Everyone who has ever watched an episode of The Simpsons will know who Santa’s Little Helper is.
He’s that troublesome, destructive, and very loveable ex-racing dog who the whole family adores.
But so do the creators of The Simpsons, they love him. So do the viewers.
He was made to be as realistic as a cartoon dog can be, and he sure is.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Santa’s Little Helper.
Santa’s Little Helper was made to be a realistic dog.
Despite some of his wacky cutaways, Simpson family dog Santa’s Little Helper is actually quite realistic.
Unlike most of his cartoon brethren who wear clothes, walk on their hind legs and talk, Matt Groening created Santa’s Little Helper to be more like a real dog.
He’s energetic, playful, inquisitive, and above-all he can be destructive at times.
Let us not forget all the times the Simpsons have left him home alone only to return to a torn sofa and a houseful broken objects!
Santa’s Little Helper’s core characteristics mirror Homer’s characteristics.
It’s been pointed out by some staff members on The Simpsons that they write the character of Homer in the same way they do Santa’s Little Helper.
Writer John Swartzwelder once said “Both are loyal. Both have the same emotional rage. And both will growl and possible snap if you try to take their food.”
Santa’s Little Helper’s racing number is No. 8.
This is significant because he first appeared in the episode ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire‘, and this was the eighth episode to be produced by The Simpsons staff.
However, this was the first ever episode of The Simpsons to air, and writer Al Jean commented on this saying “the next seven didn’t have the dog, people wondered why”.
Santa’s Little Helper has sired two litters of puppies.
He fathered a litter of 25 puppies with racing greyhound She’s The Fastest in the episode ‘Two Dozen and One Greyhounds‘.
These were kidnapped by C. Montgomery Burns, who wanted to turn them into a coat, Cruella De Vil-style, after all you may recall seeing his vest, his vest, made from real Gorilla chest.
However, Monty eventually decided against skinning the litter for a coat and they all went on to become champion racers who earned him a cool $10 million.
The second litter was a littler of 8 Greyhound-Poodle crosses that were mothered by Dr. Hibbert’s poodle Rosa Barks after Santa’s Little Helper paid her ‘a late-night booty call’ in the episode ‘Today I Am A Clown‘.
Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer) has voiced Santa’s Little Helper since 1995.
The sound effects for Santa’s Little Helper originally came from voice-actor Frank Welker.
However Dan Castellaneta started doing the noises for Santa’s Little Helper in 1995, after doing the barking noises in a few episodes.
It’s hinted at that Santa’s Little Helper is bisexual.
Oh, and probably had a one-night stand with Snowball V.
As a gay pride parade marches down Evergreen Terrace, Santa’s Little Helper is seen panting excitedly after a member of the Gay Dog Alliance winks at him.
Rushing in his excitement to join the dogs Santa’s Little Helper forgets he’s on a leash and gets yanked back.
The morning after a crazy Simpsons New Year’s party both Snowball V and Santa’s Little Helper are seen leaving the doghouse, both of them looking ashamed about what happened the night before.
Santa’s Little Helper only has one known sibling, a brother.
In the episode ‘The Bonfire of The Manatees‘ Homer takes the family to visit their ‘country cousins’ on a rural farm.
At the farm is Santa’s Little Helper’s (unnamed) brother, who is owned by the farm owner Les.
When Bart asks one of the children on the farm how they are related the child tells him that it’s because their dogs are brothers.
The writers didn’t plan long-term when they came up with the dogs’ name.
When writing the episode where the family dog makes his debut, the writers have said they backed themselves into a corner: all was written but the dog’s name.
They needed something Christmas-related, an omen stupid enough to make Homer bet the family’s Christmas fund.
But as writer Al Jean said “We weren’t considering what might happen in ten years, when we’ve got to use this name.”
The staff of The Simpsons love writing Santa’s Little Helper.
The creators of The Simpsons enjoyed writing Santa’s Little Helpers so much when they wrote the episode ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire‘.
Because of this, they decided to center more episodes on him in the future.
Santa’s Little Helper has featured in 50 episodes to date.
51, if you count the movie.
That’s right, the Simpsons family dog has featured in half-a-hundred episodes, most of them where he played a main part in moving the episodes plot along, or where he himself was the main plot point.
For a cartoon dog born without a name that’s not too bad!