Charles M. Schulz created the charming characters of the Peanuts comics in 1950, and ever since Snoopy and the gang have been a beloved fixture in American pop culture. Each unique character has their own quirks and charms that make them instantly recognizable and entertaining. However, Snoopy often stole the show with his witty humor, wild imagination, and persevering spirit. Snoopy even has his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, right next to Schulz’s star! This much-loved canine is definitely anything but ordinary. But what kind of dog is snoopy? Let’s take a closer look!
Charlie Brown and Snoopy
Schulz’s first Peanuts comic strip ran on October 2, 1950, although it did not yet include Charlie Brown’s beloved dog. Just two days later on October 4, 1950, Snoopy made his iconic debut, albeit at this point he was walking on all four legs and acting very much like your average dog. Within the next few years, however, Snoopy began to evolve and eventually became a much more anthropomorphic canine who walked on two legs like a person and communicated with a thought bubble above his head. The Snoopy we know and love today is far from being an average dog — Snoopy reads War and Peace, flies a fighter jet, plays jazz, and collects fine art.
What Kind of Dog Is Snoopy?
Snoopy is a beagle — albeit a rather unusual one. As extraordinary as he is, however, Snoopy still retains many characteristics of the beagle breed. Snoopy is a white dog with large black spots, black ears, and a cute black nose. Beagles are traditionally a mix of black, white, and brown. However, on rare occasions, there are beagles that are only black and white without any brown at all, just like Snoopy! In addition, Snoopy has long, droopy, dark-colored ears like a beagle.
The inspiration for Snoopy came from Schulz’s childhood dog, Spike. Spike was an energetic and curious dog who often got into mischief and ate all kinds of things that he probably should not have. Although he did look a lot like a beagle, Spike was actually some kind of pointer or hound breed mix. Like the character of Snoopy, however, Spike was white and had floppy ears, as well as black patches on his head and back.
Although Snoopy was based loosely on Spike, Schultz was originally going to name his new comic book dog Sniffy. However, he changed the name to Snoopy at the last minute when he noticed a newsstand comic that had a dog with the exact same name. Schultz said that when he was younger, his mother had suggested naming their next dog Snoopy.
Spike played another role in Schultz’ cartoon creations later on as well. In 1975, Schultz introduced a new character to his Peanuts comic strip — Snoopy’s older brother, Spike. In the comics, Spike looks a lot like Snoopy although much thinner and with super long whiskers. Spike also wears a fedora and has droopy eyes that make him look like he’s always tired. Perhaps his fatigue is because Spike lives in a town all the way out in the desert, where he mostly engages with rocks and cactuses.
Not only does Snoopy share many characteristics physical characteristics of the beagle breed, but his personality is also very much like that of many beagles. Beagles are cheerful and intelligent dogs, but sometimes they have a stubborn streak as well — not unlike Snoopy. They are known for their energetic and playful personalities and are very loyal companions to their owners. Beagles were bred as hunting dogs so they need lots of exercise and readily follow their human companions on adventures.
Just like real-life beagles, Snoopy is a cheerful character with a lot of intelligence, wit, and energy — how else can he do so many amazing things? Think about it: Snoopy can play fetch with soap bubbles, knows how to fly a fighter jet, writes novels, attends college classes, curates fine art, plays music, and can even hear if someone is eating cookies far away. Not to mention that Snoopy was the first cartoon animal to fly to the moon! (Fun fact: After his historic adventure, Snoopy became the safety mascot for NASA). Snoopy also follows Charlie Brown and the other Peanuts around and often plays games and goes on adventures with them.
However, although beagles are energetic and playful dogs, they also love to sit back and relax. Similarly, Snoopy often enjoys indulging in his lazy side, and many comics show him happily napping on the roof of his dog house. In addition, beagles tend to howl a lot — sometimes as a warning, but often just to communicate their emotions and desires. Snoopy is an excellent communicator with many friends and associations. He is also quite musical and even knows how to play the jaw harp!
Beagles as Hunting Dogs
Snoopy may not be a hunting dog per se, but one of his alter egos is a hunter of sorts. When Snoopy becomes the World War I Flying Ace, he transforms into an excellent fighter pilot who is out to hunt down his arch nemesis, the Red Baron — much like a beagle hones in on a target when hunting prey. Beagles are also known for their excellent sense of smell, which is one of the traits that makes them such great hunting dogs.
That amazing sense of smell also allows Beagles to track down good things to eat. In fact, they love foods of all kinds, and without proper boundaries, they can easily become overweight. Likewise, Snoopy also has a great sense of smell and quite an appetite. Whenever Charlie Brown brings Snoopy a meal, Snoopy celebrates with his very own happy dance. In one of the Peanuts comics, Snoopy also says that he doesn’t care what the research says — scarfing down junk food will always be one of his greatest joys in life.
Although beagles are hunting dogs, they are also friendly and outgoing, making them great with people, children, and other dogs. Not only does Snoopy have many other canine and human friends, but he is even friends with birds as well! While a real-life beagle likely wouldn’t befriend such a small animal (particularly since they were bred to hunt small animals), Snoopy’s best friend is a tiny little bird named Woodstock. Snoopy also leads his own troop of Beagle Scouts — all of which are small yellow birds like Woodstock.
Summary of the Beagle Dog Breed
Just like Snoopy, beagles are the ultimate canine companions. They are energetic, smart, and full of personality. With soulful eyes and adorably floppy ears, it is nearly impossible not to fall in love with a beagle! Although they may come in nontraditional colors, generally beagles have tricolored coats of brown, black, and white. They are natural scent hounds and are commonly used as hunting dogs.
On average, beagles grow around 13 to 15 inches tall and weigh 20 to 30 pounds. There are also “pocket beagles” that are smaller, ranging from 7 to 13 inches tall and weighing 7 to 15 pounds. Although they are smaller than many other hunting dogs, beagles are surprisingly athletic and love nothing more than running around and playing. Beagles are affectionate and loyal pups who make great family dogs (just be sure to give them plenty of exercise and mental engagement).
The photo featured at the top of this post is © kobkik/Shutterstock.com
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