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All Dogs Are Purebred

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In Real Life, most dogs (whether stray, feral or pet) are mixed with two or more breeds; this is not so in most fictional universes. In TV shows and movies, the vast majority of 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, often implying that the boys are the ones resembling the father while the girls favor the mother. Needless to say, this is not how dog genetics work.

Purebreeds are preferred in the media 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 mutt 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 something like a poodle, a "mean" dog to be something like a Rottweiler or doberman, or other dog breeds associated with (that is, bred for) certain traits. Mixed-breed dogs, on other hand, are considered scummy scavengers and largely ignored at best.

Use of this trope in media is often criticized for causing pet fads, 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 (and not the breeders who responded to its popularity) is often blamed for many of the genetic problems that occur in Dalmatians today due to inbreeding.

This trope rarely occurs with other animals. See also Cartoon Creature for aversions.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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!" Hanako herself is a purebred Kishu Inu, but she brings an interesting wrinkle to the trope that's very much Truth in Television but 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).
  • Iggy from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is a random street dog who just happens to be a purebred Boston terrier.
  • When the Forgers of Spy X Family decide to get a pet dog, all the available ones are purebred, even the ones from an animal shelter.

  • In Dennis the Menace (UK), Gnasher and his pups are all Abyssinian Wire-Haired Tripe-Hounds. It's not mentioned whether their Missing Mom was also a Wire-Haired Tripe-Hound, but the pups are never referred to as mongrels.note 
  • Averted with Sandy from Little Orphan Annie, who is a nondescript-looking mongrel. Played with in Annie (1982), where Sandy is played by a purebred but is referred to as a mutt. Played straight in Annie (2014) as Sandy is played by an Akita.
  • Snoopy from Peanuts actually started out as a mongrel however was eventually retconned into a Beagle. He looks absolutely nothing like a Beagle.
  • In Mary Worth, when Wilbur decides to get a dog, he goes to the shelter and gets a French bulldog. It's not explained why a purebred animal is at the shelter, or how the shelter staff even know this.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Inverted with Bolt and Blaze, who are primarily American White Shepherds but also described in the stories as containing dollops of Berger Blanc Suisse and Hinks Bull Terrier, as well as Tracey, who is a schnauzer-Manchester Terrier mix. Played straight with all the other dogs encountered.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Oliver & Company, all the main canine characters (except for Dodger) are purebreds (including a Chihuahua and a Saluki). Oliver himself may or may not be a purebred cat.
  • 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, three of the four puppies in Lady and Tramp's litter are girls that look identical to their mother while the sole boy-puppy looks identical to his 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 (though Bolt doesn't look it).
  • 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).
  • Dante from Coco is a random street-dog who just happens to be a purebred Xoloitzcuintli, which is a rare and expensive breed. However, the fact that he's in fact a spirit guide makes this a somewhat justified trope.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Cheetah Girls: In the books the movie is based on, Galleria's pet dog Toto is a mutt, and a neighbor gets pissed off when Galleria's father allows him to breed with her purebred bichon frise since the resulting puppies are also mixed. In the film, Toto himself is a bichon frise.
  • White Bim Black Ear plays with this trope. Bim is a purebred Gordon setter, but he's an albino, white with black spots instead of the black with mahogany that is supposed to be the coloring of the breed. His breeder is on the verge of drowning Bim when a customer buys him.
  • The film of The Art of Racing in the Rain turns Enzo from a Lab mix to a purebred Golden Retriever.

  • Averted in the Short Story "Herr und Hund" (master and dog) by no one 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, or catbreeding marching on (the series began in 89, many breeds changed since), 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.
  • Discworld:
    • Averted with Mr Fusspot in Making Money who, as a rich old lady's pampered pet, you might expect to be a purebred. Instead, when she challenges Moist to identify Mr Fusspot's breed, he correctly says "Er, all of them?"
    • Going Postal subverts this; Moist thinks that some dogs set on him during the postmen's secret society ritual are Lipwigzers, a breed from his homeland that his grandfather raised, and that he can use secret commands on them. Turns out they're Harry King's junkyard dogs and are definitely mutts, with only a bit of Lipwigzer in them. They were just confused by the secret commands he used.
  • In the Pinkerton series by Steven Kellogg, Pinkerton is a Great Dane, and poodles appear in A Rose for Pinkerton.
  • Averted in Survivor Dogs. Almost no non-Leashed Dogs are purebred, and several of the ex-Leashed Dogs (including the protagonist Lucky) were mixes as well.
  • In Warrior Cats canon this is averted as no Clan cat has been described as a purebred. Some resemble purebreds, such as how Yellowfang resembles a Persian and Bluestar resembles a Russian Blue, however it's impossible for them to be pure due to the fact they're feral. Even the ex-kittypets all seem to be nondescript mixes. This doesn't stop fans (and even some of the writers) from referring to certain characters as purebreds though. For example, Bluestar is frequently described as a Russian Blue however she has the wrong eye colour (blue instead of green) and isn't from a purebred Russian Blue lineage.

    Video Games 
  • In Dog's Life you can control various dogs and almost all of them are purebred. The protagonist Jake is an American Foxhound and his love interest is a Labrador Retriever.
  • Postapocalyptic Dogs are a recurring element of Fallout, and since the same few models are used for all dogs, if one is a purebred then many more are—despite the setting not being some place you'd expect people to keep distinct breeds:
    • 1 and 2 are the only full exceptions by merit of the in-game model and the original Dogmeat's character portrait not resembling any particular breed. The model for the robodogs, including K9, is a slightly modified version of the regular one.
    • All of the non-mutated dogs in 3, including its Dogmeat, look like Australian cattle dogs, a reference to Max's dog in The Road Warrior. The mutated dogs, though suffering from hair loss and some radiations burns, look strangely like pitbulls. New Vegas recycles these two models, modifies the non-mutated dog model to make the cyberdogs (including Rex), and adds in the wolf-like Legion mongrel.
    • The generic, non-mutated dogs in Fallout 4 are rottweilers, albeit with some coat variation. Dogmeat, who has a fully unique model in this game, is a German shepherd. The mongrels and mutant hounds are far more heavily deformed than earlier counterparts, though still recognizably similar to dobermans and bulldogs, respectively.
  • In Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life the protagonist finds two stray dogs at the start of the game and picks one to own. They just so happen to be a Beagle and a Shiba Inu. Carter also owns a Chihuahua that can't be interacted with.
  • In the pet sim Little Friends: Dogs & Cats, you can own a Toy Poodle, Shiba Inu, Chihuahua, French Bulldog, and German Shepherd. The cats are also purebreds: American Shorthair, Scottish Fold, and Japanese Bobtail.
  • In Nintendogs, and other similar dog sim games, the dogs are generally purebred.
  • Most dog-like Pokémon are usually based on specific dog breeds (Snubbull and Granbull are Bully Bulldogs, Furfrou is a standard poodle, Lillipup is a Yorkshire terrier), mythological creatures (Arcanine is based on the shisa, Lucario on Anubis), or both (Houndour and especially Houndoom are doberman Hellhounds). However, there are some dog-based Pokémon with traits of multiple breeds, like Eevee evolution line and also the aforementioned Furfrou whose untrimmed form is based on the Afghan Hounds.
    • This trope is kept consistent with the introduction of Fidough and Dachsbun in the ninth generation, being based on dachshund dogs, but also lends itself to a pun by virtue of their being made from what looks to be bakery dough; they're pure bread.
  • The dog anthros in Star Fox are all purebred based.
  • The DOG Island is set in a world of talking dogs, with no humans around. All dogs are still identifiable breeds though, including your Player Character, who can be one of about 50 different dog breeds. Some dog breeds even are portrayed with alterations that normally humans give to dogs, such as docked ears—though those could potentially be excused in-universe as being similar to human body modifications, such as tattoos or piercings.
  • The Sims 3 Pets subverts this. Most dogs are purebred but there are also some "designer dogs" available. You can also design a mutt for yourself.
  • Played with in To the Rescue!. While the different breeds featured are based on popular dog breeds, majority of the dogs that arrive at your shelter are implied to be mixed-breed unless "Purebred" is one of their traits.
  • This is the case in Tokyo Jungle. All of the dogs that you can play are purebred including the initial dog you start as in the story, a Pomeranian. This is an odd case as without human intervention pretty much every dog should be a mutt after a few generations.

  • According to the artist of Lola and Mr. Wrinkles, Lola is a Labrador. Additionally, Hugo, the dog next door, is a Saint Bernard.

    Western Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo plays with this. Officially, he's a Great Dane, but is much more cowardly and goofy-looking than the strong and steadfast breed is known for. At the very least, he's big and friendly.
  • 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.
  • Mocked in the animated adaptation of Billy the Cat, where a bunch of purebred dogs use their purebred racism as excuses to not only kill the cats, but also mixed-breed dogs.
  • The dogs in the 2010 iteration of Pound Puppies are all purebred as well.
  • Of the three dogs in the Arthur cast not of the Funny Animal variety, only the latest arrival, Killer, is purebred. Pal's breed is unknown, and Amigo is a Bulldog-Boxer mix. It comes up in one episode where it keeps all but Killer from competing in a dog show.
  • In Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Zoe is a purebred (and strangely enough, she confuses her own sister with a male stranger, because "all [members of MY OWN BREED] look the same to me"). When Youngmee gets a dog, it's not only a purebred, but an incredibly rare and valuable one. Of all the dogs who have at status listed, only one turns out to be a mutt: Mrs. Biskit's prized show dog, who seems to only have enough 'impurity' to have a minor discoloration of her paw pads.