We all know him and love him; the spirited skittish best friend of Shaggy, Scooby-Doo. As the main character of the hit cartoon (and lots of games, movies, and spin-offs), Scooby has captured the hearts of viewers across the globe.
Many believe Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane, and there’s no shortage of reasons why. Scooby-Doo’s original concept artist, Iwan Takamoto explained in an interview that he wanted to create a large dog, and the largest he could think of was a Great Dane. He went on to explain how he contacted a coworker who bred Great Danes in order to get some inspiration:
“She worked in our ink and paint department, so I called her and asked if she wouldn’t mind coming over and telling me about her prize winners. She did, came over and gave me a lot of pointers. The good strong legs, the firm strong chin, all sorts of things. And so I took most of what she said and a certain percentage I went the opposite to make it comedic. Instead of straight legs he had bow legs. He was a klutz, and he wasn’t very brave.”
Clearly, Scooby is meant to be a bit of a satirization of an ideal Great Dane. But this doesn’t mean that he’s not a member of the prestigious, charming breed.
Let’s first examine Scooby-Doo’s physical traits to get a better understanding of what breed he may be. One of the best things Great Dane’s are known for is their massive size. An average male Great Dane weighs between 140-170 pounds and stands between 30-32 inches tall.
While we don’t know Scooby-Doo’s exact weight and height, he stands above the waist level of his laid-back owner, Shaggy. According to the Hanna-Barbera Fandom Wiki (the television company that created Scooby-Doo), Shaggy stands at 6 feet 3 inches tall, which means Scooby must be huge! We can estimate that he’d stand well above six feet on his hind legs, a distinct Great Dane trait.
Next, let’s take a look at his coat. Great Danes come in many different colors, but a few standard colors are recognized as the “ideal” for the breed. Some ideals are black and white, blue, and brindle. Scooby-Doo has a solid brown coat with a few black spots along his shoulders and mid-back. As cute as this cartoon pup is, he does not fall into any of the Great Dane ideals regarding his coat. It’s rare for Great Danes to have large spots in distinct, ovular shapes like Scooby-Doo does.
Of course, we have to talk about Scooby’s eating habits. On average, adult Great Danes eat between 6-10 cups of kibble per day. Meanwhile, Scooby can regularly be seen eating massive piles of cheeseburgers, nachos, and french fries with his best pal, Shaggy. While it’s true that Great Danes need more food than other dogs, I think it’s safe to say that sky-high sandwiches and pizzas are a bit much – even for a Great Dane. Who knows, maybe Scooby is part pig!
Now that we’ve covered his physical attributes, let’s compare and contrast how Scooby-Doo’s personality and temperament align with that of an average Great Dane. The American Kennel Club describes them as dog of high esteem and grace:
“These powerful giants are the picture of elegance and balance, with the smooth and easy stride of born noblemen… But those foolish enough to mistake the breed’s friendliness for softness will meet a powerful foe of true courage and spirit.”
These traits didn’t seem to manifest themselves in Scooby, though. Both him and Shaggy are massive scaredy-cats, often seen running and hiding from villains any chance they get. Normally, a Great Dane would have no problem defending themselves and their loved ones from a big, scary monster.
In short, it’s safe to say that Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane, but an unorthodox one at that. His goofy, skittish, and cowardly personality make him an outlier from the ideal Great Danes that grace the stage at dog shows. But, despite being far from the ideal, Scooby-Doo has done what every Great Dane aspires to do: to steal the heart of everyone they meet. It’s safe to say that Scooby’s legacy redefines what the “ideal” for a Great Dane is.