Being a dog owner is one thing, but having a dog with superpowers takes things to a whole new level!
In Disney’s 2008 animated film Bolt, the main canine character is a serious pup who accepts all challenges and kicks his ass as a crime-fighting super dog, on TV.
However, bolt doesn’t understand that at first. Deprived of the environment of a normal dog for his entire life, this dog truly believes that he has superpowers. It’s not until he separates from his owner (and co-star), Penny, that Bolt gets a heavy dose of reality.
but even after the movie ends, one question remains: what kind of dog is bolt?
Although Bolt’s breed is never directly referenced in the film, creator Joe Moshier has openly stated that the character’s design is loosely based on a white German Shepherd puppy. And while Bolt doesn’t claim to be a specific breed, his physical characteristics and character traits closely resemble those of a white shepherd.
what is a white german shepherd?
For the longest time, White German Shepherds were just that — German Shepherds with white coats. They were just considered a genetic anomaly with a prevalent showing of the recessive gene of a German Shepherd’s coat color.
However, breeders began to isolate this trait and breed pure white German Shepherds. and when this started to happen, the kennel clubs didn’t take it very seriously. In fact, white German Shepherds were banned from registration in their native Germany.
Although white shepherds did not do well in Germany, exported puppies in the United States and Canada gained popularity. and by 1969, these dogs had their own established breed club. They are now slowly making their way into the major kennel clubs with the united kennel club recognizing them as an independent breed in 1999.
physical characteristics of the white shepherd
White Shepherds have nearly identical builds to the Standard German Shepherd. fully grown, they have a large muscular build with a height of over 25 inches and a weight of up to 90 pounds. they are considered large dogs and are often used for security, military, or police work purposes.
One of the characteristics for which they are best known is their upright and cheerful ears. This breed, along with Standard German Shepherds, are known for their angular profiles with their pointed ears, adding more stiffness to their appearance. this is easily seen in bolt’s profile, as the animators made sure to specifically accentuate him.
another characteristic that both the bolt and the white shepherd have in common is a large bushy tail. the shepherds have long bushy tails, another prominent feature during the animation. This bushy tail can be somewhat attributed to the White Shepherd’s double coat that makes them conspicuous as their standard counterparts. however, some White German Shepherds do not have a double coat, which makes them unique in that regard.
character and personality traits of the white shepherd
watching the movie bolt, we couldn’t help but notice how much bolt acts like a german shepherd. Not only did they model the look of the character after the white shepherd, it’s as if they also transplanted the personality of the breed.
White Shepherds are an exceptionally confident and intelligent breed. they are capable of learning just about anything, which is part of what makes them one of the best working breeds. and bolt, who is a “superhero”, embodies this aura, but instead of working in the traditional sense, he believes that he can melt steel with his mind and fend off evil with his super bark.
They are also born watchdogs and protectors, especially of the children with whom they have been raised. In the movie, when Bolt is separated from Penny, her only dedication is to find his way back to her. this exhibits the down-to-earth nature and loyalty of the white shepherd.
And finally, these dogs are hyperactive and need a lot of exercise. and bolt is anything but lazy. In fact, throughout the entire movie, Bolt is completely motivated to keep moving forward to reunite with his mistress.
although bolt is loosely based on the white shepherd, there’s very little doubt that’s what he is. bolt doesn’t just look good, it acts like one too.
His fierce loyalty and dedication to his family (penny) is matched only by the loyalty shown by the real life dog breed. and he is very confident in his abilities to save the day and protect those in need.
And when combined with the pointed ears and bushy tail associated with the White Shepherd, there’s no question the stud isn’t based on a White Shepherd alone. he truly embodies one. the biggest difference between the stud and a true white shepherd is its size. bolt could handle being a bit bigger, but that probably wouldn’t make such a cute cartoon.
- Have you ever wondered about the breed of the target dog? Find out here!
featured image credit: nikol mansfeld, shutterstock