Snoopy is a fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character — and among the most recognizable comic characters in the world. The original drawings of Snoopy were "slightly patterned" after Spike, one of Schulz's childhood dogs.
Snoopy, whose fictional birthday has been established as October 4, made his first appearance in the strip of October 4, 1950, two days after the strip premiered. He was first identified by name on November 10. Schulz was originally going to call him "Sniffy" (as described in the 25th anniversary book), until he discovered that name was used in a different comic strip. He changed it to "Snoopy" after remembering that his late mother Dena Schulz had commented that if their family were ever to acquire a third dog, it should be called Snoopy, an affectionate term in Norwegian (the actual term is "Snuppa").
In earlier strips it is not clear who Snoopy belongs to; for instance in the February 2, 1951 strip, Charlie Brown accuses Snoopy of following him, only to be told by Patty that Snoopy isn't following Charlie Brown but merely lives in the same direction. Indeed many early strips show Snoopy interacting with Shermy (who is shown in one early strip running with Snoopy on his leash) and Patty without Charlie Brown, making Snoopy appear to belong to all of the neighborhood kids, similar to the dog Pete in the Our Gang comedies, who is everyone's dog. (Note: in this era, it was common for dogs to roam their local area and congregate with local children, and then return to their respective homes). Later, Charlie Brown states that his parents bought Snoopy for him at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, after another boy had dumped sand on him while playing in a sandbox.
Snoopy was a silent character for the first two years of his existence, but on May 27, 1952 he verbalized his thoughts to readers for the first time in a thought balloon; Schulz would utilize this device for nearly all of the character's appearances in the strip thereafter. At first, Snoopy acted as a normal dog, and would only think in simple one-word phrases (such as "FOOD!"), but then became more articulate.
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Official Site: United Feature Syndicate
Links: Wikipedia Entry A Snoopy fanpage Official Peanuts Site