Western Animation / Pound Puppies (1980s)


Hanna-Barbera created an animated TV special based on a popular line of stuffed dogs in 1985. A series appeared the next year which followed it closely, despite changing most of the voice cast. Both revolved around "the Pound Puppies", a group of dogs consisting of:
  • Cooler, leader with a trademark laugh.
  • Nose Marie, a melodramatic Southern Belle bloodhound.
  • Bright Eyes, a perky cheerleader type.
  • Howler, an eccentric inventor with Harpo Marx-like hair.
  • Whopper, the diaper-wearing cute kid, who often lies and exaggerates.

The Pound Puppies lived at a dog pound and helped other canines find good homes while taking a Masquerade as normal dogs. The puppies were cared for by their neighbor Holly, a kindly orphan girl who the dogs drop the disguise for and is a kind of Cool Big Sis. Holly lives with her guardian, an evil Cruella De Vil wannabe named Katrina Stoneheart, who hates The Pound Puppies (and dogs in general). Katrina was constantly plotting against them, with the help of her bratty daughter Brattina; their pet cat, Catgut, and occasional partner, Captain Slaughter.

The show was dramatically retooled for its second season, called "The All-New Pound Puppies" in the opening credits. What follows is a list of some of the changes:
  • The instrumental theme song was replaced with an Expository Theme Tune with the same tune.
  • The animation became more competent.
  • Bright Eyes was changed into a younger (but still older than Whopper) puppy, to eliminate the possibility of a Love Triangle between her, Nose Marie, and Cooler.
  • The less flighty, more mature Nose Marie became a doting, apron-wearing Team Mom to Whopper and Bright Eyes.
  • The pound was now run by Katrina, in the manner of a concentration camp.
  • Howler was AWOL in many episodes.
  • The originally short-haired, skirt-wearing Holly had much longer hair and was a bit more of a tomboy.
  • Brattina wore different clothes as well.
  • Captain Slaughter was completely removed from the second season.

The Pound Puppies and Holly were now freedom fighters who operated out of an Elaborate Underground Base, trying to save dogs from Katrina and hook them up with lonely kids.

The premise was then retooled once more for the 1988 movie Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw, before disappearing completely, followed by the toy line in 1990, although that made an unexpected reappearance in 2007.

The sister line of toys, Pound Purries, never had the luxury of a T.V. special or series. They did make a token appearance in The Movie as supporting characters, though.

If you're looking for the newer series on The Hub, click here.

Hanna-Barbera's Pound Puppies contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Four episodes of the first season featured Captain Slaughter, a Dr. Claw-esque villain who was responsible for destroying the puppies' home in the first place and was Cooler's greatest enemy. When the show was retooled in its second season, he disappeared, his storyline never resolved.
  • Accidental Misnaming: For some reason, Cooler keeps calling Violet "Sam" in the '85 special.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The "Pet Care Corner", where viewers are given hints on pet care.
  • Art Evolution/Art Shift: The special, the two seasons of the TV series and the movie all have strikingly different art styles.
  • Cats Are Mean: Catgut.
    • Subverted in "Tuffy Gets Fluffy".
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The All-New Pound Puppies saw the complete disappearance of Captain Slaughter, while Howler was pushed Out of Focus. Before that, the TV series pared down the pups from the special to five and completely replaced the human supporting cast/setting.
  • Disney Death: Happens at the end of the '85 special when Cooler gets hit by a car.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Used in the second season by added lyrics to the instrumental version.
  • Expy: Katrina is a fairly obvious one for the Disney Cruella de Vil.
    • A number of the one-shot puppy characters were pretty obvious dog versions of famous characters, entertainers or actors, probably as a sort of Parental Bonus. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the "Three Wise Guys" from one episode who were clearly modeled on The Marx Brothers.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The episode "Where Do Puppies Come From?" features Cooler singing a song to explain, well, where do puppies come from to Whopper and Bright Eyes. The song is accompanied by a "stage play" in which two dogs are clearly seen laying together in a bed inside a Venetian gondole (after which Cooler trips and brings down the stage, knocking the two dogs off the bed and revealing that they are not wearing anything). Is almost a case of Refuge in Audacity, especially for a mid-1980s cartoon.
    • The Brazilian dub of the episode actually got away with Bright Eyes mentioning that puppies come from their mother's vagina, instead of her tummy as in the original.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Bright Eyes and Nose Marie wear nothing underneath their skirts, and Cooler and Howler are pantsless as well. Whopper wears only just a diaper.
  • Having a Gay Old Time: Thought to be one of the reasons Pound Puppies' feline counterparts were called Pound Purries.
  • Imaginary Friend: Bob in "The Invisible Friend". He turns out to be not so imaginary.
  • Improbable Age: In the first season Holly owns a puppy pound despite being a minor. Averted in the second season where Katrina owns the pound.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her obvious hatred of dogs aside, Katrina's initial complaints in "How to Found a Pound" are actually quite valid. The constant barking of several dozen dogs would be quite intolerable for any neighbors, along with the potential odor and hygiene issues if the dogs' owner can't keep up.
  • Lighter and Softer: The All-New Pound Puppies toned down the villains, removing the most obviously evil of the lot, and put more emphasis on finding homes for puppies.
  • Lost Will And Testament: A flashback episode revealed that the dogs had to find the Puppy Pound's founder's will to prevent Katrina from inheriting it.
  • Merchandise-Driven
  • Motive Decay: Katrina in All New Pound Puppies. In the first season, she keeps trying to get the pound shut down so that she can tear it down and build expensive condos for rich people and make a lot of money. In the second season, where she actually owns and runs the pound, her only goal is to lock up every puppy and keep them behind bars.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Violet in the '85 special; Holly at the start of the TV series.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Nose, precursor to the TV series' Nose Marie.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Nose originally had a New York accent, then traded it in for a Southern drawl as Nose Marie. This may have been lampshaded in All-New Pound Puppies with one-shot rival Toots, who had a similar accent and was pointedly disliked by Team Mom Nose Marie.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "The Bright Eyes Mob", Katrina tricks a group of high class women into believing she's a dog lover with a very obvious robot dog, until it shorts out and explodes.
  • Parental Bonus: What kid would have known that Cooler was a Shout-Out to the Cooler King?
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: In the second season where Katrina owns it. In the episode "Cooler Come Back" the pound Cooler gets taken to has this kind of feel to it. Also in the original special.
  • Satellite Love Interest: "The Fairy Dogmother" introduced a boy that Holly and Brattina both crushed on. And he was never seen again.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Brattina is always calling things "icky", no matter how little sense it makes.
    • Also, the shows like to use "puppy" to describe a dog regardless of age. For example, the millennia-old Big Paw is just a "lonely puppy without a home", and the mother "puppy" gives birth to a litter of actual puppies (who the other characters call "puplings). Don't think about that too hard.