Is Goofy a Dog or a Cow?

By: Malena Esposito

From his clumsiness to his optimism to his “oh gawrsh,” and “awrh shucks,” there’s no denying that Goofy is pretty goofy. For over eight decades, this iconic cow has provided laughs and lessons for generations, and his popularity will only continue to grow. But wait, did I just say cow? Yes, yes I did.

Since he was first introduced in 1932, there’s been an age-old debate on whether Goofy is a dog or a cow. You might immediately say dog, but there’s plenty of evidence that suggests otherwise. Today, I’ll be presenting such information, possibly swaying your childhood opinion.  

According to the Disney Wikia page, Goofy is described as a “tall, slender, black, anthropomorphic dog.” While this adds up initially, questions are raised when one considers Mickey’s most trusted companion, Pluto.

Between the two characters, Pluto is the only one that is truly treated like a pet. If Goofy is a dog, then why does he get to strut around on his hind legs while Pluto is renounced to dragging along all fours? Why does Goofy speak English while Pluto can only bark? Why does Goofy get to live in a house while Pluto is restricted to a dog pen outside? Would Walt Disney really be that unfair? Is he trying to subliminally teach his audience some sort of life lesson? I mean, this is the same guy whose body is in a freezer so he could extend his lifespan…but that’s a theory for another time. If Goofy is a dog, that would completely belittle Pluto, who has just as crucial of a role. Come on—first the planet, now Mickey’s best friend?

However, BestofOrlando.com provides possible evidence for this disparity. Could evolution be the culprit? It’s quite likely that over time, Goofy has developed from his original form, whether it be a dog or a cow, and Pluto has not, preventing him from possessing the same human-like characteristics that Goofy has. BestofOrlando also credits their differences to the Disney animators themselves. Maybe they did really have an ulterior motive, to show the injustices of life. Thirdly, the website suggests that level of intellect may be a considering factor. As mentioned previously, Goofy is rather dense and ditsy, but what if the reasoning goes further than to provide comic relief? Although this theory most directly implies that Goofy is a dog, what if Goofy has no idea who or what he is entirely? What if he only walks on two legs because that’s what he sees the most? Despite his struggles with communication, Pluto might just be the brighter of the two after all, because he has that sense of identity that Goofy lacks. And lastly, what if their differences aren’t as deep as we thought? Throughout the Disney universe, we’re exposed to a variety of personified species, from mice to elephants to ants to snowman. Keeping in mind that Pluto is one of the few, if any, animals to act “themselves,” what if he’s just that? What if Disney just wanted a pet, and that pet is Pluto? What if the variety of species were created to show the variety of people in real life? Diversity is key to understanding each other’s dissimilarities, so maybe that’s just what Walt wanted to do by including an abundance of animals.

Furthermore, to support the argument that Goofy is a cow, what about Clarabelle, Goofy’s girlfriend? Since her first performance in 1928, it’s widely known that the beautiful bovine is just that. And considering that Disney tends to pair like species together, why would Clarabelle and Goofy be any different? Donald and Daisy Duck, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Simba and Nala, Mike and Sylvia, Thomas and Marie, Lady and the Tramp, the list goes on and on. Why would they break their rule for ONE couple? Just one, out of over one hundred?

Moreover, what about physical characteristics? Goofy’s buck teeth are flat, just like a herbivores. However, many may see this small observation as insufficient evidence, and I’m sure several readers are likely to remember Goofy’s original name; Dippy Dawg. Well, you got me there.

I’m not saying that Goofy is a dog and to be honest, I’m not even saying that Goofy is a cow. Do I think he’s a dog? No. Do I think he’s a cow? Yes. Do I think I did a good job of arguing for either side? No, not really. Truthfully, there wasn’t enough evidence for either side, but maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s what Disney wants.

Maybe Disney wants us to use our imagination. That’s what they’re all about, isn’t it?

Trust me, I’ve searched the internet high and low regarding this pressing matter. But unfortunately, no matter how much I search, I’ve failed to find any genuine verification. In my travels, I’ve discovered a plethora of debates and discussion boards, yet nothing by Disney themselves. I’ve even found a rather interesting article, and although it supports my claim, has little to no credibility as it seems very fabricated and fictional.

But nonetheless, considering the fact that Goofy has been around for about eighty years, did Disney really not have a single thing to say about their most famous angus, even subtly? Guess not.

For now, I leave you with this:

Cow

A picture of the Aberdeen Angus hornless cattle, the breed that Goofy would be if Goofy is a cow.

(Goofy (as an adjective) is a synonym for clown. Clown – L and N = Cow.)

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