Snoopy is a cartoon dog in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown’s pet dog. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into one of the strip’s most dynamic characters and one of the most recognizable comic characters in the world. The original drawings of Snoopy were inspired by Spike, one of Schulz’s childhood dogs.

noopy, whose fictional birthday has been established as October 2, made his first appearance in the strip of October 4, 1950, two days after the strip premiered. He was first identified by name on November 10. Schulz was originally going to call him “Sniffy” (as described in the 25th anniversary book), until he discovered that name was used in a different comic strip. He changed it to “Snoopy” after remembering that his late mother Dena Schulz had commented that if their family were ever to acquire a third dog, it should be called Snoopy, an affectionate term in Norwegian (the actual term is “Snuppe”). There is an earlier reference to Snoopy’s birthday which places the date as August 28 rather than August 10th; it can be seen in a cartoon strip dated August 28, 1951 where Charlie Brown and Violet are singing Happy Birthday to Snoopy and presenting him with a cake (The Complete Peanuts 1950-1954).

In earlier strips it is not clear to whom Snoopy belongs. For instance, in the February 2, 1951, strip, Charlie Brown accuses Snoopy of following him, only to be told by Patty that Snoopy isn’t following Charlie Brown, but merely lives in the same direction. Indeed many early strips show Snoopy interacting with Shermy (who is shown in one early strip running with Snoopy on his leash) and Patty without Charlie Brown, making Snoopy appear to belong to all of the neighborhood kids, similar to the dog Pete in the Our Gang comedies, who is everyone’s dog. (Note: in days of yore, it was common for dogs to roam their local area and congregate with local children, and then return to their respective homes.) Later, Charlie Brown states that his parents bought Snoopy for him at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, after another boy had dumped sand on him while playing in a sandbox.

Snoopy was a silent character for the first two years of his existence, but on March 16, 1952, he verbalized his thoughts to readers for the first time in a thought balloon; Schulz would utilize this device for nearly all of the character’s appearances in the strip thereafter. At first, Snoopy acted as a normal dog, and would only think in simple one-word phrases (such as “FOOD!”), but then became more articulate.

In addition to Snoopy’s ability to “speak” his thoughts to the reader, many of the human characters in Peanuts have the uncanny knack of reading his thoughts and responding to them. In the animated Peanuts films and television specials, Snoopy’s thoughts are not verbalized; his moods are instead conveyed through growls, sobs, laughter, and monosyllabic utterances such as “bleah,” “hey,” etc. as well as through pantomime. Unlike a regular dog, other characters treat him intelligently by taking directions from him, incorporating him into the local baseball team, and so on despite his inability to speak (this anthropomorphic tendency increased as time went on).

The only exceptions are in the animated adaptations of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!!! The Musical, in which Snoopy’s thoughts are verbalized through voice overs (by Robert Towers and Cam Clarke, respectively). Animation producer Bill Meléndez voiced both Snoopy and (eventually) Woodstock in numerous television specials from 1965 to 2006. In Peanuts Motion Comics, Snoopy’s thoughts appear onscreen as text in thought bubbles, without voice.



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