Just imagine the shining sun slowly setting over the English countryside as a pack of playful pups frolic through fields of green and gold. Their beautifully spotted coats shimmer in the golden light, catching the eye of anyone who is lucky enough to pass by their Disneyfied “Dalmatian Plantation”. Well, welcome to the world of Disney’s 1961 film, 101 Dalmatians, where spots are in vogue and every bark and wagging tail is met with pure delight! From Pongo and Perdita to the mischievous puppy trio of Lucky, Rolly, and Patch, the dogs in 101 Dalmatians have captured the hearts of audiences for generations with their boundless energy, unwavering loyalty — and, of course, their iconic spots.
Although the Dalmatians certainly are the stars of the show — there are 101 of them of course! — there are also many other types of dogs that help our spotted heroes along the way. From a heroic German shepherd to a rather ritzy poodle, here are all the dog breeds featured in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians!
The first dog on our list of dogs in 101 Dalmatians is, of course, the Dalmatian! In fact, just like the movie’s title, there really are 101 Dalmatian dogs in the film! First, we meet Pongo and Perdita, the parents of the 15 little puppies that inspire Cruella de Vil to make a Dalmatian-skin fur coat. Cruella kidnaps the 15 puppies, along with 84 other Dalmatian puppies. However, with the help of many other dogs, Pongo and Perdita are able to rescue each and every one of them.
Dalmatians are easy to identify with their white, short-haired coats and unique patterns of small black spots. However, when Dalmatian puppies are born, they are completely white and without any spots at all (much to Cruella’s dismay in the film). Dalmatian puppies develop their iconic spots only as they grow older. What is extra special about these spots is that they are completely unique to each individual dog — there are no two Dalmatians with the exact same spotted pattern!
2. German Shepherd
The puppies in 101 Dalmatians love watching their favorite TV show, The Adventures of Thunderbolt. The main character of the show, Thunderbolt, is a heroic German shepherd. Like Thunderbolt, real German shepherds are striking and powerful dogs that command respect and admiration. They are renowned for their high levels of intelligence and loyalty, and they are protective and fiercely devoted to their owners.
German shepherds are very confident dogs and are easy to train. They are commonly employed as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs. In addition, some of the earliest canine stars in Hollywood were German shepherds, such as Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin.
3. Great Dane
After Cruella de Vil kidnaps the puppies, Pongo attempts to get help using the “Twilight Bark”, a gossip network used by the dogs of London. The first dog to hear and respond to Pongo’s plea is a large great Dane named Danny.
Great Danes are massive and strong dogs. Their ancestors were bred to guard German nobility and to track down deer and wild boar. In fact, measuring 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 175 pounds, the great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds in the world! However, while these dogs look intimidating with their enormous size and powerful bodies, great Danes are very friendly and loving. These gentle giants make wonderful family companions.
In 101 Dalmatians, Danny (the great Dane) is accompanied by a small terrier named Scottie. Terriers were originally bred to hunt vermin. They are tough dogs — even the small ones — and they often act as if they are completely fearless. Terriers are smart, energetic, feisty, and spirited. However, they can also be quite stubborn.
There are many different types of terrier breeds, and it’s hard to say exactly which one(s) are in Scottie’s genetic makeup. However, based on his appearance and personality, Scottie could possibly be a Dandie Dinmont terrier or maybe a West Highland white terrier mix. Dandie Dinmont terriers have a one-of-a-kind look with small bodies and huge personalities. These dogs originate from Scotland, where their ancestors were used to hunt otters and badgers. West Highland white terriers, or “Westies”, are also from Scotland, where they were bred to hunt rodents.
5. Scottish Terrier
Another dog in 101 Dalmatians is a black Scottish terrier named Jock who helps pass along Pongo’s message up a drainpipe in London. Originating in Scotland, the Scottish terrier — or “Scottie” — is a small yet rugged dog breed. With their dignified confidence, short legs, and low-to-the-ground muscular bodies, these dogs exude a sense of strength and determination. In addition, Scottish terriers have a rather distinctive appearance, with wiry fur coats, long hair around the face like a thick beard, and hairy eyebrows. Their pointed ears stand tall and erect, giving them an alert and curious expression.
Scottish terriers are feisty little dogs who embody strength and resilience. They were originally bred by farmers to hunt vermin and Eurasian badgers. In fact, the First Earl of Dumbarton was so impressed by their tenacity and perseverance that he fondly nicknamed the Scottish terrier “the diehard.”
Fun Fact: Jock is also a character in Disney’s 1955 animated film, Lady and the Tramp!
As Pongo’s message moves out from the city into the countryside, it is heard by Old Towser, a large bloodhound. Bloodhounds get their name from their exceptional tracking skills. Whether searching for wild animals or people, bloodhounds can track scents across large distances — and often even days after the trail has gone cold!
Bloodhounds are affectionate and even-tempered dogs who make great family pets and loyal companions. Although they are quite large, bloodhounds are calm and gentle, especially toward humans. Bloodhounds have distinctively droopy faces and jowls, along with long velvety ears. In 101 Dalmatians, Old Towser needs help from his friend Lucy (a goose) to hold his long and floppy ear up so that he can hear!
7. Old English Sheepdog
Pongo’s message eventually passes along to an Old English sheepdog known as “The Colonel”. The Colonel and Sergeant Tibbs (a tabby cat) help the Dalmatian puppies to escape from De Vil Manor. An extremely fluffy dog, The Colonel often blows overhanging hair out of his eyes.
Just like The Colonel in 101 Dalmatians, Old English sheepdogs have thick, shaggy fur that ranges in shades of gray and white. They often have hair covering their face and eyes, giving them a charming and slightly comical expression. However, without regular brushing, their voluminous hair can mat and tangle. Originating from England, these gentle giants are not at all aggressive, and they have fun-loving personalities. Old English sheepdogs are adaptable, intelligent, and social. They are loving and loyal dogs who thrive on the company and warmth of their human companions.
8. Rough Collie
After the Dalmatian puppies escape De Vil Manor, they must make the long journey home in blustery winds and bitterly cold snow. Fortunately, a noble rough collie shows up just in time to take them to an old farm where they can find shelter and get some rest.
Rough collies (or long-haired collies) are beautiful herding dogs that come from Scotland. They have long, feathery hair that comes in many different color combinations. However, their faces and snouts have much shorter hair, giving them a regal and elegant appearance. Rough collies excel at agility and are very loyal companions.
9. Labrador Retriever
There are a few Labrador retrievers in 101 Dalmatians. First, Pongo sees a small girl early on in the movie as she walks by his window with a little yellow Labrador puppy. Later, the Dalmatians are helped by a black Labrador retriever who brings them to a truck to take them home to London. The puppies also disguise themselves to look like their Labrador rescuer by rolling in soot.
Labrador retrievers originally came from Labrador, a region in what is now Canada. For centuries they have been admired for their exceptional hunting skills and robust physique, as well as their gentle and affable nature. Today, Labradors are some of the most popular dogs around, both as hunting partners as well as wonderful canine companions. Labs typically have black fur, yellow or cream-colored fur, or chocolate fur. They are powerful and muscular dogs with very kind eyes and expressive faces.
10. Afghan Hound
At the very beginning of 101 Dalmatians, Pongo wants to find himself a companion, and one for his owner, Roger. As women and their dogs walk past the window, Pongo assesses whether or not they would make good companions for the two bachelors. When he sees Prissy, an elegant Afghan hound, Pongo remarks that she is a “very unusual breed”. Afghan hounds truly are one-of-a-kind dogs. Their long, luscious, and thick fur coats could easily outmatch any Herbal Essences model!
Their iconic appearance makes these dogs instantly recognizable, thanks to their luxurious silky fur and their delicate tales that perfectly curl into a ring at the end. Afghan hounds also have an innate sense of independence and a gentle aloofness. However, once they have established a bond with a human companion, they display remarkably deep affection and unwavering loyalty.
As Pongo watches out his apartment window, he sees a shorter woman walking by with her small, grayish-brown pug. Originating from China where they were companion dogs for Chinese royalty, pugs have a very distinctive appearance with curly pig-like tails, smushed faces, and wrinkly skin. Pugs make excellent companions and have a sociable, even-tempered nature. They are very charming dogs with fun personalities. Pugs are also sensitive dogs and crave lots of affection.
When Pongo spots Coco, a rather fancy-looking poodle, he declares that she is “much too fancy”. Another dignified and elegant-looking dog, the poodle is a well-built breed with a beautifully curled fur coat. At dog shows and in the media, you will often see standard poodles with their iconic “poodle cuts”. Groomers shave the dog’s face, feet, and tail close to the skin. The rest of their curly fur is blown out into rounded pom-pom-like shapes. However, despite their aristocratic appearance, poodles are very sociable and athletic dogs that are affectionate and make excellent companions.
13. Cocker Spaniel
As Pongo rests and watches the road outside his window, an older woman rides by on a bicycle, with a reddish-brown cocker spaniel perched in her basket. Cocker spaniels come in just about any color you can imagine. They have curly or wavy fur coats, and often their hair is cut and styled to look like a giant flowing skirt around their legs. In addition, cocker spaniels have expressive and soulful eyes, and long, luxurious ears that hang along either side of their face.
Cocker spaniels are technically considered sporting dogs, and they certainly love exercise and playtime. However, today they are primarily seen as companion dogs. Cocker spaniels are very affectionate and friendly pups who are often good with both other dogs and children.
Fun Fact: In a brief scene during the “Twilight Bark” montage, you can catch a quick glimpse of another cocker spaniel — Lady, the star of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp!
14. Tibetan Spaniel
There are a few other unique dogs seen during the “Twilight Bark” montage scenes of 101 Dalmatians. At one point, there is a short clip featuring several dogs sitting in a pet store window. Although many of the puppies’ breeds are unidentifiable, the two adults are rather recognizable. In fact, you may have even seen them before! For example, you can catch a brief glimpse of Peg, the Tibetan spaniel mix from Lady and the Tramp.
Despite the breed’s name, Tibetan spaniels are not actually “spaniels” at all. Instead, these cute pups are companion dogs who trace their origins back at least 3,000 years. Originating in Tibet, these charming little canines were cherished pups who lived in Tibetan monasteries, where they were fondly referred to as “little lions”. Tibetan spaniels provided affection and companionship to the resident monks and lamas and acted as diligent watchdogs. Even today, these adorable little pups often will bark to alert you anytime something or someone unfamiliar approaches your home.
In addition to Peg, the other recognizable dog from the pet shop window is Bull, the bulldog from Lady and the Tramp. The last on our list of dogs in 101 Dalmatians, the bulldog is a beloved British breed with a muscular and sturdy build, weighing up to 50 pounds. These sturdy dogs have large heads, broad shoulders, and thick skin folds encircling their flat faces. They are courageous and strong, but they are actually quite sensitive as well.
Although the ancestors of today’s bulldogs were bred for bullbaiting, the modern bulldog was actually bred as a companion dog and is usually quite friendly. In fact, bulldogs are calm and affectionate dogs who like to snuggle up with their beloved human companions.
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