What Kind of Dog Is Scooby Doo? (Official Theories)

For over 40 years, Scooby-Doo and The Mystery Gang have given TV watchers and cartoon fanatics more than their fair share of laughs. The lovable group of mystery-busting, monster-fighting teens and their beloved talking dog Scooby-Doo travel the country, solving the spookiest of supernatural events.

Throughout the series, very few characters or viewers seem to find the fact that Scooby can talk to be strange. The mystery most people want to unmask is what kind of dog Scooby-Doo is.

what kind of dog is Scooby Doo
What kind of dog Is Scooby Doo? (Official theories)

Look’s like we’ve got a mystery on our hands! Read on to discover the official dog breed of Scooby-Doo, as well as some other wacky theories and facts about our favorite canine detective.

What Kind of Dog is Scooby-Doo? 

Most people agree that Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane. The show’s chief animator, Iwao Takamoto, based the crime-fighting character on the large, majestic breed.

However, one glance at Scooby-Doo makes it clear that Takamoto took a few creative liberties when creating him. There are several physical and personal traits of the Great Dane breed that Scooby emulates and a few others he doesn’t.

Great Dane Physical Characteristics 

Great Danes are huge and strong dogs. Males reach heights of 32 inches at the shoulder, which puts them well over 6 feet tall when they stand on their hind legs. Scooby-Doo is approximately 4 feet 2 inches tall, which is slightly exaggerated but not entirely out of the realm of possibility for the breed.

great dane standing in snowfall
A brown Great Dane standing in a snowfall.

In the show, Scooby-Doo is often portrayed as a clumsy dog. However, Great Danes are athletic and have excellent balance in real life. Their deep, intimidating bark and keen observation skills also make them good guard dogs.

Unfortunately for Scooby-Doo, he was blessed with neither great attention to detail nor a fearsome guard dog mentality.

That being said, Scooby is intelligent, just like the breed he was based on. After all, the dog can talk.

One of the defining physical characteristics of both Scooby and the Great Dane breed is their massive, square-shaped head. They have long, narrow skulls with a bump on the crown and expressive eyebrows.

Great Danes also have large floppy ears. Scooby’s ears are quite different from his supposed breed. They are small in comparison to the giant size of his head.

His ears are also somehow both erect and floppy. The ears appear to stand up at the base, while the top tip of his ears flops over.

Great Dane owner
Great Dane with his owner in a blue background.

Another significant difference between Scooby-Doo and a Great Dane is the overall shape of their body. Scooby-Doo is tall, trim, and muscular. However, he has bowed legs and a humped back that contrast with the straight spine and legs a Great Dane possesses. Takamoto purposefully drew Scooby-Doo differently for comedic effect. 

Scooby-Doo has several other characteristics in the show that Great Danes do not possess in real life. For example, he has a prehensile tail that can point and grasp objects. He also has finger-like appendages on his paws, which he uses like human hands to eat with.

His coat color, brown with black spots, is also unlikely to occur in a real Great Dane.

Great Dane Personality Traits 

Great Danes are typically friendly, sweet, and sociable dogs. Most consider the breed “gentle giants” as they are affectionate, good with kids, and make fantastic family pets. This aligns with Scooby Doo’s personality.

He is a loyal and friendly companion to Shaggy and the rest of the gang. 

A Great Dane is also highly adaptable and open to strangers. They also love to play and would prefer to do so non-stop. Considering that Scooby-Doo is a big ole’ fraidy cat who doesn’t care for solving supernatural mysteries, it’s safe to assume he’d prefer to play fetch with Shaggy in between meals.

Great Dane Lifespan 

In the show, Scooby-Doo is perpetually seven years old. This aligns with the average lifespan of the Great Dane breed. Great Danes generally live between 8 to 10 years, although a lucky few reach the age of 12.

Their relatively short lifespan is a result of their massive size. Large dogs like Great Danes age faster than smaller breeds.

owner checking Great Dane's ear
Owner checking Great Dane’s ear for dirt.

Great Dane Exercise, Training, and Nutrition Needs

Great Danes are relatively low-maintenance dogs when it comes to training and exercise. They do require a large amount of food to maintain their size and weight, but do they need as much as Scooby seems to?


Thanks to their large size, Great Danes require minimal exercise daily to maintain a healthy weight and remain mentally stimulated. An average of 20 to 40 minutes of exercise is plenty for an active Great Dane.

That’s nothing compared to the marathons Scooby endures while running from masked boogeymen and scary ghosts.

a Great Dane plays in the lake or river water
Great Danes love a good water frolic!


There is no doubt that Scooby-Doo is a well-trained dog. He never needs to be on a leash and listens to his owners. The level of trust the gang has in Scooby could be partial because he can communicate with them.

However, this level of training does align with real-life Great Danes.

Great Danes should be socialized with people and other animals early and often. Obedience training may also ensure the dog responds well to its owner’s commands. Once trained, a Great Dane is typically loyal and listens well.

Great Dane dog show
Great Dane with owner at a dog show.


You don’t have to be an avid Scooby-Doo fan to know that Scooby likes his snacks. In addition to his beloved Scooby Snacks, Scooby-Doo partakes in a diet that is extremely unhealthy for a normal Great Dane.

Scooby enjoys human foods, including sandwiches, burgers, French fries, pancakes, pizza, and ice cream sundaes. While members of The Mystery Gang claim his rampant appetite is the result of a high metabolism, it doesn’t quite explain why he can tolerate such a high volume of sodium-rich food.

In reality, the Great Dane breed requires anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. This should come in the form of high-quality dog food designed for large breed dogs. Their diet should consist of:

  • 23% protein (poultry, fish, or red meat)
  • 12% fat
  • Easily digestible carbohydrates

Additional supplements and nutrients that support a large dog as well as pre and probiotics for gut health are also good to include. Human foods like berries, broccoli, potatoes, apples, and bananas are great additions to a Great Dane’s healthy diet.

Great Dane dog bowls
Great Dane having breakfast.

Common Great Dane Health Issues 

Great Danes are susceptible to several common health issues and illnesses, some of which can be fatal.

Bloat is a major health issue for the breed. This occurs when the dog’s stomach twists and cuts off blood supply to the rest of the body. Luckily, Scooby-Doo seems immune to this dangerous problem.

Great Danes also suffer from bone disease and joint problems due to their size. Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia are common and develop slowly as the dog ages. Chewable supplements are usually a recommended course of action to help support a Great Dane’s bone health.

We can only hope that Scooby Snacks have glucosamine and chondroitin in them!

Great Dane barking
A black and white colored Great Dane barking on the park.

Was Scooby-Doo Always a Great Dane?

Saying that Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane, or at least a caricature of one, is a fair assumption to make. However, surprisingly, our clumsy and constantly hungry four-legged pal was not always a Great Dane.

Originally, Scooby was meant to be a Sheepdog named Too Much. However, it was decided that Archie Bunker’s dog Hot Dog from the comic strip “Archie” was too similar. In the original show pitch, Scooby’s Sheepdog persona was also a bongo player.

a big great dane dog stands in a yard
A large and attentive Great Dane standing on a manicured lawn

Fun Facts About Scooby-Doo

Let’s take a look at some fun facts about our favorite cartoon Great Dane.

brown Great Dane
Close-up photo of a brown Great Dane.

Fun Fact #1

Scooby’s full name is Scoobert Doo. The show’s creators based his name on the Frank Sinatra song “Strangers in the Night: Doo-be-doo-be-doo.”

Fun Fact #2

Scooby-Doo is an identical triplet. His siblings’ names are Dooby Doo and Skippy Doo.

Fun Fact #3

Scooby can speak English well, considering he is a dog. However, he starts most of his words with the letter “R.” This is a real speech disorder called rhotacism.

Mystery Solved 

Scoobert “Scooby” Doo is a Great Dane. Although some of his lovable characteristics and personality traits are a bit exaggerated, he is a large, sweet, and loyal dog that gives Great Danes everywhere a good name.