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All Animals Are Dogs

"I just realized I have no idea if kittens do that. I'm drawing this cat as if it were my dog."

A boy is walking through the woods. Suddenly, he stumbles upon a baby bear! Thinking quickly, the youngster pulls a cookie out of his knapsack and feeds it to the bitty critter. In moments, the bear cub is licking the boy's face, wagging its tail, and fetching sticks.

Of course, in real life the only animals that act like domesticated dogs are... domesticated dogs, though other canids, particularly if they're Raised by Humans, may exhibit many similar behaviors. The thing about dogs that makes them prime targets for this trope is the same reason dogs and humans get along so well; we share a lot of body language. Dogs are easy to read because they give nonverbal cues we're programmed to recognize. Other species require you to know how they emote, and you can't expect an audience to be well-versed on, say, how black bears show happiness. Thus when a fictional animal needs to emote, especially nonverbally, it behaves like a dog — wagging its tail when happy, flattening its ears and slinking away when scolded, etc. The human audience will understand the emotions being expressed and the animal will still have behaved like an animal. Okay, not the right animal, but still better than out-and-out aping human mannerisms, right? Or in the cases of creatures like elephants and dinosaurs, it may simply be the Rule of Funny.

Dinosaurs (particularly sauropods) are the most common animal to fall to this, as a) nobody really knows their actual mannerisms, and 2) works featuring them tend to be in prehistoric times, before the domestication of the dog, making it possible to pass them off as the setting's equivalent of a dog.

Canines, particularly wolves (which are closely related to domestic dogs), have a number of traits that made them amenable to domestication:

  • They are social and obey a pack hierarchy.
  • They eat almost anything, especially the stuff humans eat.
  • They are used to hunting and working in teams.
  • They can travel long distances at a slow trot. (Lots of animals can sprint, but very few can keep going for more than a few minutes. Wolves are among the best distance runners on the planet. So are humans... at least, we were until we started sitting in front of computer monitors all day.
  • They breed easily but only at intervals.
  • They've been around people from the dawn of humanity, scrounging food from human camps, and thus they were the first species to be domesticated.

Modern dogs have tens of thousands of generations of selective breeding for puppy like behavior, friendliness, and obedience to humans. Most other animals do not have all these things and thus, in Real Life, they have no reason to think or act like dogs.

Subtrope of All Animals Are Domesticated, which is about the feasibility of wild animals being kept as pets at all. Domesticated Dinosaurs is often a subtrope, though not necessarily.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • This swimsuit ad portrays a man having a great white shark play fetch with an inflatable ball.
  • Invoked at the end of this commercial.

    Art 
  • The lion statues in Trafalgar Square in London only have the heads of lions. The sculptor had never seen a lion before and only knew what they looked like from books, so he modeled the bodies on his dog. The statues even have their tongues hanging out like dogs. Although some people can spot the anatomy problems with a closer look (particularly, the paws are too small and it's anatomically impossible for lions to sit the way the statues are), the average person won't notice or will even believe lions and dogs have similar bodies.

    Comicbooks 
  • The tokage (lizards) are the dog-equivalent species in the "funny animal comic" Usagi Yojimbo, which is kind of odd since there's at least one actual dog (who's owned by a panda).
  • Daniel from The Sandman encountered Goldie the Gargoyle in Sandman #67, at which he exclaimed "doggie!" Daniel was probably not even two years old then, and may thus have had a very small vocabulary (i.e., all animals are "doggie").

    Fan Fiction 
  • Quite a few fanfics that make this mistake in regard to horses, including one particularly cringe-worthy one that had a horse wagging its tail happily. Nooooooooooo!!! (For those not in the know, if you see a horse wag his tail, he's either swatting flies, about to drop a few Road Apples, or if it's violently lashing its tail may be annoyed or angry, more like a cat than a dog).
  • The Pokémon fanfic Pokemon Watchers features a Salamence (a dragon-like Pokemon) that has the mentality of a puppy. Examples of behavior include chewing on sticks and always wanting to play. Not particularly unreasonable, considering it's Pokemon.
    • There's also a fan site that has a Gyarados that acts like this, even licking its trainer's face on more than one occasion. As long as it's not Haunter...note 
  • This trope is both turned Up to Eleven (even humans are dogs) and justified in a Sherlock fic The Least of All Possible Mistakes (NSFW) when a female DI Lestrade applies tips from a dog training book to deal with difficult people like Sherlock and the old-fashioned higher-ups at the Met. Though it may sound a little crazy in summary, when she actually spells it out as "be clear, be consistent, use positive reinforcement… feed him interesting unsolved cold cases when he's reasonably polite; ignore his texts when he's a twat," it sounds very reasonable.
  • Randall behaves like this in Angelas Pet Monster, but this is justified by the fact that almost every human believes him to be a "Lizog", and he has to play along.
  • Played with in Divided Rainbow. Twilight Sparkle experiments with swapping magic on some lab animals: a cat, a dog, a chicken, a mouse, a parakeet, and a beetle, and every one of them gets a chance to play the dog, when Twilight keeps swapping them into each other's roles.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Although all the dinosaurs in Dinosaur (the herbivores and cute ones, anyway) are Talking Animals, there is an ankylosaur who can only bark, pant, and wag its tail. The Alternate Character Interpretation for some fans is that Url is mentally challenged.
    • Hercules trained Pegasus to "sit" in the Disney animated movie.
    • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus has taught his horse Achilles to sit. And heel. Horses can be trained to sit as depicted in the film, although it's extremely tricky, requires a good trainer and usually doesn't involve a verbal command.
    • Despite research with real animals and attempts to avoid it in The Lion King, it happens when Scar brings out a zebra leg for the hyenas. They promptly sat up and begged with their tongues hanging out like dogs. There's a bit of Fridge Brilliance when you realize it's to show he's domesticated them with Magnificent Bastardry. Hyenas are technically distant cousins of dogs, but so distant they're also halfway to being cats.
    • In Aladdin, Princess Jasmine has a pet tiger who behaves similarly to a dog when the princess escapes. He whimpers and puts his head in his paws, like a sad dog might.
    • In The Rescuers, Madam Medusa's two pet alligators track and retrieve Penny, and in a later scene they track the mice by scent.
    • Maximus the horse in Tangled takes this trope to its logical extreme. He tracks Flynn by following his trail through scent. And there's the scene where Rapunzel wins Maximus over. The animators take it to such an extreme that they're obviously playing the whole thing for the funny. In early development, Maximus was a bloodhound, but they changed the species in the name of the Rule Of Funny and kept the dog-like body language.
    • Atlantis: Milo's Return featured a lava whale that acted like a puppy.
    • Frozen has Kristoff's pet reindeer Sven, who pants like a dog.
  • Played straight and to the extreme in WALL•E, where a cockroach behaves like a dog... and somehow manages to be cute, too.
  • In A Bug's Life, the queen ant has a pet aphid who acts just like a small dog. There's also Thumper the attack grasshopper who acts like an angry guard dog.
  • Avoided in How to Train Your Dragon. The titular dragon does not behave like a fire-breathing dog and instead has behaviors based on cats and birds of prey. More like all dragons are cats. This is even more evident with the Terrible Terrors, the dragons who actually are cat-sized. When Hiccup feeds one, it immediately crawls under his arm, curls up, and falls asleep, just like a house cat might. Whether the scratching neck = fall asleep behavior is modelled on dogs or cats is up for debate.
    • Toothless does have some more obvious dog-like traits, though - in the short Gift of the Night Fury, his technique for convincing Hiccup to come for a flight is very similar to a dog telling its master it wants to go for a walk.
  • One of the Pokémon movies, Pokemon Ranger And The Temple Of The Sea, had a family own a Buizel even though the cast is still in Hoenn. The Buizel showed a particular liking to Max, and licked his face near the beginning. Again, it is a Pokemon, so...
  • In Toy Story 2, Bullseye the horse acts much more like a dog, wagging his tail, licking people, coming when called, and whimpering like a dog in the third movie. Which is strange, because the character that is actually a dog, Slinky, does NOT act like this, and Buster, who is a non-toy dog, does. So aside from not being able to tell who is what from appearance alone they play this trope straight, toys are either humans or dogs.
    • The Toy Story short Toy Story of Terror has Mr. Jones, an iguana that behaves like a dog. He wags his tail, pants, fetches, and eats out of a dog bowl with his name on it like a dog.
  • Cars has farm and construction equipment acting like cattle, miniature VW Beetles like insects, miniature aircraft as birds, toy cars as dogs/cats/rodents, and model trains as snakes.
  • In Arthur Christmas , there is a Reindeer who acts like a dog. He even sticks his head out of the sleigh and wears a cone collar.
  • In The Land Before Time, Spike, the stegosaurus, definitely fits this tropes. He wags his tail when he's happy and shows affection to his friends by licking them.
  • Mostly avoided in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, but there are a few instances of horses drinking by lapping up water with their tongues as a dog would. A horse's tongue is too thick to scoop up water like the thinner tongues of dogs and cats; they normally drink by simply dipping their muzzles into the water, unless the water source is so shallow that licking is the only way to get it into their mouths.
  • Khumba has at least one instance of a African wild dog howling. African wild dogs, despite their name, are a different species then the domestic dog or wolf and do not howl. They don't even sound close to domestic dogs or wolves, instead they make rather bizarre noises.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The dinosaurs in Prehysteria are playful and friendly just like dogs.
  • Shep from George of the Jungle; George being a Cloudcuckoolander, he actually thought Shep was a dog. Shep was an African elephant (although in the movie he was portrayed by an Indian elephant), who are infamously untamable compared to their Indian counterparts, and even they act nothing like dogs. Definitely Rule of Funny in this case.
  • As documented in the film Grizzly Man, a fox allowed Timothy Treadwell to pet and feed it, and would frequently come to Treadwell's tent to play with him (it also stole his hat). Dog-like behavior in a fox actually makes some sense, as it's a member of the dog family. The bears in the movie, meanwhile, are definitively not an example of this trope, and for all his... eccentricities, Treadwell seemed to at least be aware of this.
  • Subverted in Jurassic Park. Nedry, trying to pull his jeep out of the mud, encounters a Dilophosaurus, which he regards as nonthreatening and rather cute but stupid. He tries to throw a stick and play 'fetch' with it, but the dinosaur simply watches the stick fly away with mild interest, then turns back to Nedry. Turns out it's not stupid - it's hungry. And it's a carnivore. Nedry was incorrect when he told the dinosaur that he had no food.
  • Night at the Museum features a skeletal Tyrannosaurus Rex that chases after a bone and wags its tail. Being a comedy for young audiences, the film includes a healthy dose of Rule of Funny.
  • Justified and taken to the comic extreme in the new version of The Shaggy Dog - several genetically engineered lab animals behave like domesticated dogs. Even a snake wags a tail and licks faces.
  • Shanghai Noon featured a horse who knew "sit" and probably a few other commands. Played for laughs, as it's a partial parody of the Improbably Well-Trained Horse common to a lot of Westerns.
  • Tara tries to pass of FT as a dog in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! as a Lame Excuse for her pet tomato. Oddly no one's fooled. In the animated series the excuse that FT is Chad's dog is bought because Adults Are Useless.
  • Yoshi acts like a guard dog in the Super Mario Bros. Movie, albeit one with a very long tongue.
  • In The Neverending Story, Falkor the Luckdragon has a doglike head and likes being scratched behind the ear. In the book, he was described as having more of a lion-like appearance.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion says "woof" a couple of times.
  • Fizzgig Jen's pet from The Dark Crystal, he barks, pants, and growls like a dog.
  • In Riddick, Riddick eventually befriends a dog-like creature who attacks him. He throws his belt buckle like a frisbee, and the animal goes to fetch it.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Apollonius of Rhodes's The Voyage of the Argo (3rd century B.C.E.) after Jason and the Argonauts make a sacrifice to the god(dess) of the mountain, "beasts left their lairs and thickets and came to them with wagging tails."
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs:
    • In Pellucidar, David Innes is attacked by hyaenodons, only to turn around and rescue one that pursues him over a seaside cliff. Not only is the creature so grateful as to save Innes from enemies, but it meekly submits to handling when wounded, and convinces its mate to behave like an overgrown, obedient guard dog.
    • In A Princess of Mars, John Carter explicitly treats the guard animal set on him like a hound, to win it over. In this case the Martian "calot" is at least domesticated and seems to fulfill a similar social function to a dog, even to the extent that Martians call someone a "son of a calot" in place of "son of a bitch."
  • In Robert Newcomb's The Fifth Sorceress, the main character has a horse... which he taught to play fetch.
  • Parodied/referenced in Terry Pratchett's Discworld with werewolves, who act an awful lot like dogs. The reasoning is that a dog is what you get when you take a wolf's mind and mix in some human. The werewolves tend to hate baths, react badly to the word vet, and less aggressive ones get the urge to slink out of the room when scolded. It's actually a plot point in The Fifth Elephant, in which a werewolf catches a lit signal flare rocket in his (human form) teeth because it was tossed at him like a stick.
    • Firmly subverted with Gavin the wolf, who very slowly and deliberately bites a stick in half when Carrot tosses it to him. Badass wolves do not kiss up to humans by playing fetch with them, thank you.
    • Exaggerated/parodied in Guards! Guards! when Lady Ramkin tells a 70-foot-long, fire-breathing, man-eating dragon to sit... it does... she calls it a good boy and offers it a charcoal biscuit... and it listens to her, right up until she breaks eye contact to look in her pockets for the biscuit.
  • Averted in Gordon R. Dickson's novel Wolf and Iron. In the forward, the author relates that the original short story had the titular wolf acting like a dog. A reviewer gave him grief about it, so when he expanded it to a novel he made the wolf more, uh, wolflike.
  • Used in one Choose Your Own Adventure Goosebumps book ("Attack of the Purple Peanut Butter"), one of the Monster Blood ones. One of the good endings involved a lizard eating grow-cake, happily retrieving sticks and lashing its long, scaly tail, even when it got to the size of a house. You can bring it home as your bodyguard and "pet dinosaur."
  • In Barry Andrew Chambers's western Rattler the main character's horse acts exactly like a dog. This is somewhat handwaved by saying Pandora was in the circus... but then the main character also feeds her pancakes, a blueberry pie, beef jerky, and chocolate indicating he's not even very familiar with dogs, let alone horses. Chocolate is toxic to both species. Even if it would take a fair amount to actually kill something the size of a horse, Pandora should have still been violently ill afterward. Most people wouldn't risk feeding any amount to either animal.
  • The highly venomous snake Zith in the Malloreon readily befriends humans who stroke or feed her, purrs when happy, and shivers in cold weather. Also gives birth to live young, which though it sounds surprising, isn't as inaccurate as the rest. Quite a few snakes (many of them venomous; vipers got their name because of it) actually do give birth to live young.
    • It's at least established the Nyissans have been trying to domesticate snakes for somewhere over six thousand years, that snakes basically filled the agriculture-pest control niche cats normally would have, and that their god ensured the presence of unusually intelligent "natural" stock to work with. Zith is an expensive and rare pedigree; some catlike behaviour isn't implausible.
  • Young Wizards, in Wizards of Mars, has giant alien scorpion creatures that behave like pet dogs in every way their physiology allows. Justified in that they're alien creatures and probably have a similar shared history with their dominant species as dogs do with humans.
  • Played straight with Gleep, the baby dragon from Myth Adventures; justified because Gleep is actually a sentient being operating via Obfuscating Stupidity, and deliberately acts so dog-like because it assists his charade and his relationship with Skeeve. Lampshaded in the short story "Mything in Dreamland", in which Gleep is transformed into a large shaggy dog by ambient magic, and Skeeve remarks that it's a shape that really suits him.
  • Though Saphira in Inheritance Cycle is very much dragon, she nevertheless demonstrates dog and cat-like behaviors that author Christopher Paolini admitted were based on animals he grew up around.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bones often fails at animal behavior in ways similar to this, including Dr. Brennan picking up a (presumably wild) mother rat from the corpse of a victim without being savagely attacked by it, and the "feral" cats eating a victim's corpse not only not scattering the moment a human arrives on the scene, but allowing themselves to be picked up. While it fails slightly less with the opossum eating a victim's corpse in another episode, there's still the fact that the opossum would remain in the "playing dead" state for a fairly long time (sometimes hours) before coming out of it. It wouldn't simply wake up and trundle off as in the show.
  • Averted/lampshaded in Primeval episode 1.4, with two characters trying to find a lizard.
    Connor: He knows the sound of my voice. I'm thinking he might come running.
    Abby: He's a lizard, not a golden retriever!
    • Averted in episode 4.6. Some hyaenodons come through an anomaly. They exhibit some extremely dog like behavior, yet they are still extremely aggressive. They turned out not to act very much like pet dogs.
  • In Van Pires, Greaspot is a neon plastic tricycle that is the Team Pet of the Motor-Vators, who acts like a dog. Yes, even transforming mecha is a dog.
  • The eponymous protagonist of House points out the danger of this kind of thinking when a young patient at the hospital insists on calling her teddy bear a teddy dog, which leads to the famous House silent eureka moment.
  • Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, of course!! Both the original version and the nineties rip off are based on this trope. It's the Australian Lassie. What's that Skip? * Kangaroo nose twitch * Timmy fell down a well? * nose twitch* "No, you accidentally disemboweled him?". Also, giving kangaroos propensity to become roadkill, maybe they'd have been better off gluing a pouch and some metal springs on to an actual dog, and calling it a kangaroo.
  • In the BBC Speculative Documentary My Pet Dinosaur, they had cat-sized bipedal sauropods as the equivalent of dogs. The sauropod was even named Dino.
  • In The Suite Life on Deck Bailey has a pet pig that acts more like a dog; it even wins an intelligence/obedience contest against London's dog in one episode.
  • The Doctor Who episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" has a triceratops that sniffs people curiously, licks someone's face, plays fetch with golf balls (supposedly because they smell like plant matter), and even sits just like a trained dog after only a few minutes of contact with humans.

    Multiple Media 
  • In BIONICLE, Pewku the Ussal Crab had a tendency to pounce on Takua and lick his face.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 
  • The Klaptraps in Donkey Kong 64 behave like dogs, a characteristic not seen in any prior incarnations.
  • Hamous, a character from Jagged Alliance 2, calls out "Dog!" when he spots one of the cougar-like bloodcats.
  • Sims 2: Pets has several examples worth mentioning:
    • The wolves are pretty much just large dogs, some of which can turn your sim into a werewolf. Their aggression stats are maxed, they're more destructive and their friendly/unfriendly score is low, traits that tend to carry through to their descendants.
      • One of the horror movies your sims can choose to watch is a werewolf flick. The heroine starts playing fetch with the werewolf.
    • Cats also act remarkably dog-like in that Sims can use the same training methods. Another use of generic animals is in the bird cage object; you can stock it with a falcon that will still act exactly like a parrot.
  • Prince Tricky, in Star Fox Adventures will stay, come to you, dig on cue, and play with a ball. All while wagging his tail.
  • There are the aptly-named Houndeyes from Half-Life, which look like the back half of a dog with a zillion eyes planted in the torso stump. Despite only having the two legs, they run like an eager puppy, and their call sounds a little like barking simulated by a really cheap synthesizer.
    • In fact, a Houndeye was originally supposed to be an animal companion for the player, following you around for most of the game. This was scrapped when play testers kept shooting the thing anyway, probably because of how alien and hideous the thing is.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! features a mission in which you must help feed a snow leopard fish, after which it will follow you back to its owner. If you stop moving at this point, the leopard will sit down like a dog and begin to purr.
    • In Year of the Dragon, there is a similar quest in which you retrieve someone's pet wolf pup, which doesn't follow you around; instead, you have to throw its ball to get it where you want it to go. To be fair, the wolf is fairly young.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a lady named Madam MeowMeow had three tame "dog-like" creatures that highly resembled Chain Chomps from the Mario series (the Japanese version just straight-up refers to them as such note ). While they appeared to be steel balls with eyes and teeth, they would bark and yip, could smell buried treasure with acute senses, and Madam MeowMeow even commented on the fine quality of their "fur". You could even take one of them, Bow Wow for a walk on its chain leash. Ironically, actual canines called "mutts" existed, one being seen wandering about right next to Bow Wow. Considering that Chain Chomps in the Mario games were based off of an aggressive dog that frightened Miyamoto as a child, however, it does kind of make sense.
  • As mentioned, Chain-Chomps in the Mario series bark and behave like dogs, one even thanking Mario by giving him a Star if you let him off his leash. It's rumored that Miyamoto got the idea to make Chain-Chomps when he was almost mauled by a dog as a little boy, and was only saved when the canine's leash turned out to be just too short to reach him.
  • Averted in Monster Hunter, many of the wyverns and dragons have feline characteristics, rather than canine. Tigrex, Nargacuga, Teostra, and Lunastra spring readily to mind. Your character plays the part of the cat's favorite ball of string.
    • Barioth takes this to another level, essentially being a winged and wide-tailed sabertooth tiger. Unless you've got buddies, bring a small weapon or run as if you're a mouse running from a tomcat. Because, essentially, you are.
  • In the remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, the first 'mon in the party follows the player around and can be interacted with on the field screen. Much of the behavior described when Monster and Dragon group 'mons are spoken to is very dog-like, such as sniffing at the ground and barking.
  • In Red Dead Redemption you can find wolves out in the wilderness - even if you haven't spotted them you can detect them from their constant barking. Sources vary, but as a rule wolves either never bark or only bark a few times when they've been surprised.
  • In Putt-Putt and Pep's Dog on a Stick, one of the enemies is a tiger. If you come in contact with it, he grabs Pep and starts licking his face endlessly, until he gets rescued by Putt-Putt. You can actually make it go on even longer if you wait on the title screen long enough. If you're experienced with Scumm VM's debugger, you can make the tiger lick him on the title screen forever.
  • Pajama Sam 2 has a vacuum cleaner that acts like a dog. No, really.
  • The Maw acts like a dog while his tongue is constantly hanging out of his mouth.
  • Slogs and sloglings from the Oddworld series behave much like dogs and puppies (vicious, mean ones) for the Slig mooks. They will chase after meat and bones if you throw them and will chase down and maul anyone if given a command from one of their masters (often the trick to get past them involves possessing a Slig, having him call to the nearby Slogs and then gun them down as they blindly run at the possessed mook).
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, there's a background conversation about the zoo animals breaking out of their cages during the ongoing civil war. The father was scared, the daughter loved it because she got to pet all the animals, including the 3-meter long carnivorous feline Nexu.
  • Inverted in Tokyo Jungle. All carnivores, dogs included, can use their claws during a fight, like a cat.
  • Varen from mass effect are large four legged creatures that resemble a creature half dog half fish, they bark bite and can be tamed. They are generally used as guard/attack dogs and their resemblance to dogs are brought up with the in-universe colloquialism of "Fishdogs" as a knickname for them.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY has a very minor use where a giant snake getting injured is met with a dog-like whine.
  • Star Crafts uses this depiction for some of the Zerg. Zerglings are portrayed as energetic puppies, including dragging home enemies to bury them and even being leashed in one episode. Ultralisks meanwhile are large, clumsy dogs that run around with their tongue hanging out.

    Webcomics 
  • Freefall features Florence Ambrose, a "Bowman's Wolf" (an anthropomorphic wolf). Bowman's Wolves are genetically engineered canines with a bit of human mixed in (figure of speech, don't get your panties in a twist), so they have a number of extremely dog-like reactions (in one strip, Florence's first reaction when she tries to put her weight on an injured leg is to yelp loudly, like a dog. She criticizes herself, focuses, and then tries again, muttering "ow ooh ooh ow aargh ow" under her breath). She also has a nearly insuppressible ball chasing reflex. Rule of Funny clearly applies, and the fact that she spent her first few years essentially as a family dog before she mastered speech and bipedal posture probably factors in, too. And when any robot sees her, it shouts "Doggie!"
  • Played with in this Keychain of Creation comic. Apparently, not even the Chosen of Luna are wholly immune. It's hardly common knowledge, but domesticated foxes are actually pretty avid ball-chasers. Foxes don't get domesticated often, though, because they. Um. Smell.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Molly's pet alien "tentacle bunny" Snookums acts like a fairly intelligent dog, for the most part (although he hops like a bunny).
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Judy gets a kitten with very uncatlike behavior. Apparently because the writer only knows how dogs act.
  • In Wapsi Square, Bud's pet giant sea monster thing named Stinky, likes to play fetch with an anchor.
  • Pibgorn: A bumblebee
  • In Nip and Tuck, the young bull was walked like a dog.
  • Toribio, the restaurant pet from Restaurante Macoatl, it’s a small bull who acts like a dog.
  • In Sinfest, the book.
  • Inverted in this issue of Overcompensating, where Weedmaster P thinks every animal is just a different type of cat.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: Or cats, in this case. It's revealed in the novelization that the Vargas enjoy being scratched and will start purring.
  • The current page image is Blue the Triceratops from Dawn of Time.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman and Catwoman encounter a vicious black panther. When Catwoman tames it, it starts playfully licking her like a dog. Though big cats do this as a sign of affection, their tongues are so rough that bare human skin will bleed from getting licked too much.
  • In Kim Possible, it is subverted in an episode where Kim and Ron need to enter a dog show to gain access to a thief's home. Rufus needed to be taught how to act like a dog.
  • The Backyardigans has a couple of examples, such as the Angriest Clam (called "Clammy" by Pablo) during "Legend of the Volcano Sisters", and Boy during "Caveman's Best Friend".
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
    • Aquaman's pet dolphin Fluke acts exactly like a dog, from his panting to his love of attention to playing fetch with Aquaman.
    • Platet (who isn't) also acts this way. And responds to Aquaman's fish-telepathy. This causes The Atom no end of consternation.
  • In an episode of Batman Beyond, the sound manipulating villain Shriek releases a high-frequency sound similar to a dog whistle all over Gotham City. All non-humans are affected, including a gorilla. Think about that one for a minute. If there's a noise audible to primates that is high-pitched enough to make primates go nuts, it'd naturally be affecting the humans too.
  • In the pilot episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, a walrus starts licking one of the Planeteers' faces around the end.
  • In a classic Casper cartoon, a baby fox behaves exactly like a puppy.
  • This is one of the reasons why the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Prehysterical Pet" is a carnival of Furry Confusion. It features a small creature that Dale doesn't even have to teach the usual dog tricks. (Steggy behaves more like a dog than most dogs in the show, and so do Nimnul's robot dogs in Catteries Not Included.) Steggy is not only intelligent, but in fact an alien animal with his own egg-shaped star ship who traveled to Earth to find out what happened to his brethren — he is a miniature Stegosaurus (this particular episode was truly epic in its insanity and the amount of tears shed). He temporarily dumbs down during the episode, but he does not forget the dog tricks.
  • The case of Dino from The Flintstones cannot be ignored here, though he was that setting's equivalent of a dog.
  • Gargoyles has Bronx and other gargoyle beasts, which look only somewhat dog like but bark and howl. Word of God holds that they are to gargoyles what chimpanzees are to humans, and considering that they seem to understand everything being said to them - "I'm going to call you Bronx! How do you like that?" "Bronx, find Elisa!" - this makes some sense.
  • Donkey from Shrek is animated with a style of movement that combines traits from that of a dog and that of a donkey thanks to Rule of Funny.
  • Happened in one Danny Phantom episode; a sphinx behaved like a dog when Tucker managed to command it.
  • In the widely-panned Sonic Underground, Knuckles had a pet dinosaur called Chomps who acted exactly in this manner, unless his master was using him to threaten thieves off the island.
  • Taz's pet turtle, Dog, in Taz-Mania. He's a turtle who was raised by dogs, and acts just like one. Not one part of that is treated as odd.
    • The Looney Tunes Show turns this around by having Taz be the one acting like a dog for Bugs. Although in this case it's less a question of inbuilt behavior and more the fact that "Bugs Bunny's dog" is his cover identity so he doesn't get shipped back to the zoo.
  • And speaking of Animaniacs, a major running gag is that Runt will bristle with faux bravado at the mere mention of a cat, yet thinks his feline friend Rita is a dog. (This is only Runt's perspective, though; Rita doesn't particularly act like a dog and doesn't even try.)
    • Rita pretends to be a dog in a small part of one of the songs in "Witch Hunt," but it's only because of extenuating circumstances — the villain of that episode was rounding up cats, believing them to be witches.
    • Wakko Warner would sometimes behave like a dog from time to time; walking on all fours, doing tricks for treats, etc.
  • Justified on Dexter's Laboratory when Dexter creates a T-Rex with the actual brain of a dog.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes a creature called a poodle rat is introduced as some sort of household pet. However, when Heloise begins showing it affection, it acts like a dog.
  • One Porky Pig short, Prehistoric Porky, had the protagonist own a DINOSAUR named Rover.
    • The caveman in "Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur" has a similar pet and sics him on Daffy like a hunting hound.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons when Milhouse confuses a horseshoe crab with a dog after losing his glasses and pets it, causing the strange ancient sea creature to... cutely wag its tail.
    • In one episode, Homer and Marge try to sneak into Judge Harm's home, which turns out to be a houseboat. And instead of an Angry Guard Dog, she has a seal that behaves exactly like one.
  • Used in Total Drama World Tour when local Deadpan Snarker Noah suddenly starts treating a Sasquatch like a dog, playing the 'invisible ball' game by miming playing catch, the Sasquatch immediately drops down onto four legs and starts panting happily like a dog, Noah then pretends to throw the imaginary ball off-scree to lure the Sasquatch away from his team. Somehow, it works, with Noah explaining that it always worked on his dog back home.
  • Honk, the little wild boar thing that follows Jack around acts like a dog in Xyber 9 New Dawn.
  • In Hey Arnold! the title character had a pet pig named Abner who behaved more like a dog.
  • Jonny Quest TOS
    • "Turu The Terrible" had the Quests encounter a trained attack pteranodon.
    • "Dragons of Ashida," where the eponymous genetically engineered killer lizards obey Sumi emphatically, even though they are explicitly stated to be savage killers that willingly devour each other, and kill Ashida himself off-screen.
  • "Me Grimlock like Fetch!! *Dog-like panting* Let's play again!!"
  • One of the much newer Tom and Jerry shorts had the titular pair come across a triceratops that did such things as fetch Frisbees (the Frisbee being Jerry) doing tricks, and panting like a dog.
  • Gaston the ladybird in Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom is Ben Elf's dog. Except when he's Ben's motorbike.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays with this trope. Sometimes the ponies exhibit very equine behaviour (such as snorting noisily when angry or pawing at the ground), but at other times they behave more like humans, dogs or other animals (even fainting goats). Oddly, when they are poised to run, they crouch like dogs, but when they're actually running, they gallop like horses.
  • In the SpongeBob universe, worms are the equivalent of dogs. They do things like barking and playing fetch.
    • "Plankton's Pet" has Plankton adopt an amoeba/water bear from the pound that behaves like a dog, including barking, fetching, and performing tricks such as rolling over or shaking.
  • On The Hive, a series about a family of anthropomorphic bees, Buzzbee's grandparents have a pet flea named Jump who beehaves just like a dog, yipping, fetching and tracking.
  • The third act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Bookstore Bogus" featured a giant bug who behaved this way in a prehistoric setting.
  • Duck Dodgers has the titular character taming a rampaging space dragon by treating it as an overgrown puppy in the episode "Hooray For Hollywood Planet."
  • In the MightyMax episode "Zygote's Rhythm" when Max's pet iguana Thor gets hit by an evolution ray he becomes a dinosaur and his behavior becomes similar to that of a dog such as licking Max with affection, panting, wagging his tail, and being lured with treats.

    Real Life 
  • It is very easy to mistake hyenas for a type of canine. They look mostly like dogs and are social like dogs, but are actually more closely related to large cats.
  • A rather surprising Real Life example in this video here. (Potentially Narmy song warning.) However, Christian is behaving a lot more like a pet cat than a dog, with the way he's rubbing his face and body against them. That's definitely cat behavior.
  • This trope helps to explain why the Cats Are Mean trope exists: people who are accustomed only to dog body language seem to frequently perceive cats as being cold or unemotional or weird. Cats are just as nice as dogs, but their body language is different. Whereas a dog wagging its tail is (often, but not always) a sign of a happy animal, a cat that's "wagging" its tail is either angry and should be left alone or concentrating on something. Cats will play fetch if you give them a reason, and are also generally smart enough to be trained for various tricks. There are some exceptions, such as a few breeds notable for having a high frequency of doglike behaviors including Manx, Ocicat, and Turkish Van.
    • Also, the body language of dogs is why they've historically made such great pets: the body language is very similar to that of a human's, and therefore very easy to read and respond to. This is why a lot of people assume that if an animal is moving around a lot and/or "smiling" (showing its teeth in a not obviously aggressive way), it's happy to see you. In reality, if an animal (like a horse or a chimp) shows its teeth it's generally very upset and making a threat, and should be given lots of space.
    • The other explanation for Cats Are Mean is related: dogs, like humans, are gregarious. Cats are not. An adult cat regards every other adult cat as either a potential (temporary) mate, or an enemy; their interactions on "neutral ground" are tense and governed by a complex etiquette. Cats have been getting "nicer" since the trope came into being, though, because it's only in the last couple centuries we've really been breeding them. One of the things we've been breeding for is "friendliness", which in cats' case actually means arrested development—"domestication" is basically tricking an animal into regarding a human (or another pet) as a sibling, and adult dogs do get along with their siblings, while adult cats don't. So we have to deliberately stunt their emotional development at a point where they do get along with other animals, which may (as a side-effect) be the explanation for some weird feline behaviors, like Siameses' habit of chewing things.
  • If you think having a wolf as a pet would be awesome, you'd better be able to give it a few kilograms of (raw) meat, a large and SECURE area to live in, another canine companion, AND make sure you can handle an animal who will challenge your authority as soon as it grows up. And don't even try leaving your kids or anyone else's alone with it, which almost always meets a tragic end. In well-educated and able hands, a wolf might make a great companion — but for most people, it's best to stick with dogs.
    • Malamutes in particular have been bred to be family dogs for millennia, so despite their size, they can easily be trained to be great with children. But they ARE pack dogs, so be prepared to be the alpha, or the dog certainly will. Wolf-dogs (Crossbreed between wolves and domestic dogs) often tend towards the former behavior rather than the latter. They don't need special feeding or as much room, but you WILL be responding to constant challenges to your authority and have to reassert your dominance on a routine basis.
    • There has been a case where a wolf (verified by a veterinarian) was very dog-like. This probably happened under very special circumstances.
    • These wolves, from a park where they regularly interact with humans, seem to act a lot like large and affectionate dogs. Except for the growling and snarling at one another
  • The domestication of the fox. The result was a strain of fox with very dog-like behavior, and foxes are closely related to domesticated dogs. It required a forty-year breeding program using systematic behavioral selection to reach that point — like wolves, the wild red fox is human-shy, requires a large range, loves digging through both dirt and furniture (which is partially dog-like, though it is far harder to train out than a terrier would be), and while it is less likely to attack an unguarded human child or infant, chickens and small pets are considered fair game. They also have a very strong odor and are difficult (read: next to impossible) to house-train, and these "tame foxes" are also very inbred, being bred from too small a stock. Hence why you don't see them in pet stores yet.
    • Essentially, this was the process used to create domesticated dogs and cats; selectively breeding for puppy behavior and/or desirable traits over many generations. Given a few hundred years, that program might have produces a true domesticated fox that acted a lot like a domesticated dog from the get go.
    • Speaking of domesticated non-wolf canines, check this. Even though the ancestor species is fox like, the (now extinct, sadly) domesticated variety resembles far more your average terrier.
    • Wolves for pets are Awesome, but Impractical, and as awesome as it may sound, it'll take another forty thousand years before it outweighs the impractical (approximately how long it's taken to domesticate dogs, and look how unpredictable some of those breeds act).
    • And that's not even talking about wolves learning to read your body language. If you want to be a wolf's alpha, you have to learn to "speak" Wolf, not the other way around, and neglects the fact that dogs ARE domesticated wolves. We've spent thousands of years breeding them specifically to be human-friendly, obedient creatures, which makes the idea of trying to domesticate a wild wolf even more of a wall-banger.
    • This fox breeding experiment asked why certain animals could not be domesticated when closely related species could be. This was not a matter of breeding the most docile foxes. That had been tried many times before and always failed. The Soviet scientists had a hypothesis dealing with endocrine function that explained why the other programs failed and why this one might succeed. They were correct - at least for the silver fox. If simply breeding the docile ones were a viable domestication strategy, many more animals would be domesticated today. Interestingly, these scientists did not breed based on behavior at all. They bred based on blood tests and observed behavior.
  • The Australian dingo is actually an introduced domestic dog that went wild thousands of years ago, and have common traits from both wolves and normal domesticated dogs. They can actually be sold as pets, and have been hunting animals for the Aboriginal peoples. But there's been more than a few people who have been mauled by dingoes because they stupidly fed them, tried to play with them or let their small children run around unsupervised near them - probably because they look so dog-like. There's even been government dingo cullings on places like Fraser Island, because a large group of hungry dingoes around humans who keep feeding them (intentionally or not) is a very bad thing ... instead of 'dingo ate my baby', it's 'dingo ate my two-year-old'.
    • Feral dogs in general aren't to be trusted around small children, whether they're wild dingoes or first-generation strays. Unsocialized dogs are quite dangerous no matter what breed they are, although they're easier to tame — if you know what you're doing — than never-domesticated species.
  • Most people don't realize that a dog licking you doesn't actually mean it likes you, just that it recognizes you as the dominant party. Dogs have been bred for millennia to always recognize humans as dominant, so licking a human is instinctive submission. A real "licky" dog is the canine equivalent of a kiss-up, whereas a more dominant dog may not lick much (though this is not the only reason a dog might not lick people). So having an animal mimic a dog's licking in order to shows it likes a character is a minor, if perfectly acceptable, case of artistic license.
    • A dominant dog probably loves its owner just fine—it just doesn't respect them.
    • A dog licking you can also just mean you sweat more than most people and the dog is using you as a salt lick.
    • If the dog is licking your mouth, especially at the corners, it wants you to regurgitate the food you went out to get and brought back for it. That is what you were doing? Right? *soulful eyes*
  • For that matter, even as familiar a dog behavior as wagging its tail doesn't mean the same thing to the dog as it does to people. What the dog is expressing varies on how they're wagging their tail; while it can show happiness, they could just as easily be expressing uncertainty, like a human saying "Er... um... uh...". The human who's just arrived home thinks it's delighted to see its master, but a wagging dog is really displaying its anxiety about whether its surrogate pack-leader has returned in a good mood or not. Similarly, cats have different purrs for different moods.
    • Ironically, while rats and mice can wag their tails, they only do this when they're angry and distressed, or when they feel off-balance and are trying to adjust their center of gravity. A pet rat's proper expression of intense happiness is called "boggling", in which they grind their teeth together (called "bruxing") so much that their eyes bug in and out of their sockets.
  • Hilariously, dogs assume this of cats (or at least seem to). The meaning of many dog signals is (almost) completely reversed in cat body language. This is often why the two species can have trouble getting along: the dog sees tail wagging, batting the air with a paw, and running off as playful signals and goes for a friendly game of chase. The cat, on the other hand, is actually saying, "You scare me and I'm going to maul you if you catch up to me!" Poor doggy doesn't understand what he's in for... Although if your cat is friendly enough with your dog, it may adopt some of the dog's behaviors. Even more so the other way around: a puppy raised in a household with cats will usually learn cat body language as well as human. This can be unfortunate if it's a large breed who fails to realize he's a big dog and wants to sit in your lap like a cat... to say nothing of when he starts the mounting behavior, which can be uncomfortable and painful for his much-smaller feline friends.
    • The fun one is the bow. Cats "bow" to say hello; dogs do it to signal playtime. So the dog sees the cat bow and assumes it's time to play, whereupon the cat's startled because all it was trying to do was offer a greeting. From there, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Licking is actually a relative common show of some positive association in many social animals. Rabbits, for example, will lick people they like, not so much because they like them but because they're comfortable enough with a person to engage in normal social interactions with them. Also, since they're (relatively) hairless and covered in sweat glands (unlike... every other mammal), humans are walking salt licks.
  • Notably, according to anecdotal evidence, the now extinct Thylacine (commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger, though it had no relation whatsoever with tigers) had behaviors that roughly matched a near perfect mixture of cat and dog like behavior (combined with ridiculously easy domestication), despite the fact that it was a marsupial, and not related to carnivoran placentals in the slightest.
  • This website refers to the bears it documents as "domestic black bears", despite acknowledging that they still have their wild instincts intact. Regardless of whether one believes it's okay to keep a bear as a pet, it's still enormously irresponsible to refer to them in such a way, as the word "domesticated" caries certain implications that could get potential buyers killed if they take the site at face value, particularly since wild bears do share a handful traits with dogs — this may mislead a person into thinking that all of its behaviors will be dog-like, which is very much wrong. "Trained" is the world they should be using. Domestication involves selective breeding over multiple generations, to replace or enhance instincts depending on how suited they are to the human's needs. Training is the act of keeping an animal in captivity and conditioning it to respond to certain commands; the extent to which this can be done is limited by its genetically-hardwired behaviors and instincts. Non-domesticated trained animals still have all of the instincts that are present in their wild counterparts, making them significantly more dangerous than a dog or cat. While some people may be breeding bears, they haven't been doing so for long enough or selectively enough to call their animals "domestic".
  • A number of horses can be described as "in your pocket" generally meaning they act like you would expect a domestic dog to, with behavior that indicates that they're tamed and domesticated. They will follow you around like a puppy, push their head into you trying to get petted, curiously wander into places that many horses would spook out of, toss around and chase rubber balls, chase barn cats, etc. Also, in some situations, a flicking or lifted tail can indicate a horse who is very playful and excited, though this is not always the case. In many cases this has been intentionally bred into them, especially with large draft horses like Percherons, since you don't want something that big and strong to be mean, stubborn or startle easily unless you want bad things to happen. People also tend to think that horses are ignoring them when it is submissive behavior since the horse knows to not act unless given permission.
  • Dog deer.
  • A coyote plays this trope very, very straight.
    • Incidentally, research has shown that the line between domestic dogs, wolves, dingos, golden jackals, and coyotes is far more fluid than it is usually assumed. In normal circumstances they won't breed with each other, but if one species (usually the wolf) has decreased to near extinction in one region because of hunting or other causes the survivors will be a lot less squeamish than usual and mate with the closest thing available. The crosses are fertile.
      • The domestic dog and the dingo are, in fact, subspecies of the grey wolf. The Sulimov dog (used for bomb sniffing by Aeroflot) is 1/4 golden jackal. With the red wolf and eastern wolf, things are less clear. They are either two subspecies of grey wolf (with a fair amount of coyote genes), distinct species in their own right, or grey wolf/coyote hybrids.


    Loyal Animal CompanionBond Creatures
Action PetPet and Animal Companion TropesAll Animals Are Domesticated
    This Index BarksAll Dogs Are Purebred
Animal TalkSliding Scale of AnthropomorphismTransplanted Humans
AB NegativeArtistic License - BiologyAll Animals Are Domesticated
Dawn of TimeImageSource/Web ComicsAll Deserts Have Cacti

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