Mental Floss
Pop Culture

10 Facts About Snoopy

Garin Pirnia
Profile: Snoopy (Official)
Profile: Snoopy (Official) / Snoopy
facebooktwitterreddit

On October 4, 1950, Snoopy made his debut in Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, just two days after the strip’s launch. The black-and-white beagle didn’t have a name until more than a month later, and he didn’t become Charlie Brown’s dog (in the strip) until December of that year. Until January 9, 1956, Snoopy walked on all fours.

Though Snoopy never spoke words to his humans—he delivered his fair share of blehs and laughed a lot—beginning in 1952, Schulz used thought balloons to convey the dog’s innermost feelings. “I don’t know how he got to walking, and I don’t know how he first began to think, but that was probably one of the best things that I ever did,” he once said. Here are 10 things you might not have known about the world’s most beloved beagle.

1. Charles Schulz’s dog Spike influenced Snoopy.

Charles Schulz working on a comic strip.
Charles Schulz working on a comic strip. / Ted Streshinsky Photographic Archive/GettyImages

Charles Schulz and his family grew up with dogs, and in 1934 they adopted Spike, a black-and-white mutt. “Spike was totally uncontrollable,” Schultz told the Star Tribune in 2016. “He loved to ride in my father’s car, though, so when he’d get loose, the only way you could get him to come would be to honk the horn. Spike and Snoopy have similar markings.” Schultz also had dogs named Major, Lucy, Carmel, Dropshot, and Andy (a mixed-breed who was his favorite).

2. Snoopy was almost named Sniffy.

If it weren’t for a comic book and Schulz’s mother, Snoopy could’ve been named Sniffy. “I was walking around the Powers [Dry Goods] department store in Minneapolis and there was a little magazine stand,” Schulz said. “I saw a comic with a dog named Sniffy and thought, ‘Oh no, there goes my dog’s name.’ Then I remembered a long time ago when my mother said: ‘If we ever have another dog, we should name it Snoopy.’”

3. Snoopy has seven siblings, including a brother named Spike.

In 1975, Schulz introduced Snoopy’s siblings: Spike, Belle, Marbles, “Ugly” Olaf, and Andy. Later on, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was revealed that Snoopy had two more siblings: Molly and Rover. Spike lived near Needles, California, which is where the Schulz family lived from 1928 to 1930. Schulz, however, regretted giving Snoopy brothers and sisters.

“It’s possible—I think—to make a mistake in the strip and without realizing it, destroy it … I realized it myself a couple of years ago when I began to introduce Snoopy’s brothers and sisters … It destroyed the relationship that Snoopy has with the kids, which is a very strange relationship,” Schulz said in 1987.

4. There’s an original Vincent van Gogh painting hanging in Snoopy’s doghouse.

Though we never saw the inside of Snoopy’s doghouse in the comic strip, it was revealed over the years that it held a lot of personal possessions, including records, books, an original Vincent van Gogh painting, and a pool table. In the 1981 animated special It’s Magic, Charlie Brown, the interior of his doghouse was shown for the first time and indeed featured a van Gogh painting—as well as an alchemy lab.

5. The Snoopy Sno-Cone machine didn’t always feature Snoopy.

In the early 1960s, because of the success of the wintery A Charlie Brown Christmas, Hasbro designer Sam Speers developed the Frosty Sno-Man Sno-Cone Machine. Instead of Snoopy, a snowman churned out chunks of ice. But in 1979, Snoopy—who had become one of the world’s most popular licensed characters—replaced Frosty to create the now-iconic Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.

6. Snoopy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2015, Snoopy received a coveted star on the Walk of Fame. Appropriately, it’s located right next to Charles Schulz’s. Snoopy isn’t the only animated character to have a star; Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and Shrek are among some of the others.

7. The Charles M. Schulz Museum in California hosts several permanent Snoopy exhibitions.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, located in Santa Rosa, California, contains a few permanent Snoopy exhibitions. Artist Christo’s Wrapped Snoopy House is a life-sized doghouse wrapped in tarpaulin, polyethylene, and rope. Visitors can walk through a labyrinth in the shape of Snoopy’s head, and admire Snoopy sculptures, tile murals, and Morphing Snoopy—43 layers that show the celebrity dog’s many personas.

8. There’s a Snoopy Museum in Tokyo.

In 2016, the Snoopy Museum Tokyo opened in Japan—a first for the country. However, in 2018, the museum closed to make room for a bigger one. (They filled the void with traveling exhibitions.) In December 2019, the museum reopened, but in Minamimachida Grandberry Park in Machida-city, Tokyo. Like the previous museum, it displays original Peanuts comic strips along with exclusive collections.

9. Charles Schulz liked to let Snoopy’s imagination “go wild.”

Snoopy has an active imagination. Sometimes he pretends to be college student Joe Cool, other times he thinks he’s Flying Ace, a World War I pilot. In 1965, Schulz introduced the alter ego who combats the Red Baron, who is based on real German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen. “I discovered that I had something good going,” Schulz said about the Flying Ace, “and I let Snoopy’s imagination go wild.”

10. Snoopy heading toward the moon.

Since the late ‘60s, Snoopy and NASA have been linked. Every year, astronauts give out the Silver Snoopy Award to deserving NASA employees, and Snoopy is NASA’s official safety mascot.

In September 2019, Snoopy appeared in a collection of NASA-themed books to be distributed with McDonald’s Happy Meals. Kids could follow Snoopy’s adventures to the moon and to Mars. Though those books are fictional, Snoopy once tweeted that in 2024, he will be heading to the moon.

“Snoopy is returning to the moon aboard NASA Orion and NASA Space Launch System rocket that will take future astronauts to deep space and usher in a new era of space exploration,” reads the tweet. Snoopy has and always will be “out of this world.”

His plans came to fruition a bit earlier than anticipated: Snoopy launched into space on the Orion spacecraft in November 2022, joining NASA’s Artemis I mission as a zero-gravity indicator on the uncrewed flight. He won’t land on the moon, but he will zoom around it.

A version of this story originally ran in 2019; it has been updated for 2022.

facebooktwitterreddit