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"Whose leg do you have to hump to get a dry martini around here?!"
Complete name: Brian H. Griffin

The Griffin Family's talking pet dog. He is a sophisticated and cultured, but cynical and world-weary Labrador, who serves as the voice of reason to the family, ironically managing to be the most "human" of all of them. In later seasons, Brian developed into a more pretentious and self-absorbed narcissist.

Voiced by Seth MacFarlane, using something very close to his natural speaking voice.

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    Tropes A to E 
  • Aesop Amnesia: Season 2's "Brian in Love" resolves his feelings for Lois with their deciding to stay friends in a fashion that one reviewer called "a perfectly believable and somewhat heartfelt earnest manner". Compare this to Season 6's "Play It Again, Brian", where he tries to force himself on Lois and, when confronted by a rightfully angry Peter, defends his actions and says Peter doesn't deserve her.
  • The Alcoholic: Less so than Peter, but he has a penchant towards alcohol and tends to get really drunk whenever he's depressed.
  • A God Am I: There are times where it's implied that Brian has a god complex or believes that he's above God. When Stewie explains to him that he created the big bang that created the universe, Brian tried to take credit for it by saying he also created the universe. In "Bri, Robot", he wanted the title of his book to be "Are you there, dog?. It's me, Brian", parodying the title Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. and implying that he sees himself as a god among canines (and even people). Also, his Twitter handle is "@d0gbackwards".
  • Ambiguously Bi: Season 17 alludes to this several times, but it is finally confirmed in Bri, Robot. When the robot duplicate of Brian that Stewie built to be exactly like Brian ends up having oral and anal sex with multiple men down at the marina.
    Stewie: Remember, Brian, it wouldn't do anything you wouldn't do!
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: Brian normally behaves like a human, yet there are several moments in the series where he acts like a real dog, such as barking at firetruck sirens and expressing enthusiasm for walks in the park.
  • Anyone Can Die: Subverted. Is hit by a car and Killed Off for Real... before being brought back to life 2 episodes later, in a publicity stunt.
  • At Least I Admit It:
    • Season 7's "Fox-y Lady" has Lois become a reporter for Fox News and discover what she believes to be a gay relationship between Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh, only for Fox to refuse to let her slander Limbaugh. Brian, having previously insisted she not do the story so as not to humiliate Michael Moore, suggests she report the story anyway because it'll humiliate Rush Limbaugh. When Lois points this out to him, he falls back on this trope.
    • In "Quagmire's Mom", he calls out Quagmire for blaming his problems on his mom. Quagmire tries to label him as a hypocrite because he’s an Atheist defending a Christian, but Brian doesn’t even deny it. Doubly so when one recalls that Quagmire's one moral high ground against Brian is this trope and now Brian manages to take the moral high ground from him the moment he throws it away. Even more impressive when one of the reasons Quagmire hates Brian is his atheism and now he's expecting him to not defend his mother.
  • Author Avatar: Seth MacFarlane himself admitted that Brian reflects most of his political views. This was extremely prominent in season 7. He's also the only character for whom McFarlane uses his actual speaking voice.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: When Brian wears clothes, his outfits typically don't include shoes.
  • Been There, Shaped History: During a Season-5 time-travel episode, Brian plays Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" at a dance Peter attended when he was 18. Marvin Astley, who is attending the dance, calls Rick to let him hear the "new" song that Brian is playing. This means, paradoxically, Brian inspired Rick Astley to create the song after Brian had first heard it from Astley in the present.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: He firmly believes that religion is a waste of time and that it overcomplicates things. In "Family Goy" he outright states that there are too many religions.
  • Berserk Button: Stewie mispronouncing words.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: He may be a sentient member of the family, but he's still a dog. Who he dates or sleeps with and how it's treated zigzags Depending on the Writer. When visiting a dimension where humans are pets, he gets called out on this when enjoying a human woman licking him.
  • Blatant Lies: He will lie at the drop of a hat to hit on women he finds extremely attractive, and often will lie to himself by saying they have a connection.
  • Body Horror: After shaving himself in "A Fistful of Meg". It is heavily implied in "Herpe, the Love Sore" that Brian's skin is one giant herpes outbreak.
  • Book Smart: A college-educated Intellectual Animal. He's the most well-read member of the family, despite Stewie being the smartest.
  • The Bore: In "Jerome is the New Black," Quagmire ends his "The Reason You Suck" Speech by stating he could look past all of Brian's faults... if he wasn't such a "big, sad, alcoholic bore."
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Brian exhibits most of the stereotypes, including watching PBS and driving a Prius. For a time that worked on two levels - the only recognizable specific make and model of car is driven by the talking dog - but in later seasons they make Peter's station wagon more and more recognizably a Ford LTD.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Beyond the fourth season, the writers started shackling him with a lot more bad luck and bodily harm.
    • In "High School English", the characters Brian plays in each segment all end up getting killed in increasingly painful ways (i.e. shot, disemboweled, crushed).
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • He was extremely deadpan in early episodes, to the point of bordering The Stoic. By the end of the pre-cancellation run, he is a fully emotional character and more prone to neuroses.
    • In seasons 2 and 3, he had aspirations of becoming an actor. From season 4 onwards, this has given way to his desire to become an author.
    • In the very first episode, he states that he doesn't vote and in "The Thin White Line", he thanks God for his nose. This was way before he was established as both a liberal and an atheist.
  • Character Tics: When Brian is happy, excited, or aroused, he wags his tail.
  • The Chew Toy: Yes, plenty of fans enjoy Brian's Butt-Monkey status thanks to the heat he gained in the past seasons.
  • Civilized Animal: In earlier seasons. Newer ones make him a Funny Animal with occasional Furry Reminders.
  • Color Blind Confusion: Once complains about receiving a bowl of gray M&Ms since, as a dog, he can't see colors.
  • The Comically Serious: Especially in the earlier seasons.
  • Commander Contrarian: Lois calls him out on this behavior.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dishes an effortless one in "Guy, Robot." He shorts out Stewie's A.I. Is a Crapshoot robot friends with a garden hose before Stewie can do anything to help.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The writers even describe Brian's humor to be as dry as the martinis he drinks. He's by far the most consistently snarky character on the show, which is a product of his cynicism and Holier Than Thou/Know-Nothing Know-It-All personality. Perhaps best exemplified when not even being kidnapped, tied up, and held hostage in a dark hotel room with dozens of candles (by Meg) can stifle his snark:
    Meg: I'm really having a great time tonight, Brian. I can't believe you went to all this trouble.
    Brian: [tied to a chair; completely deadpan] Well... you know me.
  • Depending on the Writer: While all of the characters' personalities are based on Rule of Funny, Brian is perhaps the most erratic in later seasons, switching between his original slightly flawed Only Sane Man role in one episode and a completely odious self absorbed weasel in the other.
  • Deuteragonist: He is second only to Peter.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Tries and fails numerous times to get back with Jillian. Happens all the time with every woman of the episode he falls for.
  • Dirty Old Man: He's 56 years old in dog years (7 or 8), and he repeatedly tries to get with women who would be young enough to be his daughter if he were a human, including one of Meg's friends. More generally, he pretends to be everything from a tennis champion to an award-winning author to get women interested in him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "Pawtucket Pete," the brewery bosses fire him after his mascot float is blown by a jealous Peter, causing helium, panic, and disaster in the city. Brian wasn't even to blame for all this but he was fired as a cheap way to return things back to normal.
  • The Dog Bites Back: He slowly grows a mutual hatred for Quagmire after putting up with his hatred for so long and eventually starts making efforts to make his life a living hell.
  • The Dragon: To Stewie, in several episodes.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: He's often seen drinking martinis. Martinis are known to be dry, which is reflective of Brian's dry wit and cynical personality.
  • Easy Evangelism: Particularly during Season 7, he could easily manipulate others toward his views. Brian himself went through this in "Excellence in Broadcasting", switching from far-left to far-right overnight after reading Rush Limbaugh's book, though he's ultimately called out by Lois and later Limbaugh himself for just siding with the current minority opinion to sound smart.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: It's implied that Stewie is attracted to him.
  • The Exile:
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Even though he hits on Lois when Peter's not around, he doesn’t stoop as low as to try and do so when Peter has amnesia. In fact, he even goes off to warn Peter that Quagmire will do so in "Big Man on Hippocampus".
    • He does not approve of Quagmire's plan to sleep with Meg in "Meg and Quagmire'' and tells of Peter for not doing anything about it. Thankfully, Peter came to his senses and intervened afterwards.
    • He's genuinely disgusted by Peter and Lois exploiting and overexerting Stewie to earn money off his fame as a child star in "The Peanut Butter Kid" and immediately goes to get Stewie off his career as a child star to prevent any further damage.
    Tropes F to J 
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. When he thinks he's right, he refuses to back down. This has often led to painful consequences for Brian.
    • Whenever someone doubts his romantic choices, he tends to "double down" on them; When Lois voiced her suspicions that he was merely stringing Jillian along, he chose to move in with her, leading to their relationship falling apart soon after. And after the whole family drove Rita to tears with comments about her age, Brian proposed to her on the spot - only to quickly have second thoughts about the whole thing.
    • When he tries a new hobby, he quickly becomes obsessed with it, and convinced he's the best at it, to the point where he talks down about those who have actually been doing it longer than he has (such as in "The Book of Joe" and "The Woof of Wall Street"). All too soon, he takes things too far, resulting in pain and/or humilation.
  • Feigning Intelligence: A downplayed example. Brian isn't stupid by any means, but starting with mid season 4 he's definitely not as intelligent as he'd like you to believe. For example: he uses words he doesn't know, often claims to read things like classic literature (but is almost never shown reading any kind of books), and is just a general, all around hypocrite.
    • In "Peternormal Activity", he stoops to wearing a fake pair of glasses to make himself look smarter.
  • The Finicky One: He increasingly becomes this, albeit to an often hypocritical level (it is frequently lampshaded for all his uptight rants, he is as much of a self serving sleaze as the rest of the family).
  • Flanderization: He started out as a Only Sane Man and Straight Man for Peter and Stewie. After the show was uncanceled, he began to drop some comments that mirrored some of Seth MacFarlane's political views. However, by Season 7 this was taken to the extreme with many episodes focused on Brian's political views, much to the audience's dismay. This trend stopped in Season 8 with later seasons treating him as a Butt-Monkey for his earlier behavior.
    • Originally he was a very smart and cultured character, even if he did drink from time to time and had trouble getting women to go out with him because most of the women he dated were airheads with hot bodies. Now, he's a full-blown alcoholic, he's not very sophisticated (he even thinks Portnoy's Complaint is about a man filing a noise complaint about a port), and a lot of his plotlines now revolve around him trying to get a date, always one with a human woman, and yes, many of them were bimbos.
    • His tendency to date stupid women with hot bodies was originally played as something that frustrated him because he was really in love with Lois. Over time it became that he dated dumb women so he could feel smarter than them. On the other hand his love for Lois has just been made it almost an obsession and is very creepy. Both these aspects were brought up by Quagmire in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed at Brian.
      • Has predilection for naive, attractive young women has now morphed into a tendency towards ephebophilia, to the point that he is shown as comfortable with trysts with underage teens provided there won’t be legal ramifications.
    • On top of this, his flanderization when it comes to meeting women was turned up a few notches when he goes to date Stewie's preschool teacher, a woman who is clearly unqualified for the job, ignoring their injuries and even a dead child. This is driven further when Stewie comes home with his arm out of the socket and tries to tell Lois when Brian shuts Stewie up just so Brian can keep dating the teacher. Brian eventually turns the teacher in to the police but only because the woman had a boyfriend already (naturally with an ever-hypocritical "there's a special level in Hell for people like you" comment as she's dragged off by the police).
    • Brian's failures in dating women was also brought to light when Stewie brought him every single woman Brian dated and had them explain to him why they broke up with him (jealous, callous, insecure, pretentious, and has a small penis). Rather than taking what the women said to heart, Brian tried to flip it around by pointing out why all the women he dated were flawed instead of actually taking responsibility for his own actions, a trait that seems to have stuck to Brian's character.
    • In a case of a de-Flanderized trait, Brian was also extremely deadpan in early episodes, to the point of bordering The Stoic. By the end of the pre-cancellation run, he is a fully emotional character and more prone to neuroses.
    • After his revival in "Christmas Guy", he went through another Flanderization that saw him become more and more of a Jerkass, doing things like giving Stewie and Chris herpes (which is often considered his Moral Event Horizon) and taking advantage of his son Dylan's career.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Despite the appearances of God and Jesus on earth in the show, Brian is a staunch atheist.
    • Stewie lampshades this in "3 Acts of God" and "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!".
    "Jesus lived with us for, like, a week. What else do you need?"
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: Brian sometimes forgets that he's a dog and that he carries their limitations. For example, he eats a box of Valentines day chocolates and ends up at the vets because (as a dog) chocolate is toxic to him and he can't eat them. In another episode, Brian tries to donate one of his kidneys to Peter when the latter develops kidney failure. The operation will kill him because they need both of Brian's kidneys in order to save Peter. When they're about to go through the procedure Dr Hartman comes back and tells the family that he'll donate his one of his kidneys instead. Because Brian is a dog, the surgery would be doomed to fail and both Brian and Peter will die due to species incompatibility.
  • Freudian Excuse: Deep down, Brian is aware of how little importance his life has, which is why he tends to go overboard when he actually succeeds in getting attention or glory.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: A recurring theme with Brian is that he always tries to blame someone else for his own faults, only for someone to point out to him that a lot of his problems were caused by his own ego and were, in fact, his own fault.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: After subverting discussion about his constant state of this for almost fifteen years, it was lampshaded in "A Fistful Of Meg".
  • Funny Animal: In seasons 1-3, he was a dog with humanoid traits, but now he's more like a human stuck in a dog's body. He also walks on two legs and behaves as human as a dog can. Lampshaded in "The Simpsons Guy" where he's forced to eat in the kitchen with Santa's Little Helper, whom he doesn't understand due to his barking. He also acts as a living Deconstruction on occasion, albeit with occasional Talking Animal moments (particularly in the first run of the series, where they were more frequent).
  • Furry Confusion: He plays up the trope, driving a recognizable Toyota Prius while Peter and Lois have generic cartoon cars, and often holding a martini (complete with olive) while walking around the house on his hind legs, all of which makes it MUCH funnier when he does engage in realistic canine behavior.
  • Furry Denial: Brian eventually went from a dog with human traits to a human in a dog disguise.
  • Furry Reminder: In later seasons, they are often thrown in his face when he tries to sound smarter than everyone.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Though he'll often teeter towards Insufferable Genius.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In "Life of Brian", the last thing he does before succumbing to his wounds is to smile at the family he truly loved.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He is this way regarding his friendship with Stewie.
    • In "Dog Bites Bear", he destroyed Rupert out of spite over Stewie considering a stuffed toy to be his best friend rather than Brian.
    • In "Pal Stewie", his jealousy over Stewie getting a friend his own age led to him hiding a birthday party invitation meant for Stewie.
    • In "Brian's Play", he gets so upset that the play Stewie wrote is so much better than his that he tells him it's bad and buries it in the yard.
    • In "The Movement", he does a very poor job of hiding his jealousy after Peter is mistaken for an activist and applauded by the media.
  • Groin Attack: Was on the receiving end after his death got prevented.
  • Growling Gut: Brian experiences this in "Meg Stinks!" due to hunger when he was forced to live in the backyard because he was sprayed by a skunk.
  • The Heart: The closest thing the Griffins have to a glue that keeps them together. He serves as a counterbalance to Peter's stupidity, the closest thing to a decent parental-figure to Chris and Meg, a chain to hold down Stewie's more amoral side, and an intellectual equal for Lois to talk to.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Stewie.
  • Hidden Depths: "Peter, Chris,and Brian" and "Turkey Guys" show that he's a surprisingly talented sketch artist. The former also shows that he's capable of expert-level mathematics.
  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: In regards to his writing career. Even before the show's first cancellation, Lois mentioned that she found his writing "hackneyed and stilted", and his attempts to sell his scripts in Hollywood went nowhere.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "Quagmire's Mom", he calls out Quagmire for blaming all his problems on his mother. This is coming from someone who refuses to accept his own failings in both his romantic and literary pursuits, constantly blaming others for them.
    • He claims to want "true love" and a woman he can spend the rest of his life with. Despite this, several episodes (such as "Movin' Out: Brian's Song" and "Brian's got a Brand New Bag") show that Brian has some serious commitment issues. Stewie actually calls him out on this in "Married... With Cancer", pointing out that he's really just a "selfish horndog".
    • In "The Finer Strings", he initally takes Lois volunteering him as Carter's temporary guide dog badly, claiming to hate the "one-percenter" attitude Carter has. But after getting a taste of the good life, he quickly embraces it, and becomes unwilling to let it go when Carter no longer needs him.
    • In "Pal Stewie", he was jealous over Stewie getting a friend his own age, to the point where he hid a birthday party invitation from him. But after Stewie reaffirmed his friendship with him, Brian admitted he didn't have any big friendship plans in mind, rather than watching TV like usual (leading Stewie to call him out for his actions).
    • In "Boy (Dog) Meets Girl (Dog)", Brian was desperate to win the dog show just so he could breed with Ellie, yet in "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", he refused to do dog tricks in another dog show, even though the prize money could have bought the family a new air conditioner, which they needed.
    • In "Family Guy Lite", he had no problem using what he read in what he thought was a list of qualities Lois wanted in her ideal man to try and seduce her into cheating on Peter. But when it looked like she was having an affair with someone else, he begged her not to do it, claiming she would be betraying Peter.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: As Quagmire routinely points out, Brian is sleazy, self important and completely hypocritical, but he's often on the dot when he claims Quagmire is as much a self contradicting egotist as he is. Even the aforementioned case in "Quagmire's Mom" he isn't wrong to think Quagmire blaming all his life choices on his mother's upbringing is total bullshit, especially from someone who claimed his true redeeming function over Brian is at least being honest about being sleazy.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: When it comes to women, Brian really can’t control his urges. Notable examples include:
    • "Be Careful What You Fish For" has him wanting to discuss matters with the teacher of the school because Stewie told him about her neglectful treatment of the students there. When he sees that she's an attractive young woman, he goes from trying to call her out for her poor management to trying to have sex with her. Only when he finds out that she has a boyfriend does he finally do the right thing.
    • In "Whistle While Your Wife Works" he gets into a relationship with a dimwitted blonde named Jillian because she's an attractive woman with a rather fit body. When he finally decides to break up with her because he can't put up with her stupidity anymore, he fails to go through with it when she removes her towel and unintentionally arouses him. Afterwards, he decides to just have sex with her, though he is ashamed of doing so.
    • In "Switch the Flip", he swaps bodies with Peter and when Lois has sex with him, he immediately gives in and is proud of himself afterwards.
    • "Scammed Yankees" has him attempting to seduce Meg's friend Patty when he finds out that she has a rather impressive body.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Brian bounces between a narcissistic douchebag and a suicidally depressed Glory Hound. His love life is a mess because when he thinks he has to prove himself, he'll marry the first woman who shows her support to him. Even if it's been only a week since they started dating.
  • Insufferable Genius: In later seasons, and that "genius" part is really stretching it.
  • Intellectual Animal: What he's supposed to be, being far more erudite than the human members of the Griffin family. If he still qualifies as "intellectual" after his Flanderization, it's a debate among fans.
  • Interspecies Romance: Brian has several of these with humans (and a mogwai).
  • I Reject Your Reality: Brian has a bad habit of refusing to see his own flaws and mistakes, and make all kinds of excuses for why he doesn't get what he wants.
    • He's convinced he's a great writer, despite his first book being universally panned by literary critics. In "Brian Writes a Best-Seller", he claims the reason no-one bought his book is because everyone wants to read self-help books instead.
    • When it comes to women, Brian will often claim he has a "connection" with them, and that it's "true love". When all the women he's dated bring up his shortcomings in "Valentines Day in Quahog", he insists that they're all just mad he didn't want to be with them.
    • In "The Finer Strings", he is unable to accept that Carter no longer needs him around, quickly convincing himself that Carter sees him as a friend, and only pushed him aside because he was insulted that Brian was offering to work for him rather than just hang out.
  • Irony: Seth MacFarlane uses his natural speaking voice for a character that's not human (even though Brian hardly, if ever, acts like a dog. In the rare times he does, it's wooden and unconvincing — i.e., when he barks).
  • It's All About Me: In "Cat Fight", Brian worked tirelessly to get Quagmire's cat cafe closed down, chiefly because it was right next door to his favorite drinking spot, and he didn't want cats anywhere near it.
  • Jaded Washout: At times, Brian can admit to himself that he hasn't accomplished much despite having already lived half his expected lifespan, a fact that he hates.
  • Jerkass: Later in the show. Much like Peter and Lois, he became one through Flanderization.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Brian stated that Peter doesn't deserve Lois because he always paid Lois with selfishness and neglect. Considering Peter's personality, Brian may have a point.
  • Jerkass Realization: He gradually reaches this in "Bri, Robot". When Stewie creates a robotic version of him designed to think and act exactly the way he does, Brian is ultimately disgusted at how insufferable and pretentious he can be.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He still has more moments of clarity than most of the other Griffins. Out of all the family, he's the one who treats Meg more nicely, although that's not saying much.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In "Brian The Closer" when Brian tricks Quagmire into buying a dumpy home despite Quagmire having had a legitimate Pet the Dog moment towards him earlier in the episode by paying for fixing his ruined teeth when even the rest of the Griffins wouldn't. Quagmire calls him out for it, causing Brian to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment. However, this was just a trick for Brian to get past the 72 hours before Quagmire could cancel the deal. When the deadline reaches, he gloats cruelly in Quagmire's face, getting his face smashed and teeth knocked out again with a lamp in retaliation. Even if this were a possible attempt at getting back at Quagmire for how badly he's treated him these past few seasons, it didn't work out for him entirely.
    Tropes K to P 
  • Kavorka Man: He has dated a fair number of human women considering he's a dog.
  • Killed Off for Real: Averted. His "death incident" (which people are still talking about) was actually prevented from ever happening.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All:
    • Especially in the later seasons when he insists he's right about everything and pushes his beliefs to get everyone to take his side, and takes credit for ideas that weren't his in the first place and other times using them as an excuse in order to get into a woman's pants, as Quagmire put it:
    Quagmire: You pretend you're some profound intellectual, but you're not!
    • It's also been shown, in both early and late seasons, that for all his supposed intellectualism, he is a terrible writer, rarely reads anything worthwhile, and watches trash TV.
    Brian: Oh, finally, another reader in the family. You know, these are some of my favorite books and authors.
    Peter: Oh? What are you reading right now?
    Stewie: Oh, boy.
    Brian: Well, I'm I'm sort of between books right now.
    Peter: Yeah? What was the last thing you read?
    Stewie: He's got you on the ropes now.
    Brian: I-I'm actually rereading a lot of stuff.
    Peter: Yeah? Like what?
    Stewie: Just tap out.
    Brian: Uh the classics, you know? Going back to the, uh basics, really. Words on the printed page. Thank you, Steve Guttenberg, right? What is this, oak?
    Stewie: Oh, I don't even think it's oak!
    • It reaches its head in "Our Idiot Brian," where Brian is convinced by Meg to take her SAT class... and ends up getting the lowest possible score, much to Meg's annoyance. It turns out that this was the result of a brain tumor.
    Meg: Damn it, why did I ever think you were smart?!
    • In "Inside Family Guy", he claims working on the show reminds him of his favorite scene from Macbeth. When asked what that scene was, he immediately got defensive about it.
    • In "Bri-da", he made a Night at the Museum reference, then moments later admitted that he'd never actually seen the movie.
  • Lack of Empathy:
    • In "The Woof of Wall Street". When he and Stewie discovered a protein shake company he planned to invest in was using dogs as ingredients, Brian barely batted an eye at the inhumane conditions his fellow canines were kept in, and still wanted to invest in the company.
    • "Cat Fight" reveals that Brian's worst nightmare is having to listen to other people's problems.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: in "Cat Fight". After trying to get Quagmire's cat cafe closed for petty reasons, he finally succeeded - only to find the order banning cats from such business extended to all animals, meaning he could no longer go into bars.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: In "Boy (Dog) Meets Girl (Dog)", he chuckles while re-reading some of his own tweets.
  • Modern Major General: Brian is an awful writer, but one episode indicated that his true talent was as a director. When his cousin Jasper got him a job directing porno films, Brian turned out to be so good at it that he even won a "Woody" award.
  • Motive Decay: In early seasons, Brian wanted to date a woman of depth and substance, having gotten tired of Brainless Beauties who have no idea what he's talking about when he wants to have meaningful conversations. Later on, the Griffins (Lois especially) make fun of him for dating nothing but said Brainless Beauties and Quagmire even calls him out on this in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech from "Jerome Is The New Black" (with Quagmire pointing out his hypocrisy by stating, "Yeah, I date women for their bodies, but at least I'm honest about it...") Not to say that he still end up in dates with women of depth that end badly, most notably Carolyn and Ida, the former who Cleveland snagged, and the latter who turned out to be Quagmire's dad post-sex change.
  • Morality Pet: He is one for Stewie. Stewie's good traits are often shown in his friendship with Brian.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • In "Run, Chris, Run". While pretending to be a student at Chris's school, he tried to hit on some girls, to the point of following them into the girls' bathroom. After he gets thrown out for this, he points out to Stewie that there were security guards in the bathroom, and starts ranting about how they're living in a "state of fear".
    • In Family Guy Lite he mistakes Lois' story as her diary and openly states that he plans to use this info to compose himself as her dream man and finally have sex with her. However, when he discovers that her ideal man is based on a real person, he assumes she's cheating on Peter and tries to stop the affair. After the matter is straightened out, Lois wastes no time pointing out Brian's skewed moral take on the whole situation.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Brian acts like a human for most of the time, but sometimes he shows dog traits; for example, he will chase balls, is attracted to the sound of dog food in a bag, and is terrified of the vacuum cleaner.
  • Narcissist: In later seasons. He has an ego the size of Texas, bashes everything that does not agree with him, told Meg that there is no God because she does not have a good life, and is a Know-Nothing Know-It-All that makes everybody that seems to have a lower IQ look like idiots. And everyone else knows it; When he offered to let Stewie "kill" something he loves in return for destroying Rupert, Stewie immediately put a gun to Brian's temple, saying "Why don't I do that?"
  • Nay-Theist: Brian hates God, so he prefers Cessation of Existence.
  • Never My Fault:
    • When it comes to his relationships. Brian always tries to act intelligent and suave to get women to have sex with him, and when they break up with him, he always blames them, but never thinks about what he did. Plus, he blamed Stewie for everything in "Brian Writes A Bestseller."
    • This reaches new heights in "The Woof of Wall Street"; After his greed almost got him killed, he blames both the stock market and money itself, despite Stewie pointing out that he himself has been playing the stock market for years with no problems, and that Brian is entirely at fault for what happened to him.
    • In "Bri, Robot", he obsessively cyber-stalked a waitress until he found her home, and freaked her out by standing outside her window. He has the nerve to claim it's her fault for putting a smiley face on his receipt.
  • No Respect Guy: Starting in season 4, he's apparently become the "New Meg", and often receives the next-worst of the humiliation in the show, such as being forced into a bee costume. His genuine concern for Meg in the later seasons actually makes a lot of sense.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Often to Stewie.
  • Not So Above It All: Especially in episodes like "Be Careful What You Fish For".
  • Not So Different: As much as they'd hate to concede it, Brian and Quagmire are two sides of the same coin. Both are sex maniacs who use pretentious ways to pick up women (though Quagmire claims he is at least honest about this, several episodes such as "I Take Thee Quagmire", "Big Man on Hippocampus", and "Tiegs For Two" show that he is quite pretentious and not as honest as he claims to be), cynical and self-righteous Hypocrite who constantly lecture others without practicing what they preach or proving that they are morally superior, and arrogant egotists who mock and look down on others. Best exemplified when every time they can't call each other out without being a hypocrite. "Tiegs For Two" best demonstrates their similarities to each other.
  • Nothing but Skin and Bones: As of "A Fistful of Meg", he (probably) lost a ton of weight and his skin somehow became shriveled. It should be noted that is was not originally the case, as several earlier (post-cancellation) episodes involved him losing his fur, showing his skin and body condition to be completely normal looking.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Despite being such a laid-back character, he is the best friend of the psychotic Stewie.
    • Oddly enough, all of his few interactions with Cleveland show that they have a decent friendship.
  • Off the Wagon (but occasionally ends up back on it)
  • Only Friend: Stewie doesn't have any friends his own age and Brian is the only person who he has a stable friendship with.
  • Only Sane Man: Used to be the most level-headed of the family in early seasons. He can still be one in later seasons, despite his Small Name, Big Ego tendencies.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In the episode "Once Bitten", Brian goes to obedience school, and when he comes back home, he's a totally different dog. He asks permission to come in the house, is polite and submissive towards everyone at all times, and constantly worries about being a "bad dog." But the one thing that drives the point home is that he doesn't argue with Stewie over the latter's pronunciation of the word "whip."
    Stewie: It looks like someone's gone at him with a hwhip.
    Brian: That is... that is a perfectly valid way of saying that. Bravo, Master.
  • Opinion Flip-Flop: His most common method of picking up women in later seasons. In "Peter's Got Woods" he meets a beautiful black woman and tries to curry her favor by getting Chris' school renamed for Martin Luther King Jr. In another episode, when a woman says magicians turn her on, he immediately blurts out "I'm a magician!"
  • Papa Wolf: Sometimes subverted in some instances but played straight in others. A lot of plots involving he and Stewie involve Brian trying to protect the latter; however, sometimes Brian's good intentions are derailed by his rather glaring flaws (for example, in one episode he attempts to bust a neglectful daycare Stewie is attending, only to fall for its attractive owner and forget his original intentions).
  • Parental Substitute: Played straight with Meg and Chris on occasion. His connection with Stewie is obviously more of a friendship. Stewie does however state in a dream that he considers Brian more of a father to him than Peter has ever been.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Especially in the first three seasons.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Out of all the family, Brian treats Meg the least shabbily, often sharing heartwarming moments and meaningful conversations with her, the most poignant examples being "Dial Meg For Murder" and "Seahorse Seashell Party."
    • He defends Quagmire from Peter a number of three times in "Hot Pocket-Dial." The first instance was when Peter revealed the voice mail Quagmire accidentally sent, Brian advices Peter to delete it and not allow it to get in the way of their friendship. The second was when Quagmire and Ida arrived at the party the Griffin family were hosting, he immediately tells Peter to remember what they discussed the previous night. The third time was when Peter assaults Quagmire, he almost immediately puts himself in the middle of Peter and Quagmire before helping Cleveland restrain Peter and prevent him from further attacking Quagmire. Brian had nothing to gain from helping Quagmire and their rivalry will still carry on as if nothing happened, making Brian's defense of Quagmire all the more well-intentioned.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Despite being half the size of most characters and not fighting back most of the time, Brian is formidable in a brawl. "Play It Again, Brian" has him beat Peter in a brutal bar fight, which is quite impressive when his long, bloody scraps with the Giant Chicken are taken into account.
  • The Pornomancer: Brian tries to be romantic, but invariably most of his encounters are quickies and one-night stands with women he barely knows, often brainless beauties (i.e. Jillian and the nameless blonde who mispronounced "escargot" and "Chablis" in "Brian Wallows, Peter Swallows"), as pointed out by Quagmire in his rant against Brian (with Quagmire pointing out that, yes, he goes after airheaded women too, but he doesn't put up a pseudo-intellectual front to get in their pants the way Brian does). Though, as seen in some Season 10 and 11 episodes, it seems that he finally gave up on purchasing long time, meaningful relationships, and is merely interested in having sex with as many women as possible. Ironically, this makes him similar to Quagmire.
    Tropes R to T 
  • Rape by Fraud: Twice, when Brian dated a blind woman he pretended to be human so she could give him a fair chance. But, he secretly took pictures of her breasts when she showed them to him. After she broke up with him, he decides to imitate an actor so she could date him again. Brian also slept with Lois after switching bodies with Peter, she never knew about the mind swap and consented to sleep with Peter, not Brian.
  • Really Gets Around: He’s slept with enough women to fill the Griffin Family's living room. And he’s still going.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Gives one to Connie at the prom after she insults Meg.
    • Was on the receiving end of an iconic one from Quagmire in "Jerome is the New Black". Glen concludes that he would easily forgive the long list of shortcomings if he wasn't such a "bore".
    • He finally gets to serve a mini-one back in "Quagmire's Mom" where he outright labels Quagmire a coward for blaming all his shortcomings on his mother.
    • He gets one from Stewie in "Pal Stewie", calling him out on his petty jealousy over Stewie making a new friend, yet putting no real effort into their friendship afterwards.
    • Lois delivers one to him in "Family Guy Lite", basically calling him out for trying to sleep with her, then acting like her sleeping with someone else was morally repugnant.
    • Quagmire delivers another one to him in "Adam West High", pointing out that the only reason he was running for mayor was to satisfy his own ego.
    • He unleashes one on Peter in "Turkey Guys" for causing them both a string of problems that made it difficult for them to return home. When he finds out that Peter framed him, he finally snaps and decides to just leave Peter by himself.
  • Redemption Rejection: In "Brian the Closer", Quagmire shows a begrudged moment of sympathy towards Brian and even starts becoming affable and trusting towards him after he takes a job in realty estate. Unfortunately, the job goes to Brian's head and he remorselessly cons Quagmire into buying a run-down building, reigniting Quagmire's violent hatred of him.
  • Sadist: He frequently kills and terrorizes squirrels for pure sadism. This is an act that even shocks Stewie.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: With Jillian when they were together.
  • Seen It All: Due to how he's lived past his expected lifespan, his reaction to most of the weird occurrences he's witnessed are either fully opening his eyes for a second and going back to his eyes being half-closed or his eyes remaining half-closed the entire time. Afterwards, he either snarks about it or throws a short but brutally honest remark about it.
  • Selective Obliviousness: In "Adam West High", he ignores the rest of the family's statements that him running for mayor isn't the best idea, instead believing they're all supporting him.
  • Self-Serving Memory: When confronted by all his ex-girlfriends in "Valentine's Day in Quahog", he reacts to their criticisms of him by claiming they're all just mad because he didn't want to be with them - despite the fact that most of them were the ones to break up with him.
  • Sell-Out: Brian acts high and mighty, and likes to think he's morally superior to the people around him, but he'll throw away his values and convictions in a second if it means he gets money and/or positive attention (especially from attractive women, in regards to the latter).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Quagmire's hatred for Brian gradually became more mutual during Season Nine, and evolved into a full blown case in "Tiegs For Two" before the tension died down, until it came back full circle in "Brian The Closer".
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • After the revival. He spent years working on a novel entitled Faster Than The Speed of Love which turned out be a complete rip-off of the Iron Eagle film series, even though Brian claimed he never saw any of them. Everyone who had heard of the book's plot mercilessly taunted Brian about it being a rip-off but he refused to acknowledge it. When the book did get published yet did not sell a single copy after being critically lambasted, the next day Brian read a rave review for a celebrity self-help book and thought self-help books were the reason the novel sold so terribly. He then decided to write a similar book out of spite; the book became popular and Brian slowly began raving "I have created a best selling PHENOMENON" until he was taken down on Real Time with Bill Maher.
    • In "Brian's a Bad Father", he talked down to the writing staff on Dylan's show, lecturing them on what they should be writing about, and using half-baked terminology to try and get his point across.
  • Smug Snake: He's not only a rather snarky towards others, but he's also an egotistical, pretentious and self-righteous snob.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Originally to Peter, and later to Stewie.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The series may as well just be "The Brian and Stewie Show" in later seasons. More and more episodes are about Brian dating someone and the 150th episode special is completely about Brian and Stewie being trapped in a bank vault. In fact, said 150th episode was simply called "Brian and Stewie". They are the main characters of the 200th episode. Let's face it, it's all about them now. Not to mention the "Road To..." episodes, which focus on Brian and Stewie entirely. Another example of this would be the episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", where Peter flat-out states that this was a "Meg episode" and that he wouldn't blame the audience for changing the channel... the episode was actually more about Brian.
  • Stealing the Credit: In two separate episodes, he claimed Stewie's time machine as his own creation, and in "Guy, Robot" he stole Stewie's jokes for his stand-up routine.
  • Straight Man: Brian originally existed simply as a foil to Peter's antics.
  • Straw Hypocrite: From Season Seven onwards, Brian is depicted as very fickle and shallow about his left wing views, even called out for basing his opinions solely on being a "contrarian" and the center of attention.
  • Super Speed: During the events of "Super Griffins".
  • Talking Animal:
    • It could be argued that he is actually just as human as most of the Griffin family, but he is a dog. When he visited his birthplace...
      Luke: Lots of dogs have been born here. Refresh my memory. Which one were you again?
      Brian: [dryly] I was the one who could talk.
      Luke: Brian! Come on in!
    • Despite being more human than dog for the most part, Brian still has some tendencies of a non-anthropomorphic canine. He hates squirrels, he'll chase after an object and bring it back in his mouth if someone throws it, he loves car rides and going to the park, pees on things to claim them for himself, and is easily distracted by things like rope toys, belly rubs, tennis balls, and other dogs:
      Brian: [in the car, with Lois driving] Wait a minute! I know where we are! The park is near here! We're near the park, Lois! Oh, that's the tree! I peed on that! [Lois pulls up next to another car at a red light] Hey! Hey, Lois! Lois! There's another dog in that car! Hey! Are you seeing that?! Hey! Other dog! Fuck you!
  • Team Pet: Of the Griffin family.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After having his attempts at making peace rebuffed very fiercely by Quagmire in Seasons Eight and Nine, Brian finally snapped back, having more occasions he deliberately screws him over or is willing to call out his hypocrisy. Bonus points for Quagmire usually having the nerve to exclaim he didn't think he was that low beforehand.
  • Too Clever by Half: He's intelligent among his species, the family often calls him the smartest of the family and people come to him for advice. But, if he gets one too many compliments he'll start thinking he's smarter than he actually is. A running gag in the series is that Brian often forgets he's a dog and when he wrote a book in "Brian Writes a Bestseller", he let the fame get to his head and forget that he wrote the book in protest and mockery of self-help books.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In "The Woof of Wall Street", he thought it was a good idea to try and invest in a company that made cheap protein shakes using dogs as ingredients. Since he's a dog himself, the company simply knocked him out and locked him up with all the others. If Stewie hadn't intervened, Brian would have been done for.
    • In "Patriot Games", having already been brutally beaten by Stewie once for not paying him back, Brian continues to not pay him, leading him to be shot in both knees and set on fire with a flamethrower. At which point he says "Let's go to the bank", meaning he had the money the entire time.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: He went from being the smartest, most cultured member of the family to a Smug Snake who feigns being smart. This was flanderized to the point where he tries to avoid mentioning that he hasn't read any books.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The 7th season. The writers presented Brian as the voice of reason with his political views being unchallenged and presented as correct. This lead to an audience backlash and made the character seem less likable to some fans. Later seasons would see Brian presented more as a Butt-Monkey.
    • His behavior in "Be Careful What You Fish For", in which he refuses to report Stewie's preschool teacher for child negligence due to feeling attracted to her. Only when he finds out she has a boyfriend does he report her.
    • Also his behavior in "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", in which he's intolerant to Meg's beliefs and uses very weak arguments for atheism against her. Many fans prior to this episode had criticized his character for being close-minded and conceited, but in this episode he reached his peak. The writers seemed to realize Brian had turned into a soapbox for their and Seth MacFarlane's political views, and would start to present the character in a much more negative light starting in season 8.
    • Whenever he comes on to Lois, who's married to Peter.
    • Ever since his resurrection in "Christmas Guy" he's behaved like much more of a dick than before, the most shocking moments so far being him giving Stewie and Chris herpes in "Herpe, the Love Sore" and screwing over Quagmire out of all his money even after Quagmire put aside his hatred of him to help him fix his teeth in "Brian the Closer". Were it not for the fact that his revival came about due to altering the timeline so that he never died rather than literally bringing him back from the dead, you'd swear that he's been following the characteristics of Came Back Wrong to a tee. Season 15 subverts this by having him portrayed much closer to his pre-"Christmas Guy" characterization (for the most part).
    • When a woman is trapped in a car that sinking into a river, Brian initially tries to help her. He then abandons her to drown when he learns that she has a child (though he did end up getting a hernia as result of this).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Somewhat. With some exceptions, Season 15 portrayed him closer to his pre-"Christmas Guy" characterization (meaning that while he was still a jerk at times, it wasn't to the same degree as in Seasons 12 through 14).
    • So far, by Season 18, he's had more Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments rather than straight out Jerkass ones as he was willing to put aside his differences with Quagmire (despite not liking each other) and seemed to genuinely care about Ida.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jack Daniels liquor, as well as Martinis.
  • True Companions: With Stewie. Their friendship is one of the only consistent things about the show.
  • Typhoid Mary: Has a nasty case of herpes, and spreads it to both Chris and Stewie by becoming their Blood Brothers.
    Tropes U to Z 
  • Undying Loyalty: One of his better traits is this to his family. For instance, he is willing to die for Peter in "New Kidney in Town" where he is willing to undergo an operation that would save Peter's life at the cost of his own. As long as Peter lives, he is okay with it. And in a Bad Future depicted in "Don't Be a Dickens at Christmas", the elderly Brian is shown sleeping at Peter's grave. Shockingly, however, he lets Stewie die in "Road to Vegas".
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Quagmire accuses Brian of this in his famous rant, citing the fact that Brian is trying to steal Lois away from Peter, the man who saved his life and gave him a good home. Subverted in "New Kidney In Town", where he was completely willing to give up his own life so that Peter may live simply because Peter took him in and cared for him.
    • So Stewie travels back in time to save Brian from his imminent death courtesy of a driving vehicle. How does Brian pay him back? By transmitting herpes on Stewie at an attempt to become blood brothers without any remorse or sign of guilt episodes later.
    • Brian is a very big one in "Brian the Closer". After Quagmire helps fix his teeth, Brian cons him into buying a dumpy apartment. It doesn't help that he said he'll never forget what Quagmire did for him earlier.
  • Villain Ball Magnet: A Running Gag concerning Quagmire during Season Eight and Nine, any attempt at him socializing with Quagmire led to him accidentally offending and infuriating Quagmire. Reached a climax where, after one too many gratuitous outbursts from Quagmire, Brian decided to just go with it and made a very personal blow out of spite. The two have had rarer but still more even-handed spats since then.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The idea early on obviously was that he was Peter's best friend, but by season 7 the only long-term positive interaction he has is with Stewie, and it's their friendship that results in ''The Road to..." episodes. Although it's not to the same extent, he often shows a lot of kindness towards Meg too.
  • Vocal Evolution: Much like Stewie and Lois. His earlier voice sounds a bit more deadpan compared to now.
  • Welcome to Hell: In Halloween On Spooner Street, after some Halloween pranksters dye his fur magenta/pink, he gains the sympathy of the Pink Panther.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This was more of an issue in earlier seasons, but now Brian is almost universally silently treated like a human by family and strangers alike, with occasional amusing Furry Reminders.
  • Willfully Weak: He rarely ever fights back against Peter, Stewie, and Quagmire's abuse but is shown to have been capable of beating them in a head-on fight as shown in the episodes "Play It Again, Brian", "Dog Bites Bear", and "Cat Fight".
  • Would Hurt a Child: Played with.
    • Despite his generally civil nature, he's hurt Stewie on several occasions, most notably in the episode "Brian and Stewie", in which he actually made the latter cry. Granted, he takes as much as he dishes out where Stewie is concerned.
    • In "Halloween On Spooner Street", he doesn't hesitate to say "Okay, let's kill 'em" after the kids who stole Stewie's candy spray-painted him pink.
    • He also bites a special needs kid because the kid kept on smothering him after repeated attempts to get him to stop, however, this is arguably justified.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Both played straight and averted. Lois punches him repeatedly in "Barely Legal", and he doesn't hit her back. He hits her in "Joe's Revenge", though.

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