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Western Animation / Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog

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Ralph and Sam punching in for work.
Ralph: Mornin', Sam.
Sam: Mornin', Ralph.

Directed by Chuck Jones, Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog was a cartoon series in the Looney Tunes franchise, featuring the titular wolf and sheepdog, who are just regular working joes punching a clock—except that Sam's job is a sheepdog guarding a flock of sheep, and Ralph's job is attempting to steal the sheep.

There is a licensed video game based on these shorts, called Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf, which features Ralph becoming a game show contestant, as he attempts to steal sheep while avoiding Sam.


  • "Don't Give Up the Sheep" (1953) (in which Sam and Ralph's names are reversed, though the wolf isn't referred to by name here)
  • "Sheep Ahoy" (1954) (in which Sam and Ralph's names are reversed)
  • "Double or Mutton" (1955)
  • "Steal Wool" (1957)
  • "Ready, Woolen and Able" (1960)
  • "A Sheep in the Deep" (1962)
  • "Woolen Under Where" (1963) (directed by Phil Monroe and Richard Thompson)
  • Taz-Mania: Sam appeared in one episode. Ralph didn't appear, as Taz was a temporary replacement (though Sam says that he was a bit hard on "that coyote").


  • Disguised in Drag: Ralph Wolf did this in "Double or Mutton," posing as Little Bo Peep. Too bad the "sheep" he stole was really Sam, also in disguise.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Sam has one.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Sam and Ralph's names were reversed in the first two cartoons. Also, Ralph wasn't a Punch-Clock Villain at first. Also in the first two shorts, there was a night-shift sheepdog named Fred, and "Sheep Ahoy" also had a night-shift wolf. It wasn't until the third cartoon, "Double or Mutton," that they were portrayed as friends when they were off the clock.
  • Finger Extinguisher: Sam extinguishes some ticking dynamite to save Ralph using his hands (the punch clock just rang the end of the day).
  • Friendly Enemy: Both Sam and Ralph very friendly to each other when they're off the clock. Neither bears any ill will towards what the other does on the job, and Sam even offers to cover Ralph's shift when he notices the latter is getting too beat up.
  • Full-Body Disguise: Quite a few examples...
    • Ralph, an unnamed wolf in "Don't Give Up the Sheep," disguises himself this way as Fred Sheepdog at the end, presumably punching into the night shift. It's a perfect disguise, but Sam (called "Ralph" here) doesn't fall for it, and immediately hits "Fred" on the head, and the ensuing Cranial Eruption stretches and pops the wolf's Latex Perfection mask off. When the wolf tries to run off, he gets yanked back by the tail and gets his behind repeatedly whacked with the club (handed off to Sam's replacement to continue the job).
    • In "Double or Mutton," Sam disguises as a sheep this way, to be kidnapped by Ralph Disguised in Drag as Little Bo Peep.
    • In "A Sheep in the Deep," a sheep Ralph snatches unzips his bodysuit to reveal Sam Sheepdog underneath. But then Ralph slips off his wolf suit to reveal a skinny sheep. Sam removes his sheepdog disguise to reveal another Ralph Wolf. The skinny sheep then removes his costume to reveal a skinny Sam Sheepdog. The second Ralph unzips his wolf disguise to reveal another sheep. The skinny Sam removes his bodysuit to reveal the original Ralph, whom grabs said sheep, only for said sheep's head to fall back and reveal a lit stick of dynamite. Cue the Oh, Crap! face from Ralph, but then the 5:00 whistle blows and Sam reaches in from offscreen and puts the fuse out.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Ralph and Sam are good friends when they're not on the clock.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: At the end of "Steal Wool", Sam suggests a badly battered Ralph he take some time off and offers to cover his shifts for him and "work both jobs". It's left up to the viewer's imagination if he means he can just guard the sheep unopposed or if he will actively try to both hunt the sheep and defend the sheep from himself.
  • Living with the Villain: Ralph and Sam are neighbors, and get along quite well when they aren't on the job. At the end of "Steal Wool" Sam suggests to a battered Ralph that he has been working too hard and to take some rest (one notes in this episode, Ralph gets injured via mishaps more similar to Wile E. Coyote than being actually being pummeled by Sam, so this is presumably what Sam meant by Ralph overworking himself).
    • By "Woolen Under Where", Ralph and Sam actually are living together.
  • Meat-O-Vision: In "Don't Give Up the Sheep" the wolf visualizes the sheep as dinner.
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: Sam and Ralph would pause their fighting when the lunch whistle sounds, then continue where they left off at the one o'clock whistle.
    • One cartoon ends with Sam beating up Ralph just as the five o'clock whistle goes off. As they leave for home, their substitutes for the night shift clock in... and continue the beating.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: In "Don't Give Up the Sheep", the wolf (here with no name) disguises himself as a bush in an effort to steal the sheep. The sheepdog (here "Ralph") disguises himself as a tree to catch and pound the wolf.
  • Multi Layer Facade: Seen near the end of "Sheep in the Deep," as described in the Full-Body Disguise examples above.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: Literally an example alongside Punch-Clock Villain. Ralph and Sam punch a clock, start their hijinks after the whistle goes off to signal the start of their shift, then punch out and go home after the whistle sounds again. They even get lunch breaks (and in a couple shorts, smoke breaks).
    • After a lunch break, they usually resume their hijinks from the point where they stopped at the beginning of lunch break.
    • The boulder that was falling on Taz stopped in midair during the lunch break from his episode.
    • And the nature of the whole ordeal being treated like a job is emphasized when Sam advises Ralph to take some days off because he was working too hard in the episode "Steal Wool" (careful viewers will note most of Ralph's injuries were self-inflicted via accident like Wile E. Coyote rather than being pummeled by Sam).
    • Another episode even emphasizes this when Ralph's and Sam's shift ends, and another sheepdog/wolf pair comes in to replace them, starting their shift by assuming the same positions Sam and Ralph were in and continuing the shenanigans where they left off.
  • Rake Take: In "Ready, Woolen, and Able", Sam throws out a rake for Ralph to step on.
  • Reused Character Design: Ralph Wolf is literally Wile E. Coyote with a red nose instead of a black or purple one, although in "Don't Give Up the Sheep" he has thicker fur on his hind legs (and no fur on his hind feet). He's also occasionally shown with a large fang protruding from his mouth, and later shorts gave his eyes white sclerae instead of the Coyote's yellow.
  • Reed Snorkel: In "Don't Give Up the Sheep", the wolf tries this in order to sneak underwater through a pond to catch the sheep. The sheepdog drops a stick of dynamite into the snorkel.
  • Serial Escalation: In "Don't Give Up the Sheep", Sam and the wolf one-up each other by cutting off parts of the tree the other is hanging onto, until the wolf just decides to mine the cliff off. This somehow causes the hill he was standing on to collapse and leave the mound Sam was standing on floating in the air. Sam just shrugs in disbelief.
  • Species Surname
  • Stock Animal Diet: Ralph Wolf and his sheep.
  • There Is No Kill Like Over Kill: Ralph's final attack against Sam in "Woolen Under Where" consisted of a guillotine, cannons, missiles, and a crocodile pool underneath Sam's ledge. Fortunately, before Ralph could fire the Death Trap, the quitting time whistle blew ("Oh pshaw.").
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ralph and Sam are only sworn enemies when on the clock. Off the clock, however, they seem to get along fairly well.
  • The Voiceless: Ralph Wolf, unnamed here, seems like this in "Don't Give Up the Sheep," save for vocally greeting Sam (called "Ralph" here) while perfectly disguised as Fred Sheepdog at the end, and it presumably wasn't even in his real voice.


Video Example(s):


Ralph and Sam's Suit Standoff

Did Ralph Wolf come to work wearing all of those bodysuits in anticipation for such an event?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / FullBodyDisguise

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