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Old Dog

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"The dogge must lerne it, whan he is a whelpe, or els it will not be."
John Fitzherbert, The Boke of Husbandry

An old dog, typically seen in a rural setting. It is frequently male, often will be some sort of hound, and usually splits its time between sleeping and barking. Sometimes known for having been a good tracker or hunter in the past.

In talking-animal fiction, the Old Dog may be portrayed as a grandfatherly character, or just as a crabby old guy.

On a more cynical note, old dogs are legendarily unable to learn new tricks. However, plenty of owners will dispute that and call it a wives' tale.

The dog's death (apparent or real) can be a Tear Jerker, a Black Comedy Pet Death, or even both.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Victor's dog Makkachin from Yuri!!! on Ice is quite old for a dog (judging from an In-Universe interview, he's at least 15 years old), but it's downplayed since despite liking to sleep a lot, he's very energetic and puppy-like when he's awake.
  • Jeff the old dog from Kiki's Delivery Service is slow-moving and sleepy, but helps out Jiji the cat (who has disguised himself as a toy) by keeping him safe until Jiji's owner Kiki returns to get him.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, there was an old Stoutland who watched over the stray Litten at the start of the season. The poor thing succumbs to its age despite the Litten begging Ash for help, leading to Ash taking it up.
  • Kiba's dog Akamaru is this by the time of the Naruto epilogue chapter, and its sequel Boruto, having gone long past his prime as a ninja dog.

    Films — Animated 
  • Trusty and Jock in Disney's Lady and the Tramp.
  • Chief in Disney's The Fox and the Hound fits the "crabby old guy" category.
  • Einstein in Disney's Oliver & Company.
  • Wylie Burp in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, the old canine sheriff and a caricature of Wyatt Earp.
  • Bruno in The Triplets of Belleville. Madam Souza bought him for her grandson as a puppy, but now he's a fat, lazy dog who only comes alive to bark at the train that passes by next to the house.
  • In Toy Story 3, Woody tries to call Buster over to hitch a ride on him. But because of the 10-year gap between this and the previous film, the formerly frisky puppy is now fat, gray, sluggish, and very tired.
  • The Secret Life of Pets: Pops is an elderly old Basset hound who is paralyzed in his back legs. Despite his paralysis, Pops does manage to lead the search team into the sewers, which involves crossing some dangerous (and high up) sections of New York
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2: Rooster is a grumpy old herder who doesn't have patience for Max's anxiety and gruffly gets the younger dog to overcome his fears.
  • Heen in Howl's Moving Castle. He's an old dog who belongs to the wizard Suliman, but eventually moves in with Howl and Co. Although he is loosely based on a character from the original book, the original dog was never implied to be that old.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Shadow in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a character of the grandfatherly sort.
  • In Air Buddies, the local police dog is a bloodhound called Deputy Sniffer.
  • The first dog to expire in Eight Below is an aging male who is too weak, and/or too loyal, to break loose from their tie-down chains.
  • The doggie from The Room (2003) was very old at the time of filming. This may explain why he sat so quietly on the counter that Tommy Wiseau didn't initially notice his presence.

  • Older Than Feudalism: Odysseus' dog Argos (20+ years old) is the first one to recognize his master (even in disguise) when Odysseus returns home at the end of The Odyssey. The ancient animal then finally slips its lease on life in front of him.
    • Parodied by Discworld, where Rincewind's ancestor Lavaeolus' dog does the same. It was the holding the slippers in its mouth for twenty years that did him in.
  • Candy's dog in Of Mice and Men is one-half to three-quarters dead from old age.
  • In The Savannah Reid Mysteries, Savannah's grandmother has Colonel Beauregard. Though he spends most of his time sleeping, he did manage to take a bite out of the perpetrator of Peaches and Screams.
  • In the Warrior Cats graphic novel The Rise of Scourge, a dog named Samwise is sleeping in an alley. He loses a tooth... and that tooth helps Tiny become Scourge.
  • In stark contrast to the Disney example, Copper is the Old Dog in Daniel P. Mannix's The Fox and the Hound. In a rare Evil Old Folks version, this one comes across as a Villain Protagonist dog for some readers. Depends on how much a given reader can get into the mindset of a character that's intentionally written as having a very alien sense of morality since he's not human.
  • Bodger the bull terrier from The Incredible Journey.
  • In Discworld, Vetinari has an old greyish terrier named Wuffles, who smells like death and spends most of his time sleeping. When Wuffles eventually dies, Vetinari visits his grave regularly in an uncharacteristic show of sentiment.
  • Gareth, Richard's dog in The Sunne in Splendour was a gift to him from his brother, the king, when he was a boy. His childhood friend Anne helps him name the puppy. And years later, when Anne and Richard are adults and married, they are both grief-stricken as the elderly dog passes away.
  • Old Hunter from the first Survivor Dogs book. He's a Street Smart stray who taught Lucky much about living in the city.
  • The Japanese children's book Yasashii Lion (The Gentle Lion aka The Kindly Lion) by Takashi Yanase involves a female dog named Muku-Muku adopting a lion cub named Buru-Buru after the death of his parents, while Muku-Muku lost her own puppies moments after birth. She quickly adopts Buru-Buru and raises him to become a kindhearted young lion who acts like a dog. Due to the age gap between both species, by the time Buru-Buru becomes a fully grown lion, Muku-Muku becomes an elderly dog with wrinkles around her face, a noticeably skinnier body, and a relaxed and laid back personality.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: B2EMO may be a droid but he's clearly intended to evoke an elderly pet dog, per an interview with showrunner Tony Gilroy. He's very old, very loyal, and doesn't have much energy. His recharging station is even suggestive of a dog bed, and he can pull off Puppy-Dog Eyes with his large photoreceptor.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: Jed Clampett's bloodhound, Duke. Duke was already an old-timer when the show began, so he was extremely old nine years later. One can only presumes Granny's Spring Tonic helped extend Duke's life.
  • MythBusters busted the "old dogs can't learn new tricks" myth. They can, you just have to be more patient with them.
  • A staple on the comedy-variety show Hee Haw was an old hound dog that mostly slept on a front porch (played by four dogs through the course of the series).
  • The dog playing Buck on Married... with Children performed until he started having problems getting around. He was retired/"reincarnated" in a younger dog.
  • Mr Dean's dog Bob in All Creatures Great And Small.
  • Played for Laughs in Vicious with Freddie and Stuart's old dog Balthazar, who spends all of his time sleeping out of sight under a blanket and occasionally gets shouted at to make sure he's still alive.
  • In The King of Queens, Carrie realises the Heffernan family dog, Rocky, has to be at least twenty-seven years old as he appears in home videos with an eleven-year old Doug. Doug is now thirty-eight. Patient questioning of Doug's mother gets the confession that the Heffernan parents are now on Rocky Four. They just never told him that old dogs die and didn't want to dissillusion their son.

  • Easton Corbin's "I'm a Little More Country Than That".
    Picture a small town / with an old hound / Laying out front / of the court house...
  • The song "Old Dogs" by Bill Staines.
    Old dogs have a song to sing, old dogs like most everything, fear not what the weather brings, except when it is thunder.
    When their time on Earth is through, old dogs are forever true; around the bend they wait for you, come some tomorrow morning.
  • Walter Brennan's "Life Gets Tedious, Don't It?":
    "Hound dog's howling so forlorn"
    "Laziest dawg that ever was born"
    "He's howlin' 'cause he's settin' on a thorn"
    "Just too tired to move over"
  • The Christmas Song "Puppies Are Forever" by Sia:
    They're so cute and fluffy with shiny coats
    But will you love 'em when they're old and slow?

    Video Games 
  • Farnham Fables has Barnabas, the Edison family's elderly bloodhound. He can be found sleeping near the stables in episodes 2 and 3.
  • Chop, Lamar's (though he mostly stays with Franklin) dog from Grand Theft Auto V, is seen significantly older in Grand Theft Auto Online. Back in his heyday (2013), he was Franklin's Canine Companion who was quick on his feet and could sniff out trouble, attacking on Franklin's command (sexual distractions notwithstanding). Years later, his fur has grayed and he doesn't get around to much anymore, as described by Franklin. There's even a Bait-and-Switch where it seems as though Chop is finally dying (going by a rottweiler's typical lifespan, by 2021, he should be on his last or second-to-last year), but he's actually just stoned off his ass eating one of Lamar's pot brownies.
  • Mother:
    • EarthBound Beginnings has Ninten's dog (and very first friend), Mick. According to "Encyclopedia MOTHER," Mick was one year and five months old when Ninten was born, making him thirteen to Ninten's twelve during the events of the game. When Ninten was a toddler, Mick would let him ride on his back.
    • EarthBound (1994) has King, who belongs to Ness's family. A flashback shown late in the game shows that King was a puppy when Ness was born, making him about thirteen/fourteen years old during the events of the game. No wonder he spends most of his time sleeping around the house!

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • King of the Hill:
    • Subverted in an episode where Peggy gets a job working for the Alamo Beer Company and becomes privy to many of the company secrets. One of those secrets is that the supposedly old dog that appears in the Alamo Beer commercials is actually the third or fourth replacement and that the original dog died several years ago.
    • Hank's dog, Ladybird, is a straight example. She's nine months older than Bobby, making her (in all likelihood) 14 years old when the show ends. Most bloodhounds live 6-8 years and seldom make it past 12.
  • In Family Guy, there's Herbert's dog, whose hind legs don't work.
  • In the very first episode of American Dad!, Stan gives in to Steve's requests for a pet dog and adopts Thor, who clocks in at a positively ancient 19. Stan meant well; he thought Thor was better for having lived through the Reagan years, but as you can imagine the poor thing died very quickly. Though to be fair, it might have lived a little longer if Stan hadn't shot it in the head.
  • Once Upon a Dog is a Soviet animated short based on Ukrainian folk tale about a dog getting too old.
  • Disney's Goofy was originally portrayed as an old dog with small glasses, some stubble, and a beard who went by the name of Dippy Dawg.
  • On the Looney Tunes short "Rover's Rival", Porky Pig tries to teach tricks to his ancient, arthritic dog Rover. A young pup comes along to show Rover up and make fun of how old he is, but comes to regret it when Rover risks his life to save Porky and the pup from some exploding dynamite. And in the short, Dog Tales, we meet "a Newfoundland . . . and his grandfather, an OLDfoundland."
  • Wolf falls into this by season 3 of Young Justice, eight years after his discovery and adoption. Formerly an active companion and member of the Team, he's now most content to lay in the background and snooze.
  • Spike in the Rugrats spinoff/sequel series All Grown Up! has become this due to the time that's passed between the original series and the followup. He's no longer in his physical prime and has clearly gained weight, and is more content to lie around now.

    Real Life 
  • The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary has become popular online because the dogs are especially cute because they're old.
  • Older dogs are harder to adopt than younger dogs, so shelters are known to milk the "benefits" of adopting a senior over a puppy (their personalities are set in stone, most are already house-trained and know a few tricks, they won't grow, they're usually lazy, etc) when trying to market their adoptable seniors.