Pets are a big part of our lives. In the United States, 85.4 million households (or 68 percent of Americans) have at least one pet. So it makes sense when TV shows incorporate animals into their storylines — pets are a common and normal part of everyday life, and that’s reflected in what we see on TV.
We bet you can name at least three fictional pets off the top of your head right now, that’s how frequently they appear in film, television, and books. Like our own pets, these entertainment stars all have their own unique personality and play an important role in their people’s lives. When they star on a TV show, they become part of our viewing experience over the course of years (or one binge-session if you’re more into that watching method). There have been plenty of notable TV pets throughout the years, but some get to be our all-time favorites:
18. Elvis – Clarissa Explains It All
Clarissa Darling was so cool that she had an alligator as a pet. (As a side note, please do not do the same.) Elvis was a breakout star in the first season and then slowly disappeared as the series went on. Also, baby alligators get big, so the gator’s time in the kiddie pool was short lived. The real Elvis is now living at the Los Angeles Zoo and has also been a guest star on CSI: Miami.
17. Happy – 7th Heaven
Happy was such an important part of the Camden family that he had his own title sequence in the 7th Heaven intro. We looked forward to catching glimpses of Happy (a dog that truly lived up to his name) every episode. Happy’s relationship with Simon was one of the most special parts of his appearance on the show — though his unique bond with each of the Camdens made him #PetGoals. (Is that a thing?)
Happy and Simon were inseparable, mirroring what it’s like for kids who grow up with a loyal pet. Happy went on to appear in every single 7th Heaven episode; a true professional.
16. Dart – Stranger Things
We all knew Dart was eventually going to be bad news for the gang, but you can’t help but love the little monster. His favorite food was nougat and he and Dustin really seemed to enjoy being around each other. But pets always grow up too fast, don’t they? And unfortunately, Dart grew up to be a Demogorgon from the Upside Down. Maybe he wasn’t a great pet choice for Dustin, especially considering Dart ate his mom’s pet cat, but hey, how many of us have found an abandoned animal and wanted to take the lil’ guy home? Many.
15. Lassie – Lassie
Lassie was so beloved that the series outlasted the dog that played her. Pal, the first dog to play Lassie starting in 1943 passed away in 1958. He appeared in Lassie Come Home and the first two Lassie episodes. From then on, Lassie was played by Lassie Junior, followed by Spook in 1960, Baby from 1960-1966, Mire from 1966-1971 and Hey Hey from 1971-1973. All the dogs were male, despite the Lassie character being female. This is *apparently* because female collies shed more noticeably than males. Dang, even female animals experience sexism in the entertainment industry.
14. Santa’s Little Helper – The Simpsons
Santa’s Little Helper is one of TV’s longest-running pets. It helps that he’s a cartoon, so there are no recasting needs. Santa’s Little Helper has been part of the Simpsons family since their TV series debut on December 17, 1989. Homer goes to bet on a dog racing and when Santa’s Little Helper comes in last and is abandoned by his owner, Homer and Bart decide to bring him home. At home he stays for nearly 30 years. That’s one old pup!
13. Paul Anka – Gilmore Girls
When it was announced that Gilmore Girls was getting rebooted with the original cast, of course we were hoping Paul Anka would make an appearance. Lorelai’s quirky pet made his first appearance in season six, when Lorelai adopted him to keep her company while her and Rory were going through a rough patch. His name comes from a famous 1950s and 1960s singer-songwriter who even made a cameo on the show. He was a weird dog (who isn’t weird in Stars Hollow?), but we loved him all the same.
12. Marcel – Friends
Let’s preface this entry with a warning that monkeys should NOT be pets. Justin Bieber can attest to it. Please, just don’t do it. Marcel is a great example why. Ross thought he’d be a cute, fun pet for years to come. But then he went through puberty and started humping everyone… to the point where Ross had to give him up to a zoo. Not really a heartwarming story, right? But despite only being in one season, Marcel made an impact on viewers and became one of the show’s most popular characters. I mean, he was cute as a button!
11. Backup – Veronica Mars
A good private investigator always has backup. In this case, it’s Veronica and Keith Mars’ adorable pup. In the series’ three seasons, two dogs played Backup, and the showrunners didn’t even try to find similar-looking dogs. Backup started out as a white and brown American bulldog and was later replaced with a tan-colored pit bull. Oh well, at least seeing a dog (any dog) accompany Veronica on her P.I. missions is its own special kind of joy.
10. Petey – Little Rascals
Oh, sweet Petey. He was just as much part of the gang as Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat and the rest. Known for his bullseye markings, Petey was the loyal companion for the original run, which was called Our Gang and later redistributed as The Little Rascals. The dog that played him was a pit bull named Pal the Wonder Dog, but he was later replaced Pete, Pal’s son, when Pal died in 1930. For nearly 100 years, Petey has been a part of our lives, throughout Little Rascals reruns and remakes.
9. Snoopy – Peanuts
Sometimes it’s easy to forget Snoopy is a beagle. For one, what kind of beagle looks like that? Second, he is smart enough to be human, and sometimes we think he is one. Living up to his breed, Snoopy does whatever the hell he wants and doesn’t let anyone stop him. Of course, this makes for great entertainment. The iconic dog has been a key player in our pop culture since 1950. Even after creator Charles M. Schulz‘s death, Snoopy is still living on.
8. Murray – Mad About You
Murray was an important part of the Bauchman’s lives and was a constant companion throughout the series. The dog that played Murray had a few minor Hollywood jobs before he got his starring role on Mad About You, but this was definitely his breakout role. The scatter-brained, but absolutely lovable, Murray was voted most popular dog twice by TV Guide. Viewers loved this collie mix because he’s your typical, goofy dog that is just a little dimwitted at times. (Don’t judge him, though.)
7. Salem – Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Okay, so Salem may or may not technically be a “pet.” He’s a human trapped in a cat’s body, which makes this list a little bit complicated. We’re keeping him on here because even though his mind his human, his body is cat and also, he’s one of the best, nay, THE best character on the show. You can always count on him to be hopelessly pessimistic and sassy, and to get himself into a fair bit of trouble.
6. Eddie – Frasier
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but “Eddie” was actually a little monster on the set of Fraiser. Eddie was played by a Jack Russell terrier named Moose and was introduced on the show in 1993. He literally stole the show until he retired in 2000. But his popularity was at a cost to the cast members. Moose actually hated his onscreen human, Martin, and would bite actor John Mahoney during their scenes together. John was a trooper and despite his crankiness, Moose gave us some great TV performances.
5. Porkchop – Doug
Like Snoopy, Porkchop is another TV pet that is way cooler than his owner. He skateboards, listens to a Walkman, reads magazines, ice skates, plays violin — he can do it all. While Doug is busy pining for Patty Mayonnaise, Porkchop is doing Porkchop things like hanging out in his igloo and saving BeeBe Bluff when she falls through the ice. Overall, a great companion to have. Doug should feel lucky.
4. Ghost – Game of Thrones
The Direwolves deserve to have an article devoted solely to them, but this is not that article. (One day, maybe.) Introduced in season one of Game of Thrones, the Stark children were each given a direwolf from a litter that was abandoned. Some of the Stark direwolves were mercilessly killed, while others escaped to the wild. Jon Snow’s direwolf, Ghost, stood by his side, even in death. Ghost is Jon’s loyal companion and protector. Originally the runt of the litter, Ghost has grown into a powerful and important creature in the GOT universe.
3. Wishbone – Wishbone
This is an obvious choice. Who didn’t grow up with Wishbone, the most iconic Jack Russell terrier of the millennial generation? (Sorry, Eddie.) You may have caught on already, but Wishbone the show is all about the adventures of Wishbone the dog. In every episode, Wishbone acts out scenes in classic literature, oftentimes wearing adorable costumes. How can kids NOT get into literature when they have an adorable dog as their guide? The series lasted for 50 episodes on PBS and received four Emmy awards during its run. Way to go, Wishbone!
2. Vincent – Lost
Vincent is the kind of dog that’s there with you until the very end. Vincent was the only non-human survivor on Oceanic Flight 815. He was stowed in the luggage area of the plane and escaped after the plane crashed. He was then adopted by the rest of the survivors and had a very special pet-human relationship with Walt. His appearance was sporadic throughout the series because naturally, he was always getting lost. He stuck with the show for the entire series, and ended up being a very important part of the finale. (No spoilers!)
1. Comet – Full House
Growing up, Comet set the standard for what a family pet was supposed to be. The perfect companion for the perfect family, Comet was charming, funny and smart as hell. We all wanted a dog just like this Golden Retriever growing up watching Full House. It’s hard to stand out in a cast full of delightful characters, but Comet always found a way. If you go back far enough in the series, you can even see episodes of BABY Comet. Yes, Comet as a PUPPY! Full House gave us a lot, including John Stamos, but is it blasphemous to say we’d take a day with Comet over a day with John any time? We’re just being honest.