What Breed of Dog Is Courage the Cowardly Dog?

Dogs aren’t just our best friends in real life, they also star in many animated TV shows, including “Courage the Cowardly Dog.” Courage, the main protagonist of the series, is a Beagle, although several fans of the series believe him to be a mutt.

Except for his bright pink coat color — which is a fictional quirk — Courage shares many traits with the Beagle. If you’re familiar with the show but want to know more about Courage and the breed he was based on, we answered a few frequently asked questions here to introduce you to this brave yet fearful pooch.

divider-pawWho Is Courage the Cowardly Dog?

Despite what you’d expect from a TV show starring an animated pink dog, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” isn’t a lighthearted show. Best described as bizarre with somewhat disquieting humor, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” was originally created as a short, 7-minute animation called, “The Chicken from Outer Space,” by John R. Dilworth.

In 1999, Cartoon Network asked Dilworth to start a new series following Courage’s adventures. It aired from November 1999 to November 2002.

Courage, as the title of the series suggests, is the main character in the fictional town of Nowhere, Kansas. Throughout the four seasons, he finds himself in unwanted adventures featuring all sorts of villains and surreal situations that you’d expect from a horror narrative.

After his parents are kidnapped at the start of the series, Courage lives with Muriel and Eustace Bagge, who are humans. Although he’s somewhat cowardly and despite Eustace’s mistreatment of him, most of Courage’s adventures revolve around his brave attempts to keep both his owners safe.

What Breed of Dog Is Courage?

At first glance, it’s difficult to say what breed any animated TV show dog is. This is particularly true when the character design inspiration comes from multiple dog breeds. Due to this, many fans of “Courage the Cowardly Dog” consider Courage to be a mutt or a mixed breed. His cartoonish pink coloring also nods toward this mixed heritage.

But Dilworth, the show’s creator, announced that Courage was intended to be a Beagle.

History of the Beagle




13—15 inches


20–30 pounds


10–15 years


Friendly, intelligent, loyal, outgoing

These days, the Beagle is a popular family dog and hound breed in the U.S.A. They were originally developed as a hunting companion in the U.K. almost 200 years ago as a more refined descendant of the original hound breeds. While many other hounds were bred for their ability to keep up with horses during a hunt, the Beagle suited lower-income families who couldn’t afford to keep a horse.

There’s a bit of debate about the origin of their name. It can be the result of either the Gaelic word for little, “beag,” or the French “be’geule,” for the sound that hounds make when hunting.

Bred for their ability to work in a pack, the Beagle is loyal, friendly, and mild-mannered. Personable and outgoing, they get along well with children and other pets and are best suited for active families and households with a yard.

The Beagle was introduced to the U.S.A. after the Civil War and quickly became popular with rabbit hunters. Like other hound breeds, they’re excellent trackers and are quick to follow scents, making them popular search-and-rescue dogs.

What Traits Does Courage Share With the Beagle?

beagle sitting on a couch
Image Credit: Andres Arbelaez, Unsplash

Although Courage the Cowardly Dog doesn’t at first appear to share many traits with his real-life counterpart, if you take the time to compare them properly, you can find several similarities. For one thing, despite seeming much timider than the stalwart hunting dog that he represents, he shares the same cleverness and fierce loyalty that the Beagle is known for.

Courage also shows the same friendliness, as demonstrated by the number of friends that he has in the series. His ability to track his owners by scent whenever he needs to rescue them is reminiscent of hound breeds too.

The one trait that Courage doesn’t share with the Beagle is his pink coat, which is only possible in the fictional “middle of Nowhere” town where his show is based.


With dark humor and surreal horror, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” isn’t a TV show for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t make the star of the series any less lovable. Created by Dilworth for Cartoon Network when the show first aired in 1999, Courage is a pink Beagle who isn’t always the most courageous of hounds.

He is, however, fiercely loyal to his owners and shares the strong nose of the Beagle, a trait that helps him track down his owners and rescue them from whatever trouble they find themselves in.

Featured Image Credit: gerardosan, Pixabay

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