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Big Dog, Big Heart: Everyone’s Favorite Vizsla

Concept art for a new version of Clifford the Big Red Dog. Credit: Scholastic.

Well known for being a book lover and writer, we had to celebrate Snoopy‘s birthday on Aug. 10! This week on the blog, we’re celebrating some of our favorite literary dogs. Are you a fan of Joe Cool? Or, is there another canine companion that has your heart?

Vizsla dog breed. Credit: Dog’s Best Life.

Kallie Stahl, Communication and Marketing Specialist, chose everyone’s favorite red dog: “While Scooby-Doo is one of my all-time favorites, I have to choose Clifford because he was one of the characters that inspired my love of reading when I was young.”

Written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell, Clifford the Big Red Dog was first published in 1963. The books follow the adventures of two-year-old Clifford and his owner eight-year-old Emily Elizabeth. Originally the runt of his litter, Clifford grew to be an impossibly large, red dog after being cared for by Emily Elizabeth. Clifford’s size was ambiguous in the books. Jordan Kerner, Director of Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021 film) stated, “The dog ranged from eight feet tall to 35 feet, depending upon the book you were reading.” Clifford’s breed was never attributed, though many people state he has the characteristics of a giant Vizsla. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla is a hunting dog. “Because they were bred to be both a pointer and a retriever, they were also bred to attach and stick very close to their master, making them excellent family dogs. Just like Clifford would do anything for Emily Elizabeth, Vizslas are very loyal,” according to Dr. Jennifer Shepherd.

Since 1963, Scholastic reports “Clifford has appeared in more than 80 books (with more than 133 million copies in print in 16 languages), an Emmy Award–winning television series, and a feature film.” Describing the lasting legacy of Clifford, Scholastic chairman, CEO, and president Dick Robinson reflected on Bridwell’s loveable creation: “The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth, who loves him unconditionally.”

“Young kids could relate to the stories because they focused on real-life situations,” said Stahl. “Clifford routinely made mistakes, but he learned from them and always treated everyone with kindness.”


References:

Ask Dr. Jenn: What Kind of Breed is Clifford the Big Red Dog? (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.petassure.com/maxscorner/ask-dr-jenn-clifford-the-big-red-dog-breed/

Judy Newman at Scholastic. (n.d.). Judy Newman at Scholastic. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from http://www.judynewmanatscholastic.com/content/judyblog/en/blog/2020/01/legacy-story-clifford.html

Nast, C. (2021, June 29). Clifford the Big Red Dog Is Simply Too Big for New York City. Vanity Fair. https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/06/clifford-is-simply-too-big-for-new-york-city

 


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Last Modified: August 8, 2022