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What Type of Dog is Scooby-Doo?

Nearly everyone knows who Scooby-Doo is, the main protagonist of the children’s cartoon series “Scooby-Doo.” Together with his gang of friends, including Shaggy Rogers, Velma Dinkley (often confused as Vilma Dinkley), Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, and his nephew Scrappy-Doo, he helps to solve spooky mysteries that others are unable to solve.

You may be wondering exactly what type of dog he is. Well, you’re in the right place to find out because we will cover this and more today.

Scooby-Doo is the main protagonist of an animated series produced in 1969 by writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. He is a male Great Dane, going by the nicknames of “Scoob” and “Scooby,” and is well-known for his funny accent and signature catchphrase: “Scooby Dooby Doo.”

However, even though Scooby-Doo is supposed to be a Great Dane canonically, he isn’t exactly a normal one.

We’ll take a closer look as to why that is, also going over anything else you might want to know about the cartoon character, so keep reading to get all the details.

About Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo is a peculiar Great Dane given anthropomorphic qualities, a small chin, a speech impediment, and opposable thumbs.

He assists the Mystery Gang in solving strange and spooky mysteries. He is usually paired with Shaggy, his owner and lifelong friend.

Cartoon dogs being in films was never anything new. Famously, the Disney character Pluto made his first appearance in a 1930s cartoon, “The Chain Gang,” but never seemed to hold on to the spotlight as Scoob would.

Scooby’s name is mistakenly believed to be Scoobert Doobert. Everyone that hears the name instantly associates it with the cartoon character.

Some may be wondering if Scooby-Doo is Scooby’s real name or if it’s a nickname for something else.

Scooby’s full name is “Scoobert Doo.” Scooby Doo is his nickname. However, this wasn’t revealed until a 1988 Scooby-Doo spinoff entitled “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.”

One example of the staple this name has become in the canine world comes from the West Midlands, where there’s been a police pup placed into training named “Scooby.”

Scooby-Doo’s name was influenced by the song Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra. Occasionally, celebrity guest stars would portray ghosts of Scooby-Doo or other villains.

If you’re wondering how old Scooby-Doo (the show’s main character) is, the cartoon was first aired in 1969. However, the dog himself is canonically 7 years old in the cartoon, even though he’s been around for over 50 years now.

The first series television show with original characters and cast made their appearance in the Hanna-Barbera Productions morning slot, commissioned by Fred Silverman of CBS in 1969.

The original characters of Scooby-Doo & the cast of Mystery Inc.:

  • Scooby-Doo- voiced by Don Messick
  • Shaggy Rogers- voiced by Casey Kasem
  • Velma Dinkley- Nicole Jaffe
  • Fred Jones- Frank Welkner
  • Daphne Blake- Heather North

NOTE: This is a 50-year-old show with other ventures such as Scooby-Doo live-action movies, so the cast and crew have changed hands frequently.

But what about him being an irregular representation of a Great Dane? According to one of the original series creators, Iwao Takamoto, Scooby-Doo was given rougher features on purpose.

Takamoto wanted Scooby to be a relatable, endearing everyday dog, so he gave him slightly bowed legs, a less defined jaw, and an irregular coloring.

He didn’t want Scooby to represent a prize specimen of a Great Dane, so he made the necessary changes to accomplish this look.

Rather than a display of stately grace, he’s often eventually seen hanging off of Shaggy’s arms fearfully quivering (as you might see in the ninth episode of the “13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo” called “Wonderful Scoob”), going bonkers over Scooby snacks, or holding up his long tail to his eyes as a scared child would do with a blanket.

Though overall attention was positive and family-friendly, some undertones went in the opposite direction. Mainly Shaggy’s stoner status.

His beatnik attitude and mannerisms blend well with some areas of pop culture lore that shift him into the drug arena. That notwithstanding, he is still right next to Scoob on lunch boxes, plastic bags, and an endless list of merchandise.

Great Danes are far more than what we see in the Scooby dog.

Let’s hop into the Mystery Machine and check out what the real-life Scooby Doo’s dog breed is like.

More About Great Danes

Great dane illustration

Recognized as late as 1987 by the American Kennel Club, the Great Dane is known in its native Germany as the German Mastiff. This statuesque dog often referred to as the “Apollo of dogs,” is descended from the Molossus hounds of ancient Rome.

In the Middle Ages, it was used as a wild boar hunter, companion, and bodyguard, and the breed also played its part in bull-baiting.

In the 1800s, the Chancellor of Germany, Bismarck, who had a particular interest in mastiffs, crossed the Mastiff of southern Germany and the Great Dane of the north to produce dogs similar to the Dane we know today, yet with a less refined frame.

Despite its large size, this breed should not be kenneled outdoors but kept indoors as a family member. The Great Dane is good-natured, playful, and easy to train, and however, it should not be teased lest action is misinterpreted.

zeus the great dane dog

Interesting Facts:

  • In 2012, a Great Dane named Zeus(above) hit news platforms such as Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald as hitting the achievement of being the world’s tallest living dog of all time by Guinness Book of World Records.
  • According to the Business Insider, there is a Great Dane who hasn’t given up comforting nursing home residents through the pandemic. It will playfully look through windows to interact with them, displaying the Great Dane trait of a loving, gentle breed.
  • A Great Dane breeder may charge anywhere between $600.00 – $3,000 for a Great Dane pup!
  • Great Dane and West Highland Terrier mixes are gaining popularity in certain places as hybrid dogs. There’s also the Labradane, a Great Dane mixed with a Yellow Labrador Retriever.

Physical Features

Great dane height illustrationA real great Dane can grow to be 32 inches tall at the shoulder, towering over most other dog breeds when standing shoulder to shoulder with them. When standing on their hind legs, they can often be taller than most humans.

Even though they are massive, they are also known to be a picture of elegance, poised, said to stride with stately grace alongside nobleman or lady’s smooth and easy gait.

Their coats come in varied colorings and patterns, but the best-known combination of both is a black and white patchwork pattern peppered with distinctive black spots called a “harlequin.”

Great Danes also make great guard dogs, remaining alert at all times, taking advantage of their menacing body type despite their typical gentle-giant disposition.

One reason they’re so good at home security is because of their great size; home invaders may take one look at a growling Great Dane and flee right back out the way they came in.

Of course, that is, if the intruder has any sense of conventional wisdom. Smaller dogs may bite to compensate for their size, but the Great Dane’s presence and deep bark usually do the trick.

One obvious subtext with the Scooby-Doo show is that things aren’t always as they appear, and the Great Dane’s temperament testifies to that.


Great dane silhoutte

Lastly, Great Danes are very patient dogs, making them great for handling small children. They’re also fairly sociable and easily make friends with other dogs and humans.


This breed of dog also doesn’t require too much maintenance. Proper grooming tips include a weekly brushing of the dog’s coat to reduce shedding using a medium-thistle brush or rubber grooming mitt to get rid of excess fur.

However, during the two annual shedding seasons, the shedding will be much heavier. Additionally, as with all dog breeds, you should keep the Great Dane’s nails short to prevent discomfort and issues when running and walking.

Diet and Exercise

Great dane running vector illustration

Great Danes also require daily exercise to stay fit and healthy in terms of running and walking. A brisk walk two to three times daily should be all the exercise they need, but they can also make great companions for hiking and jogging.

It’s important to note that for more rigorous exercise, however, you should wait until they are 2 years of age to prevent damaging their growing joints and developing bow legs (otherwise known as knuckling).

As for diet, Great Danes should be fed high-quality dog food and should only be fed table scraps sparingly.

Avoid cooked bones and foods with high-fat content, as these dogs are prone to bloating. This is, in fact, the number one killer of Great Danes, where their stomachs get distended and twisted while bloating.

Other Dogs That Look Like Scooby-Doo

Maybe you’ve got a thing for dogs that look like Scooby-Doo.

Or, in other words, you enjoy Great Danes and TV characters that portray them. Well, if that’s the case for you, luckily, we know of a few other characters who also look like Scooby.

First off, we have Scrappy-Doo. Scrappy is a character in the same show as Scooby and a Great Dane with a similar upper body but stubby puppy legs. However, instead of representing a full-grown Dane, Scrappy is a Great Dane puppy.

Another “great” example of a Great Dane character is Marmaduke from the movie and comic strip entitled “Marmaduke.”

Marmaduke is more of a classic-looking Great Dane, without the rougher features given to Scooby-Doo. Please look at our article on Marmaduke for more information on him.

Final Thoughts

Scooby-Doo is an iconic fictional character. Nearly everyone on the planet has at least heard the name Scooby-Doo, and most people know exactly what he looks like and sounds like- particularly in the United States.

This is mainly true when coupled with his best friend Shaggy Rogers, a character embodying the beatnik culture. Scooby’s unique design has led many to wonder what kind of dog he is supposed to be.

He is a Great Dane; however, he was designed not to appear as a typical example of these giant canines.

Scooby has a long, stocky torso and lanky, skinny legs.

His creator took careful measures to make Scooby look more endearing and dopier while making him appear less stately and less of a regal appearance at the same time.

We hope the information we’ve outlined above has given you all the insight you were seeking into Scooby-Doo, his history, and the kind of dog he portrays.

Check the articles linked above and below for more information on other popular canine characters and the breeds they portray.

Related Questions:

1. What Type of Great Dane is Scooby-Doo?

Scooby-Doo is a typical Great Dane; however, he was specifically designed to represent your everyday version of a Great Dane. Takamoto (Scooby’s creator) did not want the dog to appear perfect as a prized Great Dane would, and he gave Scooby rougher features to make the dog more endearing for the audience.

2. Is Scooby-Doo Based on a Real Dog?

As far as we can tell, Scooby-Doo is not based on a dog in the real world, and he is based on a real-world breed, Great Danes, but not on a specific dog. Scooby’s creator, Takamoto, did not have his own Great Dane to base him on.

3. What Breed of Dog is Jake?

When you take a good look at the artwork of Jake and strip away any of the strange colors or shapeshifting, you’ll see that at Jake’s core is an extremely simple rendition of an English Bulldog.

About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.