Created By: PapercutChainsaw on December 14, 2011 Last Edited By: PapercutChainsaw on December 16, 2011

Expendable Chihuahua

Small dogs are more likely to be disposed of for the sake of comedy than large dogs.

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We know that in fiction, certain breeds of dog have a set of stereotypical traits attached to them. Labradors are always heroic; rottweilers typically vicious. The prevalence these stereotypes also results in the assumption that the audience likes certain breeds much more than others. If you're a dog lover, Your Mileage May Vary on this one.

As a result, the death of one of the more "popular" breeds of dog, such as Labrador, Dalmatian, or Golden Retreiver, will almost always be played for drama as a Tear Jerker. For some reason, however, small dogs, such as chihuahuas and toy poodles, are not seen as being as lovable as large dogs, and they seem to be killed or injured for the sake of comedy more often than for serious purposes.

This could be seen as a subversion of What Measure Is a Non-Cute?, at least if you follow the "smaller equals cuter" school of thought. It may be because of the Mister Muffykins trope, or the tendency of lapdogs to qualify as Small Annoying Creatures. Another major contributing factor could be the fact that the names of some small breeds (shi tzus, poodles, and pugs) are Inherently Funny Words.

Compare That Poor Cat, Dog Stereotype, What Measure Is a Non-Cute?, Small Annoying Creature, Mister Muffykins. Contrast Death by Newbery Medal for serious dog deaths.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • December 15, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Hudson Hawk. The Mayflower's dog Bunny (a Wire Fox Terrier) is extremely annoying, including performing a Groin Attack bite on the title character. Near the end of the movie Eddie blasts her out a window, presumably to her death.
  • December 15, 2011
    Frank75
    One Urban Legend: A Grande Dame with a Mister Muffykins and a man are sitting in a train (first class). The man takes a cigar and lights it. Then, she fetches it - right from his mouth - and throws it out the window. Man: "Madam, what was that for?" Grande Dame: "Smoking is forbidden here!" The man takes the dog and throws it out. Man: "Well, so are dogs!"
  • December 15, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • December 15, 2011
    johnnye
    I'm not sure how you can tell if a work is "more" hostile to small dogs than big ones unless they're both present. Without that comparison, the trope is just "people don't like small dogs" Exaggerated for Refuge In Audacity, and I'm not sure that's distinct enough from Mister Muffykins to bother with.
  • December 15, 2011
    bibbles
    Several small pets of the Tammy Faye Baker snowclone are destroyed in different ways in the movie Repossessed.
  • December 15, 2011
    randomsurfer
    WWE: In one of the more Narmtastic storylines, Big Bossman killed and cooked Al Snow's chihuahua Pepe and fed it to him.
  • December 15, 2011
    ScanVisor
  • December 15, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    A Fish Called Wanda: Three Yorkshire Terriers are killed off by Ken during the course of the film (even tho Ken is an animal lover and is horrified each time).
  • December 15, 2011
    SharleeD
    Also a subversion of the "cute dogs don't die" variant of Infant Immortality.
  • December 15, 2011
    Duncan
    Muffy Alison's Akita Evita in Rent.
  • December 15, 2011
    nitrokitty
    • Transmetropolitan: Spider Jerusalem hates dogs. So much that when he threw a large bouncer out a window and it squashed a small dog, he demanded the dog be saved for his dinner.
  • December 15, 2011
    Chabal2
    There's a joke where a wimpy guy wanders into a Bad Guy Bar asking for the owner of the Rottweiler outside, because his Chihuahua is killing it. The extremely large owner demands to know how that's possible, the wimpy guy tells him the Rottweiler is choking on the Chihuahua.
  • December 15, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    • Subverted in Armageddon via No One Could Survive That: a street vendor and a bicycle courier are arguing because the courier's pug mistook the vendor's Godzilla figurines for chew toys. Just then, a meteorite falls on top of them. Cut to the gristly scene of the vendor's feet and the end of a leash sticking out of a hole in the street as the confused courier stands unharmed nearby... and then to the pug in the hole, hanging by the neck but still alive.
      Courier: Quietly: "Just hang on Little Briches! I'm gonna get you outta there!" Loudly: "Somebody Call 911!"
  • December 15, 2011
    miru
    One of the few serious chihuahua deaths is Chip from Sonic Unleashed.
  • December 16, 2011
    TechUnadept
    you should point out that small dogs are often aggessive and unlikeable unless you're the owner.
  • December 16, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    @johnnye- It's more about fiction in general not valuing the life of small dogs, rather than specific works- the death of a minuature poodle is virtually never played for drama, while the death of a Labrador almost always is.
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