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Gratuitous Animal Sidekick

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Complete with identity concealing mask!
"The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites."
Mr. Incredible, attempting to defend the (fictional In-Universe) Team Pet Mr. Skipperdoo in Mr. Incredible and Pals

The insertion of an animal sidekick into a property that normally wouldn't be expected to have one. Its presence generally feels forced but not necessarily without contributing anything to the script. Often an example of Executive Meddling, particularly on Animated Series, in an attempt to have a Kid-Appeal Character.

May be a Heroic Dog as well. Compare with Cousin Oliver, Team Pet.

TV Tropes has Tropey the Wonder Dog.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Classicaloid: In a show about modern versions of composers, Hashie the (blue scarf-wearing) shoebill is completely unexpected.
  • Enforced In-Universe in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun: Maeno is a shoujo manga editor, but loves tanuki, so he forces his mangaka to insert them into the plot, be it as sidekicks/animal companions or otherwise. Other characters find this completely ridiculous.
  • Tamako Market is about a normal group of people who live on a market street...and then there's Dela, a magical talking bird.


    Comic Books 
  • Superboy had Krypto in his Silver Age comics, who also appeared in the 1960s Superman/Batman animated series. In 2005, the Last Dog of Krypton made his move to center stage on TV in Krypto the Superdog. Recurring heroes were Streaky the Supercat and Ace the Bat-Hound. Robbie the Robin occasionally worked alongside Ace, being an animal sidekick to a guy who's usually an animal sidekick. Krypto also got a Shout-Out in one episode of Justice League (though it was All Just a Dream). Krypto himself has recently been reintroduced to the comics, and it works.
  • Not to be outdone, Batman had Ace the Bathound back during the Silver Age.
    • A version of Ace appeared in the '90s Batman comics, this time as a seeing-eye dog Batman had inherited from a blind Native American medicine man. He mostly hung around the cave with Harold, Batman's mute hunchback assistant.
    • In one comic, Ace was originally a vicious attack dog tormented by the Joker. He was called "Ace" for the sole reason to make the joke "Aces High" as he killed the other two dogs, a King and a Queen, by ripping their throats out. Obivously the only person that could rehabilitate the German Shepard was Alfred and that took several months and several uses of a dog bite suit until Ace gave Alfred his respect and started listening to him (shown with a simple "sit" command). Ace winds up becoming a part of the Bat-family as he eventually comes around to Bruce.
    • In Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne has a dog named Ace, but he's an Angry Guard Dog. He nevertheless makes for a pretty good sidekick in the episode "Good bad dog". He also came in handy in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
    • The Fully Absorbed Finale of Batman Beyond in Justice League Unlimited gives us the possibility that Ace is named after a member of the Royal Flush Gang who died in Batman's arms. Since the JLU episode was the last thing to ever be shown of the Batman Beyond universe, it's still definitely a nod to the old Bat-Hound.
    • Ace is pretty badass in Batman: The Brave and the Bold as well.
    • In Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts and its sequels, one of the bad guys' horde of robot dogs gets reprogrammed, and eventually given the name Ace. While in modern comics and a show or two Bruce has a normal dog who is named Ace as a Mythology Gag, this is the closest you're ever getting in the modern era to the actual Golden and Silver Age crime-fighting version. What's cooler than a robo-dog sidekick? One that turns into a motorcycle, that's what!
    • The DCnU has introduced Titus (Damian Wayne's pet Great Dane) and the Batcow.
  • In 1948, the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, was suddenly given a canine sidekick in Streak, the Wonder Dog. Not only did Streak share GL's title Green Lantern (1941), but the dog actually became the top-billed star of the series! Streak also served as the prototype for DC's other, subsequent wonder dog (Rex the Wonder Dog), who would operate without a superhero partner.
  • After being rescued from a band of grisly poachers, a white tiger named Ruarc becomes the loyal sidekick of Erin O'Shea, the hero and main protagonist of Shamrock.
  • Captain America: The Falcon has a pet falcon called Redwing that is psychically linked to him. Most adaptations ditch the bird but pay homage to him: in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Redwing is a remote-controlled spy drone (sort of bird-shaped, but not the point that you'd mistake it for a real bird) that comes out of his wing pack. In Avengers Assemble, "Redwing Mode" is when the entire wing pack detaches and is remote-controlled, though this of course leaves Sam himself grounded until he calls it back.
  • Wonder Dog (with Wendy and Marvin in tow) made his way from Superfriends on TV to the pages of Teen Titans... in which he goes nuts, kills Marvin, and puts Wendy in a coma. Would you guess that the writer didn't like them all that much?

    Films — Animation 
  • Parodied mercilessly in the The Incredibles followup short film Mr. Incredible and Pals, a parody of '50s-'60s Saturday morning cartoons. It's a pilot to an In-Universe show about Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and Mr. Skipperdoo, a rabbit (who is original to the cartoon) that does nothing but bounce up and down. He annoys the real Mr. Incredible and Frozone in their commentary on the cartoon.
    Frozone: And that rabbit is getting on my last nerve!
    Mr. Incredible: The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites.
  • Nearly every Disney movie since Pinocchio has the protagonist, and sometimes the villain as well, having an animal sidekick. (Or animated household object sidekicks in the case of Beauty and the Beast.)
    • Moana both parodies and lampshades this tendency: Moana starts off with a fairly standard sidekick in Pua the pig, but when her adventure gets going she winds up with the idiotic chicken Heihei. Maui calls it out later:
      Maui: If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess.
    • Also parodied in The Emperor's New Groove, where Bucky the Squirrel attempts to become one of these for the protagonist Kuzco, only to be summarily rejected. He then vengefully tries to get Kuzco eaten by a pack of jaguars.

  • Thoroughly lampshaded, spoofed, gnawed on, buried and piddled upon by Discworld's "Gaspode the Wonder Dog".

    Live-Action TV 

    Pro Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • The monster Cotton from SaGa Frontier was planned to be a member of the IRPO team, but their story was cut as the game was rushed. Instead Cotton is this trope to any of the other characters who recruit it, is only able to say "myu" and even has a technique called "Wonderdog".

    Western Animation 
  • Superfriends:
    • Formerly named after the original Wonder Dog in the first series.
    • Gleek in the Wonder Twins episodes of the Super Friends.
  • The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang:
    • In this Animated Adaptation of Happy Days, the Fonz has a dog called Mr. Cool. Seriously.
    • And in the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/The Fonz Hour, Mork got this pink six-legged alien dog-thing, and Laverne and Shirley were in the army with a talking pig. (We only know this from Sgt. Squealy (the pig) is technically their superior, but they never listen to him.
  • No dinosaur (see Live-Action TV above), but Gilligan got a monkey sidekick in his Animated Adaptation, and an alien one when the Animated Adaptation was Recycled In SPACE.
  • Nikko the Shar-Pei got shoehorned into this role for the New Kids on the Block cartoon.
  • The Brady Kids gave the kids a whole menagerie of sidekicks: a dog, a magical talking bird, and a pair of twin panda bears. They made a cameo appearance in A Very Brady Sequel as a hallucination, and then an encore appearance in the credits.
  • The first cartoon based on the Harlem Globetrotters features a Team Pet dog named Dribbles.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • When Timmy Turner becomes his standard superhero alter ego, Cleft, Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof usually tag along as "Ace, Clefto, and Puppy Poof the Chin-Hounds", partly parodies of Batman and Superman's dogs.
    • And, after trying the Cousin Oliver adding Poof (Cosmo and Wanda's baby) in season 6, they added Sparky the fairy dog to the show. Naturally, Sparky quickly became The Scrappy with his annoying voice and attitude.
  • The animated version of Flash Gordon in the 1970s had a baby dragon called Gremlin that was a blatant attempt to appeal to younger children.

Alternative Title(s): Wonder Dog