Author(s) Patrick McDonnell
Current status / schedule Running
Launch date September 5, 1994
Syndicate(s) King Features Syndicate
Publisher(s) Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre(s) Humor

Mutts is a daily comic strip created by Patrick McDonnell in 1994 based on the day-to-day adventures of two house pets: a dog named Earl and a cat named Mooch. Earl and Mooch interact with each other, their human owners and a large cast of neighborhood animals.

Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, was a fan of this strip, saying that it's "one of best comic strips of all time."[1]


Characters and story

Earl and Mooch

The strip centers on the relationship between Mooch, a cat, and his best friend and neighbor Earl, a dog. Their friendship focuses on the differences between cats and dogs as pets and friends: Earl is friendly, loves the company of his human companion and likes to play outside; Mooch is often indifferent to his human companions, except for being fed, and prefers to stay inside and play by himself. Both animals frequently express themselves through thought balloons when their owners are around.


Earl is an innocent Jack Russell terrier who lives with his human companion Ozzie, a bachelor. They love spending time together and taking frequent walks. Earl often howls in loneliness when Ozzie is away from home. Earl spends much of his free time with Mooch, either inside or wandering around town visiting other domesticated and wild animals. He loves to eat both human food and his own dog food. It is revealed in a 2011 Valentine strip that Earl was adopted by Ozzie from the shelters.


Mooch is a curious tuxedo kitty who lives next door to Earl with his human companions Millie (who often calls him "Moochie") and Frank and a pet fish named Sid. Mooch is somewhat reclusive, sometimes preferring to stay inside and nap, or play with his little pink sock, rather than go outside with Earl. He, along with all other cats depicted in the strip, has a lisp that causes him to insert an sh into words, such as yesh (yes), shmilk (milk) and shmousie (mousie). He frequently snubs his cat food, much to Millie's chagrin, dislikes car rides, and like Earl, he eats human food at every opportunity. He frequently uses a little girl's Bobbie Doll toy car.

In 2005, Earl and Mooch appeared as guests in Blondie and Dagwood's 75th anniversary in the comic strip Blondie.

Other characters


  • Ozzie - Earl's owner, a 30-something bachelor
  • Millie - Mooch's owner, a middle-aged housewife
  • Frank - Millie's retiree husband
  • Butchie - A butcher, the owner of Fatty Snax Deli, who tries to stop Mooch and Earl from eating his food
  • Dr. Woo - A veterinarian often seen with Ozzie
  • Doozy - A little girl who loves animals
  • Bushy - Doozy's best friend and a hero to Tom-Tom


  • Bip and Bop - Two squirrels who like bonking ground-dwellers with nuts
  • Chickpea and Chickpea's brother - Two former "Shelter Stories" kitties; the two are indistinguishable
  • Crabby - An unhappy crab who speaks with frequent expletives (denoted by stars and typographical symbols). He claims to have gone on many adventures, such as on a pirate ship, inside a whale, and even meeting the Popeye cast.
  • Guard Dog - A fierce-looking bulldog, perpetually chained up in his yard
  • King Crab - The crabbiest of them all. Ruler of all he sees (since he's at the bottom of the ocean, however, he can't see anything).
  • Lollipop - Crabby's soft-shell wife
  • McGarry - A bird who lives at the shore and tries to get Crabby not to swear
  • Mussels Marinara - A mussel that's always talking about its muscles; Crabby's buddy.
  • Noodles - An alley cat friend of Shtinky's
  • Philippe - A bird always wooing his love, Phoebe
  • Shnelly - The house cat for whose love Mooch and Noodles fight; only the top of her head is seen through her owner's window
  • Shphinx - One of Mooch's alter egos, obsessed with answering riddles
  • Shtinky Puddin (aka Jules) - A little kitty with a short memory and a very wealthy human companion. He wants to save the world and often speaks out about animal rights, especially saving the Tigers.
  • Sid - A fish who lives in a goldfish bowl in Mooch's house, and wishes to be free
  • Speed-o (aka Little Earl) - Mooch's pet snail obsessed with walking Mooch
  • Sourpuss - An unhappy kitty who hates Mondays and usually hides under his owner's sofa
  • Tom-Tom - A former "Shelter Stories" cat
  • Woofie - The big, energetic dog that "wuvs" everything and everyone

Recurring storylines

From time-to-time there are special sets of daily comic strips, such as "Shelter Stories" (which focuses on animals in shelters) and Animal Idol (a parody of American Idol). More recently, some strips have poked fun at The Big Lebowski, featuring Mooch as the Dude, with different characters quoting lines from other characters from the film. Every summer, Earl and Mooch and their families visit the Jersey Shore, where they are joined by Crabby, Mussels Marinara and McGarry. From time to time, Mooch drapes a towel over his head and delivers oracles as The Shphinx. In the fall, Bip and Bop embark on their campaign of dropping nuts on ground-dwellers' heads.

Animal welfare and animal rights

On occasion, McDonnell devotes the strip for a week or so to animal welfare issues, especially the adoption of pets from animal shelters. Themes include Farm Animal Awareness Week and Shelter Stories, where pet adoption as well as pet shelter life is focused on. McDonnell also created artwork for the second generation New Jersey Animal Friendly optional license plate first issued in 2001. A portion of the revenue from the plates goes to the New Jersey State Department of Health's Animal Population Control Program. Also, he speaks out (usually using Shtinky) about numerous animal rights causes, including seal clubbing, whale hunting and most of all, saving the tigers.[2]

Sunday title panels

Sunday strips are colored and their title panels are sometimes a tribute to a famous comic strip, a work of art or another subject, among which one can find tributes to Flash #1, Dalí's The Persistence of Memory, Elvis Presley, Trout Mask Replica and Magritte's Golconda, to name but a few.[3]

Mutts books

Annual collections

Black-and-white reproductions of full year's strips (until 2005).

  1. Mutts (July 1996) ISBN 978-083621025-5
  2. Cats & Dogs (October 1997) ISBN 978-083623732-0
  3. More Shtuff (September 1998) ISBN 978-083626823-2
  4. Yesh! (April 1999) ISBN 978-083628286-3
  5. Our Mutts (August 2000) ISBN 978-074070456-7
  6. A Little Look-See (April 2001) ISBN 978-074071394-1
  7. What Now (September 2002) ISBN 978-074072321-6
  8. I Want To Be The Kitty! (April 2003) ISBN 978-074076197-3
  9. Dog-Eared (September 2004) ISBN 978-074074740-3
  10. Who Let The Cat Out? (April 2005) ISBN 978-074075006-9

Sundays collections

Large-format color reproductions of Sunday strips (until 2005).

  1. Mutts Sundays (September 1999) ISBN 978-074070010-1
  2. Sunday Mornings (August 2001) ISBN 978-074071853-3
  3. Sunday Afternoons (April 2004) ISBN 978-074074141-8
  4. Sunday Evenings (September 2005) ISBN 978-074075535-4

Treasury collections

Large-format, dailies in black-and-white, Sunday in color (after 2005).

  1. Everyday Mutts: A Comic Strip Treasury (2006) ISBN 978-074076197-3
  2. Animal Friendly: A Mutts Treasury (2007) ISBN 978-074076556-8
  3. Call of the Wild: A Mutts Treasury (2008) ISBN 978-074077099-9
  4. Stop and Smell the Roses (2009) ISBN 9780740781469
  5. Earl and Mooch (2010) ISBN 9780740797682


  1. Mutts Little Big Book (1998) ISBN 978-083626980-2
  2. Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell (2003) ISBN 978-081094616-3 (retrospective)
  3. Mutts: The gift of nothing (2005) ISBN 978-031611488-2
  4. Mutts: Just like Heaven (2005) ISBN 978-031611493-6
  5. Mutts: Hug time (2007) ISBN 978-031611494-3
  6. The Best of Mutts (2007) ISBN 978-074076844-6
  7. Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed. (2008)
  8. South (2008)

Mutts in other languages

  • Iceland: Kjölturakkar
  • Denmark: Mis Og Fister
  • Sweden: Morrgan & Klös
  • Norway: Pels og poter ("Fur and paws")
  • Finland: Kamut ("Pals")
  • Austria: Milou & Filou
  • Brazil: Os Vira-Latas
  • Estonian: Krantsid ("Dogs")
  • France: Earl & Mooch
  • German: Mutts - Tiere sind auch nur Menschen ("Animals are just people, too")


In July 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios[4] are developing a feature-length animated film based on the comic. Patrick McDonnell and his brother Robert McDonnell have been hired to write the script, while Patrick will also executive produce.[5]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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