Disney has created dozens of recognizable characters since its founding in 1923, including princesses like Cinderella or Jasmine, as well as others such as Mickey Mouse and Lightning McQueen.
While most of these characters are obvious in what animal or object they portray, Goofy can be difficult to decipher. Some believe him to be a cow, specifically an Aberdeen Angus cow, due to his relationship with Clarabelle Cow in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Others consider him to be a dog, closer in relation to Pluto.
Why do People Think Goofy is a Dog?
If you look into the history of Goofy, you will find that Disney originally created Dippy Dawg back in 1932. You can find him in Mickey’s Revue, sitting beside what appears to be an early version of Clarabelle Cow.
Later that same year, Dippy Dawg seems to transform into a younger version renamed Goofy in the cartoon Orphan’s Benefit.
The 1990s animated show Goof Troop featured Goofy in a slightly different setting than his classic depiction. In the show, Goofy is a single father to his young son, Max, with whom Goofy shares a loving relationship. In the pilot episode, the two move into a home next door to his old friend Pete, who is often annoyed with Goofy, much to the ignorance of the latter.
With his faith now seemingly quashed, Goofy sinks into a state of depression. Max tries to cheer up his father in the same way Goofy earlier tried to do so for Max: Max dresses up as Santa, restoring his fathers faith. But when Goofy attempts to have “Santa” meet Max, he ends up chasing the disguised Max up the chimney, where Max is accidentally unmasked and explains to his father that he just wanted to make his dad happy. Goofy is touched by this and the two embrace. In the end, Goofys faith is validated after all when real Santa finally comes and gives Max the gift he had asked for earlier.
The Goofy How to… cartoons worked so well that they became a staple format and are still used in Goofy shorts today. Later, starting with How to Play Baseball (1942), Goofy starred in a series of cartoons where every single character in the cartoon was a different version of Goofy. Expanding his cartoon roles, this took Goofy out of the role of just being a clumsy cartoon dog and into an Everyman figure.
Goofy also was a secondary character in episodes revolving around Max. In “Goofy for a Day”, Goofy challenges Max to be a waiter when Max decides the job is not important. In “Maxs New Car”, Goofy refuses to allow Max to have his vehicle, feeling that his son is not responsible enough. However, he changes his mind when Max and Mickey can remind him that he was once the same way (via clips of Goofys Motor Mania cartoon). Finally, in “Maxs Embarrassing Date”, Max was being off work, and on a date with Roxanne at the House of Mouse, and all the main Disney cast (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy) were embarrassing him, until Goofy, who Max thought was originally going to be the most embarrassing to deal with, cuts in between Maxs date and the House of Mouse management (again, being Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Clarabelle, and Horace) to give Max and Roxanne some privacy for the night.
In the sequel to A Goofy Movie, Goofy becomes an empty-nester after Max leaves for college. His resulting depression results in him performing poorly at his job which consequently gets him fired. To obtain a new job, Goofy must get a college degree, which he never obtained earlier in his life, having dropped out before completing his final year. Goofy decides to go to the same college Max is attending. While there, Goofy joins the Gamma Mu Mu fraternity and begins a relationship with the school librarian, Sylvia Marpole. Max is initially supportive, but eventually snaps and completely disowns Goofy, telling him to get his own life. This hurts Goofy, to the point of flunking his first midterm exam and forgetting his date with Sylvia. He considers dropping out but is re-inspired by Pete, remembering that his main purpose of going back to college is to get his degree. With his focus regained, Goofy passes all of his midterms and quits the Gammas.
Is Goofy a Dog or a Cow?
Disney is very clear. Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a duck and Pluto most certainly is a dog.
And while Mickey and Donald have human-like qualities, Pluto does not.
Perhaps that is why people think Goofy can’t be a dog and that he must be a cow.
I mean, would Disney create two dogs, giving only one human-like quality?
The second cause for believing Goofy is a cow comes from his love interest.
Throughout Disney movies & cartoons featuring the loveable character, we are shown that Goofy’s love interest is Clarabelle Cow.
This probably leads people to once again believe that Goofy is a cow.