Goofy and Pluto in Disney World at Magic Kingdom where besides being both dogs are very different.

Have you ever wondered why Goofy is able to walk and talk like a human (or like Mickey and Minnie Mouse) while Pluto remains on all fours and can mostly bark to let others know what he is thinking? Us too and while there is no one answer, there are several theories as to why this is. Best of Orlando did a little research and here out our top three favorite Goofy/Pluto theories:

There is a scene in 80s film, “Stand By Me” where the boys begin to discuss the theory of Pluto and Goofy. Will Wheaton’s character asks, “Mickey’s a mouse, Donald’s a duck, Pluto’s a dog. What’s Goofy?” The question implies that because Goofy can walk and talk he may or not be a dog. True Disney fans agree that Goofy is a dog but that still doesn’t explain why he has advantages over Pluto. Before we can delve into the theories we must first take a quick history lesson into both characters past.

Goofy makes his first screen appearance in Mickey’s Revue (1932), but he was an anonymous character. Over the next two years his name changes to Dippy Dawg, Dippy the Goof, and Mr. Geef before finally becoming Goofy in Orphan’s Benefit (1934).

Meanwhile, Pluto first appears in Walt Disney’s short The Chain Gang (1930) but has no name. In 1930 in The Picnic the dog is named Rover. In The Moose Hunt (1931) his name is called Pluto the Pup. This last name change to Pluto the pup makes it pretty obvious that Pluto is in fact a dog. So if we can agree they are both dogs, the question still begs, why are they so different?

Theory #1: Evolution – Some say that Goofy has evolved from a dog, while Pluto has failed to for whatever reason. Perhaps Pluto’s time as a dog is due to the fact that he has an owner (Mickey) and has been unable to evolve while Goofy may have never had an owner.

Theory #2: Disney animators rule – When Disney animators create anything they are the ruler of that thing. Theory #2 suggests that they wanted to showcase their power with the creation of one talking, walking dog and one that was just a pet. The creation of Goofy forced every Disney fan to question the natural law of things.

Theory #3: The Smart one and the Dumb one – Another interesting notion is that Goofy because he walk on two legs is the clumsy foolish character, and Pluto is the smart dog that walks on all fours like he’s supposed be doing.

Theory #4: Goofy isn’t an animal at all – As was the opinion of Carl Barks and the main characters in his stories, some of these characters just look like animals but are actually human in their behavior. They represent humanity. This could be true of Goofy, being a dawg, which is an anthropomorphized version of a dog, while Pluto remains the real dog.  

What do you believe to be true? Whatever it is, be sure to meet Goofy and Pluto on your next trip to Disney World, where they both walk on two legs, and both usually don’t talk!

Orlando, FL – 09/26/14

By: Jena Pugh