Snoopy is a fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. The Snoopy cartoon is Charlie Brown‘s pet dog. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip’s most dynamic character—and among the most recognizable comic characters in the world. The original drawings of Snoopy were “greatly patterned” after Spike, one of Schulz’s childhood dogs.
Out of the Doghouse
Schulz once said that the best idea he ever had in the strip was to move Snoopy from inside his doghouse to the rooftop. Preceding that, there was a gradual evolution of the character, from something like an actual dog to an anthropomorphic character, more like typical cartoon animals. He also thought that this would give a better image to children to use more of their imagination and characterized it as the Mary Poppins syndrome, by letting people believe that his doghouse could be anything he wanted it to be.
The Snoopy cartoon’s earliest impersonation was of a bird on August 9, 1951. Later (starting November 17, 1956), Snoopy engaged in dead-on imitations of Violet, a pelican, Lucy, a moose, Beethoven and Mickey Mouse (to which Charlie Brown responded, “Frightening, isn’t it?”). He would also pretend to be other animals, including a snake, rhinoceros, lion, and vulture. But his eccentricities did not stop there. On June 28, 1957, Snoopy walked on his two hind like a human, for the first time. This soon became so commonplace as to be almost unnoticeable, as Snoopy developed a variety of Walter Mitty-esque alter egos (often beginning “Here’s the world-famous [name of occupation]“). The Snoopy cartoon’s transformation to walking to two feet also was accompanied by his larger snout and great body length. Furthermore, the Snoopy cartoon takes his fantasies so seriously that he plays out even unpleasant elements of them such as taking lengthy penalties in hockey games or facing humiliating disciplinary actions for incompetence.
From Orphan to Pet
Over the course of the strip’s run, it was revealed that Snoopy had been born and raised at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. His father used to run with hunting dogs, but would secretly run ahead and warn the rabbits. The Snoopy cartoon’s mother is famous for her tapioca pudding, and in a 1990s Peanuts strip, came over on a World War I-era troopship to visit Snoopy and Spike, who had been ill with the flu. Out of all his siblings, Snoopy’s brother Olaf was sold last. Before they were sold, the Snoopy cartoon and his brothers and sisters made a band and one by one each was sold. The Snoopy cartoon’s original owner was a little girl named Lila, who had to return him to Daisy Hill after her family moved to an apartment where dogs were forbidden.
Some of this article uses modified material from the Wikipedia article on the Snoopy cartoon “Snoopy“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.