In Real Life
, most dogs, whether stray, feral, or pet, are mixed breed. This is not so in many fictional universes. In TV shows and movies, most dogs and dog characters will be purebred. Even in cases where a purebred dog has a litter with a dog of another breed, the puppies will resemble only one of the parents
. This is rather jarring in shelter and pound settings, where the large majority of dogs are mixed-breed. While there are stray purebreds in Real Life
, they only make up a small portion of strays.
This happens for a few reasons. In live action works, studios often use multiple animals to play one animal character. This is a lot easier with a purebred dog, since there are many other individual animals that will look almost exactly the same. It's a lot harder to find "doubles" for a mixed-breed dog that has a more unique appearance. In other cases, studios believe that viewers will respond more positively to a dog of a recognizable breed
. Said reason also helps fit into the matter of Breed Stereotypes
, in which they want the "girly" dog to be a poodle, a "mean" dog to be a rottweiler, or other dog breeds often associated with certain traits.
Use of this trope in media is often criticized for causing a red stapler
effect, with certain dog breeds becoming popular after a popular movie or show featuring the breed is released. When that happens, people sometimes try to make a quick buck by breeding as many of the dogs as they can, and they aren't always responsible about it. For instance, the popularity of 101 Dalmatians
is often blamed for many of the genetic problems that occur in dalmatians today.
This trope rarely occurs with other animals.
Anime & Manga
Film — Live Action
- In Ginga Densetsu Weed, many of the the dog characters are purebred (or were mixed-breeds that appeared to be purebred) despite most of them being born and living in the wild.
- At least Weed's case, his parents' breeds (Akita and Kishu) look similar enough that Weed's appearance is plausible, while a few other characters are considerably less likely. The art style is also somewhat notorious for making very different breeds look almost alike (Cross is a Saluki, but her overall build is very similar to the Akitas, for example).
- In Ginga Nagareboshi Gin, which came before Weed, the trope is somewhat more justified. Many of the characters were dogs bred for hunting who ran away or were abandoned, so it makes sense that most of them would be purebred.
- Obscure anime Massugu ni Ikou averts this as a plot point: Mametarou feels a lot of anxiety about being a mixed-breed dog when all of his friends are pedigrees. When he finally admits his status to his Cloudcuckoolander girlfriend Hanako, she happily responds, "Then I'll be a crossbreed, too!"
- As for Hanako, who is a purebred Kishu Inu, she brings an interesting wrinkle to the trope that's very much Truth in Television but very rarely mentioned in fiction: she's from an old and highly-prized line, but her proportions aren't quite ideal for the breed and so she was removed from the breeding program. It's not too uncommon for breeders in Real Life to do this, keeping only the animals closest to the breed standard and selling the others as pets (often at a much lower price than a "show quality" animal would go for).
Film — Animated
- Most of the dogs in Hotel for Dogs are purebred, which is a little jarring considering all the dogs in the movie are supposed to be strays.
- Cats & Dogs uses purebred dogs for their main characters along with side and background characters.
- In Oliver & Company, all the main canine characters are purebreds (including a chihuahua and a saluki) with the exception of Dodger.
- Other than the titular Tramp, many of the side characters in Lady and the Tramp are purebred.
- The sequel follows this as well. In a case of Gender Equals Breed, most of the Lady's litter are females that resemble purebred cocker spaniels, while the male puppy, Scamp, resembles his mongrel father.
- The Pixar film Up has several dogs: one is a Golden Retriever, another is a doberman, and the rest are all bulldogs and other "bully breeds".
- The Disney film Bolt doesn't feature many dogs, but the dogs it does show are all purebred.
- Averted in Roadside Romeo. Except for Charlie Anna (a bulldog), none of the cast appear to be purebred. This is actually rather surprising in Romeo's case, since he started out as the pampered dog of an obviously wealthy family before being abandoned - one might expect such a family to get a pedigreed pet.
- As in the book, Felidae features mostly purebred cats (though you wouldn't know it from the art style).
- Averted in the Short Story "Herr und Hund" (master and dog) by noone by Dichter And Denker Thomas Mann. The dog from the title is a mixed-breed pointing dog.
- Felidae is a rare cat example. The majority of the characters have defined breeds.
- Oddly, the breed known as the European Shorthair seems to be occasionally used to refer to cats that aren't purebred, when the proper term would be Domestic Shorthair/Longhair, or Moggy. It's unknown if this is a translation hiccup, a mistake on the author's part, or intentional, but it makes it uncertain whether or not all the cats really are purebred.
- Another cat example exists in The Wild Road by Gabriel King. Tag is a Burmilla, based off the author's cat Iggy. Ragnar, the King of cats, is a Norwegian Forest Cat based on his cat Finn. Pertelot, the Queen of cats, is an Egyptian Mau. And Sealink is a Maine Coon. However, Magicou, Cy and Mousebreath are not purebred.
- Benji is probably the most famous aversion to this trope, being a mixed-breed shelter dog. In fact, the original producer wanted to use a shelter dog to play Benji in hopes of raising awareness about the plight of abandoned and unwanted dogs.
- In Nintendogs and similar games, the dogs are generally purebred.
- The dog anthros in Star Fox are all purebred based.
- One famous inversion is Charlie Dog from Looney Tunes. He uses his mongrel status to claim that he's "all the good breeds rolled into one", then rattles off half a dozen breeds that he is 50 percent of.
- The dogs in the 2010 iteration of Pound Puppies are all purebred as well.
- Conformation dog shows will only allow purebred dogs to enter. Justified, since the entire point is to determine which individual dogs are the best examples of the breed.