The Real Snoopy: Charles Schulz’s Root Beer-Drinking Dog Named Spike

Plenty of artists, writers, actors, and creators of all times draw inspiration from their real lives. Often from people they know, but also from pets.

Charlie Brown and Snoopy

Snoopy, one of the most famous animated dogs and pet of Charlie Brown of the Peanuts comic, was also inspired by real-life pet. The pet in question is Spike, who was Peanuts creator Charles Schulz’s childhood dog. Note Snoopy is a Beagle, and Spike is a Pointer-mix, but both have a similar black-and-white coat and overall look.

Charles Schulz and his childhood dog Spike, the inspiration for Snoopy

Spike was the most intelligent, the wisest dog I ever knew. He had an amazing vocabulary—of words he understood. I could tell Spike to go down in the basement and bring me a potato, and he’d do it. We had long talks—he was a great listener. He was just plain smart, and the best friend I ever had

Charles M. Schulz, 1969⁣⁣⁣

If you’re a fan of Snoopy, you’ll know he loves his root beer with a passion. And apparently, Spike was also a fan. Spike and Snoopy shared many of the same traits, such as being fun-loving, smart, and all-round good boys.

Charles Schulz giving root beer to his dog Spike, the inspiration for Snoopy

These photos of Charles Schulz, Spike, and his family were taken in 1940. Snoopy debuted in the Peanuts comic strip in October 1950 and is arguably more recognized than his fictional owner, Charlie Brown. Schulz was a life-long lover of dogs and had many throughout his life. But none had the impact of his childhood BFF Spike.

Charles Schulz, his family, and Spike the dog posing for a photo

Snoopy was originally called Sniffy, but after Schultz saw another comic strip with a dog named Sniffy, he changed it to Snoopy. Schultz went with Snoopy because that’s what his mom wanted to name a second family dog they never got. In 1975, Snoopy’s long-lost brother Spike made his first appearance, with his name a nod to the OG Spike. Spike appearances increased over the years, making him one of the better-known side characters.

Spike the long lost brother of Snoopy

In 2019, an illustrated book titled Sparky & Spike: Charles Schulz and the Wildest, Smartest Dog Ever was released (with “Sparky” being Schulz’s childhood nickname.) The book tells the story of Sparky and Spike and how Spike inspired Sparky to become an artist.

Sparky and Spike book

Sparky’s dog, Spike, is a white dog with black spots. He’s the wildest and smartest dog ever.

Spike rings the doorbell to come inside.

He only drinks from the bathroom faucet.

And he knows more than fifty words.

Excerpt from “Sparky & Spike: Charles Schulz and the Wildest, Smartest Dog Ever”

Related: The history of Soccer, the dog that played “Wishbone”

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