With the upcoming release of the 2022 computer-animated comedy film Marmaduke, based on the wildly popular comic strip of the same name, the beloved dog is making its way back into pop culture.
Whether your interest arose from the trailers for the animated film or the fun of the comics, you may wonder, “What breed of dog is Marmaduke?” Given his massive size, voracious appetite, and distinctive jowls and cropped ears, there’s no mistaking Marmaduke as anything but a Great Dane.
What Are Great Danes?
Great Danes have a fascinating history. Originally bred in Germany to hunt wild boar and deer and as guardians of nobility, Great Danes are a crossbreed between English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.
The Great Danes of today are more refined than their ancestors, but they’re still massive, elegant, and protective dogs. Most Dane owners keep them as pets and companions rather than as hunting dogs.
Marmaduke, the Star of the Comics and Film Adaptations
Marmaduke is a newspaper comic strip that follows the Winslow family, their pet Great Dane, Marmaduke, and his friend Carlos, a Balinese cat. The comic ran from June 1954 to 2015.
According to creator Brad Anderson, Marmaduke is loosely inspired by Laurel and Hardy routines, a comedy duo from the Classical Era of Hollywood. He illustrated the strip himself and wrote it with the help of Phil Leeming and Dorothy Leeming, and later, his son Paul.
Marmaduke often appeared in the strip on Sundays, along with a side feature, “Dog Gone Funny,” which allowed fans to submit funny anecdotes and sweet stories about their own pets.
Though Anderson passed away on August 30, 2015, the strips co-drawn with Paul are still in syndication. Throughout the decades, Marmaduke has continued to be widely syndicated and popular with readers, inspiring both the 2010 (live-action) and new 2022 (animated) feature films based on the strip.
Are Great Danes Good Dogs?
Like 101 Dalmatians and the dire wolves of Game of Thrones, Marmaduke also influenced many pet owners to go out and purchase Great Danes.
While these are great dogs, like any breed, it’s important to do your research. They’re large and gentle, but they can be expensive to feed and care for. They take up a lot of space and they’re prone to some genetic conditions, such as dilated cardiomyopathy.
Due to their size, Great Danes need early obedience training to learn manners and socialization to curb aggression. With the right owner, these gentle giants make excellent family pets.
Other Great Danes in Pop Culture
Big, gentle, and a little bit clumsy, Great Danes are often used as both cartoon and live-action dogs in movies on the big and small screen. Here are some of the most famous ones you probably know:
Marmaduke has been a popular character for decades, garnering a huge fan base and two feature films. Modeled after a Great Dane, the character’s popularity leads some to wonder if these gentle giants are the right choice for a family pet. With the right training, socialization, and care, Great Danes can be excellent companion animals.
Featured Image Credit: velora, Shutterstock