing sidekick dog. The band idea was dropped after the first pitch failed. Can you imagine Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy with instruments while Scooby plays the bongos?
- One of the unsuccessful pitches for the series – called Who’s S-S-Scared? – was rejected because the artwork (and presumably the stories) – was thought to be too scary for kids. Left without a new show for Saturday morning, executives told the writers and designer to tone down the scary parts and play up the comedy. And Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? was born.
- The creators of Scooby-Doo originally feared that Scooby might be too similar to the comic strip character Marmaduke.
- Facts about Scooby’s origins and how he and Shaggy met have changed over the years. In the early cartoons, Scooby has been with Shaggy since he was a puppy. In later cartoons, he came to Shaggy as an adult dog.
- Reruns of Scooby-Doo have been in syndication since 1980.
What Kind of Dog is Scooby Doo?
Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane.
When the writers originally worked on the script for the series they were preparing to pitch, the dog called Too Much varied between a large sheepdog and a Great Dane. The couldn’t decide if the dog would be large and cowardly or small and feisty. Eventually the dog became a large, cowardly Great Dane. That’s why they were somewhat concerned that he would be too similar to Marmaduke.
When it came to actually designing what Scooby would look like, production designer Iwao Takamoto met with a colleague at Hanna-Barbera who bred Great Danes. She described for him all of the characteristics of a prize-winning Great Dane – and he went in the opposite direction. He drew Scooby with bowed legs, a sloping back, a double chin, and made him the wrong color. He swings by his tail sometimes. It’s not surprising that people are so often confused about what kind of dog he is!
Scooby also tends to be cowardly, which is not a Great Dane trait. According to the writers, they looked to characters played by the great comedian Bob Hope for inspiration. In scary scenes Hope often played a coward who managed to be brave when his friends were in danger.
According to some sources, Scooby has a “speech impediment” because he has trouble pronouncing his “Rs.” He is a talking dog. Cut him some slack. His friends can usually understand him. If they have any problems, Scooby is very good at charades.
Scooby also shares many traits with Shaggy, including their love of food. All of the characters in the show were developed and went through some changes over the years, including Scooby, though nothing too drastic. Don Messick, who voiced Scooby for over 25 years, said that he worked on the character for 10 years.
Scooby is one of the most popular and best-loved cartoon characters of all time. He may not be anyone’s idea of a perfect Great Dane but most Great Danes probably can’t solve mysteries. For nearly 50 years Scooby and Shaggy and their friends have been meddling and getting rid of phony ghosts, witches, and other fake supernatural bad guys. Scooby deserves some extra special Scooby snacks!