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What Kind of Dog Is Duke From The Secret Life of Pets? The Surprising Answer!

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

Animated films cover quite a variety of topics. “The Secret Life of Pets” gives us a cartoonish look into what our pets get up to when we’re not around. Considering how much we love our pets, it’s no surprise that “The Secret Life of Pets” was popular enough to also have a sequel

One compelling aspect of these movies is trying to figure out all the dog breeds, such as what breed of dog Duke is. Although the movie doesn’t provide a definitive answer, it is thought that Duke is a Newfoundland mixed-breed dog.

Here, we take a deeper look into Duke’s breed and give you extra information about Newfoundland dogs.

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What Kind of Dog Is Duke Exactly?

In “The Secret Life of Pets,” Duke is voiced by Eric Stonestreet, known from the renowned “Modern Family” series. He’s a large, brown, shaggy dog. He starts off as rather inconsiderate but becomes the lovable Duke that we care about by the end of the movie.

Many people believe that Duke is a “Newfoundland mix.” There is merit to this because the Newfoundland is also a large and shaggy dog. They are most commonly black, but there are brown Newfies too.

Duke might also have Briard in him. These dogs are essentially French Sheepdogs (compared to the well-known gray-and-white English Sheepdogs) and are large, brown, and shaggy dogs. Let’s take a look at these breeds.

brown newfoundland dog standing in the park
Image Credit: B.Stefanov, Shutterstock

The Newfoundland

Newfoundland dogs are named after the place they are from: the province of Newfoundland in Canada. These huge dogs have thick, water-resistant double coats that came in handy when they worked in the cold waters of the Atlantic alongside fishermen. They are also used quite frequently as water rescue dogs.

These dogs are large and generally weigh up to 150 pounds, but they have earned the nickname “nanny dogs” for their gentleness, particularly when around children. In fact, the standard of Newfies includes having a sweet temperament.

The Briard

Briards aren’t as well known as the Newfie, but they have a similar look to Duke in terms of being big, shaggy, brown dogs.

While they aren’t as large as Newfoundlands, they can weigh up to 100 pounds. Briards are from northern France and are named after the region of Brie, where they worked as sheepdogs and guarded their flocks quite effectively.

They tend to keep an eye on everyone in the family, including the children, who are a part of their flock. They have intense love and devotion for their family, as well as a certain amount of wariness toward outsiders.

briardMore About Duke’s Breed

So, Duke might have Newfoundland in him or maybe Briard or even a mix of both. The studio that created “The Secret Life of Pets,” Illumination Entertainment, calls Duke a “massive standoffish mutt.”

A mutt (also known as a mongrel) is essentially a dog with a mixed and relatively unknown background. Mutts are great candidates for DNA tests, which can tell dog parents what breeds make up their dog’s genetic makeup.

It is more than likely that if the animation company says that Duke a mutt, that seems to be the most likely answer. While Duke is large, he isn’t necessarily as large as a Newfoundland or a Briard. But it is certainly possible that he does have both of these breeds in his mutt heritage.

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Final Thoughts

Now you know more about the lovable Duke. He starts off as an inconsiderate and sloppy dog and transforms into a courageous and loving friend.

Whether he has Newfoundland in him or not doesn’t matter in the long run. What truly matters about any dog is that we take care of them, and in turn, they give us their unconditional love. Our lives are made so much better with our amazing pets!

Featured Image Credit: Characters by  Illumination Entertainment, Universal Studios.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

Kathryn Copeland

Authored by

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bell...Read more

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