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 "If God had intended for dogs to be fashion accessories, they would have been made with handles."
from this Trope's YKTTW

There is a particular kind of little yappy dog who tends to get on a lot of people's nerves.

The thing is, as theorized by no less than Gary Larson, it might not be the dogs that people have a problem with so much. It may actually be the rather specific kind of person who tends to have little yappy dogs named Mr. Muffykins (or something equally ludicrous). In fiction, Idle Rich old ladies in particular tend to have a small pack of little fluffy creatures. In older fiction, said dogs will have foul little hearts and minds deep within their fluffy little bodies.

Newer versions of this Trope may have their roots in a very odd phenomenon. Increasingly, it seems as if some people (generally older and either childless or suffering severe empty-nest syndrome) are confusing lap dogs with furry little children. A very different kind of Pinocchio Syndrome seems to be in effect here; think of how lonely (or delusional) Geppetto had to have been to treat a cat, a goldfish, and an inanimate hunk of wood as his children.

In any case, we now live in a world where, if you wanted to do so, you could get your terrier's nails painted as she gets fitted for a thousand-dollar collar. Never mind the fact that dogs are very obviously (you'd think) not little hairy people and have markedly different wants and needs. Your terrier would be just as happy - and probably more happy - with an inexpensive comfortable fabric collar and an afternoon playing with you in the park.

So an increasingly common subversion has been to show the dog as a sympathetic character; a victim of too much misguided attention with a master who is delusional if not outright hateful. While the trope is older than this, one has to wonder how many of these are influenced by Paris Hilton's dog.

For the record, most people in reality who have small dogs are more sensible. Tiny 'purse' dogs are a matter of convenience, especially in an urban environment. A smaller dog needs much less space to be happy, and they also tend to live longer than larger breeds.

Expect this character to be Cute but Cacophonic, whether friendly or not. Compare Right-Hand-Cat. Contrast (naturally) Big Friendly Dog. And please don't Eat the Dog... as there's barely enough meat here for an hors d'oeuvre.

Examples of Mister Muffykins include:


Anime and Manga

  • Madame Muchmoney/Mrs. Kaneyo and her Snubbull (who is essentially a parody of little fluffy dogs) in Pokémon. She wanted to marry it to a Monocle-Wearing Snubbull named "Winthrop". Snubbull herself chose to get the hell out of there and became a recurring character for a while, always seeking to bite on Meowth's tail.
    • She got some closure in a subversion, as when we next see Madame Muchmoney she's become muscular and much less snobbish because she's been trekking through the wildness after her dear Snubbull the entire time. Snubbull evolves to Granbull and the two decide to be a "proper" pokemon/trainer team.
  • There's also Madame Shijimi in Naruto. Her cat, Tora, often gets loose and runs into the forest, so a common Genin mission is to retrieve it.
  • Iggy from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure is a Boston Terrier who makes an ass of himself on several occasions, though he's more foul-smelling than loud. Still, he gets better, and finally makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Polnareff.


Comics

  • In the Tintin album The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin waits for an extended period of time to use a phone box. After what is implied to be at least a half hour, an old woman with a small dog exits, saying "We can go now Fifi, it has stopped raining." She gets an extremely dirty look from him.
    • Note that Tintin is the proud owner of Milou/ Snowy, a wire fox terrier.

Film

  • Elle with Bruiser the (Gay) Chihuahua in Legally Blonde. (They were even wearing matching Jacquelin Kennedy hats at one point.)
  • Travis Cole in the movie Dirty Work.
  • Lex Luthor's girlfriend has two one of these in Superman Returns.

 "Weren't there two of those?"

  • Percy from Pocahontas.
  • The movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua is about a typical spoilt Miss Muffykins (a white Chihuahua named Chloe) who gets lost in Mexico and is the descendant of proud Incan Aztec warriors. Yes, this movie is real.
  • A Fish Called Wanda: The key witness to the robbery is an old lady with three small Yorkies, who end up getting killed off one by one each time Ken -the animal lover- tries to assassinate the old lady.
  • From the second movie on, Sharpay from the High School Musical series has a dog named "Boi," who is played by the Kenny Ortega's real life dog, Manly.
  • FuFu, the evangelist's wife's dog in the spoof Repossessed, gets tossed into a woodchipper by the frustrated evangelist. It was sweet justice.
  • Fifi, the poodle from Open Season 2; a good not-so-old example of one of these little yappers having an evil little heart.
  • Natalie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in Mars Attacks (Film) has a yapping Chihuahua that she carries everywhere. In an horrible yet hilarious turn of events, when they're captured by the martians, both are beheaded and the dog's head is sewn on Natalie's body, and viceversa.
  • Snakes on a Plane features blond socialite Mercedes and her teacup Chihuahua Mary Kate as two of the ill-fated passengers. Mercedes carries the little yipyap dog in her purse and even has antidepressants for it. Mary Kate ultimately gets fed to a boa constrictor, who turns on and devours the asshole who threw it the dog.
  • Queenie in the Danny Kaye version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, who sits in a high chair to eat, wears a bib, and barks whenever the main character moves.

Literature

  • Mrs. Pumphrey and her dog Tricki Woo from the All Creatures Great and Small novels and TV series by James Herriot. This is a relatively benign example, since Tricki is very good-natured and his owner is a very well-meaning person, but highly over-indulgent of Tricki's appetite.
  • In Animorphs, Marco's stepmother has a toy poodle named "Euclid" (she's a math teacher) who barks and acts annoying whenever it gets the least little bit excited. Unlike many other examples of the trope, it really is the poodle that is annoying, while the owner is someone Marco can learn to like. At the end of the book, Marco learns to accept his father's choice to get remarried, but he still hates the dog. Later on he turns into the dog to harass a (secretly psychotic) celebrity philanthropist Controller into attempting to strangle him on live television. It worked.
  • In the Molly Moon books, the first ally Molly makes is a pug belonging to the owner of her orphanage, who dotes on it. Petula, the dog, is fed tons of cookies, which give her horrible stomachaches, making her nasty. Molly cures her of her cookie addiction via hypnotherapy, and she becomes lovable and friendly without the horrible pain.
  • It's implied that Big Fido, the mad poodle that led the anti-human "Dog's Guild" in Men at Arms was one of these before he went insane. Making Money features a slightly more likable example in Topsy Lavish's dog Mr. Fusspot.
    • And in The Truth, Gaspode attempts to disguise himself as one of these, with mixed results:

 "All in all, the effect was not of a poodle, but of malformed poodlosity. That is to say, everything about it suggested "poodle" except for the whole thing itself, which suggested walking away."

    • Lord Vetinari once had an elderly terrier named Wuffles, perhaps his own version of the Right-Hand-Cat. It wasn't terribly obnoxious though, having a thin wheezing bark.
    • Also notable for being the only character to fight Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip (in The Truth) head on and come away unscathed. No wonder Vetinari keeps him around, he's nearly as badass as his owner.
  • In T. H. White's The Once and Future King, Queen Morgause (who in this adaptation (and Le Morte Darthur) is the mother of Mordred; Morgan La Fay is Morgause's sister and doesn't get involved in the story until later) has a succession of these little lapdogs. Mordred grows up hating them, but as an increasingly unstable adult starts keeping his own.
  • In the first Mary Poppins book, Miss Lark very much plays the stereotypical rich old lady who dotes on her spoiled and pampered lapdog. Said lapdog, Andrew, is revealed to absolutely hate this treatment and wishing for a simpler dog's life.
  • Buffalo Bill, a kidnapper and Serial Killer in The Silence of the Lambs has one named Precious. Its strident needy yapping gives that extra inflection to the already horrific pit scenes.
  • In Seventeen by Booth Tarkington, Lola Pratt constantly addresses her lapdog Flopit in Baby Talk.
  • In Eva Ibbotson's Which Witch, Sir Simon claims that he murdered one of his seven wives because she had a 'little dog that yapped.'
  • The version of the Lady encountered by Repairman Jack in Gateways has a chihuahua named Irving (pronounced Oyving). He's a classic cute, handbag-riding Mister Muffykins and secret Killer Rabbit.
  • CS Lewis's The Four Loves talks about having pets and the possibility of giving them this treatment, and how the animal could never tell the truth about its ruined life even if it could realize the extent of the damage.
  • Many dogs of this type appear in PG Wodehouse's works as the companions to evil aunts and soppy heroines. They're almost universally disliked by the heroes, although Jeeves and Wooster end up becoming quite fond of McIntosh, Aunt Agatha's dim-witted aberdeen terrier.
  • In Warrior Cats, these appear a couple times. It's a relief to the cats to be facing such a small dog, since they often can scare it away, as opposed to the much larger dogs that local humans usually own.

Live Action TV

  • Mrs. Bennett and her dog, Mr. Muggles (pictured), in Heroes.
    • There are so many fan theories about this otherwise unassuming little Pom. Who says only humans get to be genetically gifted?
    • It also said something that when Sylar held the family hostage that fans were upset that he didn't kill it.
  • Amanda and Halston in Ugly Betty.
  • Then there's Biggles, Janet's mother's dog in My Hero (TV). Biggles hates the way she makes him wear a sweater, and the fact that everyone calls him Biggles despite the fact that his name is actually Malcolm.
  • The Muppet Show's Miss Piggy also had a little fluffy dog named Foo-Foo. He didn't like Kermit much.
  • Kamen Rider Faiz has sort of an amusing take on this, in that the small fluffy dog Chaco is owned by Scary Black Man Mr. J.
  • "Sounder hates you."
  • Mrs. Chase's nasty-tempered lapdog (aka "the hairy mosquito" or "el perro microscopico") in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Kipper and the Corpse".
  • On NCIS, Dr "Ducky" Mallard's mother has a number of corgis.
  • In The X-Files, Scully inherits a Pomeranian she names "Queequeg", of which Mulder is not so fond.
    • He ends up getting eaten by a giant alligator near the end of season 3.

Newspaper Comics

  • Prince Charles, the spoiled pet corgi belonging to Aunt Dolly in Footrot Flats.

Tabletop Games

  • Several comedy-themed Advanced Dungeons and Dragons tournament adventures from the 80s, written by Rick Reid, sent heroes on missions to rescue the kingdom's lap dog mascot. This little Miss Muffykins, and her knack for getting herself dog-napped, were the common thread in a series that bore her name: "Fluffy Quest".
  • Dire poodles and other killer yappy dogs occasionally appear in comedic games. The Mr. Welch list discourages this.

  163. Not allowed to try and make a dire version of any dog of the toy breeds.

Theater

  • Evita, the dog Driven to Suicide (really) by Angel in Rent, was described as yappy - but is an Akita, a relatively large breed.
  • Once again invoking the Zeroth Law of Trope Examples, a dog of this type was mentioned in Two Gentlemen of Verona. Launce (who contemptuously referred to it as a "squirrel") was supposed to deliver it to Sylvia as a present from his master, but it got stolen by the local hooligans and he replaced it with his dog, Crab, who was ten times larger. It didn't go over well.

Video Games

  • Referenced in Snatcher, where the current pet craze is for 'Pocket Pets', genetically-modified animals in various sizes, with 'handles' and pouches for storing items, allowing the owner to use them as a fashion accessory and handbag. The animal, of course, often suffers from internal lacerations from being used to store sharp objects, and they often live short lifespans. It's mentioned that several Animal Rights groups try to ban the sale of these pocket pets for this very reason.
  • At the start of Dead Rising, the Too Dumb to Live hysterical old lady tears down a barricade to keep zombies out when she sees her Mister Muffykins outside. She doesn't realize that the Mister Muffykins was being ignored by the undead because it was one of them.
  • Telltale Games' Wallace and Gromit's Grand Adventures has Poodgie-Woo and Tinkie-Wee, two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-lookalikes owned by Wallace's snobbish, histrionic neighbor Miss Flitt. These yappers behave when their owner is around; otherwise they are vicious and inconsolable.
  • In Dragon Age Origins you can buy your companion and possible love interest Leliana a "cute nug," basically the local equivalent of a toy poodle. She'll name it Schmooples.
    • Wynne tries to dress up Dog, a trained attack animal the size of a small horse with near-human intelligence, as if he were one of these and speaks to him as if he were a baby. She (jokingly?) suggests using magic to give him a bigger and fluffier tail, changing the color of his fur, and giving him antlers. Dog plays along at first, then steals her staff to keep her from actually going through with it.
  • In Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting To Danger, a yappy Pomeranian named Mr. Mingles absconds with evidence and must be chased down and/or rescued repeatedly. His owner's attitude is even worse than most examples but if you choose the ending where she's the culprit, and bust her, the dog gets a new owner who treats him like a beloved pet rather than a fashion accessory.
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, a heavyset rich woman named Babette flips out because her precious little boy Tom is missing on the train, and she demands that Layton, Luke, and Inspector Chelmey all search for him. Naturally, her Insistent Terminology in referring to Tom as her little boy has them hunting for a child, and of course, Layton eventually realizes that the missing Tom is actually a dog.
  • King's Quest VII comes with two varieties: The villain's pet... thing, who is every bit as obnoxious as her owner(though not quite as able to send you to the game over screen. Also, the town of Falderal is led by a talking variety, Archduke Fifi le Yip Yap, who is only tolerable due to the fact that every citizen of the town is certifiably insane, and he just happens to be par for the course.
  • Ghost Trick has you save one named Missile. A small Pomeranian, who he himself admits, is only really good a yapping loudly and not much else. However with the help of the protagonist's supernatural ghost tricks, is able to save himself and his mistress from a hitman. He later gains his own ghost tricks and becomes an important ally later on in the game.
  • Minuet in Eternal Sonata is essentially this - a little yappy poodle puppy with a red bow. In the original XBox 360 version, she just yaps once and then exits the scene. In the PlayStation 3 version, however, she leads the party on a merry little chase through a Magic Mirror.

Webcomics

  • In The Law of Purple, the extremely intolerant Mrs. Wyrd owns some kind of very hyperactive long-haired little terrier named Burtie.
  • Sister America in Scandinavia and The World has a small brown lapdog named Ottawa. That she carries on her head.

Western Animation

  • A reversal occurs in Sheep in The Big City, where Lady Richington is the yappy one (a steel wig!) and her poodle is far more even-tempered.
  • Funny we should mention Paris Hilton, as a memorable episode of South Park showed her literally driving her pets to suicide through misaimed attention.
    • An earlier episode showed how Axe Crazy a jealous Jennifer Lopez can be when she tosses her puppy out of a moving car.
  • The first season of Fantastic Four had Ms. Forbes' dog, Foo-Foo, as a supporting player in her appearances.
  • Suga Mama's poodle Puff on The Proud Family.
  • Kim Possible has Commodore Puddles, Dr. Drakken's psychotic pet poodle. Another villain, Gemini, owns a tiny sickly chihuahua named Pepe.
  • The Chipmunk Adventure featured a pair of very, very 80's villains and their unpleasant little dog, Sophie.
  • In an early Looney Tunes Porky's Romance, his attempts to court Petunia are undermined by her nasty little Pekinese - at cartoons' end Porky runs away, but zooms back, for his and our satisfaction, to give the little yapper a swift kick.

Real Life

  • A real-life subversion occurs in actual poodles. They were bred as hunting dogs, and some historians suggest that the fur is cut into such strange shapes to minimize drag while maintaining enough fur on the joints to keep them warm, particularly while swimming. It may or may not be true, but regardless, poodles can be pretty bad ass.
    • Especially since there's a general assumption that a poodle is generally on the small side. Those are toy poodles. Three official sizes (toy, miniature and standard) of poodle exist - standard poodles are huge, often bigger than the labs and retrievers some people breed them with.
    • Prince Rupert of the Rhine had a frickin' war poodle who struck such fear into the hearts of his opponents that it was presented as a demonic familiar in propaganda leaflets of the time. His name was Boye, and it was suspected that he was actually the Devil himself in disguise. He was rumoured to be invincible, able to predict the future, and could catch BULLETS in his MOUTH. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major-General, and died in battle. Yes, a poodle. Your expectations? They were just boned.
    • Poodles are also the second most intelligent dog after border collies, standard poodles apparently make good guard dogs and even toy poodles make good watch dogs.
    • Additionally, Lhasa apsos, although small enough to fit on your lap, tend not to want to be there for long. Their original purpose was to act as watchdogs over monasteries, and so they actually tend to be very independent and, in addition, very physically tough for their size.
    • Dachshunds, which were bred to hunt badgers, can be startlingly aggressive for something with such a cute, odd little shape. Badgers, although fluffy and pudgy-looking, are vicious little motherfuckers who will stop at nothing to protect their burrow. Fun fact: "dachs" is German for "badger". They were sent into the badger's burrow to flush it out so the hunter could shoot it when it appeared, usually after realizing that this dog means fucking business. Modern show dachshunds are often bred into bizarre parodies of the original, efficient form--for instance, at least one male dachshund has had the problem of having legs so short, his penis kept bumping into stairs every time he climbed a staircase.
    • Papillons, despite the fact that they look like this trope embodied--and the fact that their name literally means "butterfly"--are actually one of the smartest dog breeds, and athletic enough to be world-class competitors in dog agility.
    • Yorkshire Terriers. Bred to hunt rats and other small vermin, very bright, very stubborn, and no concept of their size.
    • Any terrier. Scotties, Cairns, West Highland Whites, Skyes, Dandie Dinmonts, Welsh, Wire Hair - they were all bred to hunt vermin, and it shows. These are some of the brightest, most independent little dogs on the planet, and they require a strong and confident owner.
    • Shih Tzus are intelligent, surprisingly athletic, and stubborn. This makes them especially hard to housebreak, and their teddy bear looks make them especially prone to bad owners and thus this trope.
  • And, of course, there's Paris Hilton's little dog Tinkerbell.
    • And still, Tinkerbell was NOTHING compared to Leona Helmsley's dog Trouble.[1]
  • Queen Elizabeth II's corgis are rumoured to attach themselves to the odd ankle, though given Her Majesty is meant to be a very good dog trainer, the extent to which this is true is dubious...
  • One problem with small dogs is that their owners often fail to train them properly, figuring that they're too small to actually do any damage if they misbehave. It's a bad-owner problem rather than a bad-dog problem, resulting in a yapping, snapping, house-fouling little beast which has always been allowed to get away with behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated in a bigger breed.
    • See roughly one It's Me or the Dog segment in three.
    • The other problem is that a lot of small dogs are terriers. Terriers are bred to be high energy, stubborn, independent, vermin killing machines; the cuteness is mearly a side effect of their needing to fit down small tunnels. If they are not excercised, socialised, disciplined, and stimulated properly (read at least one hour of walking every day, plus access to a secure garden, plus consistant enforcement of acceptable behaviours, plus very tough toys, plus intensive meet-and-greet with other dogs and people from the puppy onwards) they will turn into pint sized dictators. Not handbag dogs in the slightest.

Notes

  1. But then again, the owner was a Rich Bitch...
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