Despite being completely fictional (and animated), Scooby Doo is undoubtedly one of the most famous dogs of all time. Since Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! debuted 50 years ago, the titular dog (what kind of dog?) has remained a staple of kid’s entertainment, winning over each new generation of viewers with his adorable voice and tendency to consume comically-large sandwiches and…err..whatever Shaggy eats. But despite this amateur sleuth solving countless crimes over the last few decades, the anthropomorphic mascot of the Mystery Gang has been able to solve the greatest mystery of all: What breed of dog is Scooby Doo anyway? Is there even an answer? It turns out: YES! And no, the answer isn’t that Scooby Doo is just an old man in a mask.
Scooby Doo is a Great Dane, which probably is what most dog-lovers already suspected, given his appearance. Like a typical Great Dane, Scooby has lanky, skinny legs and a long, stocky torso.
However, Scooby has a less refined frame and body type than most Great Danes. According to Iwao Takamoto, one of the creators of the original series, Scooby’s rough features were no accident. Takamoto revealed that to design the character, he spoke with a Great Dane breeder who shared the ideal features of a prize Great Dane. Then, to make the character more of an endearing every dog, Takamoto decided to give Scooby all of the opposite features.
“I decided to go the opposite [way] and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, small chin and such. Even his color is wrong,” Takamoto explained.
The rest, as they say, is history and despite the average lifespan of a Great Dane being around 8-10 years, we have no doubt that Scooby Doo will continue to defy all conventional wisdom and outlive all of us. Because as long as kids love watching a goofy Great Dane solving mysteries with his groovy friends, Scooby Doo will remain a cultural touchstone.