"Even the tiniest Poodle or Chihuahua is still a wolf at heart."There is a particular kind of little yappy dog who tends to get on a lot of people's nerves. The thing is, as theorized by no less than Gary Larson, it might not be the dogs that people have a problem with so much. It may actually be the rather specific kind of person who tends to have little yappy dogs named Mr. Muffykins (or something equally ludicrous). In fiction, Idle Rich old ladies or Grande Dames in particular tend to have a small pack of little fluffy creatures. In older fiction, said dogs will have foul little hearts and minds deep within their fluffy little bodies. Newer versions of this Trope may have their roots in a very odd phenomenon. Increasingly, it seems as if some people (generally older and either childless or suffering severe empty-nest syndrome) are confusing lap dogs with furry little children. A very different kind of Pinocchio Syndrome seems to be in effect here; think of how lonely (or delusional) Geppetto had to have been to treat a cat, a goldfish, and an inanimate hunk of wood as his children. In any case, we now live in a world where, if you wanted to do so, you could get your terrier's nails painted as she gets fitted for a thousand-dollar collar. Never mind the fact that dogs are very obviously (you'd think) not little hairy people, and have markedly different wants and needs. Your terrier would be just as happy — and probably more happy — with an inexpensive, comfortable fabric collar and an afternoon playing with you in the park. So an increasingly common subversion has been to show the dog itself as a sympathetic character; a victim of too much misguided attention with a master who is delusional if not outright hateful. While the trope is older than this, one has to wonder how many of these are influenced by Paris Hilton's dog. For the record, most people in reality who have small dogs are more sensible. Tiny "purse" dogs are a matter of convenience, especially in an urban environment. A smaller dog needs much less space to be happy, and they also tend to live longer than larger breeds. Expect this character to be Cute but Cacophonic, whether friendly or not. If they can back up their bark with bite, this makes them a Killer Rabbit. If they can't but they try to fight anyway, they are a Boisterous Weakling. Contrast (naturally) Big, Friendly Dog. And please don't Eat the Dog... as there's barely enough meat here for an hors d'oeuvre. Especially make sure that the critter stays away from your Evil Uncle's Right-Hand Cat, who may think it's a rat and eat it. The really annoying form of Mr. Muffykins can make a Kick the Dog very satisfying indeed.
— Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Dogs: The Wolf Within
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Anime & Manga
- Madame Muchmoney/Mrs. Kaneyo and her Snubbull (who is essentially a parody of little fluffy dogs) in Pokémon. She wanted to marry it to a Monocle-Wearing Snubbull named "Winthrop". Snubbull herself chose to get the hell out of there and became a recurring character for a while, always seeking to bite on Meowth's tail. She got some closure in a subversion, as when we next see Madame Muchmoney she's become muscular and much less snobbish because she's been trekking through the wildness after her dear Snubbull the entire time. Snubbull evolves to Granbull and the two decide to be a "proper" Pokémon/trainer team.
- There's also Madame Shijimi in Naruto. Her cat, Tora, often gets loose and runs into the forest, so a common Genin mission is to retrieve it.
- Iggy from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a Boston Terrier who makes an ass of himself on several occasions, though he's more foul-smelling than loud. Also, his egoistical attitude is not a product of being pampered but because he's not afraid of abusing his stand's powers. Still, he gets better, and finally makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Polnareff.
- In the Tintin album The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin waits for an extended period of time to use a phone box. After what is implied to be at least a half hour, an old woman with a small dog exits, saying "We can go now Fifi, it has stopped raining." She gets an extremely dirty look from him. Note that Tintin is the proud owner of Milou/Snowy, a wire fox terrier.
- In a Spider-Man #647 back-up strip, a P.O.V. Sequel to the whole of Brand New Day from the perspective of the girl who was kissing Peter in the first panel of #546, she has a Mister Muffykins who mysteriously disappears while she's interrogating the Dark Avengers' Spider-Man under the impression he's the one Peter takes pictures of. Burp!
- Strangers in Paradise - Katchoo's least favorite kind of dog.
- Subverted in The Far Side. One strip (the one where he theorizes why people hate these dogs) has the owner shouting at her dog Fifi to come home, Fifi running like mad towards the door, and... the pet door propped and nailed shut from the inside. Another strip has three poodles discussing the pros and cons of murdering their owner.
- Prince Charles, the spoiled pet corgi belonging to Aunt Dolly in Footrot Flats.
- Freewheelin' Franklin of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers walks several blocks out of his way to avoid a little dog who runs out and bites him every time he passes a certain house. He finally stymies her with an airhorn... temporarily.
Films — Animation
- Percy from Pocahontas. In most normal situations he's actually rather quiet and subdued, but when he's agitated or panicked, he gets very, very loud.
- Fifi, the poodle from Open Season 2; a good not-so-old example of one of these little yappers having an evil little heart.
- The Chipmunk Adventure features a pair of very, very '80s villains and their unpleasant little dog, Sophie.
Films — Live-Action
- Elle with Bruiser the (Gay) Chihuahua in Legally Blonde. (They were even wearing matching Jacquelin Kennedy hats at one point.)
- Travis Cole in the movie Dirty Work.
- Lex Luthor's girlfriend has one of these in Superman Returns.
- The movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua is about a typical spoiled Miss Muffykins (a white Chihuahua named Chloe) who gets lost in Mexico and is the descendant of proud Aztec warriors. Yes, this movie is real. And it has two sequels, even!
- A Fish Called Wanda: The key witness to the robbery is an old lady with three small Yorkies, who end up getting killed off one by one each time Ken -the animal lover- tries to assassinate the old lady.
- From the second movie on, Sharpay from the High School Musical series has a dog named "Boi," who is played by the Kenny Ortega's real life dog, Manly.
- FuFu, the evangelist's wife's dog in the spoof Repossessed, gets tossed into a woodchipper by the frustrated evangelist. It was sweet justice.
- Natalie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in Mars Attacks! has a yapping Chihuahua that she carries everywhere. In an horrible yet hilarious turn of events, when they're captured by the martians, both are beheaded and the dog's head is sewn on Natalie's body, and vice versa. By the end of the film, while the martians are dying, the dog in a woman's body takes the chance to strangle one of the martians, while still yapping at it.
- Snakes on a Plane features blond socialite Mercedes and her teacup Chihuahua Mary Kate as two of the ill-fated passengers. Mercedes carries the little yipyap dog in her purse and even has antidepressants for it. Mary Kate ultimately gets fed to a boa constrictor, who turns on and devours the asshole who threw it the dog.
- Queenie in the Danny Kaye version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, who sits in a high chair to eat, wears a bib, and barks whenever the main character moves.
- An odd version appears in Blade: Trinity, where Triple H's character owns two rottweilers and a little pomeranian all of which are the split-faced vampire type as well.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service: During training, Eggsy picks a pug (under the mistaken belief that it's a bulldog) and is seen struggling with it because it possesses a stubbornness that belies its size. Harry's revealed to have chosen a terrier he named "Mr. Pickles".
- Mrs. Pumphrey and her dog Tricki Woo from the All Creatures Great and Small novels and TV series by James Herriot. This is a relatively benign example, since Tricki is very good-natured and his owner is a very well-meaning person, but highly over-indulgent of Tricki's appetite.
- A more classic James Herriot case would be Ruffles and Muffles Whithorn, described in The Lord God Made Them All.
- In Animorphs, Marco's stepmother has a toy poodle named "Euclid" (she's a math teacher) who barks and acts annoying whenever it gets the least little bit excited. Unlike many other examples of the trope, it really is the poodle that is annoying, while the owner is someone Marco can learn to like. At the end of the book, Marco learns to accept his father's choice to get remarried, but he still hates the dog. Later on he turns into the dog◊ to harass a (secretly psychotic) celebrity philanthropist Controller into attempting to strangle him on live television. It worked.
- In the Molly Moon books, the first ally Molly makes is a pug belonging to the owner of her orphanage, who dotes on it. Petula, the dog, is fed tons of cookies, which give her horrible stomachaches, making her nasty. Molly cures her of her cookie addiction via hypnotherapy, and she becomes lovable and friendly without the horrible pain.
- It's implied that Big Fido, the mad poodle that led the anti-human "Dog's Guild" in Men at Arms was one of these before he went insane.
- Making Money features a slightly more likable example in Topsy Lavish's dog Mr. Fusspot.
- In The Truth, Gaspode attempts to disguise himself as one of these, with mixed results:
"All in all, the effect was not of a poodle, but of malformed poodlosity. That is to say, everything about it suggested "poodle" except for the whole thing itself, which suggested walking away."
- Lord Vetinari once had an elderly terrier named Wuffles, perhaps his own version of the Right-Hand Cat. It wasn't terribly obnoxious though, having a thin wheezing bark. Also notable for being the only character to fight Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip (in The Truth) head on and come away unscathed. No wonder Vetinari keeps him around, he's nearly as badass as his owner.
- By the time of Making Money, Wuffles has died and we learn that the vastly cynical and pragmatic Vetinari still leaves the dog's favorite brand of dog biscuit on his grave every week. It's likely that Vetinari confiscated Mr. Fusspot for companionship, as well as to actually own the chairman of the bank.
- In T. H. White's The Once and Future King, Queen Morgause (who in this adaptation (and Le Morte d'Arthur) is the mother of Mordred; Morgan La Fay is Morgause's sister and doesn't get involved in the story until later) has a succession of these little lapdogs. Mordred grows up hating them, but as an increasingly unstable adult starts keeping his own.
- In the first Mary Poppins book, Miss Lark very much plays the stereotypical rich old lady who dotes on her spoiled and pampered lapdog. Said lapdog, Andrew, is revealed to absolutely hate this treatment and wish for a simpler dog's life.
- Buffalo Bill, a kidnapper and Serial Killer in The Silence of the Lambs has one named Precious. Its strident needy yapping gives that extra inflection to the already horrific pit scenes.
- In Seventeen by Booth Tarkington, Lola Pratt constantly addresses her lapdog Flopit in Baby Talk.
- In Eva Ibbotson's Which Witch?, Sir Simon claims that he murdered one of his seven wives because she had a 'little dog that yapped.'
- The version of the Lady encountered by Repairman Jack in Gateways has a chihuahua named Irving (pronounced Oyving). He's a classic cute, handbag-riding Mr. Muffykins and secret Killer Rabbit.
- C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves talks about having pets and the possibility of giving them this treatment, and how the animal could never tell the truth about its ruined life even if it could realize the extent of the damage.
- Many dogs of this type appear in P. G. Wodehouse's works as the companions to evil aunts and soppy heroines. They're almost universally disliked by the heroes, although Jeeves and Wooster end up becoming quite fond of McIntosh, Aunt Agatha's dim-witted Aberdeen terrier. Some of them (Bartholomew, for instance) are thoroughly nasty, while others, such as the dachsund Poppet, merely seem that way.
Bertie: He may give you the impression on first meeting you that he intends to determine the color of your insides, but it's all guff. He has to put up a tough front because his name's Poppet.
- In Warrior Cats, these appear a couple times. It's a relief to the cats to be facing such a small dog, since they often can scare it away, as opposed to the much larger dogs that local humans usually own.
- One kid's novel, Watchdog and the Coyotes, has a trio of dogs attempting to defend themselves from a pack of ravenous coyotes. One of the dogs, a gentle and kind Great Dane named Sweetie who unsuccessfully tried to make peace with the coyotes, reveals his Dark and Troubled Past where he was given away by his second owners when they thought he attacked and hurt their child Ben and pet poodle. In reality, it was the mean-spirited poodle, Fu-Fu, who bit Ben when he innocently wanted to play with her, prompting Sweetie to immediately attack Fu-Fu for Ben's safety.
- In E. D. Baker's The Wide-Awake Princess, Annie finds Tomas and Clara at the witch's, ala Hansel and Gretel. Their Wicked Stepmother abandoned them in the woods because she wanted to feed their food to her dogs.
- The small dog breeds from the Dogs of the Drowned City trilogy. The big dogs find them so annoying that they call them a word they don't like: yappers.
- Maria's dog Furball in House of the Scorpion, described as a "shrill, rat-sized dog that forgot his house training when he got excited."
- In The Dresden Files, Abby the psychic has a Yorkie dog named Toto. Observing how Toto gets to ride around in a carry-case brings out a disappointed sigh from Mouse, Harry's foo dog, who's so big he'd need a refrigerator-carton instead.
- The "dreadful little snapping pug-dog" in the Charles Dickens story The Magic Fishbone.
- Mrs. Bennett and her dog, Mr. Muggles (pictured), in Heroes. There are so many fan theories about this otherwise unassuming little Pom. Who says only humans get to be genetically gifted? It also said something that when Sylar held the family hostage that fans were upset that he didn't kill it. One deleted scene had him flicking the poor dog through the doggie door once the barking got too much.
- Amanda and Halston in Ugly Betty.
- Then there's Biggles, Janet's mother's dog in My Hero. Biggles hates the way she makes him wear a sweater, and the fact that everyone calls him Biggles despite the fact that his name is actually Malcolm.
- Kamen Rider Faiz has sort of an amusing take on this, in that the small fluffy dog Chaco is owned by Scary Black Man Mr. J.
- Mrs. Chase's nasty-tempered lapdog (a.k.a. "the hairy mosquito" or "el perro microscopico") in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Kipper and the Corpse". In the commentary for this episode, John Cleese talks about how, in comedy, you can get away with being far meaner to a smaller dog than to a larger one. Cleese theorizes that this is because small dogs don't register as "dogs" to people, they are, in his words, "basically big hairy insects" and mentions that if Mrs. Chase's dog were a large breed, killing it wouldn't have been funny.
- On NCIS, Dr. "Ducky" Mallard's mother has a number of corgis.
- In The X-Files, Scully inherits a Pomeranian she names Queequeg, of which Mulder is not so fond. He ends up getting eaten by an alligator near the end of season 3.
- Chester from the The Nanny is an odd one as he hates his owner, C.C., yapping at her, but loves Fran (a bit of Real Life Writes the Plot as the dog was Drescher's dog and would only act affectionate to her).
- Downplayed on My Name Is Earl. One of Joy's new neighbors, Carol, owns a pomeranian that gets temporarily blinded following an encounter with the El Camino's tailpipe. Earl is afraid of how she'll react when she finds out, because he knows how much rich women love their little dogs, so he explains to her about Karma and says he'll make it up to her. Carol is intrigued, and wants to know more, because she is seeking something to fill a void in her Idle Rich life.
- In "Kill The Dog Next Door" by The Arrogant Worms, one of these dogs drives the narrator Ax-Crazy. Eventually he successfully kills the dog, but when made to pay a fine decides to murder his neighbor, the dog's owner, too.
- Frank Zappa built an entire Running Gag concept about poodles in his lyrics, also pondering why humans have felt the need to modify this dog species according to their own kitschy desires.
- Ninja Sex Party has one during "Unicorn Wizard", where Danny Sexbang mentions his 'hellhounds' Tinkles and Gary.
- The Music Video for "Stupid Girls" by P!nk features a young girl adopting an unhappy-looking chihuahua (that's kept in a cage like a guinea pig at the pet store), because the celebrities and popular girls are doing it, and because she thinks it's so gosh-darned cute!. It's implied that she doesn't really care about the dog or understand what having one entails.
- The Muppet Show: Miss Piggy also has a little fluffy dog named Foo-Foo. He doesn't like Kermit much. Notable is that Foo-Foo is a puppet when carried or interacting with other Muppets, but played by a real dog in some scenes.
- In the series Cabin Pressure, Carolyn Knapp-Shappey has a cockapoo called Snoopadoop, which is frequently described as a ridiculous little dog.
- Several comedy-themed Dungeons & Dragons tournament adventures from the '80s, written by Rick Reid, sent heroes on missions to rescue the kingdom's lapdog mascot. This little Miss Muffykins, and her knack for getting herself dog-napped, were the common thread in a series that bore her name: "Fluffy Quest".
- Dire poodles and other killer yappy dogs occasionally appear in comedic games. The Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG list discourages this.
163. Not allowed to try and make a dire version of any dog of the toy breeds.1512. My canine officer can't spend his animal requisition cash to buy two dozen chihuahuas.
- Evita, the dog Driven to Suicide (really) by Angel in RENT, was described as yappy — but is an Akita, a relatively large breed.
- Once again invoking the Zeroth Law Of Trope Examples, a dog of this type was mentioned in Two Gentlemen of Verona. Launce (who contemptuously referred to it as a "squirrel") was supposed to deliver it to Sylvia as a present from his master, but it got stolen by the local hooligans and he replaced it with his dog, Crab, who was ten times larger. It didn't go over well.
- In "The Day Off" from Sunday In The Park With George Georges pretends to be the dogs in his painting, one of which is a lap dog.
Stuck all week on a lady's lap.
Nothing to do but yawn and nap.
Can you blame me if I yap?
- At the start of Dead Rising, the Too Dumb to Live hysterical old lady tears down the barricade keeping the zombies out of the mall when she sees her Mr. Muffykins outside. She doesn't realize that Mr. Muffykins was being ignored by the undead because it was one of them.
- Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures has Poodgie-Woo and Tinkie-Wee, two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-lookalikes owned by Wallace's snobbish, histrionic neighbor Miss Flitt. These yappers behave when their owner is around; otherwise they are vicious and inconsolable.
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- You can buy your companion and possible love interest Leliana a "cute nug", basically the local equivalent of a toy poodle. She'll name it Schmooples. In one banter she talks about the wealthy woman who raised her owning an actual dog of this type, named Bon-Bon, which had a habit of attacking ankles. Apparently she once kicked it across the room when she mistook it for a rat.
- Wynne tries to dress up Dog, a trained attack animal the size of a small horse with near-human intelligence, as if he were one of these and speaks to him as if he were a baby. She (jokingly?) suggests using magic to give him a bigger and fluffier tail, changing the color of his fur, and giving him antlers. Dog plays along at first, then steals her staff to keep her from actually going through with it.
- In Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting o Danger, a yappy Pomeranian named Mr. Mingles absconds with evidence and must be chased down and/or rescued repeatedly. His owner's attitude is even worse than most examples but if you choose the ending where she's the culprit, and bust her, the dog gets a new owner who treats him like a beloved pet rather than a fashion accessory.
- In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, a heavyset rich woman named Babette flips out because her precious little boy Tom is missing on the train, and she demands that Layton, Luke, and Inspector Chelmey all search for him. Naturally, her Insistent Terminology in referring to Tom as her little boy has them hunting for a child, and of course, Layton eventually realizes that the missing Tom is actually a dog.
- King's Quest VII comes with two varieties: The villain's pet... thing, who is every bit as obnoxious as her owner(though not quite as able to send you to the game over screen. Also, the town of Falderal is led by a talking variety, Archduke Fifi le Yip Yap, who is only tolerable due to the fact that every citizen of the town is certifiably insane, and he just happens to be par for the course.
- Ghost Trick has you save one named Missile. A small Pomeranian, who he himself admits, is only really good at yapping loudly and not much else. However with the help of the protagonist's supernatural ghost tricks, he is able to save himself and his mistress from a hitman. He later gains his own ghost tricks and becomes an important ally later on in the game.
- Minuet in Eternal Sonata is essentially this — a little yappy poodle puppy with a red bow. In the original XBox 360 version, she just yaps once and then exits the scene. In the PlayStation 3 version, however, she leads the party on a merry little chase through a Magic Mirror.
- Beneath a Steel Sky has Spunky, owned by the town's richest (and ugliest) woman, Mrs. Piermont, who pampered her dog to the point of having to take him outside during her own husband's funeral. And it's a yapper all right, which you'll quickly notice when showing it a video of cats. Later, to make a guard move, you have to fling Spunky into a pool using a makeshift catapult.
- The Pokémon Furfrou is a Kalosian (standard) Poodle Pokemon that trainers (both players and NPCs) style in various ridiculous fur fashions. At least one rich NPC has a Furfrou he treats in this manner (it hates him), and people are known to fawn over them. However, true to the real-life poodle's origins, its Dex entry notes that they are excellent guard dogs, and their signature ability gives them surprisingly Lightning Bruiser potential in the game.
- Kingdom of Loathing has the Purse Rat familiar, a small dog in a designer handbag. Its ability is to raise the level (and thus difficulty) of monsters by yapping at them until they go berserk. (This isn't actually a bad thing; raising a monster's level increases the experience you get from it when you kill it.)
- Referenced in Snatcher, where the current pet craze is for "Pocket Pets", genetically-modified animals in various sizes, with "handles" and pouches for storing items, allowing the owner to use them as a fashion accessory and handbag. The animal, of course, often suffers from internal lacerations from being used to store sharp objects, and they often live short lifespans. It's mentioned that several Animal Rights groups try to ban the sale of these pocket pets for this very reason.
- A reversal occurs in Sheep in the Big City, where Lady Richington is the yappy one (a steel wig!) and her poodle is far more even-tempered.
- South Park:
- The first season of Fantastic Four had Ms. Forbes' dog, Foo-Foo, as a supporting player in her appearances.
- Suga Mama's poodle Puff on The Proud Family.
- Kim Possible:
- In an early Looney Tunes, Porky's Romance, Porky's attempts to court Petunia are undermined by her nasty little Pekingese. At cartoons' end Porky runs away, but zooms back, for his and our satisfaction, to give the little yapper a swift kick.
- An early episode of Rugrats has the Pickle family adopting a poodle named Cuddles after their family pet Spike ran away (he's returned at the end of the episode). Not only was the poodle loud and obnoxious, but it would attempt to bite the babies, something that would have had it immediately sent off to the pound had their parents noticed.
- On Angela Anaconda, Nanette has a (male) poodle named Ooh-La-La, that she dresses up in a tutu and tiara. He, however, would like to roll around in garbage and act like a normal dog, along with Angela's mutt, King.
- An episode of Rocko's Modern Life had Bev adopting Earl, a large pitbull-like dog that Escaped from the Lab after having been experimented on, much to the chagrin of Ed (who was also dieting in the episode).
- In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Ms Catherine de Bourgh has a little lap dog called Anniekins that seems inseparable from her. A god toy is a part of Lizzie's costume for portraying Ms de Burgh. Lizzie thinks Annie is a very creepy pet.
- This is a common problem for most dog breeds. In general a dog was historically used to hunt prey (Dachshund, Poodles, yes Poodles!), to specifically hunt vermin (Terriers, Chihuahuas), or as guard dogs (Sheepdogs, Lhasa Apsos). Dogs who actively avert this are dogs of the Bichon types. In general that poses the threat, that many kinds of dogs are trained improperly. As many episodes of It's Me or the Dog shows, the rule of thumb tends to be "Is this behavior still cute and/or acceptable if that dog was a Great Dane?" The trend is, that this improper behavior from the side of the owner leads to a dog playing this trope straight (which is not healthy).
- Prince Rupert of the Rhine's poodle Boye was not considered a cute lapdog, but a witch's familiar with freaking magical powers.
- No less a source than Prince Charles himself says that Queen Elizabeth II's corgis occasionally attach themselves to the odd ankle (including members of the Foot Guards), though given Her Majesty is said to be a very good dog trainer. Ankle nipping is a fairly common problem in corgis, so it's not unexpected even in Her Majesty's dogs. Corgis are full-blown working dogs that are bred to herd cattle. Their means of doing so? Nipping at the feet of the cattle. This is a trait purposely present in the breed, and when they have no livestock to work with, it can turn up as nipping other pets or humans, especially children.
- Paris Hilton's little dog Tinkerbell. Ms. Hilton started a trend among the rich, elite, and impractical of carrying very small dogs (usually chihuahuas) around in handbags. She never made a statement on how to keep the inside of the handbag clean.
- Leona Helmsley's dog Trouble.