Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Happy Birthday, Snoopy: The World’s Most Famous Beagle!

""

 

By Shawn Proctor

Peanuts’ most famous character, Snoopy, is turning 72 years old…or there abouts.

For the record, Snoopy was first drawn in comics by Charles M. Schulz in October 1950, according to the Charles M. Schulz Museum, but Snoopy’s inspiration came from the cartoonist’s dog Spike, first adopted in 1927. The dog’s many antics sparked Schulz’s imagination, leading to Snoopy’s many adventures as beleaguered novelist, World War II flying ace, and grocer, among many others.

""

Courtesy of Peanuts.

In dog years, Snoopy is 350 years old. But you wouldn’t know it from the longevity of Peanuts and the many holiday cartoon specials still in heavy rotation.

So why August 10 as the day to celebrate Snoopy’s birthday? According to the Schulz’s Museum: “…even Snoopy can’t remember when he was born. And, of course, if you were to ask Snoopy, every day would be his birthday!”

Schulz was wise to make Snoopy a beagle, according to 50 Quick Breeds. The hound sports a tri-colored coat and is sleek, hardy, and short. “This is a curious dog which loves everyone. With a wagging tail they are gentle, sweet, calm and loving.” And generations of children and adults love Snoopy right back!

(The one knock on the breed: based on my experience, they have a distinctive and very loud yawp-bark that could be heard for miles.)

Snoopy and the many characters that populated the strip are considered apolitical by the general public. However, in a book discussing Schulz, Charlie Brown’s America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts, it was noted how the cartoon strip reflected the times and politics.

“Peanuts regularly commented on the politics and social turmoil of Cold War America,” the author Blake Scott Ball says. “From nuclear testing to the Civil Rights Movement, from the Vietnam War to the feminist revolution, Peanuts was an unlikely medium for Americans of all stripes to debate the hopes and fears of the era.”

In 2000, Schulz retired as the world’s wealthiest cartoonist and passed away soon after.

Resources:

Andrews, Paul. 50 Quick Dog Breeds: The Quick Guide to Some Popular Dog Breeds. Andrews UK Ltd., 2011.

Ball, Blake Scott. Charlie Brown’s America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts. Oxford University Press, 2021.

“Charles M. Schulz.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 2021, p. 1.

“Charles M Schulz Retires.” The Christian Century, vol. 117, no. 2, 2000, p. 53.

“The Life of Charles M. Schulz.” Charles M. Schulz Museum: https://schulzmuseum.org/timeline/

 


""

Shawn Proctor is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.


Like

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

 


Like

 


Last Modified: August 8, 2022