Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Dogs, Popeye and the Super Mario Bros. Anime
If we’re having a discussion about dogs in the Mario series, then I guess it should begin with Poochy, the noseless dog who debuted in Yoshi’s Island and has since become a recurring canine buddy.
But if not Poochy, then the next candidate would probably be the Chain Chomp, the recurring enemy that debuted in Super Mario Bros. 3. Despite essentially being a bowling ball with teeth, the Chain Chomp was allegedly inspired by a real-life incident in which a young Shigeru Miyamoto was charged by an angry dog. He wasn’t bitten because the dog was chained, and just before the dog could reach him, the chain pulled tight. In Japan, the Chain Chomp has always been Wanwan (ワンワン), from the onomatopoeia for the sound of a dog barking, so it would have been clear from its first appearance that it was supposed to be dog-like. Outside Japan, the association only became clear in Super Mario 64, when they barked like dogs. Wan wan!