Dogster Presents: The Dogs of "The Walking Dead"
First came the Dogs of Downton Abbey. Then Dogster took on Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Girls, and Breaking Bad. Is nothing sacred?! Apparently not because here I am imagining my favorite survivors of the zombie apocalypse as dogs.
1. Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln): German Shepherd Dog
Small-town sheriff who continues to lead others -- or not -- during his farmer stage at the prison or in his weakened state heading toward the end of season four. Rick often struggles with the new and ever-evolving moral code of this post-apocalyptic world.
German Shepherds are dependable, loyal, hard working, and protective. They make excellent police and guard dogs as well as herders. GSDs also are handsome and well-built, physical traits most certainly shared by Lincoln.
2. Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs): German Shepherd Dog
Son of Rick with a disobedient streak and love for chocolate pudding. In the early days of the zombie apocalypse, Carl's inability to do as he was told nearly got him eaten by walkers multiple times. His independent thinking now saves lives, including his father's, more often than not.
The same GSD traits that make others follow Rick also will serve Carl well in the future, with his ability to adapt more quickly making him the better leader for his generation.
3. Daryl Dixon (played by Norman Reedus): Pointer
Tracker, hunter, and all-around badass. Daryl inspires others in his own quiet way, whether by remaining loyal to Rick or by serving on the short-lived council.
Pointers have an even temperament, limitless courage, and good sense, which makes them a top choice for both hunting partner and companion. If I were Beth, I would be so grateful for having ended up with Daryl after the prison attack. The dignified Pointer has a sleek, muscular body that also looks good in a sleeveless shirt or motorcycle vest.
4. Michonne (played by Danai Gurira): Doberman Pinscher
Warrior who speaks softly, if at all, and carries a big sword. Michonne does not trust easily -- told you so about the Governor, Andrea -- but once she does bonds deeply.
Doberman Pinschers are intelligent, watchful, and fearless, with their endurance and speed making them a go-to dog soldier in times of war. They also are affectionate and loyal, just as Michonne has become with Carl. Physically, Dobies are best described as elegantly muscular.
5. Glenn Rhee (played by Steven Yeun): Labrador Retriever
Pizza delivery guy turned expert scavenger and fighter. Glenn no longer agrees to be zombie bait now that he has wife Maggie to protect -- once he catches up to her, that is.
The most popular dog in the U.S., Labs are even-tempered and gentle members of many a family. Labs also make excellent guide dogs and skilled members of search-and-rescue teams. Sound like a certain survivor?
6. Maggie Greene-Rhee (played by Lauren Cohan): Australian Shepherd
Farmer's daughter turned formidable fighter. Maggie stands by her family and the rest of the survivors, doing what needs to be done to keep the group safe -- and that includes cutting Lori open during a walker attack to bring the youngest survivor, Judith, into the world. She also has no problem gutting walkers to leave blood messages for Glenn.
Australian Shepherds are natural guarders, herders, and adaptable, all-purpose farm dogs. They like to be near their family at all times. Aussies also have thick coats that require regular grooming, which Maggie rarely has time for these days.
7. Carol Peletier (played by Melissa McBride): American Staffordshire Terrier
Abused wife who never wants to be a victim again. Losing a husband (good riddance) and daughter to zombies brought out Carol's inner strength, which she uses to help her fellow survivors, whether by being "proactive" during the flu outbreak in the prison or telling Lizzie to look at the flowers.
Strong, smart, and courageous, American Staffordshire Terriers also are fiercely loyal and protective of their family. While Carole does not have the stocky body and powerful head of an Am Staff, her temperament and short coat match the breed to a T.
8. Beth Greene (played by Emily Kinney): Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Delicate flower fast becoming a capable fighter but always remaining a source of seemingly endless hope for the survivors, despite losing her mother and boyfriends to walkers and her father to an evil, eye-patch wearing psycho. Beth also loves to sing and must already miss the cell-block acoustics.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a sweet, gentle nature. They thrive as part of a family, especially one with children -- which Judith certainly benefitted from pre-prison attack. These dogs also have a thick coat that requires regular grooming, which, like Maggie, Beth rarely has time for these days.
9. Tyreese (played by Chad L. Coleman): Bullmastiff
Fierce zombie fighter who doesn't say much or look for trouble, unless you burn his sick girlfriend to death or try to stop him from figuring out who did. Or mess with his sister, Sasha.
Bullmastiffs make excellent guard dogs for several reasons: They are fearless, independent, and protective, and their intelligence shows in their practice of only barking for a reason. Tyreese shares that last trait, for sure, or things might have gotten ugly after Carole's confession.
10. Sasha (played by Sonequa Martin-Green): Airedale Terrier
All-purpose member of the group who sat on the council. Sasha takes a practical approach to survival, wanting to find shelter and food before loved ones.
These hardy dogs have served as guards, messengers, and pest controllers during wartime, and more than a few U.S. presidents have made them part of the first family. Airedale Terriers are sweet but will bark back if challenged.
11. Sgt. Abraham Ford (played by Michael Cudlitz): Irish Red and White Setter
Soldier on a mission; new to the show's audience but beloved by readers of the comics. Abraham will get mullet-sporting scientist Eugene to D.C. no matter what.
Irish Red and White Setters are strong and powerful dogs. They have endless courage and a determined spirit, which matches Ford and his dog-with-a-bone attitude well.
12. Tara Chambler (played by Alanna Masterson): Manchester Terrier
Former follower of The Governor, current follower of Glenn. Tara hopes to make up for her attack on the prison by helping to find Maggie.
Manchester Terriers are eager to please, bonding quickly and strongly to their human. This can get a dog in trouble, though, if said human turns out to be an evil, eye-patch wearing psycho.
What do you think, readers? Is my imagination spot on or way off? Which dog breeds do you match with your favorite survivors of the zombie apocalypse?
Also, I only imagined the main characters still living. Do you have ideas for those we've loved or loathed and lost, such as Mika, Lizzie, Hershel, Andrea, Shane, Lori, T-Dog, or The Governor? I avoided imagining that last one as a dog because I would not wish that on any breed! Same goes for Lizzie.
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About Pamela Mitchell: Human companion of Dolly and Spot. Geeky for all things sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Writer living and working in Houston, Texas.