What Kind of Dog is Scooby Do? [Investigation]

Scooby Doo family.

What kind of dog is Scooby-Doo?

Now that’s something most of us never thought about when we were kids. Many people seem to think that Scooby is a Great Dane. Many others seem to think that he’s a Sheepdog. Which one is it? A Golden Retriever?

We’ll get there in a moment.

But first, who is Scooby-Doo? Where did he come from and what makes him famous?

For many of us, Scooby-Doo brings back great memories. We can hear the theme song in our heads just thinking about the show. 

We can hear the voice of Don Messick say the famous catchphrase, “Ruh Roh!” just as easily as we can hear Shaggy scream “Yikes!” We can hear every single villain they catch say,  “I would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids.”

We loved it when the villains had to learn their lesson the hard way. We even imagined ourselves riding shotgun in the Mystery Machine.

Scooby-Doo was more than just a cartoon character. He was a friend. It didn’t matter to us what kind of dog he is.

And why would it? Scooby can talk. He was human enough for me. 

They were all our friends: Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby, the whole gang. They made our childhood better. 

They were there before school, after school, all day if we were home sick from school. They never got old; we never got tired of watching them.

If for some reason, you don’t know who Scooby-Doo is, we can only assume this lack of knowledge is coupled with living under a rock. The truth is, Scooby-Doo is a national treasure.

First appearing in the 60s, many of us grew up watching him – back when cartoons were actually good. This turned into showing him to our children and we watched them fall in love with Scooby the same way we did…instantly.

It’s hard not to. You would really have to try to not like Scooby-Doo. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t.

Despite the natural curiosity of children, I’ve never heard one ask what breed of dog Scooby is. And until recently, if a child did ask me, I would’ve had to respond with, “I don’t know.”

There may be a point sometime in the near future, however, that you will need to know this piece of trivia. Luckily, we got you covered on the specifics when it comes to Scooby-Doo.

You’re in the right place if you want to know how Scooby-Doo came to be.

To understand Scooby-Doo, however, you would first have to understand his history. How did he come to be? How did he get to where he is now? 

Was he always named Scooby-Doo? What does Scooby-Doo have to do with Frank Sinatra and Robert F. Kennedy?

A Great Dane.

Many viewers consider Scooby-Doo to be a Great Dane.


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How Scooby-Doo Came To Be

Scooby-Doo has an extremely long, but fascinating history. I would go as far as saying he has the most fascinating history of any other cartoon character that exists. The twists and turns that had to take place for Scooby to become who he is today makes him even more special to me.

Scooby-Doo made his ground-breaking debut for CBS on Sept. 13, 1969. Yes, you read that right, over 50 years ago! The Saturday morning cartoon series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? made quite an impact on its viewers. Everyone loved Scooby.

And how could you not? Scooby is hilarious, fun, and beyond entertaining. 

This initial interest in the talking dog has since turned into 20 video games, 35 DVDs, and 16 different television series. 

However, we’re getting far ahead of ourselves.

The truth is, Scooby-Doo would probably not exist today had it not been for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. 

I know this sounds ludicrous, but it’s true. The 1960s was a brutal decade for the majority of Americans. It was a time of turmoil and social upheavals.

This single decade saw the assassination of two politicians with the last name of Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and the Vietnam War lasted for the entirety of the decade and then some. Can you imagine?

The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, however, is when cultural norms began to shift. 

You can say many things about Robert Kennedy. He is well known for helping in the advancements of the Civil Rights Movement; he dedicated many years of his life to fighting organized crime and the Mafia, and he played a vital role in foreign policy related to Cuba.

Many people forget, however, how determined Kennedy was to end child hunger and child poverty. Along with this, he worked with the Federal Communications Commission to greatly improve children’s television. 

What was wrong with children’s television? Well, many believed the normal Saturday morning cartoons contained too much violence. They truly believed that violence on television could contribute to more violence in real life.

Kennedy’s assassination was the final straw.

Around this time, the CBS Saturday morning lineup consisted of The Herculoids and Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. 

It was during the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination in 1968 that organizations, such as Action for Children’s Television (ACT), began to show their disgust in what children’s television had come to. Other groups chimed in with ACT. For example, the Christian Science Monitor and the National Parent Teacher Association began to voice their outrage.

This led to many cancelations of their current programs. CBS was left scratching their heads because they didn’t know what to do about it. They needed more children’s television programs and they needed them quickly.

Above all else, these organizations wanted to end children’s television violence in the name of Kennedy. Enter Scooby-Doo.

With all of the noise these organizations were stirring up, the executive for daytime programming at CBS, Fred Silverman, decided it was time to find a non-violent show to add to his Saturday morning lineup. This is the point at which Silverman reached out to Joseph Barbera and William Hanna. 

Together, Hanna and Barbera had built Hanna-Barbera Productions. If you’ve never heard of Hanna-Barbera, I can assure you that you’ve heard of multiple characters they created. These characters include:

  • Yogi Bear
  • Tom and Jerry
  • The Smurfs
  • The Flintstones
  • Droopy, Master Detective
  • The Berenstain Bears

Hanna-Barbera also created the related spin-offs of these shows.

With the ball in Hanna-Barbera’s court, they contacted two writers by the names of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. They also contacted an artist by the name of Iwao Takamoto. 

Their idea was to create a show based on a rock group who, in their downtime, solved crimes. They originally came up with a show titled Mysteries Five. This show contained five teenagers and a dog who played the bongos. His name was Too Much.

Too Much was written to be a cowardly Great Dane but was drawn as a sheepdog. Too Much was drawn as a sheepdog because Joe Ruby feared the Great Dane would be too similar to Marmaduke. 

Silverman turned down this idea, so it was back to the drawing board. He advised the team to go ahead with Too Much being a Great Dane rather than a sheepdog. 

Takamoto ran with this idea. He even contacted a Great Dane breeder to learn the specific characteristics a Great Dane has. With this information, Takamoto decided to go in the opposite direction.

For comedic effect, Takamoto gave Too Much a humpback, a small chin, and bowed legs. The color of the dog is even wrong. 

Thus, the revised idea was presented to Silverman. Silverman liked everything about the revised work except for the title. Silverman decided to change this from Mysteries Five to Who’s S-S-Scared? 

Feeling good about this, Silverman presented the show to the President of CBS, Frank Stanton. Once again it was back to the drawing board–Stanton turned it down.

Silverman had his team revise the entire thing. He was determined to get this approved by CBS.

Silverman, a long time fan of Frank Sinatra, found inspiration in the ending of Strangers in the NIght. Thus, Too Much was renamed Scooby-Doo and the show changed its name to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

CBS approved. In retrospect, that was probably a smart decision.

What followed was a classic cartoon about a group of teens who ride around in their Mystery Machine to solve crime. But we already knew that part.

A sheep dog in a field.

The Sheep Dog is another breed widely speculated to be the breed of Scooby-Doo.


So Does That Mean Scoob Is A Great Dane Or A Sheepdog?

Given the fact that Takamoto said himself that he went in the opposite direction of a Great Dane, it’s easy to see how people can be confused as to what kind of dog Scooby is exactly. 

Although the original Too Much was a Great Dane who just happened to be drawn to resemble a sheepdog, he was still a Great Dane. The same is true for Scooby.

So, if you want to get technical, Scooby is, by all accounts, a Great Dane. 

A Great Dane? Really?

The traits of a Great Dane don’t differ much, and many may say that Scooby-Doo isn’t a Great Dane at all. If we’re going to compare the two, we must first understand what a Great Dane is.

For starters, a Great Dane isn’t Danish. They’re actually German. Called the, “Apollo of Dogs,” Great Danes have been around for more than 400 years. 

According to the American Kennel Club, Great Danes are friendly, patient, and dependable. They possess dignity and strength in a powerful, well-formed, and smooth muscled body. They normally have a lifespan of eight to 10 years, compared to Scooby who is over 50!

Great Danes come from the working breed. The Great Dane was developed to hunt wild boar, though you probably won’t find a Great Dane with the ability to do that today. Today, they’re a gentle dog who gets along with everyone. 

Unless you own one of these gentle beasts, however, you probably don’t know that they wouldn’t hurt a fly. Thus, they can make excellent guard dogs. Not many robbers would have the courage to mess with a Great Dane.

Great Danes are often not aware of their own size. Though it’s not their fault, this can present some problems. In small spaces, they tend to knock over things with their tail.

Also, the chances of the Great Dane weighing more than you are pretty solid. A Great Dane can weigh around 200 pounds!

As far as their personality goes, you could classify a Great Dane as a gentle giant. They’re huge dogs but are also kind and playful.  They’re the epitome of elegance.

How does this compare to Scooby?

Scooby and his best friend Shaggy share many personality traits. While your traditional Great Dane may make a great guard dog, Scooby tends to lean toward the cowardly side. When he does take action, it is often because the gang bribes him with Scooby snacks. However, while some may say Scooby is a chicken, he has more courage than we give him credit for. 

Like Great Danes, Scooby is also a people pleaser. He is goofy, jovial, and fun-loving. He isn’t shy when it comes to talking to strangers–especially when they have food. 


Scooby-Doo In Real Life?

What’s the closest thing you’ve ever seen to a real-life Scooby-Doo? Personally, we have never seen a dog that comes close to resembling the cartoon classic. Is it even possible?

The truth is, surprisingly, there is a real-life Scooby-Doo! His name is Presley. Presley is a Great Dane who lives in the United Kingdom.

According to his owner, Presley is scared of everything. This can range from smaller dogs to even plastic bags. 

Although Presley weighs around 180 pounds, the smallest things can send him into panic mode. He then takes off until he can later cuddle with his owner.

Bottom Line

There hasn’t been much debate over the years as to what kind of dog Scooby-Doo really is. This is because it’s hard to argue that he isn’t a Great Dane, although, he may look a little different than most Great Danes.

It’s also because it doesn’t matter what kind of dog he is. As I mentioned earlier, Scooby was more than just a cartoon character that we watched solve mysteries. He was a friend. A good friend. They all were. 

In some cases, they became our heroes by always doing the right thing. In a way, they were role models.

The fact of the matter is that’s one of the things that makes him so funny. The bowed legs, small chin, and hunchback make the character of Scooby priceless.

It amazes me how Scooby evolved from a bongo-playing dog named Too Much to the lovable talking dog that was in our homes growing up and is still in our homes today.

It’s fascinating that such a happy and jovial animated series was born out of one of the most difficult decades in our country’s history. Maybe that’s what makes it so special to us.

Scooby-Doo is beloved by millions around the world and this fame isn’t going anywhere. Though the original series is long over, they’ll never stop making spin-offs where the gang is up to their same old shenanigans.

Lucky for you, the next time you’re asked what kind of dog Scooby-Doo is, you’ll have an answer. You won’t only have an answer, you’ll be able to go above and beyond. 

You’ll be able to describe how Scooby was born from a terrible assassination. You’ll have the ability to discuss how his name came from a Frank Sinatra song. 

You’ll even be able to recall Scooby’s real name: Scoobert-Doo. He also has a nephew by the name of Scrappy-Doo.

Basically, you are now well versed in Scooby-Doo trivia. Use this trivia wisely, it may come in handy.


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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.