The Hundred and One Dalmatians

The Hundred and One Dalmatians
The Hundred and One Dalmatians  
First edition cover
First edition cover
Author(s) Dodie Smith
Illustrator Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone
Cover artist Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Children's novel
Publisher Heinemann
Publication date 1956
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Followed by The Starlight Barking (1967)

The Hundred and One Dalmatians, or the Great Dog Robbery is a 1956 children's novel by Dodie Smith. A sequel entitled The Starlight Barking continues from the end of the first novel.

At a dinner party attended by the Dearly couple, Cruella de Vil expresses her dislike for animals; subsequently, the couple's new Dalmatian puppies disappear. The Dearly dogs are now among 97 puppies who were kidnapped or legally purchased from various owners, with the intention of skinning them for their fur. Through the co-operation of animals and the "Twilight Bark", the dogs are found in Suffolk, England, and a rescue ensues.


Pongo and Missis Pongo (or simply Missis) are a pair of Dalmatians who live with the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Dearly and their two nannies, Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler. Mr. Dearly is a "financial wizard" who has been granted life-long tax exemption and lent a house on the Outer Circle in Regent's Park in return for wiping out the government debt. The dogs consider the humans their pets, but allow the humans to think that they are the owners.

Missis gives birth to a litter of 15 puppies. Concerned that Missis will not be able to feed them all, the humans join in to help. Mrs. Dearly looks for a canine wet nurse, and finds an abandoned Dalmatian in the middle of the road in the pouring rain. She has the dog treated by a vet and names her Perdita ("lost"). Perdita later tells Pongo about her lost love and the circumstances that led to her abandonment.

Mr. and Mrs. Dearly attend a dinner party hosted by Cruella de Vil, an intimidating and very wealthy woman fixated on fur clothing. The Dearlys are disconcerted by her belief that all animals are worthless and should be drowned. Shortly after the dinner party, the puppies disappear. The humans fail to trace them but through the "Twilight Bark", a forum of communication in which dogs can relay messages to each other across the country, the dogs manage to track them down to "Hell Hall", the ancestral home of the de Vil family in Suffolk. Pongo and Missis try to relate the puppies' location to the Dearlys but fail. The dogs decide to run away and find them themselves, leaving Perdita to look after the Dearlys. After a journey across the countryside, they meet the Colonel, an Old English Sheepdog who shows them Hell Hall and tells them its history. They learn that there are 97 puppies in Hell Hall, including Pongo and Missis own 15.

Cruella de Vil appears and tells the crooks in charge of Hell Hall to slaughter and skin the dogs as soon as possible because of the publicity surrounding the theft of the Dearlys' puppies. Pongo and Missis devise a plan to rescue all of the puppies and escape the day before Christmas Eve. One puppy, Cadpig, is too weak to walk the long distance from Suffolk to London so Tommy, the Colonel's two year old pet, lends her a toy carriage. When the carriage loses a wheel, they rest on the hassocks of a country church. Cruella almost finds them, but the dogs manage to escape in a removal van. Having rolled in soot to disguise themselves, they hide in the darkness of the van with the help of a Staffordshire terrier whose pets are the drivers of the van.

Upon arriving in London, the dogs destroy Cruella's collection of animal skins and fur coats with the aid of Cruella's abused cat. The Dalmatians then return home. Once the dogs roll around to remove the soot from their coats, the Dearlys recognize them and send out for steaks to feed them.

Cruella's cat visits to say Cruella has fled from Hell Hall. It has been put up for sale and Mr Dearly buys it with money he has been given by the government for sorting out another tax problem. He renames it "Hill Hall" and intends to use it to start a "dynasty of Dalmatians" (and a "dynasty of Dearlys" to take care of them). Finally, Perdita's lost love, Prince, returns. His pets see his love for Perdita and allow him to stay with the Dearlys and become their 101st Dalmatian.


Disney adapted the novel into an animated film, released to theaters on January 25, 1961 as One Hundred and One Dalmatians. It became the tenth highest grossing film of 1961,[1] and one of the studio's most popular films of the decade. It was re-issued to theaters four times, in 1969, 1979, 1985, and 1991. The 1991 reissue was the twentieth highest earning film of the year for domestic earnings.[2] It was also adapted into a musical.


  1. ^ Gebert,, Michael (1996). The Encyclopedia of Movie Awards. St. Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0-668-05308-9. [page needed]
  2. ^ "1991 Domestic Grosses #1–50". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 

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