In the world of cartoons, it’s not hard to have a unique background, as many of the creators are just as idiosyncratic as the characters and stories they put on screen, but Underdog is a bit different. Masterminded by some of the best on Madison Avenue in 1959, Underdog started as a means of selling General Mills cereal. Given its 124 episodes and 10-year original run, it’s safe to say the marketing strategy worked. Since then, it’s seen several comic book releases, syndication on other networks and even a film adaptation, all of them forming a complete world of characters with fantastic names perfect for potential dog-namers.
Underdog Inspired Dog Names in Pop Culture
It’s impossible to present an Underdog inspired naming guide without talking about the dog himself. He is, after all, a pretty significant part of American history, influencing everything from childhood memories to representing a change in approach in the world of advertising.
While the likes of Mickey Mouse certainly beat Underdog to the screen and The Flintstones were the first cartoon to be a regular on primetime television starting in 1960, the advent of Underdog in 1959 certainly marked a turning point in the advertising world’s approach to selling to the youngest of markets. It happened to take a few years post-creation before Underdog ever hit in-home televisions in 1964, but it still entered as one of the first of its kind. Directly sponsored by General Mills, the aim was an attempt to sell more breakfast cereal like Cheerios, which was endorsed by the caped canine. Soon after, many other cartoons followed suit, such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, also a General Mills marketing adaptation that was both created and aired around the same time period.
Despite the popularity of Rocky and Bullwinkle’s variety show style presentation, Underdog himself was a massively popular character. He was, after all, the best of both worlds: a humble, low-key and lovable regular Joe (or Spot, as it were) as the modest Shoeshine Boy and a brave and determined superhero as Underdog. He had many of the classic attributes others came to know and love about the most traditional standard set in the superhero world: Superman. He was a charming and unassuming person in his hidden role as just an average dog, yet when duty called, there was little hesitation to get out and fight crime, no matter how difficult or strange. He even had his own version of Lois Lane in Sweet Polly Purebred.
But Underdog also did what few spokes dogs had done before: went on to sustained success. After airing as a supportive sponsorship for General Mills, the television series went on to three years of full production and another seven of syndication. Over the next 45 years, Underdog also enjoyed limited comic runs from five different companies and was even featured in a Little Golden Book shortly after syndication ended. His popularity surged again in 2005 with a live-action adaptation of a newly-written story with the same familiar characters as well as full-scale DVD releases in both 2007 and 2012, complete with remaster episodes and bonus material.
Underdog Inspired Dog Name Considerations
When trying to come up with an appropriate Underdog inspired dog name, we suggest first taking a close look at your dog and making a list of their most defining traits, whether that’s their looks, quirks or overall personality, as it will be the easiest reference point.
For instance, if your dog is a bit of a trouble maker, then the names Riff or Raff would be perfectly suitable — especially if they are a wolf-like breed. If your dog happens to be your right hand canine or partner in crime (hopefully not actual crime), then the name Mooch would definitely fit (or if they’re a frequent beggar as well). If they are particularly fast, then the names Spinny and Wheels would be suitable. If you have two dogs who not only make trouble together, but also have bad breath, the names Irving and Ralph would be perfect.
There are plenty of directions you can go from the simplicity of naming them after a favorite character to naming them after a one-liner in a singular episode, leaving you tons of options. Our list is comprehensive but certainly not all-encompassing, so if you need any further inspiration, go rewatch a few favorite episodes or dig around and with any luck, your efforts will yield heroic results.